Founding member of the multi platinum selling Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band Earth, Wind, and Fire – Maurice White – died February 3 in his Los Angeles home at the age of 74. White’s brother and band member Verdine said that Maurice died in his sleep. White had been dealing with Parkinson’s Disease for some time and had stopped touring with the band in the 1990’s as a result of the disease.
“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,” said Verdine White.
Before forming the Grammy Award winning band, White was a session drummer for Chess Records where he played on recordings by Etta James, Muddy Waters, Betty Everett, Fontella Bass, The Impressions, The Dells, Little Milton,Chester Burnett, Billy Stewart, Jackie Ross, Minnie Riperton, Sugar Pie DeSanto, The Radiants, Rotary Connection, Sonny Boy Williams, Willie Dixon, Junior Wells, Chuck Berry, and Buddy Guy.
After leaving the recording studio as a “session man”, White toured with The Dells and the Ramsey Lewis Trio before deciding to branch out on his own and formed the Salty Peppers – which later became known as Earth, Wind, and Fire.
Besides performing, writing, and producing with the band; White worked with Ramsey Lewis, The Emotions, Deniece Williams, Barbra Streisand, Jennifer Holiday, Pockets, and Neil Diamond.
Along with the numerous awards and accomplishments he achieved with the band which include four American Music Awards, three NAACP Image Awards, seven Grammy Awards, a Lifetime Achievement Award from BET, and the ASCAP Rhythm and Soul Heritage Award. White himself became a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2010.
The nine piece Earth, Wind, and Fire has been entertaining audiences with their horn section highlighted funky soul for over 40 years. Their “That’s the Way of the World” album took the world by storm in 1975. Since those early days, the band has gone on to sell over 90 million albums around the world.
White’s music has appeared on some 100 film and television productions including numerous variety and competition shows, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, “Fame”, “Armed and Dangerous”, “Coming to America”, “Caddyshack II”, “A Low Down Dirty Shame”, “Boogie Nights”, “Seinfeld”, “The Waterboy”, “Muppets from Space”, “Austin Powers in Goldmember”, “Drumline”, “Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed”, “The Ringer”, “American Dad!”, “Mission: Impossible III”, “My Name is Earl”, “Night at the Museum” and “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian”, “Glee”, and “The Mentalist”.
He was born on December 19, 1941 in Memphis, Tennessee, the son of a doctor. White moved to Chicago when Maurice was in his teens and it is there that he got his professional music start. When he was only six years old, young Maurice got his musical start in the church; but it was a drum and bugle corps that really sparked his attention.
Maurice White Discography:
“Earth, Wind & Fire”
“The Need of Love”
“Last Days and Times”
“Head to the Sky”
“Open Our Eyes”
“Sun Goodness” by Ramsey Lewis
“That’s the Way of the World”
“Flowers” by The Emotions
“Salongo” by Ramsey Lewis
“This is Niecy” by Deniece Williams
“Songbird” by Deniece Williams
“All “N All”
“Rejoice” by The Emotions
“Sunbeam” by The Emotions
“The Best of EWF Vol 1”
“Come into Our World” by The Emotions
“New Affair” by The Emotions
“Feel My Soul” by Jennifer Holiday
“Emotion” by Barbra Streisand
“Maurice White” by Maurice White
“The Best of EWF Vol. II”
“Barbara Weathers” by Barbara Weathers
“The Eternal Dance”
“In the Storm” by El DeBarge
“Here it is” by Jevetta Steele
“Always You” by James Ingram
the soundtrack for “Gatchaman”
the soundtrack for “The Promised Land”
“Urban Knights” by the Urban Knights
“Sol to Soul” by Freddie Ravel
“Avatar/In the Name of Love”
“Elements of Love: The Ballads”
“Urban Knights II” by the Urban Knights
“Hpnofunk” by Sonny E.
“Undercover” by Paul Taylor
“That’s the Way of the World: Alive in ’75”
“Live in Rio”
“The Essential Earth, Wind & Fire”
Sherrill is an award winning journalist and photographer. Her specialty is music, entertainment, and sports.To date she has had over 6,000 works published - including profiles, news pieces, reviews, and obituaries; both in print and online. She has covered 100's of concerts and conducted numerous interviews including members of One Republic, Clannad, Celtic Thunder, The Wiggles, the J. Geils Band, DoDriver, More Than Me, abd Thunderhand Joe and the Medicine Show.She has also co-authored a book on the history of a Rochester New York Congregation.She is also a photographer and artist whose photographs can be seen in some of her articles.Unless otherwise stated, the photos that appear in the articles belong to her.Sherrill makes her home in the western New York area.Sherrill contributes music and sports news for The Daily Voice News.Contact her at: [email protected]