R&B stars Lauryn Hill and Stevie Wonder will perform at a Los Angeles memorial service for soul pioneer Curtis Mayfield on Tuesday, the late singer’s manager said.
The service will include performances by two other “superstar” artists, but their identities are being kept secret, according to Marv Heiman, who was Mayfield’s manager for more than 30 years. The service will be the first public tribute to Mayfield since his death in December at age 57.
“We had a private funeral service, which was kept very confidential, so I really decided that we needed to do something for the music industry,” Heiman said.
The service will be held at noon at the First AME Church on Harvard Boulevard in Los Angeles and is expected to last about 90 minutes, according to Diane Young, the church’s music director. A limited number of seats will be open to the public.
Mayfield’s former group the Impressions, with original members Sam Cash and Fred Gooden, will perform Mayfield’s ballad “I’m So Proud” (RealAudio excerpt).
Hill will sing “The Makings of You,” a Mayfield-penned song made famous by singer Gladys Knight, while Wonder will play the Impressions hit “Gypsy Woman,” Heiman said.
All of the afternoon’s performers will join the church’s choir for a version of Mayfield’s “Amen,” according to Heiman. The choir also is practicing two other Mayfield songs, “People Get Ready” and “It’s All Right” (RealAudio excerpt).
Mayfield, a two-time inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, was paralyzed from the neck down during a sound check in August 1990 in Brooklyn (N.Y.), when a lighting structure fell on him and crushed his spine. His death in December followed months of ill health related to his paralysis.
The singer is credited with bringing social consciousness to soul music in the ’60s and helping pioneer funk music with his 1972 soundtrack to the movie “Superfly.”
Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton and Whitney Houston are among the artists who have paid public tribute to Mayfield in the past.