ROSWELL, Ga. – Paralyzed soul legend Curtis Mayfield, whose stylings influenced artists of all musical genres, died Sunday, a North Fulton Regional Hospital spokeswoman said. He was 57.
A member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Mayfield’s hits included the soundtrack from “Superfly,” as well as the seminal singles “People Get Ready” and “Keep On Pushing” from his stint at the helm of the Impressions, a 1960s Chicago harmony group.
“He expired in this hospital at 7:20 a.m. this morning,” said hospital spokeswoman Jan Potts. She could offer no information on the cause of death.
Mayfield suffered a serious accident in August 1990. While performing at an outdoor concert in New York a lighting rig collapsed on him, damaging his spine and leaving him a quadriplegic.
He had toured in the United States, Europe and Japan, up until his accident, but even after leaving the stage his presence continued to be felt in the work of other artists.
In 1994, Whitney Houston, Elton John, The Isley Brothers and Aretha Franklin recorded his composition in a special tribute called, “All Men Are Brothers: A Tribute to Curtis Mayfield.”
Herbie Hancock, Deniece Williams and En Vogue have recorded covers of his works, as have many hip hop and rap artists.
Mayfield is one of the few people to have been inducted more than once into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was first inducted with his gospel-soul group, the Impressions, in 1991. He was inducted again in 1999 for his solo career, which bean in 1970 after he left the Impressions.
Mayfield was too ill to attend the 1999 Hall of Fame ceremony, which also inducted Bruce Springsteen and Paul McCartney.
Mayfield was born in Chicago on June 3, 1942, and began singing by the age of seven. He taught himself to play the guitar and began writing and composing music, under the influence of his mother, who loved poetry.
His talents led him into a career in music, which began in 1957, and lasted nearly 40 years.
As a singer, songwriter, composer and producer, Mayfield was a driving force in the black music scene through the 1960s and 1970s, in part through The Impressions.
Among his hits during the period were “Gypsy Woman,” and “He Will Break Your Heart.”
Mayfield’s efforts epitomized the Chicago sound that rivaled Detroit’s Motown in the 1960s, producing such classics as “It’s All Right,” and “People Get Ready.”
His soundtrack to the film ‘”Superfly” sold more than a million copies and received four Grammy nominations. It also solidified Mayfield’s position in the pantheon of contemporary musical talent.
He lived in Atlanta with his wife and family.