Freddie's Dead

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"Freddie's Dead (Theme From Superfly)"
Single by Curtis Mayfield
from the album Super Fly
B-side "Underground"
Released July 1972
Format 7"
Genre Soul/Funk

3:17 (single edit)

5:27 (album version)
Label Curtom/Buddah
Writer(s) Curtis Mayfield
Producer(s) Curtis Mayfield
Curtis Mayfield singles chronology
"We Got to Have Peace"
"Freddie's Dead (Theme from Superfly)"

"Freddie's Dead" is a song by Curtis Mayfield. It was the first single from his 1972 soundtrack album for the film Super Fly. The single was released before the Super Fly album, and in fact before the film itself was in theaters. The song peaked at #4 on the U.S. Pop Chart and #2 on the R&B chart.

The song laments the death of Fat Freddie, a character in the film who is run over by a car.

Like most of the music from the Super Fly album, "Freddie's Dead" appears in the film only in an instrumental arrangement, without any lyrics. The song's music is featured prominently in the film's opening sequence and also recurs at several other points. Because of this usage the song was subtitled "Theme from Superfly" on its single release (but not on the album). It is not to be confused with "Superfly", a different song and the second single released from the Super Fly album. The arrangement is driven by a strong bass line, wah wah guitars, and a melancholy string orchestration.

The song was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category Best Rhythm & Blues Song but lost to "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone".[1] "Freddie's Dead" was ruled ineligible for the Academy Award for Best Original Song because its lyrics are not sung in the film Super Fly.[2]

Cover versions[edit]

"Freddie's Dead" has been covered by performers including E.U., MFSB, Pucho & His Latin Soul Brothers and The Derek Trucks Band.

The band Fishbone covered "Freddie's Dead" for the lead track on their 1988 album Truth and Soul.

The Brazilian rap group Racionais MC's sampled "Freddie's Dead" to "Mao na porta do bar" ("Hand at the Bar Door").

Donell Jones sampled "Freddie's Dead" to "When I Was Down"

References and parodies[edit]

  • In the Sanford and Son episode "Libra Rising All Over Lamont", Fred Sanford is lying in bed very ill from eating 8-day old collard greens and after checking his temperature he turns on the radio, and the song "Freddie's Dead" is playing. Fred then promptly turns the radio off thinking the song was an omen.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Grammy Awards 1973". Awards & Shows. Retrieved 2013-06-16. 
  2. ^ "‘Godfather,’ ‘Super Fly’ Music Not Nominated For Oscar". The Toledo Blade. AP. 1973-03-07. Retrieved 2013-06-16. 
  3. ^ Behymer, Josh (20 March 2005). "Kennys Dead Song???". Film Tracks. Retrieved 4 June 2009.