The music world lost another luminary this week when Earth, Wind & Fire singer/songwriter Maurice White passed away at the age of 74 on Wednesday. According to reports, the Motown legend passed away in his sleep from complications related to Parkinson's disease, which he'd been battling since 1992. White's brother, and fellow Earth, Wind & Fire founder Verdine White posted the following message on Facebook: "My brother, hero and best friend Maurice White passed away peacefully last night in his sleep. While the world has lost another great musician and legend, our family asks that our privacy is respected as we start what will be a very difficult and life changing transition in our lives. Thank you for your prayers and well wishes." Condolences and remembrances flooded the Internet Thursday and Friday from Hip-hop artists such as Common, Cee-Lo Green, Queen Latifah and Mark Ronson, as well as rockers like Lenny Kravitz, Sean and Julian Lennon. Comedians Chris Rock and Steve Harvey, Motown contemporaries like Nile Rodgers and Bootsy Collins, and even renowned scientist Neil Degrasse-Tyson expressed their loss on social media over White's passing.
As the frontman and principal songwriter of one of the disco era's biggest acts, Maurice White left an indelible impression on not only disco, but R&B, funk and even many rock musicians cite Earth, Wind & Fire as an influence. Founded in 1969, the band is one of only a handful of musical groups in any genre to sell more than 100 million albums worldwide. Over their career, EWF was nominated for 20 Grammy, winning six, while White and fellow lead singer Philip Bailey each won individual Grammys in their careers. The band has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Vocal Group Hall of Fame and the Grammy Hall of Fame. There is a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame honoring the band, and the BET Awards bestowed their lifetime achievement award on the group in 2002. If you aren't familiar with Earth, Wind & Fire, just listen to the three classics in the YouTube clips below. I guarantee most people have heard the songs, even if they weren't aware of who recorded them.