Earth, Wind & Fire

Country: US
Members: Sherry Scott (Singer), Yackov Ben Israel (Percussion), Maurice White (Drums), Wade Flemons (Singer, Writer, Sinths), Don Whitehead (Singer, Writer), Al McKay (Guitar), Verdine White (Bassist), Michael Beale (Guitar), Chester Washington (Reed Player), Leslie Drayton (Trumpet, Arranger), Alex Thomas (Tombone), Larry Dunn (Sunths), Jessica Cleaves (Singer), Roland Bautista (Guitar), Ronnie Laws (Sax and Flute), Ralph Johnson (Singer, Percussion), Philip Bailey (Singer, Percussion )
Genre: Soul, Disco, Funk, Jazz
Labels: Columbia, Stax, Warner Music
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Earth, Wind & Fire is also known as 'The Mighty Elements of the Universe'. This band was very popular in the 70's.

Early days and forming the band name
The band 'Earth, Wind & Fire' was founded in Chicago in 1969 by Maurice White, former session drummer at the Chess-label, the Singer-Song writer duo Wade Flemons and Don Whitehead and guitarist Al McKay.
Before the original name of the group they used the name 'Salty Peppers', they released 2 songs: 'La La Time' and 'Uh Huh Yeah'
White and Flemons moved to Los Angeles together with Sherry Scott (Singer) and Yackov Ben Israel (Percussion). The youngest brother of Maurice, Verdine White joined the group by leaving Chicago in June the 6th of 1970. He was the bassist. In order to strengthen the band, the guitarist Michael Beale, reed player Chester Washington, trumpeter and arranger Leslie Drayton and trombonist Alex Thomas joined the group.
Maurice White found that Salty Peppers didn't sound universal for the plans he had with the band and chose 'Earth, Wind & Fire' instead, like the elements earth, air and fire from his horoscope. Than 'Air' has been replaced by the better-sounding word 'Wind'.
In February 1971 their first 2 albums 'Earth, Wind & Fire' and 'The Need of Love' where released. Some artistic differences let the band end.
But in 1972, Maurice and Verdine White founded a new 'Earth, Wind & Fire' band that want to appeal to a younger and wider audience. He recruited new young talent: Larry Dunn (Sunths), Jessica Cleaves (Singer), Roland Bautista (Guitar), Ronnie Laws (Sax and Flute), Ralph Johnson (Singer, Percussion) and Philip Bailey (Singer, Percussion ). Warner Music however did not know what to start with the new 'Earth, Wind & Fire' because Warner Music already had a funk-band called 'Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street Rhyhtm Band'. In contrast with Clive Davis from Columbia Records how was impressed when he saw the band in New York acting as support of John Sebastian, so he took over the Warner contract.

Golden years and Egyptian symbols
The years 1973 until 1975 where golden years for the band, this because of the album 'Head to the Sky', the last album produced by Joe Wissert. The members Ronnie Laws and Roland Bautista where replaced by Andrew Woolfolk (Saxophone) and Al McKay (Guitar) and Johnny Graham (Guitar).
When the film 'That's the Way of the World' came out wherefore the band wrote the songs 'Shining Star' and the same named song 'That's the Way of the World' came a new success story. From then on they dominated the Billboard single and album charts for more than a decade. That's the Way of the World, also marked the beginning of the use of Egyptian symbols and pyramids on record covers, clothes and stage decoration. During tours include one could contemplate the following: Verdine White, who was placed in a horizontal position during his bass solo by means of trickery and mid air continued to play, the finale in which the band members disappeared in a pyramid then set collapsed. These tours were directed by Doug Henning and his assistant David Copperfield. George Faison was responsible for the choreography.
In 1976 until 1979, Maurice White introduced his own production company 'Kalimba Productions'. Under this flag, Whiter wrote and produced for Deniece Williams (former background singer Stevie Wonder) and The Emotions, a trio that was contracted between 1969 and 1974 by Stax. On their debut albums with Columbia (respectively 'This Is Niecy' and 'Flowers') several 'Earth, Wind & Fire' members contributed to the music of this new band.