GRAMMY-winning bassist of Earth, Wind & Fire Verdine White recently participated in an installment of the GRAMMY Museum's An Evening With series. Before an intimate audience at the Museum's Clive Davis Theater, White discussed Earth, Wind & Fire's formation and his early music education, including being mentored by the late bassist Louis Satterfield, among other topics. White also performed a brief set, including Earth, Wind & Fire hits such as "Shining Star" and "September."
"Everybody knows who we are now, they like the music [and] it's changed their lives," said White. "But then, when you go back to 1969 [and] 1970, [Earth, Wind & Fire] was like a crazy idea."
Considered one the most electrifying bass players in the world, White, a Chicago native, joined Earth, Wind & Fire on June 6, 1970, one day after graduating from the Chicago Conservatory of Music. Formed by his older brother, drummer Maurice White, in 1969, the band combined elements of R&B, funk, jazz, and rock. The group released their self-titled debut album in 1971. Following the release of their first No. 1 album, 1975's That's The Way Of The World, Earth, Wind & Fire released six consecutive Top 10 studio albums, including Gratitude (1975, No. 1), Spirit (1976, No. 2), All 'N All (1977, No. 3), I Am (1979, No. 3), Faces (1980, No. 10), and Raise! (1981, No. 5).
Earth, Wind & Fire have garnered six GRAMMY Awards to date, including four for Best R&B Vocal Performance By A Duo, Group Or Chorus for the hits "Shining Star," "All 'N All," "After The Love Has Gone," and "Wanna Be With You." That's The Way Of The World was inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame in 2004 and "Shining Star" was inducted in 2008. The band's most recent studio album, 2005's Illumination, received a GRAMMY nomination for Best R&B album at the 48th GRAMMY Awards.
The band's present lineup is comprised of 12 members, including three horn players, with White sharing vocal duties. Earth, Wind & Fire are currently on an international tour, with dates scheduled through November.
White currently serves on The Recording Academy Los Angeles Chapter's Board of Governors.
Upcoming GRAMMY Museum events include Reel To Reel: Greenwich Village: Music That Defined A Generation (June 24), The Drop: Tig Notaro (July 15), The Drop: Sarah Lee Guthrie And Johnny Irion (July 16), and An Evening With Ian Mclagan (July 19).