Thursday Throwback – Curtis Mayfield

Many times in feature films, the soundtrack is a secondary item, a mere musical afterthought to accompany the film.  Sure, there’s usually a memorable song or two, but often times, that’s about it.  However, there are films in which the soundtrack is just as important and memorable as the film.  Songs for films like Purple Rain and Saturday Night Fever did more than just lay the musical foundation; they were the soundtrack of an era.  Such is the case with the soundtrack for the film Super Fly.  The 1972 feature film starring Ron O’Neal as drug dealer Youngblood Priest is full of musical gems from beginning to end, and became a part of the musical landscape of the 1970s thanks to singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Curtis Mayfield.  The album shot to number one on both the Billboard pop and R&B charts, supported by the tunes “Freddie’s Dead” and “Super Fly,” both of which became platinum singles.  Although it was never released as a single, the song “Pusherman” was also a fan favorite.  Mayfield was even featured in the film, performing the song for an appreciative head-bobbing crowd of club goers.  The song earned the honor of being named among The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.  As with many Curtis Mayfield tunes, “Pusherman” has been covered, sampled, remixed (pretty much anything one can do with a song) by artists across the globe; most notably hip-hop artist Ice T, in his pre-acting days, sampled the song for the single “I’m Your Pusher” on his 1988 album Power.

–Montrose Cunningham

Montrose Cunningham is an independent funk/rock/soul artist and devoted music aficionado residing in Dallas, Texas. When he isn’t digging through the crates–digital and analog–he’s jamming with his band or hanging with his daughter, sometimes at the same time. Purchase his latest release “Inertia” at, visit him on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter @MontroseC.




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