Today in 1972, Curtis Mayfield started a four-week run at No.1 on the US album chart with the soundtrack to the blaxploitation film Super Fly which was considered unusual as a soundtrack for a blaxploitation film, as its songs contained themes focusing more on the social problems of impoverished African-American urban areas during the time. Super Fly is one of the few films ever to have been out grossed by its soundtrack.
In a 1973 Soul Train interview with Don Cornelius, Mayfield said, “Super Fly did present somewhat of a challenge for me, it seemed to be so relevant as to what was going on even though it was entertaining. There was a depth in the movie that was very relevant to black people and a certain percentage of the ghetto area.”
Cornelius praised Mayfield’s work saying he didn’t expect to hear a better score than Issac Hayes’ Shaft soundtrack, which was released the year prior, but assured Mayfield that he had delivered.
On August 13, 1990, Mayfield became paralyzed from the neck down after stage lighting equipment fell on him at an outdoor concert in Brooklyn, New York.
Mayfield was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on March 15, 1999. Health reasons prevented him from attending the ceremony. He died from complications of diabetes on December 26, 1999.
Super Fly is ranked No. 69 on Rolling Stone′s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.