Friday, August 4, 2017


In Music History

Page 1
2016Nationwide insurance announces a new ad campaign with Brad Paisleyand Rachel Platten.More
2012Electric blues guitarist Johnnie Bassett dies of cancer at age 76.
2011Rapper Big Sean is arrested in Lewiston, New York, after being accused of sexually assaulting a woman during a Wiz Khalifa concert, where he was performing. He is eventually fined $750 for second degree unlawful imprisonment.
2008Bono proves he reads as the U2 frontman posts a long comment reminiscing about the band's first album, Boy.
2007Lee Hazlewood, who wrote Nancy Sinatra's hit "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'," dies of renal cancer at age 78.
2006John Locke (keyboardist for Nazareth, Spirit) dies of cancer at age 62.
2005James "Little Milton" Campbell, known for blues hits such as 1969's "Grits Ain't Groceries," dies of complications following a stroke at age 70.
1994The Notorious B.I.G. marries R&B singer Faith Evans. 
1991Jeri Southern, a singer whose popular songs include "An Occasional Man" and "Fire Down Below," dies of pneumonia at age 64.
1981Marques Houston (of the R&B group Immature) is born in Los Angeles, California. As an actor, he's known for his role as Roger Evans on the '90s sitcom Sister, Sister.
1974Paul Simon releases "Love Me Like A Rock." 
1973Maureen McGovern's "The Morning After (The Song From The Poseidon Adventure)" hits #1 in the US for the first of two weeks.
1971The rapper Yo-Yo (Yolanda Whitaker) is born in Los Angeles. Teaming with Ice Cube, she has a hit in 1991 with "You Can't Play With My Yo-Yo."
1970The Doors' Jim Morrison is arrested in Los Angeles for public drunkenness after being found lying unconscious on a resident's doorstep.
1970Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson marries his second wife, Barbara Charren, in Los Angeles. They divorce four years later.
Page 1

Curtis Mayfield Gets Superfly

The movie Super Fly is released, along with a soundtrack by Curtis Mayfield that becomes a soul music landmark, taking on the drug culture portrayed in the film with vivid commentary.
The film is about a cocaine dealer in New York City named Priest who is looking for one last score so he can get out of the business before it kills him. He is a complex character at a time when African Americans are rarely portrayed as such on film. He's a drug dealer, but he's also winning the game, and thus admired. Mayfield, who with his band The Impressions had a huge impact on the Civil Rights movement with songs like "Keep On Pushing" and "People Get Ready," gives Priest a musical voice through the songs. In the title song "Superfly," he sings:

The game he plays he plays for keeps
Hustlin' times and ghetto streets
Trying to get over

In "Pusherman," we hear about how Priest reveals himself - he can be whatever you need him to be, and he has what you need. Despite a chorus containing the N-word, the song gets lots of airplay.

While Mayfield's soundtrack is filled with incisive social commentary, it's also funky as hell, with Latin rhythms peppering the percussion. 

The film, a low-budget affair, is very popular in the black community, but the soundtrack has a far greater reach, climbing to #1 in America, where it stays for four weeks. Mayfield's music far outlasts the film, which follows Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song and Shaft in the blaxploitation genre.

Mayfield was brought into the production after the movie started shooting. After looking over the screenplay, he came on board and started writing the songs while filming continued. As he completed them, he brought them to the set, and in the case of "Pusherman," appeared in the scene in which it was used. The whole thing was done on the fly, and it was super.

No comments:

Post a Comment