Curtis Mayfield was born in Chicago on June 3rd 1942 and become a professional artist in his mid teens. Prior to his death in 1999, Mayfield was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March of that year but he was too ill to attend the ceremony.
Mayfield followed Isaac Hayes as a Chicago recording artist, producing a successful movie soundtrack on his own record label, Curtom Records, based in Chicago during the early 1970s.
It is interesting to note that he produced several movie soundtrack albums and singles . The first and probably Mayfield’s greatest achievement was his creation of an outstanding soundtrack album, “Superfly”, that peaked at number one on the Billboard Pop album charts, selling in the process over two million copies. In addition two singles from the album, “Superfly” and “Freddie’s Dead”, both went gold certified for over one million units sold and helped to generate $20 million for the recording industry.
Mayfield was involved in other creative projects that produced gold and platinum records for a range of recording artists in the R&B field. There was a gold record for Aretha Franklin on Atlantic records called “Sparkle”, including a number one R&B single on the Billboard listing entitled “Something He Can Feel”, which stayed at number one for four weeks starting 26th June 1976. It was written and produced by Curtis Mayfield at his Curtom Studios, and later recorded and performed by En Vogue in the early 1990s, resulting in another R&B number one single and platinum album for the group on Atlantic Records.
Curtis also achieved success with the Staple Singers on the film soundtrack of “Let’s Do It Again” in 1975. The film starred Sidney Poitier (who also directed the movie) and Bill Cosby. The single achieved number one position on the R&B and pop Billboard lists during 1975, turning into a gold single in the process. Another creative partnership of great significance was the “Claudine” soundtrack, featuring Gladys Knight and The Pips. The soundtrack attracted black audiences, with the first of several singles “On and On” obtaining certified gold status and the album was also certified gold for over one million copies sold in the Untied States, in the process peaking at number 35 on the Billboard Pop album chart listings.
Below are two videos that shows the talent of Curtis Mayfield and his creative skills in producing excellent film soundtracks:
Curtis Mayfield Record Production Soundtracks Listings:
Billboard Hot 100 Album Chart : number 1, 9th September 1972 (4 weeks). Platinum certified by the RIAA , Curtom 8014
Billboard R&B and Soul Album Chart: number 1, 14th October 1972 (6 weeks)
Billboard R&B and Soul Singles at number two, 1972. Gold certified by the RIAA.
Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart at number four, 1972, Curtom CR-1975
Billboard R&B and Soul Singles Chart at number three, 1972. Gold certified by the RIAA.
Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart at number eight, 1972, Curtom CR-1978
Aretha Franklin “Sparkle” Album:
Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart: number 18, 4th July 1976, Gold certification according to the RIAA , Atlantic 18176
The Staple Singers Soundtrack album:
“Let’s Do It Again”, Billboard R&B and Soul Singles Chart number one for two weeks on the 22nd November 1975. Gold certified by the RIAA in 1975.
Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart at number one for one week on the 27th December 1975, Curtom 0109.
Album recorded by Gladys Knight and the Pips:
“Claudine” soundtrack album
Billboard R&Band Soul Album Chart at number one , 13th July (1 week)1974,
Billboard Hot 100 Album Chart at number thirty five, 1974 Gold certification according to the RIAA. Released on the Buddah Label
“On and On”:
Billboard R&B and Soul Singles Chart at number two, 1974. Gold certified by the RIAA.
Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart at number five , 1974, Buddah 423