About this playlist

We remember the great music of Maurice White, legendary founder, singer, multi-instrumentalist, writer and producer of Earth Wind & Fire in our huge playlist.

Maurice ‘Reese’ White, who passed away yesterday aged 74 after a long period with Parkinson’s, was a true giant of music. White shaped the creation, phenomenal musical output and popular live artistry of Earth, Wind & Fire, and worked with a stunning array of musicians from R&B and jazz to pop. In our playlist, we take a journey through many of the great songs he created.

White, born in 1941 in Memphis, Tennessee, was singing at church by age six. As a child, he took a fascination in marching bands, and by age 14 he had developed quite remarkable drumming skills and was playing with local musician and soon-to-be R&B music great, Booker T.

White later moved to Chicago and became a session drummer for the legendary Chess Records, quickly scoring guest appearances on high-profile sessions by new talent Minnie Riperton and blues brilliant Buddy Guy.

Additional life-changing moments came in 1969, when White debuted in-studio his playing of the kalimba - an African thumb piano - on the Ramsey Lewis track ‘Uhuru’. The same year, he formed band The Salty Peppers, who had a big Midwest region 45 with ‘La La Time’. Then, the highly spiritual White renamed the band Earth, Wind & Fire to reflect elements in his astrological chart.

Earth, Wind & Fire scored utterly sensational hits including ‘September’, ‘Boogie Wonderland’, ‘After The Love Is Gone’, and ‘Fantasy’ - all of which were written, co-written and/or produced by White, and feature his large vocal range, clever arrangements and pin-sharp instrumentalism. We feature a detailed selection of the band’s biggest tracks in the list.

White was quickly in demand as a talented writer and producer, and he contributed to numerous other projects including records by The Emotions and Deniece Williams, to Barry Manilow and Barbra Streisand.

White’s difficult diagnosis of Parkinson’s in the late 1980s eventually led to him largely stopping touring in 1994, but the ever optimistic and spiritual White retained executive control of the band and continued to delight in his crucial role in their output and shows.

The world has lost a legend, but his music lives on forever. We invite you to ‘Sing a Song’ with our inspirational Maurice White playlist.

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