Maurice White, co-founder and front man of Earth, Wind & Fire passed away in his sleep in L.A. Thursday morning. White was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in the early 90s, he remained involved in the group throughout the rest of his life, but he had not toured with them since 1994. White founded Earth, Wind & Fire with brother Verdine White in 1969 and featured a distinctive falsetto from Philip Bailey, and a sound that blended of jazz, funk, gospel, soul, and rock. The group hit it big in the 1970s with the album That’s the Way of the World (1975), with hits like Shining Star, September and Let’s Groove.
White was born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1941 and he grew up singing gospel in his church choir. He eventually moved to L.A. with his brother and his band, the Salty Peppers. In 1971 the Whites renamed their band Earth, Wind & Fire. Later, in the 80s Maurice pursued a career as a producer, working with artists like Cher, Barbara Streisand, the Emotions, and Neil Diamond.
White said in a 1982 interview.
“A need for myself as an individual to realize my total potential, in a sense of speaking. And also, from another sense, it came from a part of me wanting to render itself to humanity.”
When you wish upon a star, your dreams will take you very far. You’re a shining star. Maurice White was 74.