Earth Wind and Fire

Earth, Wind & Fire is an American band known for their unique blend of R&B, soul, funk, jazz, disco, pop, rock, dance, and more. Formed in Chicago in 1969 by Maurice White, the band became one of the most successful and critically acclaimed bands of the 1970s, contributing significantly to the dance and disco scene with their innovative sound, which included elements of mysticism and the use of various world instruments.

Timeline of Career Highlights

1969 Maurice White forms Earth, Wind & Fire in Chicago.

1971 Release of their self-titled debut album "Earth, Wind & Fire."

1974 The band collaborated with Ramsey Lewis on his album Sun Goddess.

1975 Breakthrough with the album "That's the Way of the World" and the hit single "Shining Star."

1978 Release of "The Best of Earth, Wind & Fire, Vol. 1," which includes the hit "September."

1980 Release of the album "Faces."

1984 The band takes a hiatus.

1987 Reunion and release of the album "Touch the World."

2000 Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

2019 Received the Kennedy Center Honors.

2020 Maurice White is posthumously inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Earth Wind and Fire logo


Maurice White Founder, vocals, kalimba, drums (1941-2016). His death in 2016 was a significant loss for the band and the music world.

Philip Bailey Vocals, percussion. Joined in 1972 and remains a central figure in the band.

Verdine White Bass guitar. Maurice White’s brother and a founding member.

Ralph Johnson Drums, percussion. Joined in 1971 and continues to perform with the band.

Al McKay Guitar (former member). Played a crucial role during the band's peak years.

Larry Dunn Keyboards (former member). Contributed significantly to the band's signature sound.

Fred White Drums (former member). Maurice and Verdine's brother, who also played a key role in the band’s early success.

Charles Stepney (March 26, 1931 – May 17, 1976) was an American record producer, arranger, songwriter and musician

Other Members

  1. Wade Flemons
  2. Jessica Cleaves
  3. Ronnie Laws
  4. Roland Bautista
  5. Andrew Woolfolk
  6. Al McKay
  7. Freddie Ravel
  8. Sheldon Reynolds
  9. The Pheonix Horns
  10. Doug Carn
  11. Sonny Emory
  12. Dick Smith
  13. Vance Taylor
  14. David Lautrec
  15. Greg Moore
  16. Morris Pleasure
  17. Robert Brookins
  18. Daniel de los Reyes
  19. Kimberly Brewer
  20. Kim Johnson
  21. Krystal Bailey
  22. Johnny Graham
  23. Don Myrick

Grammy Awards

1975 Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus for "Shining Star."

1978 Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus for "All 'n All."

1979 Best R&B Instrumental Performance for "Runnin'."

1982 Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus for "Wanna Be with You."

Lifetime Achievement Award Received in 2016.

Famous Songs or Compositions

click here for full discography


Maurice White

Our goal has always been to create music that brings people together.

Philip Bailey

We wanted to create uplifting music that would transcend generations.

Gossip and Trivia

Hiatus and Reunion The band took a hiatus in the mid-1980s but reunited in 1987 to great fanfare.

Elaborate Stage Shows Known for their elaborate stage shows that include pyrotechnics, elaborate costumes, and choreographed dance moves. One stage show had a huge Egyptian Pyramid and the drummer was levitated, along with his drum kit, and spun!

Maurice White's Health Maurice White was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in the early 1990s, which led to his retirement from touring.

Kennedy Center Honors In 2019, they became the first African-American group to receive the Kennedy Center Honors.


Earth, Wind & Fire's innovative approach to music, their fusion of various genres, and their commitment to positive, uplifting messages have made them a timeless and influential force in the music industry. Their legacy continues to inspire and entertain new generations of fans.

Earth Wind and Fire Albums

See also Earth Wind and Fire discography timeline

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