Once again a significant figure in the pop music world has passed to another plane, this time in the form of Maurice White, leader, songwriter, and force behind the dynamic Earth, Wind, and Fire.
My first real job out of college was spent as a social worker for the Housing Authority of the City of Oakland. That meant managing public housing units, and that meant my day was indeed spent on some of the city’s tougher ghettos.
I did always get on just fine in such circumstances, and though I was indeed into 801, Springsteen, and then punk when it arrived, I never backed away from soul, starting from the earliest days of Motown.
EWF, or “the elements” as my cool work mates referred to the group, were certainly a band at the time I really did like, but I probably would not have been exposed to White and crew in the same way had I not held my job.
But, my workmates turned me onto their Way of the World album, that featured the great Shining Star. And, though Shining Star is a killer cut, I chose the title track as my tribute to White, who passed this morning after suffering from Parkinson’s Disease at 74.
Way of the World is a love song that indeed features White’s strong melody and lyrical skills, his band at full skill, and this particular cut has a killer guitar solo, something we all love.
EWF are still the elements, and White is eternal. Sigh.