Before the world was captivated by the eye-popping stage shows of pop star Lady Gaga, Earth Wind & Fire was filling stadiums and changing the face of musical performance with their high-energy stage shows featuring floating pianos, spinning drum kits, bold costumes, bright lights, pyrotechnics and illusions.
Throughout the 70’s, EWF proved they were more than just a funk and soul band. The group’s 1975 landmark album, That’s The Way of the World featuring “Shining Star“---there most recognizable song---earned the group a Grammy Award and solidified their place in music history.
Memphis native Maurice White--a vocalist and percussionist--has always been a man of music. After moving to Chicago in his teens, an early gig as a studio percussionist for Chess Records afforded him the opportunity to work with the likes of Etta James, Fontella Bass, Billy Stewart, Willie Dixon, Sonny Stitt and the Ramsey Lewis Trio---of which would positively shape his performance and musicality.
He later joined forces with two of his friends--Wade Flemons and Don Whitehead--to create a songwriting team, composing songs and commercials in the early 60’s. Their talent attracted Capitol Records, and the “Salty Peppers” were born.
After things with the Peppers didn’t prove hugely successful, Maurice decided to move to Los Angeles. The talented musician soon scored a deal with Warner Brothers, and decided to change the name of the group to Earth, Wind & Fire (EWF), adding guitarists, horns, vocals, percussionists and a bassist--his younger brother, Verdine.
By 1972, the group recorded two albums--Earth, Wind & Fire and The Need of Love. The second album gave the group their first Top 40 R&B hit (“I Think About Lovin’ You”), but shortly after its release, Maurice replaced the band’s roster--keeping only his brother.
Throughout the 70’s and 80’s the group would release an arsenal of soon to be classics: “Singasong,” “Can’t Hide Love,” “Celebrate,” “Reasons,” “Boogie Wonderland,” and “After The Love Has Gone”
While musical tastes have changed since the group’s peak, The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees (they received the honor in 2000) have managed to remain relevant on the music scene, touring internationally and continue to inspire new generations of entertainers and musicians.