For the first time in a while I encountered a song that made me feel happy. Curtis Mayfield was part of the soul group: The Impressions who popularized this song. I compared both recording of the group and Mayfield singing this by himself and they were virtually the same so I decided to focus on Mayfield’s recording.
The song definitely is more upbeat and hopeful than the last entries leading me to believe that it is in major key. The song is thoroughly composed and The lyrics convey the listener that he will not give up. I think there is definitely a political message in the song but it’s one that is subtle and an average listener can easily relate to it. I learned that this song was intended to be a gospel song when first written. Its interesting seeing themes from spirituals slowly evolve into gospels when mixed with soul and R&B. He changed the lyric from “God gave me strength” to “I’ve got my strength” in order to sell it as a pop song.
Further research left me very sad. Curtis Mayfield had become paralyzed after a light tower fell on hi during a performance. In interviews he said he still loved and performed some music even while being paralyzed and his older songs with The Impressions make him feel happy. I think it is great that a song he had once written to express the frustration of the civil rights movement then became a song for him to find strength while living with a disability later on. It shows that the song is empowering and strong yet can take on new life in other struggles.