Photo: Chris Walter/WireImage.com
Maurice White, 1941–2016
Maurice White, founder of 2016 Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award recipients Earth, Wind & Fire, died Feb. 4 following a lengthy battle with Parkinson's disease. He was 74.
White founded Earth, Wind & Fire in Chicago in 1969 and shared lead vocal duties with Philip Bailey. He served as the supergroup's principal songwriter and producer for classic albums such as 1971's Earth, Wind & Fire, 1975's That's The Way Of The World and 1976's Spirit. White also co-wrote many Earth, Wind & Fire classics, including "September," "Shining Star" and "Let's Groove."
White earned seven GRAMMY wins, including the group's first career win for Best R&B Vocal Performance By A Duo, Group Or Chorus for "Shining Star" for 1975. He won a GRAMMY for Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocal(s) for 1978 for Earth, Wind & Fire's cover of the Beatles' "Got To Get You Into My Life." Earth, Wind & Fire were recently announced as 2016 recipients of The Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award. A special ceremony and concert celebrating this year's Special Merit Award recipients will be held in the spring.
In addition to his work with Earth, Wind & Fire, White co-produced hit albums by artists such as Denice Williams, Barbra Streisand and the Emotions. He and fellow Earth, Wind & Fire member Al McKay garnered a 1977 GRAMMY nomination for Best Rhythm & Blues Song for co-writing the Emotion's chart-topping hit "Best Of My Love."
"[Maurice White's] unerring instincts as a musician and showman helped propel the band to international stardom, influencing countless fellow musicians in the process," said Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow. "While he will be greatly missed, Maurice's contributions to music will live on."