Earth, Wind & Fire (EWF) founder Maurice White celebrates his 60th birthday today (December 19). Although his battle with Parkinson’s disease has kept him off the road, White has never stopped working with his bandmates, and he continues to write and produce EWF recordings. In October of this year, White surprised fans and joined his former bandmates on stage at a concert in Los Angeles, performing “Keep Your Head To The Sky” as a tribute to Americans following the horrific events of September 11.
White, a former session drummer for Chicago-based labels OKeh Records and Chess Records, founded the ’70s supergroup EWF after several touring stints with other artists such as Santana, Weather Report, and Uriah Heep. Throughout its illustrious career, EWF has charted 46 R&B singles and 33 pop singles, including eight gold singles, and has earned six Grammy Awards, four American Music Awards, and more than 50 gold and platinum albums.
When the group was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame last year, White performed with the rest of EWF, something he hadn’t done in years. White was then asked what meant more to him-the induction into the Hall Of Fame or being back on stage with his bandmates. White said that, for him, playing onstage was more important to him. “It’s more meaningful. The thing I got from performing with the guys is pure joy. Pure joy.”
In March, EWF will issue a never-before-released live album via Columbia/Legacy. That’s The Way Of The World: Alive In ’75! collects a variety of unreleased performances from gigs on the band’s 1975 U.S. tour.