Earth, Wind & Fire Founder Maurice White Dead at 74 – ABC News

Published with Press This

Feb 4, 2016, 5:54 PM


Maurice White

Earth, Wind & Fire founder Maurice White, whose horn-driven band sold more than 90 million albums and made hits like “September,” ”Shining Star” and “Boogie Wonderland,” died Wednesday at his home in Los Angeles, his brother Verdine said.

White, who was 74, suffered from Parkinson’s Disease and had retreated from the public even as the band he founded kept performing.”My brother, hero and best friend Maurice White passed away peacefully last night in his sleep,” Verdine White, also a member of the band, told The Associated Press on Thursday.

“While the world has lost another great musician and legend, our family asks that our privacy is respected as we start what will be a very difficult and life changing transition in our lives. Thank you for your prayers and well wishes.

Earth, Wind & Fire, a nine-piece band centered featuring the two White brothers, singer Philip Bailey and the distinctive horn section, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. The band’s most successful period started with the 1975 album “That’s The Way of The World” and continued through the rest of the decade. Other hits included “Serpentine Fire,” ”That’s the Way of the World” and a cover of the Beatles’ “Got to Get You Into My Life.”

EW&F Hall of Fame

Earth, WInd & Fire – Hall of Fame

White publicly revealed he had Parkinson’s at the time of the band’s Hall of Fame induction, but he had shown symptoms of the neurological disease back in the 1980s. He stopped touring with the band in 1995 because of weariness from the road combined with his health problems.

White said in an interview with The Associated Press in 2000 that he wanted the band’s music to inspire instead of just entertain.”That was the whole objective, to try to inspire young people to believe in themselves and to follow through on their ideas,” he said. “We’ve touched so many people with these songs.”

A former session drummer, White founded the band Salty Peppers in the Chicago area in the late 1960s and had some modest success in the Midwest. After relocating to Los Angeles and ditching all of the band members except Verdine, he renamed the outfit Earth, Wind & Fire after the three elements in his astrological chart.

Bailey’s bright falsetto defined many of Earth, Wind & Fire’s hits. “We experienced pure magic together,” Bailey said during the band’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, standing next to White.The band’s early sound was jazzy, but evolved into an exuberant, horn-driven mix of jazz, funk, gospel and Big Band music. Their appeal wasn’t just on records but on stage, their concerts a whirl of dancing, fog machines, multi-colored lights and glittery costumes.

Earth, Wind & Fire performed everywhere from the Super Bowl to the White House. Maurice White also had a substantial side career producing other artists, including Barbra Streisand and Cher. In the 1970s, he co-wrote and co-produced the Emotions’ No. 1 hit “Best of My Love.”

White was born in Memphis in 1941, the son of a doctor and grandson of a New Orleans piano player. He showed musical gifts at an early age, studying at the Chicago Conservancy. During the 1960s, he backed Muddy Waters, the Impressions and others and worked as a session drummer in Chicago.

Source: ABC News.

One of my favorite Earth, Wind & Fire songs is “Devotion.”



Posted on 02/04/2016, in Potpourri, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 27 Comments.

  1. Liked by 3 people

  2. Two sides to a story

    Aw, another great musician beyond the beyond.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I was just reading about this on the LA Times. This is just so sad.Some of my idols are getting older.He will be missed.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I have been crying uncontrollably since I heard. “September” was my son’s first lead song when he was in Vocalpoint! Seattle. The nostalgia of both is just too strong. 😥

    Liked by 1 person

  5. yahtzeebutterfly

    So sad. I am going to really miss him. He was so gifted and gave the world so much!

    I loved their great musical arrangement of this song:

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    May he rest in Peace!! We are losing so many this year!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Mr. Militant Negro

    Reblogged this on The Militant Negro™.


  8. Reasons that we’re here… That’s the way of the world… Yeow…. Now I feel old

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Yes there are many REASONS that we will miss Maurice White…….

    Liked by 2 people

  10. crustyolemothman

    While he has passed in the flesh, his memory will remain behind in his music! Another loss of a music legend, not many of the old timers left, could cause one to consider his own demise and what we will leave behind to be remembered for…

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Not to be disrespectful, but I don’t know where else to post this – but today is Trayvon Martin’s 21st birthday. My life has been forever changed because of him, and that is how I have come to know so many of you.

    Rest peacefully Trayvon.

    Liked by 3 people

    • yahtzeebutterfly

      Thanks for turning our attention to Trayvon, Rachael.

      Trayvon will forever be in my heart.

      I know there’s much work ahead.

      I will never be silent.
      I will never back off.

      I will never forget you, Trayvon!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Rachael,
      You’re not being disrespectful. I thought about blogging on Trayvon’s birthday, but the hurt is still real or this is just a very sensitive time for me. (Much be the planets.) It’s been 4 years since he celebrated his birthday in his flesh. It seems like yesterday.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. Liked by 3 people

  13. yahtzeebutterfly

    “DC Tribute To Maurice White 1”

    Published on Feb 5, 2016 by dcmaestro1
    “I produced this tribute music & video to Maurice White, I among so many others were influenced by this awesome man, and his band Earth Wind & Fire! May the creator bless his soul and comfort the hearts of all his family and friends. Another legend gone but never will be forgotten! R.I.P. Maurice White”


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