Move On Up

Album: Curtis (1970)
Charted: 12

Songfacts®:

  • Mayfield was leader of the R&B group The Impressions before releasing the album Curtis, which was his first as a solo artist. Many of his songs are rooted in gospel music, which is apparent on this track. Here, Mayfield encourages listeners to get the most out of life and try to be the best regardless of any obstacles in the way. Mayfield's songs were often targeted to the black community and addressed their specific problems, but this song is more universal in message.
  • Mayfield was a rare soul singer who had nearly complete creative control of his music. He was a highly regarded guitarist, and like Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson, he wrote and produced most of his songs, including this one.
  • Kanye West based his 2007 track "Touch The Sky" on this song, utilizing the distinctive horn section and keeping the same lyrical theme.
  • This song was used in 2005 commercials for Toyota vehicles.
  • Popular covers of this song were recorded by Destination, Trickster and The Jam.
  • Movies that have used this song include Bend It Like Beckham (2002), Comedian (2002), Semi-Pro (2008), Accidental Love (2015) and Barbershop: The Next Cut (2016).
  • "Move on Up" was a tribute of sorts to Mayfield's Chicago neighbors, The Staple Singers. "Curtis lived around the corner from us," Mavis Staples told Mojo magazine. "He was like my baby brother. He'd drop by and we'd eat together and he'd talk politics with Pops. One day he came to Pops and said 'I want to write songs like The Staple Singers do, and Pops said 'Curtis man, you're a writer, a poet! Write some of those songs!' The first one Curtis wrote was 'Move On Up' and he came round and played it to us and Pops said, 'That's my boy!'"

Comments: 7

  • Turbocharge from TexasTurbo, it was "Groove Tube" with Chevy Chase,(1974).
  • Ieuan from WalesIt's "Take nothing less, than the supreme best" (not "second best" -- that doesn't make much sense).
  • Terbo from CaliforniaThis song was used in the opening scene of a comedy film in the early/mid 70's but I cannot recall or locate the film. A woman picks up a male hitchhiker in her convertible VW which is quite entertaining and humorous, does anyone remeber or know the name of the movie?
  • Ebony from PhiladelphiaMove on up was also used in Bend It Like Beckham. My son LOVES this song!
  • Daan from Santpoort-noord, NetherlandsOne of the best songs ever written, is it even possible to not move your body while listening to this song?:)
  • Sam from Seattle, WaThis was also used during the end of the movie "Semi-Pro" staring Will Ferrell.
  • John from Nashville, Tn"Move On Up" was one of the songs used in Barak Obama's presidential campaign.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Leslie West of MountainSongwriter Interviews

From the cowbell on "Mississippi Queen" to recording with The Who when they got the wrong Felix, stories from one of rock's master craftsmen.

Ian Astbury of The CultSongwriter Interviews

The Cult frontman tells who the "Fire Woman" is, and talks about performing with the new version of The Doors.

90s MetalFact or Fiction

Test your metal - Priest, Maiden, and Beavis and Butt-head show up in this one.

Philip CodySongwriter Interviews

A talented lyricist, Philip helped revive Neil Sedaka's career with the words to "Laughter In The Rain" and "Bad Blood."

Michael SchenkerSongwriter Interviews

The Scorpions and UFO guitarist is also a very prolific songwriter - he explains how he writes with his various groups, and why he was so keen to get out of Germany and into England.

The FratellisSongwriter Interviews

Jon Fratelli talks about the band's third album, and the five-year break leading up to it.