Follow TV Tropes


Music / Earth, Wind & Fire

Go To

"Hey, hey, Hey!
Ba-dee-ya, say, do you remember?
Ba-dee-ya, dancin' in September
Ba-dee-ya, never was a cloudy day..."

Earth, Wind & Fire are an American Soul group most popular in the 1970s. They were formed in Chicago in 1969 by Maurice and Verdine White, who later recruited eight other members to form the original 10-person lineup. They released two albums in 1971 while signed to Warner (Bros.) Records, including a Self-Titled Debut Album. In 1972 they became a 12-piece group and switched labels to Columbia Records.

During their run, Earth Wind & Fire have mainly considered themselves an African American pop group, specializing in jazz and funk songs with a broad pop appeal as they strove to break the musical color barrier. During the Disco Era, they also Followed The Leader with some disco songs, though EWF has otherwise not considered themselves a disco group.


    open/close all folders 
    Studio albums 
  • Earth, Wind & Fire (1971)
  • The Need of Love (1971)
  • Last Days and Time (1972)
  • Head to the Sky (1973)
  • Open Our Eyes (1974)
  • That's the Way of the World (1975)
  • Spirit (1976)
  • All 'n All (1977)
  • I Am (1979)
  • Faces (1980)
  • Raise! (1981)
  • Powerlight (1983)
  • Electric Universe (1983)
  • Touch the World (1987)
  • Heritage (1990)
  • Millennium (1993)
  • In the Name of Love (1997)
  • The Promise (2003)
  • Illumination (2005)
  • Now, Then & Forever (2011)
  • Holiday (2014)

    Live albums 
  • Gratitude (1975)
  • Greatest Hits Live (1996)
  • That's the Way of the World: Alive in '75 (2002)
  • Live in Rio (2002)

Let's trope tonight, share the spice of life...

  • The Band Minus the Face: Their 2013 album Now, Then, & Forever was their first recorded without any creative input from Maurice.
    • After developing Parkinson's disease, Maurice no longer toured and only rarely made public appearances, although he was still a formal member up to his death in 2016 and his estate owns all rights to the band.
  • Band of Relatives: Brothers Maurice and Verdine White were founding members, with younger brother Freddie joining later on. More recently, Philip Bailey and his son, Philip Bailey Jr.
  • Break-Up Song: "After the Love Has Gone"
  • Build Like an Egyptian: The band had a lot of Egyptian themes in their album covers, costumes, and stage shows, including having a pyramid-shaped UFO onstage.
  • Cover Version: Their cover of The Beatles' "Got to Get You Into My Life", from the soundtrack of the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band film, topped the Billboard R&B chart and made the Top 10 of the pop chart.
  • Disco: Some of their late-'70s output.
  • Elemental Motifs: Maurice White explains that he got the band name from his star sign Sagittarius, which is a fire sign, and according to the triplicities, his sign had the seasonal qualities of earth (situated in Autumn in the northern hemisphere) and wind (situated in Spring in the southern hemisphere, and also represents Gemini).
  • Fading into the Next Song: "After the Love Has Gone" fades into "Let Your Feelings Show" on the album I Am.
  • Funk: Their primary defining sound, with some Soul and Disco elements incorporated. The Whites termed it "Sophisticated Funk" in contrast to the "Hardcore Funk" of James Brown and George Clinton.
  • Greatest Hits Album: Many, but 1978's The Best of Earth, Wind & Fire, Vol. 1 is important since one of the two new bonus tracks included was "September", which is now the band's Signature Song.
  • Keet: Verdine's stage persona is this.
  • Lead Bassist: Verdine White is type A, C, and D, thanks in no small part to being one of the only two consistent members of the band.
  • Power Ballad: "After the Love Has Gone" is the funk equivalent of this.
  • Revolving Door Band: Verdine White is the only founding member left. Only he, Philip Bailey, and Ralph Johnson are left from the band's heyday in the '70s.
  • Self-Titled Album: Their debut album.
  • Siamese Twin Songs: "Shining Star" and "That's the Way of the World". They're usually slotted together seamlessly on compilation albums too.
  • Something Something Leonard Bernstein: The backup and lead singers can be pretty difficult to understand at times, especially in "Let's Groove."
  • Soul
  • Truck Driver's Gear Change:
    • Both "After the Love Has Gone" and "Fantasy" shift up a couple of steps for the last few chorus repeats.
    • "Kalimba Story" suddenly jumps from A-minor to D in the second half of the chorus but drops back to A-minor for the following verses.
  • Vocal Tag Team: Many of the members handle both lead and backing vocals. In their heyday, Philip Bailey and Maurice White interchangeably handled most of the lead vocals.