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012011081620130402 (6M)

Lenny Kravitz, a life-long fan of Curtis Mayfield, celebrates the singer's life and music.

Lenny Kravitz, a life-long fan of Curtis Mayfield, celebrates the singer's life and musical achievements. A prolific songwriter, Curtis' career was cut sadly short after a tragic accident led to his death on 26 December 1999.

His contribution to soul music remains immense. Curtis recorded some of the finest soul vocal group music of the 1960s and, as a solo artist, he helped pioneer funk and introduced hard-hitting urban commentary into music, leading the way for Marvin Gaye to record What's Going On and Stevie Wonder to record Innervisions.

Part one covers the period from the late 50s to the 70s, including his early years with the Impressions, the establishment of his own record label in Chicago, and his work discovering, recording and writing for other artists including Jerry Butler, Mavis Staples and Gladys Knight. Plus, the beginnings of his more political songs including People Get Ready, We're a Winner and Choice of Colours.

Contributors to the series include Curtis' wife, Altheida; his son Kirk; Samuel Gooden and Fred Cash from The Impressions; singer Jerry Butler; and band member Lebron Scott. First broadcast on Radio 2 in January 2010, it is repeated as part of Radio 2's Summer of Soul.

01People Get Ready2011071220160322 (6M)

Lenny Kravitz, a life-long fan of Curtis Mayfield's music, celebrates his life and musical achievements.

Curtis was a prolific songwriter whose career was sadly cut short following a tragic accident in August 1990; which eventually led to his death at the age of 57 on 26th December 1999. His songs of love and peace influenced millions, and he was an inspiration to many music luminaries including Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin.

The first episode, People Get Ready, concentrates on Curtis' early musical influences from 50s to 65: gospel beginnings, writing songs for Jerry Butler, and early Impressions' hits. The subjects of his songs ranged from simple, tender love songs to broadsides demanding social and political equality.

As a songwriter and a producer, Curtis was a key architect of Chicago soul, penning material and working on sessions by notable Windy City soulsters including Gene Chandler, Jerry Butler, Major Lance, and Billy Butler. Mayfield was also an excellent guitarist, and his rolling, Latin-influenced lines were the highlights of The Impressions' recordings. Early on, he established his own publishing company and soon after that, his own independent record companies, Windy C, Mayfield and Curtom Records. These all emphasized Curtis' statesman-like role within black music as a producer of excellence.

This series was first broadcast on 6 Music in December 2009.

01People Get Ready20110712

01People Get Ready20110712

01People Get Ready20110712

01People Get Ready2011071220150303 (6M)

Lenny Kravitz celebrates Curtis Mayfield, beginning with a look at his early career.

Lenny Kravitz, a life-long fan of Curtis Mayfield's music, celebrates his life and musical achievements.

Curtis was a prolific songwriter whose career was sadly cut short following a tragic accident in August 1990; which eventually led to his death at the age of 57 on 26th December 1999. His songs of love and peace influenced millions, and he was an inspiration to many music luminaries including Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin.

The first episode, People Get Ready, concentrates on Curtis' early musical influences from 50s to 65: gospel beginnings, writing songs for Jerry Butler, and early Impressions' hits. The subjects of his songs ranged from simple, tender love songs to broadsides demanding social and political equality.

As a songwriter and a producer, Curtis was a key architect of Chicago soul, penning material and working on sessions by notable Windy City soulsters including Gene Chandler, Jerry Butler, Major Lance, and Billy Butler. Mayfield was also an excellent guitarist, and his rolling, Latin-influenced lines were the highlights of The Impressions' recordings. Early on, he established his own publishing company and soon after that, his own independent record companies, Windy C, Mayfield and Curtom Records. These all emphasized Curtis' statesman-like role within black music as a producer of excellence.

This series was first broadcast on 6 Music in December 2009.

01People Get Ready20110712

01People Get Ready20110712

01People Get Ready2011071220140617 (6M)

Lenny Kravitz celebrates Curtis Mayfield, beginning with a look at his early career.

01People Get Ready20110712

01People Get Ready2011071220140617 (6M)

Lenny Kravitz, a life-long fan of Curtis Mayfield's music, celebrates his life and musical achievements.

Curtis was a prolific songwriter whose career was sadly cut short following a tragic accident in August 1990; which eventually led to his death at the age of 57 on 26th December 1999. His songs of love and peace influenced millions, and he was an inspiration to many music luminaries including Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin.

The first episode, People Get Ready, concentrates on Curtis' early musical influences from 50s to 65: gospel beginnings, writing songs for Jerry Butler, and early Impressions' hits. The subjects of his songs ranged from simple, tender love songs to broadsides demanding social and political equality.

As a songwriter and a producer, Curtis was a key architect of Chicago soul, penning material and working on sessions by notable Windy City soulsters including Gene Chandler, Jerry Butler, Major Lance, and Billy Butler. Mayfield was also an excellent guitarist, and his rolling, Latin-influenced lines were the highlights of The Impressions' recordings. Early on, he established his own publishing company and soon after that, his own independent record companies, Windy C, Mayfield and Curtom Records. These all emphasized Curtis' statesman-like role within black music as a producer of excellence.

This series was first broadcast on 6 Music in December 2009.

022011071320160323 (6M)

Lenny Kravitz looks at Curtis' protest songs, chart success and Superfly.

Lenny Kravitz continues to chart the life and career of Curtis Mayfield. The second episode, Move On Up, looks at Curtis' protest songs, chart success and Superfly.

In 60s America, Curtis Mayfield's songs were taken up by Civil Rights Movement: Choice of Colors, My Country, I'm So Proud and We're a Winner, all with the Impressions. In 1970, Curtis launched his solo career with (Don't Worry) If There's A Hell Below We're All Going To Go, a protest song confronting ghetto life with a realism that had rarely been heard on record. He also toughened up his guitar work, incorporating some of the best features of psychedelic rock and funk.

In 1971 he enjoyed his biggest UK success with Move on Up, which reached number 12 but surprisingly did not chart in America. There, his commercial rise was maintained in 1972 with Freddie's Dead and the theme from Superfly, a "blaxploitation" movie that he scored. Drug deals, ghetto shootings, the deaths of young black men: all were described in detail. Yet Curtis' falsetto vocals, uplifting melodies, and funky arrangements gave the moralizing material a graceful strength. Both singles and the album achieved gold status, inspiring further excursions into film soundtracks, including Claudine, and Lets Do It Again.

0220110713

022011081720130403 (6M)

Lenny Kravitz pays tribute to Curtis Mayfield's life and achievements.

Lenny Kravitz, a life-long fan of Curtis Mayfield, celebrates the singer's life and musical achievements. A prolific songwriter, Curtis' career was cut sadly short after a tragic accident led to his death on 26 December 1999.

His contribution to soul music remains immense. Curtis recorded some of the finest soul vocal group music of the 1960s and, as a solo artist, he helped pioneer funk and introduced hard-hitting urban commentary into music, leading the way for Marvin Gaye to record What's Going On and Stevie Wonder to record Innervisions.

Part two covers Curtis' solo career from the 70s to his death in 1999. During this time Curtis wrote songs that reflected the changes taking place in the US in the 70s. He also scored the soundtracks of several movies including Superfly. We hear about life on the road as he travelled the world performing with his band and his work producing for famous artists including Aretha Franklin. Until tragedy struck in 1990, and an accident at concert left him paralysed from the neck down. But he still managed to make a final album, New World Order.

Contributors to the series include Curtis' wife, Altheida; his son Kirk; Samuel Gooden and Fred Cash from The Impressions; singer Jerry Butler; and band member Lebron Scott. First broadcast on Radio 2 in January 2010, it is repeated as part of Radio 2's Summer of Soul.

02Move On Up20110713

02Move On Up2011071320150304 (6M)

Lenny Kravitz looks at Curtis' protest songs, chart success and Superfly.

02Move On Up2011071320150304 (6M)

Lenny Kravitz looks at Curtis' protest songs, chart success and Superfly.

02Move On Up20110713

02Move On Up2011071320150304 (6M)

Lenny Kravitz continues to chart the life and career of Curtis Mayfield. The second episode, Move On Up, looks at Curtis' protest songs, chart success and his "blaxploitation" theme Superfly.

In 60s America, Curtis Mayfield's songs were taken up by Civil Rights Movement: Choice of Colors, My Country, I'm So Proud and We're a Winner, all with the Impressions. In 1970, Curtis launched his solo career with (Don't Worry) If There's A Hell Below We're All Going To Go, a protest song confronting ghetto life with a realism that had rarely been heard on record. He also toughened up his guitar work, incorporating some of the best features of psychedelic rock and funk.

In 1971 he enjoyed his biggest UK success with Move on Up, which reached number 12 but surprisingly did not chart in America. There, his commercial rise was maintained in 1972 with Freddie's Dead and the theme from Superfly, a "blaxploitation" movie that he scored. Drug deals, ghetto shootings, the deaths of young black men: all were described in detail. Yet Curtis' falsetto vocals, uplifting melodies, and funky arrangements gave the moralizing material a graceful strength. Both singles and the album achieved gold status, inspiring further excursions into film soundtracks, including Claudine, and Lets Do It Again.

02Move On Up2011071320150304 (6M)

Lenny Kravitz continues to chart the life and career of Curtis Mayfield. The second episode, Move On Up, looks at Curtis' protest songs, chart success and his "blaxploitation" theme Superfly.

In 60s America, Curtis Mayfield's songs were taken up by Civil Rights Movement: Choice of Colors, My Country, I'm So Proud and We're a Winner, all with the Impressions. In 1970, Curtis launched his solo career with (Don't Worry) If There's A Hell Below We're All Going To Go, a protest song confronting ghetto life with a realism that had rarely been heard on record. He also toughened up his guitar work, incorporating some of the best features of psychedelic rock and funk.

In 1971 he enjoyed his biggest UK success with Move on Up, which reached number 12 but surprisingly did not chart in America. There, his commercial rise was maintained in 1972 with Freddie's Dead and the theme from Superfly, a "blaxploitation" movie that he scored. Drug deals, ghetto shootings, the deaths of young black men: all were described in detail. Yet Curtis' falsetto vocals, uplifting melodies, and funky arrangements gave the moralizing material a graceful strength. Both singles and the album achieved gold status, inspiring further excursions into film soundtracks, including Claudine, and Lets Do It Again.

02Move On Up20110713

02Move On Up2011071320140618 (6M)

Lenny Kravitz looks at Curtis' protest songs, chart success and Superfly.

Lenny Kravitz continues to chart the life and career of Curtis Mayfield. The second episode, Move On Up, looks at Curtis' protest songs, chart success and his "blaxploitation" theme Superfly.

In 60s America, Curtis Mayfield's songs were taken up by Civil Rights Movement: Choice of Colors, My Country, I'm So Proud and We're a Winner, all with the Impressions. In 1970, Curtis launched his solo career with (Don't Worry) If There's A Hell Below We're All Going To Go, a protest song confronting ghetto life with a realism that had rarely been heard on record. He also toughened up his guitar work, incorporating some of the best features of psychedelic rock and funk.

In 1971 he enjoyed his biggest UK success with Move on Up, which reached number 12 but surprisingly did not chart in America. There, his commercial rise was maintained in 1972 with Freddie's Dead and the theme from Superfly, a "blaxploitation" movie that he scored. Drug deals, ghetto shootings, the deaths of young black men: all were described in detail. Yet Curtis' falsetto vocals, uplifting melodies, and funky arrangements gave the moralizing material a graceful strength. Both singles and the album achieved gold status, inspiring further excursions into film soundtracks, including Claudine, and Lets Do It Again.

02Move On Up20110713

03Keep On Keeping On2011071420160324 (6M)

Lenny Kravitz continues to chart the life and career of Curtis Mayfield.

Lenny Kravitz continues to chart the life and career of Curtis Mayfield. The third episode, Keep On Keeping On, picks up the story in the late 70s and takes us up to his appearance at the 1983 Glastonbury Festival.

Curtis continued his work on film soundtracks with A Piece of the Action, Sparkle and Short Eyes. Towards the end of the 70's he concentrated more on producing a number of artists including Aretha Franklin's 1978 album, Almighty Fire.

In 1981, he joined the Boardwalk label, for which he recorded Honesty. He remained a highly popular live artist, particularly in Britain where (Celebrate) The Day After You, a collaboration with the Blow Monkeys, and a protest song against the Thatcher government, became a hit. We explore what he was like as a live performer and talk to the band members who played Glastonbury Festival with him in 1983.

03Keep On Keeping On20110714

03Keep On Keeping On20110714

03Keep On Keeping On2011071420150305 (6M)

Lenny Kravitz continues to chart the life and career of Curtis Mayfield.

03Keep On Keeping On2011071420150305 (6M)

Lenny Kravitz continues to chart the life and career of Curtis Mayfield.

03Keep On Keeping On20110714

03Keep On Keeping On2011071420150305 (6M)

Lenny Kravitz continues to chart the life and career of Curtis Mayfield. The third episode, Keep On Keeping On, picks up the story in the late 70s and takes us up to his appearance at the 1983 Glastonbury Festival.

Curtis continued his work on film soundtracks with A Piece of the Action, Sparkle and Short Eyes. Towards the end of the 70's he concentrated more on producing a number of artists including Aretha Franklin's 1978 album, Almighty Fire.

In 1981, he joined the Boardwalk label, for which he recorded Honesty. He remained a highly popular live artist, particularly in Britain where (Celebrate) The Day After You, a collaboration with the Blow Monkeys, and a protest song against the Thatcher government, became a hit. We explore what he was like as a live performer and talk to the band members who played Glastonbury Festival with him in 1983.

03Keep On Keeping On2011071420150305 (6M)

Lenny Kravitz continues to chart the life and career of Curtis Mayfield. The third episode, Keep On Keeping On, picks up the story in the late 70s and takes us up to his appearance at the 1983 Glastonbury Festival.

Curtis continued his work on film soundtracks with A Piece of the Action, Sparkle and Short Eyes. Towards the end of the 70's he concentrated more on producing a number of artists including Aretha Franklin's 1978 album, Almighty Fire.

In 1981, he joined the Boardwalk label, for which he recorded Honesty. He remained a highly popular live artist, particularly in Britain where (Celebrate) The Day After You, a collaboration with the Blow Monkeys, and a protest song against the Thatcher government, became a hit. We explore what he was like as a live performer and talk to the band members who played Glastonbury Festival with him in 1983.

03Keep On Keeping On20110714

03Keep On Keeping On2011071420140619 (6M)

Lenny Kravitz continues to chart the life and career of Curtis Mayfield.

Lenny Kravitz continues to chart the life and career of Curtis Mayfield. The third episode, Keep On Keeping On, picks up the story in the late 70s and takes us up to his appearance at the 1983 Glastonbury Festival.

Curtis continued his work on film soundtracks with A Piece of the Action, Sparkle and Short Eyes. Towards the end of the 70's he concentrated more on producing a number of artists including Aretha Franklin's 1978 album, Almighty Fire.

In 1981, he joined the Boardwalk label, for which he recorded Honesty. He remained a highly popular live artist, particularly in Britain where (Celebrate) The Day After You, a collaboration with the Blow Monkeys, and a protest song against the Thatcher government, became a hit. We explore what he was like as a live performer and talk to the band members who played Glastonbury Festival with him in 1983.

03Keep On Keeping On20110714

04New World Order2011071520160325 (6M)

Lenny Kravitz concludes the story of Curtis Mayfield. The final episode, New World Order, covers the tragic circumstances preceding his death and celebrates his enduring legacy.

On 13 August 1990 Curtis was doing a sound-check for an outdoor concert, onstage at Wingate Field, Flatbush, Brooklyn when the lighting rig came down on top of him crushing his spine in three places, and resulting in him being paralysed from the neck down. However, it did not deter him and he managed to produce a new studio album, New World Order in 1994. During the recording Curtis had to lie on his back in order to give some gravitational power to his singing.

His accident led to a re-appraisal of his work and several tribute albums were produced. He also received a Grammy Award for lifetime achievement. But the long term effects of the accident proved costly, and he died on 26 December 1999, aged only 57. Curtis Mayfield's contribution to soul music remains immense. He recorded some of the finest soul vocal group music of the 1960s; as a solo artist he helped pioneer funk; and he introduced hard-hitting urban commentary into his music, leading the way for Marvin Gaye's What's Going On and Stevie Wonder's Innervisions.

Lenny Kravitz concludes his look at the life and career of Curtis Mayfield.

04New World Order20110715

04New World Order20110715

04New World Order2011071520150306 (6M)

Lenny Kravitz concludes his look at the life and career of Curtis Mayfield.

04New World Order2011071520150306 (6M)

Lenny Kravitz concludes his look at the life and career of Curtis Mayfield.

04New World Order20110715

04New World Order2011071520150306 (6M)

Lenny Kravitz concludes the story of Curtis Mayfield. The final episode, New World Order, covers the tragic circumstances preceding his death and celebrates his enduring legacy.

On 13 August 1990 Curtis was doing a sound-check for an outdoor concert, onstage at Wingate Field, Flatbush, Brooklyn when the lighting rig came down on top of him crushing his spine in three places, and resulting in him being paralysed from the neck down. However, it did not deter him and he managed to produce a new studio album, New World Order in 1994. During the recording Curtis had to lie on his back in order to give some gravitational power to his singing.

His accident led to a re-appraisal of his work and several tribute albums were produced. He also received a Grammy Award for lifetime achievement. But the long term effects of the accident proved costly, and he died on 26 December 1999, aged only 57. Curtis Mayfield's contribution to soul music remains immense. He recorded some of the finest soul vocal group music of the 1960s; as a solo artist he helped pioneer funk; and he introduced hard-hitting urban commentary into his music, leading the way for Marvin Gaye's What's Going On and Stevie Wonder's Innervisions.

04New World Order2011071520150306 (6M)

Lenny Kravitz concludes the story of Curtis Mayfield. The final episode, New World Order, covers the tragic circumstances preceding his death and celebrates his enduring legacy.

On 13 August 1990 Curtis was doing a sound-check for an outdoor concert, onstage at Wingate Field, Flatbush, Brooklyn when the lighting rig came down on top of him crushing his spine in three places, and resulting in him being paralysed from the neck down. However, it did not deter him and he managed to produce a new studio album, New World Order in 1994. During the recording Curtis had to lie on his back in order to give some gravitational power to his singing.

His accident led to a re-appraisal of his work and several tribute albums were produced. He also received a Grammy Award for lifetime achievement. But the long term effects of the accident proved costly, and he died on 26 December 1999, aged only 57. Curtis Mayfield's contribution to soul music remains immense. He recorded some of the finest soul vocal group music of the 1960s; as a solo artist he helped pioneer funk; and he introduced hard-hitting urban commentary into his music, leading the way for Marvin Gaye's What's Going On and Stevie Wonder's Innervisions.

04 LASTNew World Order20110715

04 LASTNew World Order2011071520140620 (6M)

Lenny Kravitz concludes his look at the life and career of Curtis Mayfield.

Lenny Kravitz concludes the story of Curtis Mayfield. The final episode, New World Order, covers the tragic circumstances preceding his death and celebrates his enduring legacy.

On 13 August 1990 Curtis was doing a sound-check for an outdoor concert, onstage at Wingate Field, Flatbush, Brooklyn when the lighting rig came down on top of him crushing his spine in three places, and resulting in him being paralysed from the neck down. However, it did not deter him and he managed to produce a new studio album, New World Order in 1994. During the recording Curtis had to lie on his back in order to give some gravitational power to his singing.

His accident led to a re-appraisal of his work and several tribute albums were produced. He also received a Grammy Award for lifetime achievement. But the long term effects of the accident proved costly, and he died on 26 December 1999, aged only 57. Curtis Mayfield's contribution to soul music remains immense. He recorded some of the finest soul vocal group music of the 1960s; as a solo artist he helped pioneer funk; and he introduced hard-hitting urban commentary into his music, leading the way for Marvin Gaye's What's Going On and Stevie Wonder's Innervisions.

04 LASTNew World Order20110715

6M04 LASTNew World Order20110715

Lenny Kravitz concludes the story of Curtis Mayfield. The final episode, New World Order, covers the tragic circumstances preceding his death and celebrates his enduring legacy.

On 13 August 1990 Curtis was doing a sound-check for an outdoor concert, onstage at Wingate Field, Flatbush, Brooklyn when the lighting rig came down on top of him crushing his spine in three places, and resulting in him being paralysed from the neck down. However, it did not deter him and he managed to produce a new studio album, New World Order in 1994. During the recording Curtis had to lie on his back in order to give some gravitational power to his singing.

His accident led to a re-appraisal of his work and several tribute albums were produced. He also received a Grammy Award for lifetime achievement. But the long term effects of the accident proved costly, and he died on 26 December 1999, aged only 57. Curtis Mayfield's contribution to soul music remains immense. He recorded some of the finest soul vocal group music of the 1960s; as a solo artist he helped pioneer funk; and he introduced hard-hitting urban commentary into his music, leading the way for Marvin Gaye's What's Going On and Stevie Wonder's Innervisions.

Lenny Kravitz concludes his look at the life and career of Curtis Mayfield.