With a distinctive, highly recognizable tenor voice, an unparalleled catalog of enduring pop and soul classics and an honored place in the pantheon of American music, Curtis Mayfield is without question one of the most influential and beloved artist/songwriters of his time.
Born in Chicago in 1942, Mayfield absorbed the city's rich heritage of blues and gospel music and even before reaching his teen years he had formed his first group, The Alphatones. Later, renewing a childhood friendship with Jerry Butler, he formed a group with three others, brothers Arthur and Richard Brooks and Sam Gooden, all from Tennessee. First called The Roosters the band was soon re-christened The Impressions, who recorded a breakthrough hit, For Your Precious Love, in 1958, one of what was to become an almost endless string of Mayfield hit songs to hit high positions on the record charts.
Following Butler's departure for a solo career in 1959, Mayfield re-formed The Impressions with Sam Gooden and newcomer Fred Cash, and almost immediately landed a contract with ABC Paramount Records. Within a year, Mayfield's song, Gypsy Woman, reached the top 20 on the charts. The group scored another success with Mayfield's It's All Right in 1963, while simultaneously Mayfield was also discharging his new duties at the Columbia Records affiliate Okeh Records, as staff producer. While on this assignment, he was associated with recordings by such stars to be as Major Lance, Gene Chandler, Jan Bradley and Walter Jackson, among others. The Impressions, meanwhile, continued to record Mayfield songs into major hits with such titles as Talking About My Baby, I'm So Proud, Keep On Pushing, You Must Believe Me, Amen, Woman's Got Soul and the immortal People Get Ready.