The founder of a band that became one of the most successful American groups of the 20th century and an iconic soul, funk and R&B band has died. Reuters reports that Maurice White, the founder and driving force behind Earth, Wind & Fire, died Wednesday night at his home in L.A. from natural causes.
White, 74, had been struggling with Parkinson’s disease since 1994. A former session drummer from Chicago, he founded Earth, Wind & Fire in 1969 and was its main songwriter along with its bandleader, producer and arranger. He also was the group’s co-lead singer along with Philip Bailey, and was a mainstay of the band through decades of lineup changes.
The band had a string of hits during the 1970s and 1980s, including the 1975 smash “Shining Star,” “Serpentine Fire” in 1977, “Boogie Wonderland” with the Emotions in 1979 and “Let’s Groove” in 1981. Earth, Wind & Fire was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000.
Give a listen to “Shining Star” …