Curtis Mayfield June 3, 1942 – December 26, 1999
Curtis Lee Mayfield made his first recordings in 1958 as a member of a Chicago Soul/R & B group, The Impressions. He was 16, from the city’s notorious Cabrini Green Housing Projects. He was strictly a backup singer with the group – no guitar, no production, no songwriting. This would change, and sooner than later.
Mayfield made his last recording, “New World Order,” in 1995 after four decades of hit making as a solo artist, producer, composer and as a symbol for Black Pride and Black Capitalism within the music industry. Mayfield’s last go round in the studio was an example of courage and will. Paralyzed following an on stage accident, he recorded one line of a song at a time, lying on his back to allow his diaphragm to work and breath to get into his lungs.
“He broke his back but not his spirit,” says his widow Altheida Mayfield.