Normally, on a man’s 65th birthday, you ask him how his Medicare cards are. But Verdine White is by no stretch of the imagination ‘normal.’ The bass player and founding member of Earth, Wind and Fire has spent the last 45 years bringing joy and funk in equal amounts to the world, and he is NOT slowing down to talk about retirement stuff.
Verdine was called by brother Maurice in 1970 to join him in California for an exciting new project, playing… everything! EW&F has sold more than 100 million records, from the eponymous first album and The Need of Love (both on Warners) through their stratospheric career on Columbia records with a score of records. And there is also the remarkable collaboration with Ramsey Lewis on Sun Goddess (Maurice used to play drums for Lewis).
Starting with shows in 1976, there were times when Verdine would rise in a cage above the stage, only to disappear and reappear back on stage. During a fascinating interview today on the Diane Rehm Show, he revealed that the band worked with Doug Henning and David Copperfield to accomplish such tremendous illusions.
The music, however, was no illusion. The EW&F oeuvre contains dozens upon dozens of worldwide smash songs, from rave-ups such as “Boogie Wonderland,” “September” and “Shining Star” to gorgeous ballads such as “Reasons” and ‘Can’t Hide Love.” Verdine pointed out that the only number one hit of a Beatles’ cover was the group’s horn-driven “Got to Get You Into My Life.”
Enjoy this playlist courtesy of Earth, Wind and Fire and MusicFestNews! Happy birthday, Verdine, and many, many happy healthy more!
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