Feb 4, 2016: EW&F Founder Maurice White—Obituary

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Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 7.02.52 PMIt was yet another blow to the music world when Earth, Wind & Fire founder Maurice White died on February 4, 2016. The announcement came from his brother and fellow EW&F member Verdine White, who broke the news to the Associated Press. Maurice White was 74.

The horn-driven band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. Their heyday was from the mid-1970s into the early ’80s when they scored hit after hit. During their hugely successful career, their distinctive brass sound helped them sell over 100 million records and earned 20 Grammy nominations (for which they won six).

Earth, Wind & Fire (via Twitter):

Beginning with “Shining Star” in 1975 through 1981’s “Let’s Groove,” Earth, Wind & Fire earned ten Top 15 pop hits and 20 Top 10 R&B singles. Though “Shining Star” was their sole #1 pop hit, they enjoyed eight singles that topped the R&B charts including “September” and their Beatles cover “Got to Get You Into My Life.”

Between 1975 – 1981, they had five albums that charted in the top five of the Albums sales chart including the #1 That’s The Way of The World.


1978’s The Best of Earth, Wind & Fire, Vol 1 has sold more than five million copies

“My brother, hero and best friend Maurice White passed away peacefully last night in his sleep,” Verdine White told the Associated Press. “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 had suffered from Parkinson’s Disease for many years.

He was Earth, Wind & Fire’s album producer and wrote or co-wrote most of their hits. The group received Kennedy Center Honors in 2019.

Related: White played drums on the 1965 hit “Rescue Me” by Fontella Bass

Fellow musicians mourned White; read a collection of tributes here.

Best Classic Bands Staff

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