Curtis

Man, I’m so mad. Curtis Mayfield’s history is amazing.

Jimi Hendrix opened for him in the late 50s. Curtis definitely influenced him.

He and the Impressions basically created Bob Marley and the Wailers, who couldn’t stop listening to the Chicago-based band and artist, covering his songs and harmonies.

He worked with Donny Hathaway but it didn’t work out.

He had on his label Curtom that band called The Winstons who recorded “Amen, Brother” which features the Amen Break, the most sampled track in the history of music.

He auditioned that group called the “Jackson 5” and passed on them.

He was a millionaire in his 20s with his own label, owning all the rights to all his songs, after starting his life in a seedy hotel with his family starving more often than not. Pretty incredible.

But he fucked up with his friends, over business decisions mostly. He fucked up with his family (at one time he was married, had a girlfriend pregnant and was in love with another woman), beat his significant others from time to time. Once success left him he went down some cocaine binges apparently. I mean, it’s not very original but I’m shocked. I used to listen to Curtis quite a lot in the late 90s early 00s, thinking this man with this beautiful, fragile voice, composing strong and definitive songs and grooves, couldn’t be what I’m reading right now about him. Motherfucker was dark too.

Damn.

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