Maurice White, Earth, Wind & Fire Singer and Co-Founder, Dead at 74

Singer had been battling Parkinson’s disease for an ext than 2 decades


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Maurice White, founder and also co-lead singer that seminal funk-soul group Earth, Wind & Fire, has died at age 74

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Earth, Wind and also Fire vocalist and co-founder Maurice White passed away in his sleep in Los Angeles top top Wednesdayevening. A rep because that the band shown his passing to Rolling Stone. He was 74.

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The singer had been battling Parkinson’s disease since 1992, follow to TMZ. His health had reportedly deteriorated in recent months. Because of the disease, he had actually not toured v the pioneering soul and also R&B group because 1994. He nevertheless remained active on the company side the the group.

“My brother, hero and best friend Maurice White passed away peacefully critical night in his sleep,” White’s brother and bandmate Verdine wrote in a statement. “While the human being has lost another good musician and also legend, our family members asks that our privacy is respected as we start what will be a very daunting and life transforming transition in ours lives. Give thanks to you for your prayers and well wishes.”


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“The irradiate is he, shining on you and me,” the band included on Twitter.


White, who formed the group with Verdine in 1969, assisted innovate a lush, eclectic format with Earth, Wind and Fire that attracted inspiration indigenous funk, jazz, R&B and also Latin music – as well as Sly stone and James Brown – because that a distinctive sound that set the ton for heart music in the Seventies. The springy, elastic soul-pop of “Shining Star,” i m sorry White co-wrote, earned lock their an initial Number One, and paved the means for hits prefer the joyful “Sing a Song,” the percussive and also brassy “September,” their swinging covering of the Beatles’ “Got to acquire You right into My Life” and the robotic disco that “Let’s Groove.” Rolling rock included the group’s sweetly smooth 1975 single, “That’s the method of the World,” top top its perform of the 500 biggest Songs of every Time.

Earth, Wind and Fire have sold much more than 90 million albums around the world, according to The associated Press. Numerous of their albums went multiplatinum, including 1975’s That’s the means of the World, the adhering to year’s Spirit and 1977’s All ‘n’ All. They won six Grammys end the course of your career. In 2000, they were inducted into the Rock and also Roll room of Fame.The group will it is in honored through a lifetime accomplishment award later this month in ~ the Grammys, in addition to Run-DMC and also Herbie Hancock.

Maurice White to be born in Memphis top top December 19th, 1941, the child of a doctor and grandson that a new Orleans honky-tonk pianist. He relocated to Chicago through his family and also sang gospel from a young age. The attended the Chicago Conservatory the Music in the mid Sixties and served together a session drummer in ~ Chess Records, where he reduced records v Muddy Waters, the Impressions and Billy Stewart. In the so late Sixties, he played in the Ramsay Lewis Trio, wherein he learned kalimba, the African thumb piano i beg your pardon would end up being a big part of Earth, Wind and also Fire’s sound.

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White created the very first lineup the Earth, Wind and also Fire v Verdine – who sang, play bass and also performed percussion – in Los Angeles, naming the team after the aspects on his astrological chart. Over the years, White would certainly sing and play the kalimba, drums and also produce. Castle signed come Capitol yet switched to Warner Bros. Within 2 years and also put out two albums, and also they didn’t garner much attention till he carried younger musicians into the lineup. Things changed with Head to the Sky, their 1973 release. The went gold and began a long streak of hits. That’s the means of the World, the soundtrack come a Harvey Keitel flick that featured the group, contained “Shining Star,” which won them a Grammy, and propelled the band right into arenas, wherein they put on elaborate, striking stage shows. By 1978, they were asked to show up in the movie Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s society Band, where they debuted their hit Beatles cover.


“We had a strong leader,” Verdine said The Telegraph in 2013. “We yes, really looked as much as Maurice. … You have to understand that we were 21 years old when we started our journey with Earth, Wind and also Fire and Maurice to be 31, and also so he had actually done a lot much more things than we had. Maurice was interested in developing a credibility the a various morality about musicians and their lifestyles. So us were into healthy food, meditation, taking vitamins, reading philosophical books, being students that life.”

Throughout the Seventies, White additionally started a career as a producer, working with the Emotions, Ramsey Lewis and also Deniece Williams. He released a solo album, Maurice White, in 1985 and also made a hit the end his cover of “Stand by Me.”

“You understand how hard it is to current Afrocentric Jazz & spirituality positivity in the confront of what we had to attend to in the Seventies?” Questlove created on Instagram. “When times were tough sometimes the only release you had actually was music. & if the wasn’t Stevie, girlfriend were reaching for her #EarthWindAndFire albums.”

“In my small high school, the white children loved Zeppelin, the black children loved , the freaky kids loved Bowie, however everyoneloved Earth, Wind & Fire,” added Red warm Chili Peppers bassist Flea. “They were just undeniable.”

“Being joyful and positive to be the whole objective of ours group,” White once said, according to SongwriterUniverse. “Our goal was to reach all the people and also to keep a universal environment – to produce positive energy. All of our songs had actually that hopeful energy. To develop uplifting music was the objective.”