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IT'S ALIVE: Curtis Mayfield "Freddie's Dead" (1972)

It's Alive briefly devotes the airwaves to live music everyday at 1pm. Tune in today hear this performance and more live tracks!

Curtis Mayfield released his seminal studio album Super Fly on this day in 1972. The LP served as the soundtrack of the blaxpoitation film of the same name, directed by Gordon Parks Jr.. Parks originally contacted Mayfield and his band to simply have a cameo appearance playing music in the background. He wanted an entire song for the scene, and when recording sessions began for that song, the soundtrack began to create itself.

The soundtrack was an immediate success, and remains a highly influential collection of music. The singles "Freddie's Dead" and "Super Fly" earned over a million sales each, leading to the soundtrack achieving the rare feat of out grossing the film. The blaxpoitation soundtracks that followed, and entire subgenres of soul and hip-hop can be traced directly back to Super Fly. This video features Mayfield performing the album's first hit, "Freddie's Dead", in 1972.

Otis is the late morning host on WFPK. Email Otis at ojunior@lpm.org