As both an original member of the early-1960s R&B group The Impressions and a highly-successful funk singer later on in life, Curtis Mayfield was one of the more influential American musicians of the 20th Century. Born in Chicago in 1942, he began singing with what would ultimately become The Impressions in 1956. Eventually, Mayfield's singing and songwriting talents came to the forefront, as he scored them a Top 20 hit with "Gypsy Woman" in 1962. Over the years, he began to cultivate a prominent solo career, dabbling in funk, R&B and Chicago soul. Mayfield is usually regarded as one of the first mainstream musicians to openly discuss the problems faced by African-Americans in the United States, at a time when these issues were quite controversial. In 1972, he released a soundtrack to accompany the hit blaxploitation film, Super Fly, which would become his best-selling and most highly-regarded album. The soundtrack yielded singles such as "Pusherman" and "Freddie's Dead," which have become immortalized in the funk and soul canons. Mayfield died in 1999 at the age of 57, but he will forever be remembered for his smooth vocals, social activism and timeless recordings.