Stand By Me
The Lion Sleeps Tonight
Gypsy Woman
Pony Time

"Gypsy Woman" by The Impressions
"Curtis Mayfield's productions were a singer's dream and a musician's delight."
-- Aretha Franklin

Curtis Mayfield wrote "Gypsy Woman" and sang lead on it with The Impressions in 1961, the first hit for the group after Jerry Butler's departure. Although it barely made the top twenty (#20), it is one of my favorites. It did place #2 on the r & b chart. With Mayfield's falsetto and the Latin rhythm accentuated by the castenets, it paints an exotic picture of the "Gypsy Woman" -- "eyes like that of a cat in the dark." After this release, Richard and Arthur Brooks left the group and it became a trio. The song was done by Brian Hyland in 1970 (the same year Mayfield left the Impressions for a solo career) and made it to #3 -- I still prefer the Impressions' version. It's been covered by many artists on albums, perhaps most notably by Bruce Springsteen in 1994 on a Curtis Mayfield tribute album. Curtis Mayfield went on to a very successful solo career and has been credited with writing the "soundtrack to the civil rights movement" with songs like "Keep On Pushin'." The Impressions were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991.


From nowhere through a caravan
Around the campfire light
A lovely woman in motion
With hair as dark as night
Her eyes were like that of a cat in the dark
That hypnotized me with love

She was a gypsy woman,
She was a gypsy woman

She danced around and round to a guitar melody
From the fire her face was all aglow
How she enchanted me
Oh, how I'd like to hold her near
And kiss and forever whisper in her ear

I love you, gypsy woman
I love you, gypsy woman

All through the caravan
She was dancing with all the men
Waiting for the rising sun
Everyone was having fun
I hate to see the lady go
Knowing she'll never know
That I love her, I love her

She was a gypsy woman
A gypsy woman, a gypsy woman, a gypsy woman

week debuted highest ranking Date Highest Rank Weeks in Top Twenty Weeks in Top Forty BillBoard Rank Cashbox Ranking GT rank
1961 11 20 20 1961 12 2 2 8