By Dennis J. Freeman
We all know the hits. From Shining Star to That’s the Way of the World and Reasons, we are all familiar with the funky, pulsating, rhythmic sound of the elements, better known as Earth, Wind & Fire. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees have stood the test of time and continue to groove like no other R&B group in the history of music.
For over four decades, the nine-piece ensemble has put out the kind of music that will live on even after when they are no longer here. Southern California will get a taste of that kind of music this Saturday when EW&F invades the Honda Center in Anaheim as part of Cal State Fullerton’s Front & Center headliner initiative to raise money for academic enrichment and student scholarships.
“Cal State Fullerton is thrilled to have Earth, Wind & Fire headlining its Front & Center 2011 community outreach and scholarship fundraising event,” said Ryan Smith, associate director of marketing and communications in the CSUF University Advancement Office of Major Events.
“Apart from their legendary status as funk and R&B music icons, the band is committed to social and education-related charitable causes, specifically music and arts initiatives.”
Even with Maurice White out of the group’s tour lineup in recent years due to published reports of being afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease, that hasn’t slowed EW&F down. White, the group’s founder and heart and soul, is considered to be one of the true great songwriters and composers of this generation, composing hits for musical acts such as Deniece Williams and the Emotions.
But it’s White’s work with his EW&F colleagues that has set him apart from other songwriters. Besides being an extremely talented group in the studio and on stage with the likes of Verdine White (Maurice’s brother), Philip Bailey and Ralph Johnson, mainstays from EW&F early years, the songwriting of White has been critical to the band’s success.
Among the many accolades and awards White has accumulated over the years has been being nominated for a Grammy Award for Producer of the Year, receiving another nod for Fantasy as Best R&B song, and winning in the category of Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocals for Got to Get You Into My Life. The songs have been many.
The hits have been even more plentiful for EW&F over the years. Even with the great Maurice White mostly sitting on the sidelines the last couple of years, the legendary EW&F figure to be the one musical act not to miss.