I love me some Curtis Mayfield. “Superfly,” “Freddie’s Dead, “ “People Get Ready,” “This Is My Country,” “Choice of Colors,” “Amen,” “It’s All Right,” “Gypsy Woman,” “Keep On Pushing.” Then there are his songs popularized by other artists: “Let’s Do It Again,” “On and On,” “He Will Break Your Heart,” “Something He Can Feel.” What a great catalogue! I guess you could say he made an IMPRESSION on me. Get it? Boy, I’m good.
The late Curtis Mayfield was born on this date in 1942. Some of his work is included on today’s playlist.
Learning that Jeff Beck was a fan of his, Stevie Wonder invited the guitarist to the studio to jam with him. Beck played on Stevie’s composition “Lookin’ For Another Pure Love,” recorded for what was to be Wonder’s next album, Talking Book. As a thank you, Wonder wrote a song for Beck to record: “Superstition.” Wonder told Beck he can release his version prior to Wonder’s version, which would appear on Talking Book.
Motown heard Stevie’s recording and knew it would be a hit single. Stevie wanted his song “Big Brother” to be the album’s first single, but he hadn’t finished recording it by the time Motown needed a 45 to release in advance of the full-length record. Stevie begged Motown to not put out a “Superstition” single, as he promised it to Beck, whose album release was delayed. Motown ignored their superstar’s pleas. The label released the single, and scored Stevie a number one single on the US pop and r&b charts.
Beck wasn’t too happy about that turn of events, though the two men eventually sorted things out, playing the song together at The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s 25th-anniversary ceremony.
Stevie Wonder turns 73 today. He is well-represented on today’s playlist.