This June 3rd was the 81st anniversary of Curtis Mayfield’s birth. Today, on Juneteenth, we offer Move On Up: The Best of Curtis Mayfield playlist to celebrate the Chicago native who made an indelible mark on popular music through his protest songs and on the movie soundtrack album in particular.
As a singer, songwriter, and producer, Mayfield is widely regarded as one of the most influential figures in soul and R&B music. His early days with The Impressions showcased his distinctive falsetto vocals and he penned hits like “I’m So Proud” “It’s All Right,” and “Woman’s Got Soul,” among others.
However, it was his solo career that solidified his place as a musical pioneer and visionary. Beyond his musical contributions, Mayfield was a vocal advocate for civil rights and social equality.
His songs, including “Move On Up,”“People Get Ready,” “Keep On Pushing,” “Choice of Colors” and “We’re a Winner” became anthems for the Civil Rights Movement. They have empowered marginalized communities and inspired change for decades.
The soundtrack of Superfly was a smash by any measure. The record’s first single, “Freddie’s Dead” came out in July 1972, before the full album and the movie, and hit No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Mayfield also crafted and composed the 1976 soundtrack to Sparkle, on which Aretha Franklin recorded the now classic #1 R&B hit “Something He Can Feel.” En Vogue remade the song in 1992 and repeated that feat, along with taking their cover to No. 6 on the Hot 100 chart.
This collection features his many hits, collaborations, remixes of his work and covers made in tribute to his impact. Enjoy.
Happy Juneteenth!! Stay sane, safe, and kind. See ya next month, y’all.