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Super Fly
Soundtrack by Curtis Mayfield
Released July 1972
Recorded 1971–1972
RCA Studios
(Chicago, Illinois)
Bell Sound Studios
(New York, New York)
Genre Soul, funk
Length 37:05
Label Curtom
Producer Curtis Mayfield
Curtis Mayfield chronology
Super Fly
Back to the World
Alternate cover
Deluxe 25th anniversary edition cover

Super Fly is the third studio album by American soul and funk musician Curtis Mayfield, released in July 1972 on Curtom Records. It was released as the soundtrack for the blaxploitation film of the same name. Widely considered a classic of 1970s soul and funk music, Super Fly was a nearly immediate hit. Its sales were bolstered by two million-selling singles, "Freddie's Dead" (#2 R&B, #4 Pop) and the title track (#5 R&B, #8 Pop). Super Fly is one of the few soundtracks to out-gross the film it accompanied.[citation needed]

Super Fly, along with Marvin Gaye's What's Going On, was one of the pioneering soul concept albums, with its then-unique socially aware lyrics about poverty and drug abuse making the album stand out.[1][2] The film and the soundtrack may be perceived as dissonant, since the Super Fly film holds rather ambiguous views on drug dealers, whereas Curtis Mayfield's position is far more critical. Like What's Going On, the album was a surprise hit that record executives felt had little chance at significant sales. Due to its success, Mayfield was tapped for several film soundtracks over the course of the decade.


Release and reception

 Professional ratings
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[3]
Billboard (favorable)[4]
Robert Christgau (A-)[5]
Los Angeles Times 4/4 stars[6]
Pitchfork Media (9.8/10)[7]
Q 5/5 stars[8]
Rolling Stone (favorable) 1972[9]
Rolling Stone 5/5 stars 2004[10]
Sputnikmusic 4.5/5 stars[11]
Vibe (favorable)[12]

Super Fly was originally released in 1972 on Curtom Records in both LP and 8-track formats.[13] It also featured distribution in countries outside of the United States, including Italy, Germany, France, Canada, and the United Kingdom.[13] On November 11, 1997, Rhino Records released a 25th Anniversary collection of the Super Fly album with a bonus disc of demo versions of songs, radio spots and interviews.[14] In 1999, Rhino Records reissued the album with two bonus tracks.[15] On December 11, 2001, the British record label Charly Records re-released the album with several bonus tracks.[16]

Music critics lauded Super Fly.[1] Rolling Stone's Bob Donat was favorable of Mayfield's anti-drug and self-liberation themes, and called Super Fly "not only a superior, imaginative soundtrack, but fine funky music as well and the best of Curtis Mayfield's four albums made since he left the Impressions".[9] In a 2004 review of the album, Rolling Stone gave Super Fly five out of five stars and cited it as Mayfield's "creative breakthrough".[10] Rock critic Robert Christgau of The Village Voice gave the album an A- and lauded Mayfield's songwriting.[5] Christgau also wrote "these songs speak for (and to) the ghetto's victims rather than its achievers (cf. 'The Other Side of Town', on Curtis), transmitting bleak lyrics through uncompromisingly vivacious music. Message: both candor and rhythm are essential to our survival".[5] John Bush of Allmusic praised the album's lyrical substance and sound, calling it a "melange of deep, dark grooves, trademarked wah-wah guitar, and stinging brass".[3] On its significance, Bush concluded by stating:

Superfly ignited an entire genre of music, the blaxploitation soundtrack, and influenced everyone from soul singers to television-music composers for decades to come. It stands alongside Saturday Night Fever and Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols as one of the most vivid touchstones of '70s pop music.[3]
John Bush

In the Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (2002), writer Colin Larkin gave the album a five star rating.[17] In 2003, VH1 named Super Fly the 63rd greatest album of all time.[18] Track number two, "Pusherman", has been selected among The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.[19] In 2003, the album was ranked number 69 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[20]

Track listing

All songs written and composed by Curtis Mayfield [21]

Side one
# Title Length
1. "Little Child Runnin' Wild"   5:23
2. "Pusherman"   5:04
3. "Freddie's Dead"   5:27
4. "Junkie Chase" (instrumental) 1:36
Side two
# Title Length
1. "Give Me Your Love (Love Song)"   4:14
2. "Eddie You Should Know Better"   2:16
3. "No Thing on Me (Cocaine Song)"   4:53
4. "Think" (instrumental) 3:43
5. "Superfly"   3:55


  • Curtis Mayfield - composer, vocals, guitar, producer
  • Joseph Lucky Scott - bass
  • Master Henry Gibson - percussion
  • Tyrone McCullen - drums
  • Craig McCullen - guitar
  • Roger Anfinsen - engineer
  • Johnny Pate - orchestrater, arranger
  • Glen Christensen - art direction
  • Milton Sincoff - packaging

Chart history


Chart positions

Year Chart Chart position
1972 Pop Albums #1
1972 Black Albums #1
1973 Jazz Albums #2
1988 Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums #88
Year Single Chart Chart sition
1972 "Freddie's Dead" Pop Singles #4
1972 "Freddie's Dead" Black Singles #2
1973 "Superfly" Pop Singles #8
1973 "Superfly" Black Singles #5

Chart procession and succession

Preceded by
Chicago V by Chicago
Billboard 200 number-one album
October 21 - November 17, 1972
Succeeded by
Catch Bull at Four by Cat Stevens


  1. ^ a b Boraman, Greg. Review: Super Fly. BBC Music. Retrieved on 2009-08-05.
  2. ^ Heller, Jason. Review: Super Fly. The Yale Herald. Retrieved on 2009-08-05.
  3. ^ a b c Bush, John. Review: Super Fly. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2009-08-05.
  4. ^ Columnist. "Review: Super Fly". Billboard: July 1972.
  5. ^ a b c Christgau, Robert. "Review: Super Fly. The Village Voice: 1972.
  6. ^ Hilburn, Robert. Review: Super Fly. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on 2009-08-05. The 1997 reissue of Super Fly was rated three out of four stars by critic Robert Hilburn. However, Hilburn concludes the review by explaining that the original would have been rated four stars, barring the additions of the reissue, stating "Yet there isn't enough additional material to justify, for most listeners, a second disc, causing what would be a four-star single-disc package to be docked a star".
  7. ^ Schrieber, Ryan. Review: Super Fly. Pitchfork Media. Retrieved on 2009-08-05.
  8. ^ Columnist. "Review: Super Fly". Q: 128. September 1994.
  9. ^ a b Donat, Bob. Review: Super Fly. Rolling Stone. Retrieved on 2009-08-05.
  10. ^ a b Hoard, Christian. "Review: Super Fly". Rolling Stone: 523–524. November 2, 2004.
  11. ^ Butler, Nick. Staff Rating: Super Fly. Sputnikmusic. Retrieved on 2009-08-05.
  12. ^ Staff. "100 Essential Albums of the 20th Century: Super Fly". Vibe: 164. December 1999.
  13. ^ a b Super Fly (Album, EP). Discogs. Retrieved on 2009-08-05.
  14. ^ Unterberger, Richie. "Superfly [Deluxe 25th Anniversary Edition album review"]. Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-12-19. 
  15. ^ Bush, John. "Superfly [Rhino album review"]. Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-12-19. 
  16. ^ Bush, John. "Superfly [Charly album review"]. Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-12-19. 
  17. ^ Larkin, Colin. "Review: Super Fly". Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music: March 1, 2002.
  18. ^ "2001 VH1 Cable Music Channel All Time Album Top 100". VH1.'s/2001VH1MusicRadio.html. Retrieved 2007-11-12. 
  19. ^ "500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll". Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2007-11-12. 
  20. ^ "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2007-11-12. 
  21. ^ (1972) Album notes for Super Fly by Curtis Mayfield [Vinyl opening flap]. Chicago, IL, United States: Curtom (CRS 8014-ST).


External links


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