Music makes the world go round. A certain song can play on the radio and it can take you back to a certain time or place in your life. Music can inspire you, uplift you or just simply put — make you feel good. There are some artists that have the magic touch on everything that they sing and one of those bands is Earth, Wind & Fire.
The Crown Complex presents the mighty elements of the universe Earth, Wind & Fire Saturday, Oct. 1 at 7:30 p.m. Their “Miraculous Supernatural Tour” with Carlos Santana began in June 2022. Tour stops are from Arizona to New York with many cities in between.
The band is known for its kalimba sound, compelling horn section and high-powered stage presence. They have established a reputation for their mesmerizing live shows that feature elaborate costumes, grandiose stage props and funkadelic musical energy.
The iconic band was founded in 1969 in Chicago. The critically-acclaimed founder and leader of the band, Maurice White, transitioned in 2016 at his home in Los Angeles at the age of 74. Before his death, White saw his group reach international success.
White named the group after the three elements on his Sagittarius astrological chart.
The band members were jazz musicians who played across the musical genres: soul, funk, gospel, blues, jazz, rock and dance music.
Maurice White was known for his baritone voice, Philip Bailey was known for his falsetto voice and the two of them created inspirational music that warmed the soul. Described as an innovative band, the group’s members have changed over the years to include Philip Bailey, Verdine White, Ralph Johnson, B. David Whitworth, Myron McKinley, John Paris, Philip Bailey Jr., Morris O’Connor and Serg Dimitrijevic, Gary Bias, Reggie Young and Bobby Burns Jr.
Honoring their musical roots
Maurice White was introduced to the kalimba in the late 60s and he immediately purchased one, learned how to play it and fell in love with it. The kalimba is an African thumb piano that consists of a unique sound and a simplicity to play. For White it was an expression of his African roots that Earth, Wind & Fire expressed through their percussion sounds and rhythms. White bought the trademark for the kalimba and launched Kalimba Productions which was later named Kalimba Records. He wrote the song “Kalimba Story” with his brother, Verdine White.
Decades of music
Earth, Wind & Fire have earned more than 50 gold and platinum albums and have sold more than 90 million albums worldwide earning them a place on the list of best-selling music artists. They are the seventh best-selling American band of all time.
Their expansive repertoire of classic hits include “Reasons,” “September,” “After the Love Has Gone,” “Fall in Love with Me,” “Shining Star,” “Keep Your Head to the Sky,” “That’s the Way of the World,” “After the Love Has Gone,” “Fantasy” and many more.
Two of their classic songs, “Shining Star” and “That’s The Way of The World” have been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. The inspiration behind “Shining Star” was from thoughts that Maurice had during a walk under the star-filled skies that surrounded the mountains around Caribou Ranch, Colorado, which was a popular recording site for artists in the 70s. The single was included in the "That’s The Way Of The World" movie.
Their latest single, “You Want My Love” featuring Lucky Daye debuted in 2021 and was produced by the legendary Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds.
Through the decades their songs have been covered by Chaka Khan, Patti LaBelle, D’ Angelo, the Jerry Garcia Band, Tupac, MC Hammer
Having received 20 Grammy nominations, their musical awards entail seven Grammy Awards, four American Music Awards and the first Black performers to receive to receive the Madison Square Garden Gold Ticket Award for selling more than 100,000 tickets and the Columbia Records Crystal Globe Award for selling more than 5 million albums in foreign markets.
They have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.
Earth, Wind & Fire received the BET Lifetime Achievement Award, the Entertainer of the Year Award, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, the Soul Train Legend Award, ASCAP’s Rhythm and Soul Heritage Award, the Congressional Horizon Award, the Kennedy Center Honors, and many more.
Maurice White, Phillip Bailey, Verdine White, Al McKay and Larry Dunn were inducted in the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame.
Maurice White and Philip Bailey received honorary doctorates from the Berklee College of Music. The band received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1995. The Los Angeles City Council declared Sept. 21 as Earth, Wind & Fire Day as the first lyric of the band’s iconic song, “September,” is “Do you remember the 21st day of September.” The single has been featured in TV shows, movies, commercials, sporting events, video games and a movie was named after the song. President Obama invited the band to perform at the White House for the first social event of the new administration.
The top-shelf musicians went on hiatus in 1984 and CBS Records convinced Maurice White and Philip Bailey to reunite the group. They returned with the successful album, "Touch the World" in 1987 and releases such as “Heritage,” “Millennium” and “In the Name of Love.”
In 2000, Earth, Wind & Fire reunited for one night only in honor of their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The documentary, "Earth, Wind & Fire: Shining Stars" contains historic video footage and interviews with the band members.
Today, the band still continues to tour and the lineups have changed throughout the group’s career, and the only original members are Bailey, White and Johnson.
Tickets can be purchased at https://www.ticketmaster.com/event/2D005CEEDD2266D3.