Thursday, February 04, 2016

Maurice White R.I.P. (+ Top 20 EWF Songs)

Maurice White's goal when forming Earth, Wind & Fire in 1969 was to elicit positive energy through music. I'd say he achieved everything he wanted.  Some of EWF's songs conveyed positive messages, but funky enough to get up and dance.  At their peak in the late 70's, EWF were one of the best bands on the planet.  Go and check out videos of their shows from that period.

White co-wrote most of the band's hits, and traded vocals with Philip Bailey on many of those. Along with a dynamic rhythm section, the songs had a shimmery glow about them.  And the hits sounded great on the radio.  Before he formed EWF, White was no stranger to the studio, having been a session drummer at Chess Records.

EWF were inducted into the Rock Hall in 2000, the Songwriters Hall in 2010 and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award this year. By the mid-90's White had stopped touring with the band.

Below are my 18 favorite EWF songs, 1 Maurice White R&B hit (his only solo album from 1985) and their 1975 #20 R&B charting collaboration with Ramsey Lewis.

1.  Shining Star
2.  Sing A Song
3.  Serpentine Fire
4.  Can't Hide Love
5.  Reasons
6.  Fantasy
7.  September
8.  Got To Get You Into My Life
9.  That's The Way Of The World
10. Let's Groove
11. Mighty Mighty
12. Getaway
13. After The Love Is Gone
14. Devotion  (live Gratitude LP)
15. Boogie Wonderland
16. Saturday Nite
17. System of Survival
18. Love's Holiday
19. I Need You (solo)
20. Sun Goddess (Ramsey Lewis and EWF)

Bonus: "Best Of My Love" - Emotions
Co-Produced and Co-Written by Maurice.  Went to #1 Pop in 1977.

As for their albums, all their releases from 74-79 are great or pretty great.
Pressed to name the essential ones I'd say you need to hear the partly live Gratitude (75), That's The Way of the World (75),  All 'N All (77), I Am (79) and their last solid album, 1981's Raise.



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