RIP, Maurice White

Our musical heroes are leaving us. Maurice White was one of mine. As the leader of the group I grew up loving—that would be Earth, Wind & Fire—he as leader and his band as instrument were a powerful force in R&B for years. Those years coincided with the time that I found and became passionate about the group.

If he had done nothing more than play drums behind Ramsey Lewis and lots of artists at Chess Records back in the 60s, his name would be well known. But the fact that he founded Earth, Wind & Fire and guided them to superstardom and sales of over 90 million records made him a legend. White passed in his sleep early this morning at the age of 74. He had been battling Parkinson’s disease for over two decades, the progression of which forced him from touring with the band back in 1994.

I’ve already written a bit about my love for EW&F in this Flashback Friday post from a few weeks ago. And while that post speaks a bit about their decline, today I want to celebrate the joy the band’s music brought me over the years. The first album I ever owned was an Earth, Wind & Fire album. The first live recording I ever listened to was an Earth, Wind & Fire album. Even the few 8-track tapes that I had included a few from EW&F. And as the years went on, a new release from them was cause for celebration. Throughout the 70s, the hits just kept coming. I worked backwards from That’s The Way Of The World to discover the older tracks, then kept going forward as the top ten hits piled up.

2016 has proven to be a tough year for fans of music. So many of our heroes have gone on and left here. This one hurts, for me. I don’t have anymore words to offer besides these: may you rest in peace, brother. I’ll let these tunes (on many of which he sang lead) I choose to remember him by speak for me.

 

34 Replies to “RIP, Maurice White”

  1. Sad, sad news. You’re right, if all he’d been known for was his session work, he’d have been immense in the music world on just that merit. Founding one of the greatest R&B bands ever made him legendary. 2016 continues to be a bitch. 😕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think of how, when an EWF album came out, I’d dig up some hard-earned money (and in those days, as a kid any money I got had to be that way) to buy it. I tried to get mostly his leads, but a few instrumentals too that he had a hand in. Thanks for the comment, really appreciate it.

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      1. We are! The year isn’t even 40 days old, and we’ve seen so many musical icons pass away already. I had remarked to a friend of mine that I was glad January was gone, because so many musicians had died, then lo and behold, I got home from my job and found out that Maurice was gone. So sad to see them go so soon.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Chevvy for reading and commenting! “Reasons” is an excellent choice; but I wanted EW&F songs where Maurice sang the lead. Philip Bailey is an amazing singer, and “Reasons” is a classic song, but it just didn’t fit this time. When I do the greatest hits post, I’ll be sure to have it there 🙂

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      1. Of course you are right, silly me – I was thinking of the band, yes Maurice was a brand and talent in his own right. Let’s keep the conversation going, I’d like to know more about your music choices. You remind me of a friend who knows who played which instrument to every song. I thought of this when you mentioned Ramsey Lewis. Enjoy your day! Chevvy

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      2. Thank you, Chevvy8. My musical choices…well let’s see. Love a lot of classic R&B; it was how I was raised. A steady diet of soul-Otis Redding is the first artist I remember hearing as a child. Mom had a bunch of old 45 records of all the greats of the day, and my cousin had a lot of records that he brought home from his time in the Air Force-that’s where I found EW&F. As I got older, I began to love rap/hip-hop as it was coming into vogue, as well as pop-rock tunes I would hear on the radio. And I have been told, that I have a thing for soul female vocalists; or female vocalists in general. That means yes, I adore your Phyllis Hyman, she was one of the greats. I also loved some of the classic fusion artists, like Ramsey, Grover Washington, Jr. and George Duke. So I like quite a few different styles of music. (whew) Sorry so long, but I hope this is what you were looking for!

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      3. Yes indeed, yes, I also remember the 45 single records. In reading some of your posts, you sound like nostalgic about your music in relation to what you grew up with. That’s special. I am always reminded of special events in my life from favorite songs. So glad to hear that you are a Phyllis Hyman fan – she is top of my list of soul sisters and yes I can relate to all the classic fusion you mention. I just haven’t seen an interest for it on my blog but maybe I’ll do a post or two sometime. I saw your Gap band post the other day on another blog:-) Anyway, thanks for the chat. Best. Chevvy.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I don’t mind keeping up with the times but I guess we’d say that they don’t make it like they used to. Yesterday I posted a song by SEAL which was also done by James Brown. I thought they were both good. Have a good weekend:-)

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I figure, I start a post and start typing as the show goes on. Then publish after the show. The other option would require me to start a post, and publish after every entry; then update and add stuff as the show goes on.

        Liked by 1 person

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