NPR logo Curtis Mayfield

Curtis Mayfield

Curtis Mayfield has been called "the thinking man's soul man." He was known for his floating falsetto voice, gospel sound, and social commentary. He was with the group The Impressions for 12 years recording such classics as "Gypsy Woman," "I'm so Proud," and "People Get Ready." After that he went solo. His score for Superfly, was considered a musical breakthrough, and has inspired many of today's hip-hop performers. Mayfield was preparing for a comeback, with the release of Return of Superfly, in 1990, when a freak stage accident left him paralyzed from the neck down. He died on December 26, 1999. (3