The world lost a true legend in music on February 4, 2016.
Maurice White passed away at the age of 74 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. Maurice White, the man who metaphorically was the creator of the greatest elements known to this world: Earth, Wind and Fire. The kalimba-playing drummer, along with his brother/bass player Verdine White, formed the band Earth, Wind & Fire in 1969, comprised of arguably the greatest brass section to ever grace stages around the world.
Maurice White is an innovator, a band leader, musician, music writer, and producer who created his own record label/production company named after his first love, Kalimba Music. He was the orchestrator of 21 studio albums, 4 live albums, 17 compilations, 19 video albums, and 62 singles with Earth, Wind & Fire. He was recognized for his greatness with 21 Grammy nominations and 7 Grammy Awards. He’s ensconced in the history books with inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the NAACP Image Awards Hall of Fame.
His musical influence spans across almost every genre; his music has been sampled over 400 times, plus covered over 130 times by artists such as gospel singer Karen Clark Sheard and hip-hop mogul Puff Daddy. His 1977 hit song “Fantasy” from the All ‘n All album has been sampled 22 times alone by rappers Jay-Z, Nas, and Plies to name a few.
In 2005, Raphael Saadiq (formerly of Tony! Toni! Tone! and Lucy Pearl) paid homage to Maurice White by writing and lending his vocals to a song for Earth, Wind & Fire’s Illumination album.The song contains samples of Maurice White’s vocals, who at that time was still suffering from Parkinson’s. “Show Me The Way” went on to earn Earth, Wind & Fire a Grammy nomination in the category of Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.
In 1977, Earth, Wind & Fire had a song that summoned up Maurice White’s legend best, “I’ll Write A Song For You.” As the group sings, “Sounds never dissipate, they only recreate in another place,” and so shall the musical legacy of Mr. White.
Please enjoy the mix below paying tribute to Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire and let us know: what was your favorite EWF song or memory?
1. "We were coming out of a decade of experimentation, mind expansion and cosmic awareness. I wanted our music to convey messages of universal love and harmony without force-feeding listeners’ spiritual content.” - Maurice White
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2. "I'm not sure I could find the appropriate words to express how great of an influence the legendary Earth, Wind & Fire has helped to ignite my music aspirations. Late in 1977/early 1978 around the age of 7 years old, my dad took me to my first concert...it literally changed my life! EWF in the seventies were magical, spiritual, funky and soulful without genre limitations. Not only was the band tight musically, their performance was incredible...unlike anything that I've seen or experienced since! I'm talking levitating guitarist, the entire band vanishing into thin air while playing, etc. Little did I know that a young David Copperfield was assisting magician Doug Henning, who directed many of these performance tricks during their concerts. The level of stimulation to one's senses musically and visually that night was overwhelming...also coupled with the added affect of smelling a funny unfamiliar odor in the air for the first time in my life throughout that whole arena (marijuana). I haven't been to a show since that has hit all the marks like an Earth, Wind & Fire show in the late 1970s...and probably never will again. So I say thank you first to my Dad for this experience...one of my greatest memories. And with the highest amount of respect & honor...I say thank you also to the mighty Maurice White, founder of this phenomenal band that scored the soundtrack to a crucial period of my childhood...with continuous inspiration well into my adulthood. May you Rest In Power."
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3. Disco Queen Donna Summer and Maurice White.
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4. Maurice White - 1973 "Head To The Sky" Album.
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5. Maurice White and The Jacksons
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6. A Fan's Earth, Wind & Fire Collection.
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7. Memphis legend Maurice White, founder of Earth, Wind and Fire, your memory lives on in your music. Thank you for the tunes. #thisishardrock #mauricewhite
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8. I love this song so much! Even in the more recent #EWF songs, the magic was still there. I love this @raphael_saadiq and #MauriceWhite collab. Lyrics so pure and beautiful and of course, live instrumentation on point!
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Continue reading Maurice White: The Elements’ Shining Star