Y’all remember this movie? Take a look at the intro credits. Wow! Claudine could be thought of as an early romantic comedy featuring an African American cast. In the film, Diahann Carroll plays Claudine Price, a single mother of six who works extremely hard. It’s on the job that she is initially wooed by Roop Marshall, portrayed by James Earl Jones. 

The film opens with the sound of Gladys Knight singing “On and On,” with an urgency that most parents would understand at the time, on top of images of Claudine struggling to get her kids dressed, fed, and ready for school—and to catch her bus, which she almost misses. ⁠Check out the opening scene!

Claudine was released less than two years after one of Gladys Knight & the Pips’ most successful pop songs and their Motown finale, “Neither One of Us,” and less than a year after their Buddah label debut, Imagination, which featured “Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me” and the iconic “Midnight Train to Georgia.” The film was released in 1972, a year after Gordon Parks and Isaac Hayes’s collaboration on the score and soundtrack for Shaft, which broke new ground for Black filmmakers and musicians; Isaac Hayes earned an Academy Award for his “Theme to Shaft.” Superfly went on to similar acclaim, earning four Grammy nominations.⁠

Claudine, Curtis Mayfield’s first soundtrack after Superfly, contained seven songs and clocked in at thirty minutes. With Mayfield at the helm, Claudine turned out to be one of Gladys Knight & the Pips’ strongest albums of the period, and “On and On” became a top-five pop single and house-party anthem.⁠

In this article

claudine soundtrack

Claudine (Soundtrack)

Movie: Claudine

The film featured a multi-dimensional strong female lead and presented a new dimension of the Black experience. Furthermore, it received praise for its critique of the inequities of the welfare state and the demonization of Black people experiencing poverty.

Watch this movie as soon as y’all can. You won’t be disappointed with the movie or the music. They are both the reason why this film goes down as one of the best movies ever made. Period.

Check out the other classic films that we’re celebrating for Black Cinema Month. You might rediscover an old favorite or discover something new!

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