Curtis Mayfield is the creative mastermind behind many of the classic hit records that came out of Chicago during the Soul and R&B era.
Curtis Mayfield was born in Chicago on the 3rd June 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 the second recording artist to produce 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 albums and soundtrack 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”, were both gold-certified for over one million units sold, helping 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 the 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 show the talent of Curtis Mayfield, using his creative skills to produce excellent film soundtracks.
Curtis Mayfield Record Production Soundtrack Listings:
The “Superfly” soundtrack album was the most successful album of its kind to come out of Chicago during the 1970s. The album produced two gold-certified singles in America.
Billboard Hot 100 Album Chart : number 1, 9th September 1972 (4weeks). Platinum-certified by the RIAA , Curtom 8014
Billboard R&B and Soul Album Chart: number 1, 14th October 1972 (6 weeks)
Singles: “Freddie’s Dead”:
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 RIAA.
Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart at number eight, 1972, Curtom CR-1978
Aretha Franklin “Sparkle” Album:
Sparkle is an Aretha Franklin soundtrack album, written and produced by Curtis Mayfield. The album peaked at number one on the Billboard R&B and Soul Album Chart.
Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart: number 18, 4th July 1976, Gold certification according to the RIAA , Atlantic 18176
The Staple Singers Soundtrack album:
The soundtrack features the gold single “Let Do It Again”
“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:
The “Claudine” soundtrack album sold over one million copies in America.
“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
Single: “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