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Mayfield, Curtis (1942–1999)

music film hit wrote

MAYFIELD, CURTIS (1942–1999). Singer, songwriter, film composer, producer. This rhythm and blues legend helped to define the Chicago sound in the 1960s that rivaled Detroit ‘s Motown sound. He wrote hit songs for local artists, such as Jerry Butler, Major Lance, Gene Chandler, and Walter Jackson, and his unique style of music is still an influence in the hip-hop culture of today. He began singing at age seven and taught himself how to play the guitar. After years of writing and composing music, much of it containing serious social commentary, Mayfield became a driving force with his gospel-soul group, The Impressions. They released songs like "Gypsy Woman," "He Will Break Your Heart," and the classics "It’s All Right," and "People Get Ready." He went solo in 1970 and wrote and produced the music for the hit film Superfly , 1972. The soundtrack album sold more than a million copies and received four Grammy nominations. His other hit film soundtracks include Claudine , 1975; Sparkle , 1976; and A Piece of the Action , 1978. He also wrote the music and had an acting role in the film Short Eyes , 1979. In 1990, he was paralyzed from the neck down when part of a public address rig collapsed on top of him during a concert. Confined to a wheelchair, he recorded his critically acclaimed New World Order album while suspended by a harness. Mayfield was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice; the first time, with his gospel-soul group The Impressions in 1991; and again for his solo career in 1999.

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