Notable members: Maurice White, Philip Bailey, Verdine White, Larry Dunn, Wade Flemons, Don Whitehead, Al McKay.
Earth, Wind & Fire is one of the most successful Black groups of all time. Led by founder Maurice White, the innovators changed the direction of Black music during their glory days!
Exploring genres such as R&B, soul, funk, jazz, disco, pop, rock, Latin & Afro-Pop, EWF are all legends who deserve their flowers!
They’ve been creating songs we all heard at family cookouts and celebrations, so let’s go back down memory lane & celebrate these legends & their contributions to music.
Albums Released: Earth, Wind & Fire, The Need Of Love, Last Days and Time, Head to the Sky, Open Our Eyes, That’s The Way Of the World, Gratitude, Spirit, All ‘n All, I Am.
Maurice White got his start in the music industry by being apart of The Ramsey Lewis Trio, & being a session drummer for the legendary Chess Records in Chicago. Eventually, he became a writing team with friends Wade Flemons & Don Whitehead. They signed to Capitol Records & called themselves “The Salty Peppers.” They had a regional hit with La La Time!
After frequent trips out to California & the second single for The Salty Peppers not doing so well, Maurice & the band moved out to Los Angeles, where they’ll shop demo tapes before finding a home at Warner Bros.
The group’s name was changed to Earth, Wind & Fire, & their debut album was released in 1971 to incredible reviews. The lineup would change frequently over the years.
As the 70s went on, their successful period came around their 4th album Head To The Sky was Released. After the release of that album, the hits kept coming!
See? The classics speak for themselves. EWF Released MUSIC that was quality MUSIC. If you ask me, they owned the 70s music scene!
Also, Maurice created a production company (Kalimba Productions,) & signed Ramsey Lewis, Deniece Williams & The Emotions. Maurice wrote & produced most of their well-known songs.
Albums Released: Faces, Raise!, Powerlight, Electric Universe, Touch The World.
EWF kicked off the 80s with Faces, which was Maurice’s favorite EWF album. Why?
“Probably Faces because we were really in tune, playing together, & it gave us the opportunity to explore new areas.”
Their 1981 hit Let’s Groove revived disco after the death of disco took place, & became one of their biggest songs. The video was the first video ever to be played on BET’s Video Soul.
The group had a hit with Fall In Love With Me, however after the poor reception of their album Electric Universe, the band went on hiatus in 1984.
In 1987, the original members returned back to the group to release “Touch The World.” It was platinum selling and had hits like “System of Survival” & “Thinking Of You” shoot to number one on the dance charts and the former going to number one on the R&B charts, & the latter going to number three.
Albums Released: Heritage, The Eternal Dance, Greatest Hits Live, Millennium, In The Name Of Love.
The group’s final album with Columbia was released in 1990 (Heritage).
EWF signed with Warner Bros. again, and released Millennium & In The Name Of Love.
Albums Released: The Promise, That’s The Way Of the World: Alive in 75, Live In Rio, Illumination.
In the 2000s, EWF was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame. Their first studio album in years was released in 2003 (The Promise,) which had bops with Angie Stone, & reunited the group with the Emotions with “All The Way.” The followup..2005’s Illumination was something special.
Albums Released: Now, Then & Forever, Holiday.
The group’s most recent album was the first to not feature any production or songwriting from Maurice White, but was a success on the pop and R&B charts. It was a return to the old school sound, with elements of the new sounds of today. The holiday album released in 2014 was the last to feature musical input from Maurice.
The beloved Maurice White passed away February 4th, 2016. He was 74 years old.