On this day in music history: October 21, 1972 – “Superfly – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack” by Curtis Mayfield hits #1 on the Billboard Top 200 for 4 weeks, also topping the R&B album chart for 6 weeks on October 14, 1972. Produced by Curtis Mayfield, it is recorded at RCA Studios in Chicago, IL and Bell Sound Studios in New York City from Late 1971 – Early 1972. Written as the score to the Gordon Parks, Jr. directed blaxploitation film about a drug dealer trying to get out of the dealing game, it provides an arresting counterpoint to the accompanying film. It marks the pinnacle of Mayfield’s career both artistically and commercially, becoming his biggest selling album. The album is so successful in fact, that it actually surpasses the film itself in profits. In time, “Superfly” is widely regarded a landmark recording and one of the greatest R&B albums of the ‘70’s. It spins off two singles including “Freddie’s Dead” (#2 R&B, #4 Pop) and the title track (#5 R&B, #8 Pop) both being certified Gold. The original vinyl LP package features a unique die cut cover that opens up to reveal the track listing for the album. Later re-pressings of the LP do away with this feature, and the portion with the title graphics and actor Ron O’Neal are printed flat on a single pocket sleeve. First reissued on CD in 1988 by Ichiban Records, the landmark soundtrack is remastered and reissued as a double CD deluxe edition by Rhino Records for its 25th anniversary in 1997. The first disc features the original nine track album, plus the single mixes/edits of “Freddie’s Dead” and “Superfly”. Disc two includes extended versions of the underscore from the film, alternate and extended versions of the released album tracks, two rare radio advertisements for the soundtrack, and a brief interview with Curtis Mayfield on the film and about his songwriting. The booklet included in set features detailed and extensive annotation by A Scott Galloway. The deluxe CD reissue is released in a digi-pak, with a die cut cover that mirrors the original vinyl LP release. During the 2000’s, “Superfly” is also reissued numerous times on vinyl, with two limited edition pressings on colored vinyl. The landmark soundtrack is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1998. “Superfly – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack” is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
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