20 Earth, Wind & Fire Classics

Founder Maurice White passed away February 3, 2016 at the age of 74

Earth, Wind & Fire has recorded numerous classics over five decades, including eight Billboard number one singles. Led by founder Maurice White, Philip Bailey, Verdine White and Ralph Johnson, the group band has set the standard for bands with superb musicianship and breathtaking vocals. In addition to releasing over 40 albums with the group, White and Bailey also recorded with numerous other stars. White's credits include Barbara Streisand, Neil Diamond, Barry Manilow, Cher, Minnie Riperton, Deniece Williams, Jennifer Holiiday, and Ramsey Lewis. Bailey has also recorded with Stevie Wonder, Phil Collins, Kenny Loggins, Julio Iglesias, Little Richard, and Andrae Crouch.

On February 3, 2016, Maurice White passed away in his sleep at his home in Los Angeles, California. He was 74 years old. White suffered from Parkinson's Disease which caused him to retire from touring with the group in 1995. Born December 19, 1941 in Memphis, Tennessee, White began his career as a jazz drummer after moving to Chicago. He worked as a session musician for Chess Records, playing behind Etta James, Muddy Waters, The Impressions, The Dells, Betty Everett, Buddy Guy, Fontella Bass, and Billy Stewart. In 1966, he joined the Ramsey Lewis Trio, and played on nine of the group's albums. In 1969, he left the trio and formed his own group, the Salty Peppers. Upon moving to Los Angeles, he changed the name of his new band to Earth, Wind & Fire. White also released a self-titled solo album in 1985. His memoir, Keep Your Head to the Sky: My Life with Earth, Wind & Fire, is scheduled to be published September 13, 2016.

01
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1979 - "After The Love Has Gone"

Earth, Wine and Fire founder Maurice White. Richard E. Aaron/Redferns)

Earth, Wind & Fire's 1979 classic "After the Love Has Gone" was nominated for a Grammy for Record of the Year. It won Best R&B Song and also Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group. It was a million selling single from the double platinum I Am album.

02
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1975 - "Shining Star"

Maurice White and Philip Bailey. Ed Perlstein/Redferns/Getty Images

From the 1975 triple platinum That's The Way of the World album, "Shining Star" is Earth, Wind & Fire's only single to reach the top of the Billboard Hot 100 and also the R&B Chart. It was the group's first million selling song and won a Grammy for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. It was also inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2008.

03
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1975 - "That's the Way of the World"

Earth, Wind and Fire. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Earth, Wind & Fire fans know that "That's The Way of the World" is the group's "National Anthem" in concert. It is the title song of their 1975 triple platinum album, which is also the name of a movie starring the group. The song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2004.

04
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1978 - "Got To Get You Into My Life"

Philip B ailey of Earth, Wind and Fire. Gai Terrell/Redferns)

Earth, Wind & Fire covered The Beatles' "Got To Get You Into My Life" for the 1978 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band soundtrack. It was also included on the 1979 album, The Best of Earth, Wind and Fire, Vol. 1. The song won a Grammy for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocal(s), and was also nominated for Best Pop  Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. "Got To Get You Into My Life" reached number one on the R&B chart, and number nine on the Billboard Hot 100.

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1979 - "Serpentine Fire"

Earth, Wind and Fire's Maurice White playing the kalimba. Michael Putland/Getty Images)

"Serpentine Fire" was the first single from Earth, Wind & Fire's triple platinum 1977 All' n All album. It spent seven weeks at the top of the Billboard R&B chart.

06
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1978 - "September"

Earth, Win and Fire bass plyaer Verdine White "levitation" performance. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

"September" was a million selling single and Earth, Wind & Fire's second consecutive number one hit in 1978 following "Got to Get You Into My Life." Both songs were from The Best of Earth, Wind & Fire, Vol. 1.

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1981 - "Let's Groove"

Earth, Wind and Fire. Chris Walter/WireImage)

In 1981, "Let's Groove" became Earth, Wind & Fire's seventh number one hit from the platinum Raise! album. It was a million selling single that spent eight weeks at the top of the Billboard R&B chart.

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1976 - "Reasons"

Philip Baiiley of Earth, Wind & Fire. Ed Perlstein/Redferns/Getty Images)

From the 1975 That's The Way of the World album, "Reasons" was not released as a single, yet it is one of the greatest ballads of all-time. There are officially "Seven Wonders of the World," and after witnessing Philip Bailey sing "Reasons." you can add him as number eight. His breathtaking and unforgettable performance of the song is always the highlight of an Earth, Wind & Fire concert.

09
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1975 - "Sing A Song"

Earth, Wind and Fire bass player Verdine White. Richard E. Aaron/Redferns

In 1975, "Sing A Song" became Earth, Wind & Fire's second number one Billboard R&B hit. It also reached number five on the Hot 100 and number three on the Dance/Disco chart.

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1976 - "Getaway"

Maurice White and Philip Bailey of Earth, Wind and Fire. Richard E. Aaron/Redferns)

From the 1976 double platinum album Spirit, "Getaway" was a million selling single and Earth, Wind & Fire's third number one hit on the Billboard R&B chart.

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1979 - "Boogie Wonderland"

Maurice White of Earth, Wind and Fire. Andrew Putler/Redferns/Getty Images)

Earth, Wind & Fire and The Emotions successfully entered the disco world with "Boogie Wonderland" which was a million seller in 1979. It reached number two on the Billboard R&B chart and number six on the Hot 100.

12
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1978 - "Fantasy"

Maurice White ad Philip Bailey of Earth, Wind and Fire. Rob Verhorst/Redferns)

From the Earth, Wind & Fire 1977 triple platinum All 'n All album, "Fantasy" was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best R&B Song.

13
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1976 - "Can't Hide Love"

Maurice White and Philip Bailey of Earth,Wind and Fire. Richard E. Aaron/Redferns

"Can't Hide Love" is an Earth Wind & Fire classic ballad which is even more thrilling live than on record. Released on the triple platinum 1975 live Gratitude album, it was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocals. It has been covered by numerous artists including D'Angelo, Dionne Warwick, Nancy Wilson, Carmen McRae, and Najee.

14
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1973 - "Keep Your Head to the Sky"

Earth, Wind and Fire. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

"Keep Your Head to the Sky" is the title song of Earth, Wind & Fire's first platinum album, Head to The Sky in 1973. Although it was not one of the band's biggest chart hits, it is a powerful, motivating song which always inspires the audience in concert.

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1976 - "Saturday Nite"

Maurice White and Philip Bailey of Earth, Wind and Fire. Jorgen Angel/Redferns

Composed by Maurice White, Philip Bailey and guitarist Al McKay, "Saturday Nite" was recorded for the 1976 double platinum Spirit album. It reached number four on the Billboard R&B chart.

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1979 - "In The Stone"

Earth, Wind and Fire. David Redfern/Redfern

Earth, Wind & Fire's 1979 hit "In The Stone" was featured in the 2002 movie Drumline starring Nick Cannon and Zoe Saldana. It was recorded for the 1979 double platinum I Am album.

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1974 - "Devotion"

Earth, Wind and Fire. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Composed by lead vocalists Maurice White and Philip Bailey, "Devotion" is song which showcases Earth, Wind & Fire's tremendous vocal ability. It was recorded for the 1974 Open Our Eyes album and also included on the 1975 live Gratitude album.

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1974 - "Mighty Mighty"

Earth, Wind and Fire. David Redfern/Redferns)

From Earth, Wind & Fire's second platinum album, Open Our Eyes in 1974, "Mighty Mighty" reached number four on the Billboard R&B chart.

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1987 - "System of Survival"

Earth, Wind and Fire. Phil Dent/Redferns

Earth, Wind & Fire hit number one on the Billboard R&B chart for the eighth time with "System of Survival" in 1987. It also reached the top of the Hot Dance Club Play and Dance Singles Sales charts.

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1982 - "Wanna Be With You"

Maurice White of Earth, Wind and Fire. Richard E. Aaron/Redferns)

From the Earth, Wind & Fire Raise! album, "Wanna Be with You" won a Grammy Award in 1983 for Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal.