At 16 years old Cabrini Green Housing projects resident Curtis Mayfield joined the Chicago soul group The Impressions as a backup singer.
As an original creator of the Chicago Soul sound, it wasn’t long before Curtis was recognized not only for his harmonizing and vocal abilities but also his songwriting and Latin infused guitar lines. With Mayfield on lead vocal and guitar, the Impressions had over a dozen Top 40 hits in the 1960’s.
During the next decade, he explored psychedelic rock and funk—eventually producing the movie soundtrack Super Fly. Curtis Mayfield was one of the first, if not the first artist to speak and eventually incorporate into his song writing the struggles and pride of African Americans.
After limited success in the eighties, Mayfield became paralyzed from the neck down after a lighting rig fell on him at a concert in 1990. Curtis Mayfield is held in enormous regard by his peers. Sadly, we lost him in 1999 at the age of 57.