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Earth, Wind & Fire founder Maurice White dies at 74

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2/5/2016 (3 years ago)

Group was known for horn section, uplifting songs and danceable beats

If you danced in the Seventies and Eighties, there was a good chance you got up to "cut the rug" to Earth, Wind & Fire. How could anyone resist those soaring vocals, upbeat, positive energy, and brassy horn section? All of those classic tracks - "Shining Star," "Getaway," "September" and many more. The group's founder, Maurice White, has died at the age of 74.

'Being joyful and positive was the whole objective of our group,' Maurice White would say in an interview. 'Our goal was to reach all the people and to keep a universal atmosphere -- to create positive energy.'

"Being joyful and positive was the whole objective of our group," Maurice White would say in an interview. "Our goal was to reach all the people and to keep a universal atmosphere -- to create positive energy."


2/5/2016 (3 years ago)

Published in Music

Keywords: Maurice White, Earth, Wind & Fire, funk, soul, disco, death

LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - "Being joyful and positive was the whole objective of our group," White would say in an interview. "Our goal was to reach all the people and to keep a universal atmosphere -- to create positive energy," he said. "All of our songs had that positive energy. To create uplifting music was the objective."

Born in 1941, White moved to Chicago as a teenager where he later landed a gig as session drummer for Chess Records. White played back up to such notable recording artists such as Etta James and Fontella Bass. A later member of the Ramsey Lewis Trio, White was introduced to the kalimba, an African thumb piano that would figure large in his later musical compositions.

Photo courtesy of Alamy.

Photo courtesy of Alamy.

White would join with keyboardist Don Whitehead and singer Wade Flemons, and later add White's brother Verdine to what would become known as Earth Wind & Fire, elements in White's astrological charts. 

The group would add further musicians and create elaborate, theatrical stage shows to what would later become a signature sound to the form of music later known as disco.

EWF scored its first top 10 hit on the R&B charts with "Mighty Mighty" off the "Open Our Eyes" album. The film soundtrack "That's the Way of the World," shot to the top of the R&B and pop charts. Another song on that soundtrack, "Shining Star," would become one of the group's anthems, far out-shadowing the film of the same name.

Photo courtesy of COS.

Photo courtesy of COS.

A live album, the double-LP "Gratitude" in 1975 became their second straight No. 1 album and featured the hits "Sing a Song" and the ballad "Can't Hide Love."

The hits just came coming with "Fantasy" and "Serpentine Fire" off the 1977 album "All n' All;" a cover of the Beatles' "Got to Get You Into My Life" off the film version of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band;" and The Best of Earth, Wind & Fire, Vol. 1's "September."

White disbanded Earth, Wind & Fire after the release of "Electric Universe" in 1983.

Earth, Wind & Fire was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. White revealed at that time he had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, which curtailed his musical activities.

In spite of this setback, White continued to write and perform music. He passed away peacefully in his sleep, according to his brother.


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