The world lost a true legend in music on February 4, 2016.
Maurice White passed away at the age of 74 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. Maurice White, the man who metaphorically was the creator of the greatest elements known to this world: Earth, Wind and Fire. The kalimba-playing drummer, along with his brother/bass player Verdine White, formed the band Earth, Wind & Fire in 1969, comprised of arguably the greatest brass section to ever grace stages around the world.
Maurice White is an innovator, a band leader, musician, music writer, and producer who created his own record label/production company named after his first love, Kalimba Music. He was the orchestrator of 21 studio albums, 4 live albums, 17 compilations, 19 video albums, and 62 singles with Earth, Wind & Fire. He was recognized for his greatness with 21 Grammy nominations and 7 Grammy Awards. He’s ensconced in the history books with inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the NAACP Image Awards Hall of Fame.
His musical influence spans across almost every genre; his music has been sampled over 400 times, plus covered over 130 times by artists such as gospel singer Karen Clark Sheard and hip-hop mogul Puff Daddy. His 1977 hit song “Fantasy” from the All ‘n All album has been sampled 22 times alone by rappers Jay-Z, Nas, and Plies to name a few.
In 2005, Raphael Saadiq (formerly of Tony! Toni! Tone! and Lucy Pearl) paid homage to Maurice White by writing and lending his vocals to a song for Earth, Wind & Fire’s Illumination album. The song contains samples of Maurice White’s vocals, who at that time was still suffering from Parkinson’s. “Show Me The Way” went on to earn Earth, Wind & Fire a Grammy nomination in the category of Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.
In 1977, Earth, Wind & Fire had a song that summoned up Maurice White’s legend best, “I’ll Write A Song For You.” As the group sings, “Sounds never dissipate, they only recreate in another place,” and so shall the musical legacy of Mr. White.
Please enjoy the mix below paying tribute to Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire and let us know: what was your favorite EWF song or memory?