Today, February 4, 2017, it's one year since Maurice White, the leader of Earth, Wind & Fire, left us. We still feel abandoned by this loss: he with his band marked one of the most intense eras in the history of funk. It is a good time to recall the wonderful history of this passionate and powerful band and some of their most significant data.
1. They began in 1969 as a trio making commercials in Chicago
Maurice White was a former session drummer in Chicago who joined two friends and formed a trio called 'The Salty Peppers'. They got signed by Capitol, but they didn't gain much success, so White moved to Los Angeles. There he founded 'Earth, Wind & Fire', and obtained a contract to Warner Bros. Records.
2. In their name they omit Water, the fourth classical element
That's because White's astrological sign, Sagittarius, is dominated by Fire, Earth and Air, but not by Water.
3. Their two first records are from 1971
They became successful that year, but most members of the band got tired and left White and his brother Verdine alone.
4. When White reformed the group in 1972, Warner Bros. Records didn't exactly know how to promote them
So they were lucky that Columbia Records' President Clive Davis watched one of their performances and bought them from Warner. So the years between 1973 and the beginning of the 80s EWF gained worldwide success and put some singles on top of the charts.
In 1983 their album 'Electric Universe' was released to a poor critical and commercial reception, so they stopped for three years. Their reunion in 1987 was successful, and also the first years of the 90s, but things never got the same as fifteen years before.
5. What happened to Earth, Wind & Fire?
They released a new album, 'Holiday', in 2014 and are still touring. But at the end of the eighties, White was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, so few years later he had to stop touring, though he continued working on the music business. He could live with it until the morning of February 4, 2016, when he died in his sleep at the age of 74.
6. They've sold over 100 million records
They've sold millions of copies of their records, but they sold much more in the late 70s. According to Billboard, their top records are 'That's the Way of the World' (1975), 'Gratitude' (1975), 'Spirit' (1976), 'All 'n All' (1977), 'I Am' (1979), 'Faces' (1980) and 'Raise!' (1981).
7. They received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
It was in 1995. In their career, they've received twenty Grammy nominations and six awards as a band. Also they were the first African-American band to sell out Madison Square Garden.