Earth Wind & Fire Founder Maurice White Dies At 74

And yet another one. Rolling Stone reports:

Earth, Wind and Fire vocalist and co-founder Maurice White died in his sleep in Los Angeles on Wednesday evening. A rep for the band confirmed his passing to Rolling Stone. He was 74. The singer had been battling Parkinson’s disease since 1992, according to TMZ. His health had reportedly deteriorated in recent months. Because of the disease, he had not toured with the pioneering soul and R&B group since 1994. He nevertheless remained active on the business side of the group.

White, who formed the group with Verdine in 1969, helped innovate a lush, eclectic style with Earth, Wind and Fire that drew inspiration from funk, jazz, R&B and Latin music – as well as Sly Stone and James Brown – for a unique sound that set the tone for soul music in the Seventies. The springy, elastic soul-pop of “Shining Star,” which White co-wrote, earned them their first Number One, and paved the way for hits like the joyful “Sing a Song,” the percussive and brassy “September,” their swinging cover of the Beatles’ “Got to Get You Into My Life” and the robotic disco of “Let’s Groove.” Rolling Stone included the group’s sweetly smooth 1975 single, “That’s the Way of the World,” on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

  • JCF

    Oh, this hurts. RIP, Maurice. Your music fired my youth, and lives on…

    • JCF
      • TuuxKabin

        All time favorite, and a welcomed ear worm when it comes from time to time. Thanks for posting. RIP Maurice.

        • Phillip in L.A.

          Yes, awesome album! Buenas tardes, TuuxKabin

          My fave is All in All (which I listened to just last week), but yours is just as good
          https://youtu.be/u0SVkMmqVhw
          .

          • TuuxKabin

            Hola Phillip! Been awhile. Thanks for turning me onto more of their music. Memory Lane is getting wider, and longer it seems. Saludos!

    • JCF
      • pablo

        Had this album as a kid, courtesy of Columbia record club.

    • JCF

      How much virginity was lost to this one?

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Qz_b1di3i8

      • jmax

        Yes!!!

      • Robincho

        My own cherry was “misplaced” with the assistance of Joni Mitchell (but I still have the box it came in, goddamnit!)… Still, this would have done it more than nicely as well… RIP, dear man…

    • JCF
      • Phillip in L.A.

        Oops, sorry for reposting–I should have checked first!

  • barrixines

    Sad news – I really really loved his work as a producer for Deniece Williams and The Emotions.

    • THEBEARCUB

      ‘This is Neicy’! 1973 Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh “Free”

  • Sam_Handwich

    thanks, Obama!

    • Phillip in L.A.

      lol and (shaking head)

    • Robincho

      In those days, you knew you’d really made it when Karnak the Magnificent put the envelope up next to his turban, and solemnly intoned, “Earth Wind and Fire.”
      (What do you get after lunch in the NBC commissary?) …

    • Gerry Fisher

      He really does ruin EVerything, doesn’t he?

  • Nooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1!!!!!!!!

    These guys were the soundtrack to my entire childhood. The objects of my first gay fantasies as a kid….especially Philip Bailey.

    • Phillip in L.A.

      I had a crush on the Brothers Johnson. ;}

      • TuuxKabin

        Well no wonder. Good looking dudes.

    • another_steve

      Donna Summer’s death destroyed me. Me, and a million other queer baby-boomers.

      Disco died, the night Donna died.

      • That_Looks_Delicious

        Well, “disco” strictly speaking was kind of already dead by the time Donna died. But it spawned techno, house music, electronica, EDM, post-punk and so many other music trends.

        • John P.

          Disco never died, I just evolved as time passed. Some of the best dance music was produced in the eighties.

      • e’ville_globeguy

        I just gave “Once Upon A Time” a full listen this weekend. It’s STILL a great album. “Crayons” was really fresh, too. Extended mixes of “I Got Your Love” and “I’m A Fire” are excellent dance tunes.

        • another_steve

          There’s a small number of dance songs that make me cry when I hear them. Literally. Summer’s “Last Dance” is one of them.

          Last dance
          Last dance for love
          Yes, it’s my last chance
          For romance tonight

  • Cuberly

    Damn!

    One of the 45s I played into dust. So loved them, and of course this song in particular just got me dancing all over my bedroom as a kid.

    RIP Mr.White.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gs069dndIYk

    • Johnny Wyeknot

      Yes, that was a great one!

    • MattPS

      It’s on my iPod, and it is my absolute favorite tune to accompany me while I’m at a beach, wearing a Speedo (which looks ridiculous on me, as I’m now in my 60s and I’ve got a major paunch going on). I put on my big headphones, get the thing started, and I rhythmically STOMP down the beach, dodging waves as “September” wails through my head. The Sun’s beating down on me. And I feel at one with the World, the Universe, everybody and everything else. It’s the happiest music I know! All thanks to EW&F.

  • bkmn

    I see Obama and his death panels have been busy. RIP Maurice.

  • Johnny Wyeknot

    He always seemed to validate my most inner desires as a youth.

    • Phillip in L.A.

      He seemed to vocalize mine–but we’re probably talking about pretty much the same thing!

      • Johnny Wyeknot

        Yes. Exactly.

  • JCF

    Ah, I forgot “Serpentine Fire.” Sooooooo(ul!) many hits…

  • Good Shot Green

    Condolences to Jefferson. Take your grief out on the gridiron, man.

    https://youtu.be/oOSalcHVXnU?t=26

    • Phillip in L.A.

      +10 Amy Heckerling! ;}

      • Good Shot Green

        I met Brian Backer about fifteen years ago and I must say he’s aged nicely.

  • Anastasia Beaverhousen

    The soundtrack to my college years at the Palace Disco in Wheeling, WV… Let’s Groove and September, oh, the feel of double knit pants and quinoa shirts.

    • Manson

      Did u go to West Liberty University? Or that Jesuit school in Wheeling?

      I did a 7-year bit in the penitentiary in Moundsville, just down the road from Wheeling. Sure got my fair share of ass and cock in that prison. Good times!

  • Morning Glory

    For me it was “…all about the Serpentine Fire.” That’s what introduced me to EW&F as a kid. Maurice White also did a nice version of “Stand By Me” on a solo project. Really nice voice that I heard through much of my adolescence. Rest in peace, Mr. White.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osoOW0ljaZU

  • That_Looks_Delicious

    Loved their music.

    Thank you, Maurice. Rest in peace.

    This year is taking a horrendous toll on music. If I was Mick Jagger, I’d be nervous.

  • rabbit_ears

    What the hell is wrong with 2016? Its obviously defective with all these deaths of the greats. I say we return it for an exchange. 🙁

    • another_steve

      You live long enough, all your idols die.

      And your doctors.

      You know you’re old when all your doctors are dead.

      • rabbit_ears

        This year it seems like we’re aging pretty quickly..

        • another_steve

          Look, Mick Jagger is still alive. Age 72.

          My husband has instructions: When Mick Jagger goes, I want to be smothered to death with a pillow.

          • tcinsf

            Keith Richard lives, and now Maurice White lives and George Clinton lives. Don’t get me wrong, I love them all, but who woulda thunk Keith Richards and George Clinton would have longevity?

          • motordog

            On a completely unrelated note…Phyllis Schlafly is 91…just sayin’.

          • That_Looks_Delicious

            Phyllis will be releasing her new electro-funk album in April.

          • Chuck in NYC

            Titled “Light My Hair on Fire”?

          • Gianni

            There must be a message in that. Perhaps it’s “Only the good die young.”

          • TuuxKabin

            There’s the 27 club. Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Kurt Corbane, Brian Jones, Amy Winehouse, Jim Morrison.

          • TuuxKabin

            And Mick said he’d rather be dead than sing ‘Satisfaction’ when he’s 45. Satisfaction is one of the best rock n’ roll songs ever written and performed by so many.

          • another_steve

            If I had to vote for the Top Five rock songs of all time, “Satisfaction” would certainly be on my list.

            That, and “Light My Fire” by The Doors.

      • tcinsf

        I have a new doctor. She could be my daughter.

        • Janetrmcdermott4

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        • Gladyslsombs4

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    • Gerry Fisher

      All things must pass, and George Harrison noted many years ago. (RIP, George!)

    • Joe knows who I am.

      Maurice would never have lived for ever but, the music will.

  • Phillip in L.A.

    To Maurice White, his grieving family & friends, and to fans the world over, I dedicate Aretha’s Young, Gifted, and Black:

    Rock steady, baby!

    https://youtu.be/p1iYlZoYttI

  • jmax

    This makes me so terribly sad. Maurice White and Phillip Bailey always seemed to be so happy when they were onstage entertaining others. People like this pass away and assholes continue to thrive. Sometimes I fucking hate this unfair world 🙁

    • Johnny Wyeknot

      We can always listen to his music and shut our eyes.

  • McShane

    My Grandfather loved this guy.

    https://youtu.be/KhdNORt0VWs

    • Johnny Wyeknot

      You have a cool Grandfather.

      • McShane

        The coolest.

        • seant426

          What a handsome couple.

          • Lumpy Gaga

            I ::heart:: old pics of hot grandparents.

        • TuuxKabin

          If that’s your Grandmother, she’s a classic beauty. Very handsome couple. Cool and handsome. Such a deal.

  • seant426

    Rest in Peace, Mr. White. We thank you for all your lovely gifts. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Ukl2A9YiLg

  • Bj Lincoln

    One of my favorite groups. We are at the time in our lives when we start losing people we know and loved. One of the crappie parts of getting older.

  • tcinsf

    I’ve seen a lot of concerts, but lemme tell ya, the classic EWF lineup was AMAZING.

  • sherman

    I don’t go to a lot of concerts, but I’ve seen EWF more than any other group – first time in 1978, and the last time last year. They are consistently amazing. So sad for their loss, and especially so for Verdine.

  • BarackHusseinObama

    Good riddance to bad rubbish.

    I’ll be interested to see if….
    (a) he’s buried six feet under the surface of the EARTH,
    (b) his body is allowed to rot and/or feed the vultures who will surely pass WIND after eating his decaying black flesh,
    AND/or
    (c) he’ll be lit aFIRE on a funeral pyre on the bank of (disgusting and polluted) Ganges River.

    • wow. you need a doctor and some serious medication. please don’t troll here again. flagged.

    • Igby

      Flagged.

      • Derrick Johns

        Well, at least 99.9% of the comments here in this tribute to Maurice White were a joy to read.

  • Brian Moore

    Goddamn! Another famous person dies! I hate 2016!

  • THEBEARCUB

    Oh WOW….Well he left behind a legacy and a band who is still going strong. I attend the EWF/Chicago tour every time it comes to town! R.I.P Maurice!

  • Janetrmcdermott4

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  • e’ville_globeguy

    This is really a painful one, in terms of music that I listen to regularly. I’ve been a fan since “Getaway”, and had to spend last night playing everything I have by EWF. “September” came out during the time of my painful outing to the ‘rents, followed by a move to my own place, so it stirs up both bad and good memories. Great music.

  • Gerry Fisher

    “September” is one of my all-time favorite songs. LUV that song. RIP!

  • sisterfalconer

    such a brilliant and gay member of our star studded community !

  • ChadSF

    Growing up in the Philippines, EWF was huge! Reasons, After the Love Has Gone, Fantasy, Let’s Groove and September to name a few were huge hits back then. My love for R&B, funk and disco was greatly influenced by this group. RIP Maurice White and thank you for all the Boogie Wonderland memories.

  • Gladyslsombs4

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