Curtis Mayfield | Photographer unknown | Public Domain | 14607
Legendary soul, R&B, and funk singer-songwriter, guitarist, record company founder and record producer Curtis Lee Mayfield was born on June 3, 1942 and died on December 26, 1999. He joined his school friend Jerry Butler’s group the Roosters , which would become the Impressions four years later, in 1956. He taught himself to play the guitar and developed an unusual tuning style. The Impressions had a series of hit recordings which gradually became more political during the mid 1960s. Around 1970 he decided to leave The Impressions and have a solo career which was immediately successful. Tragedy struck on August 13, 1990, he became paralyzed from the neck down after stage lighting equipment fell on him at an outdoor concert at Wingate Field, Flatbush, Brooklyn, New York, but he continued to write and record music. His health declined rapidly after his paralysis and he died of complications from diabetes. Since his untimely death he has been awarded many awards for his accomplishments.