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Monday, 27 December, 1999, 16:44 GMT
Soul icon Curtis Mayfield dies
Curtis MAyfield
Curtis Mayfield: Performed across four decades
Composer and songwriter Curtis Mayfield, who had a string of hits in the 1960s and 1970s, has died, aged 57.

Mayfield died on Sunday at North Fulton Regional Hospital in Roswell, Georgia, on Sunday after a decade of ill-health.

He was paralysed in 1990 after being hit by a falling rig while he was performing on stage in Brooklyn, New York. Last year diabetes meant his right leg had to be amputated.

In March, Mayfield was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame but he was too ill to attend the ceremony. It was the second time he had been inducted into the US rock establishment's elite list.

In 1995 he received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement award to go with the Grammy Legend award he was presented with the previous year.

Curtis Mayfield: Credited with introducing social comment to soul music
His 1960s hits include Move On Up, Talking About My Baby, Keep on Pushing and People Get Ready.

Born in Chicago on 3 June 1942, he was 14 when he formed The Roosters with Arthur and Richard Brooks and Jerry Butler.

Four years later The Roosters became The Impressions and their single, For Your Precious Love, went to number 11 in the US.

Other hits followed including Gypsy Woman, Find Yourself Another Girl and He Will Break Your Heart.

Mayfield became known as a civil rights hero as well as a respected entertainer; 1964's Keep On Pushing is credited with broadening the parameters of black music to include a political perspective, at a time when it was dominated by love songs and dance records.

He is credited with opening the way for James Brown to sing Say It Loud - I'm Black And I'm Proud in 1968 and Marvin Gaye's 1971 hit What's Going On.

Curtis Mayfield in 1977: His Superfly was widely sampled by hip-hop producers
He is best known in the UK for his 1971 hit Move On Up, while his 1972 soundtrack to the film Superfly earned him four Grammy nominations, as well as providing fertile samples for hip-hop and dance producers in the decades to come.

The late 1970s saw him act and produce for Gladys Knight and Aretha Franklin, but his career faded in the 1980s until he reappeared in the UK, singing with pop band The Blow Monkeys on (Celebrate) The Day After You, a diatribe against then-prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

After his accident in 1990, he was unable to perform until 1997, when he released the New World Order album.

His long-time manager and business partner, Marv Heiman, said Mayfield knew he was leaving behind a legacy that helped to improve the world around him.

"He wanted people to think about themselves and the world around them, making this a better place for everyone to live," he said.

Mayfield is survived by his wife Altheida, ten children and seven grandchildren.

BBC's Sean Fanning
"One of soul music's most influential figures"
See also:

16 Mar 99 | Entertainment
Stars join Hall of Fame
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