Although it has been some time since Earth, Wind and Fire founder, Maurice White, toured with the group that he started (his last tour was in 1995), he remained the face of the band and a staple of the music industry.

Verdine White (l.), Maurice White (c.), and Al McKay (r.)
Verdine White (l.), Maurice White (c.), and Al McKay (r.)

Yesterday, White unfortunately passed away at the age of 74 and he died at his home in Los Angeles. White had suffered from Parkinson’s Disease. Verdine White, Maurice’s brother and member of EWF, had this to say about his brother’s passing:

“My brother, hero and best friend Maurice White passed away peacefully last night in his sleep. 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.”

White leaves behind an unbelievable legacy for all his hard work and innovative approaches to music; EWF was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000 and the band has sold more than 90 million records worldwide with such hits as September, Boogie Wonderland, and Shining Star, to name a few. EWF has also been the recipient of countless awards. White, a former session drummer himself, initially formed the Salty Peppers in Chicago before relocating to Los Angeles where he formed EWF. In addition to his epic work with EWF, White also produced other artists such as Barbara Streisand and Cher and he also co-wrote and co-produced the Emotions’ #1 hit from 1977 entitled Best Of My LoveMaurice White 3

Editor’s Note: EWF is to be honored at this year’s Grammy’s on February 15.

With White’s passing so goes an era of soul that we will probably never see again; or does it? Maurice White once said:

“In the 70s, George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic and Earth Wind & Fire, we were very serious about our music and who we were trying to touch. I think that’s why the music of the 70s has not died – because it has a rejuvenating quality to it.”

We would like to think the same of Maurice White; that the music and the band that he left behind will keep the soul and passion of performers like Maurice alive. Maurice and his music and his vision indeed remain rejuvenating and for many of us and he will remain in our hearts as our true “Shining Star.”

Ken “K Bo” Biedzynski, Editor 

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