Friday, December 30, 2016

New Members of Rock & Roll Heaven, Part 18

Enjoy the music and memories of those we lost in 2016:

The great Maurice White, founder of Earth, Wind & Fire, died February 4 in Los Angeles from the effects of Parkinson's disease. In addition to his accomplishments in Earth, Wind & Fire, White worked with numerous artists including Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, the Emotions and Deniece Williams.

After several starts and stops, including numerous lineup changes, White formed Earth, Wind & Fire in 1971.  Gradually, the group built up a following, but it was the 1971 #1 hit "Shining Star" which introduced them to most people.

Later in the year, Earth, Wind & Fire recorded the soundtrack to the movie That's The Way of the World, and the title song was one of the group's masterpieces.

Although it wasn't a huge hit, most EWF fans agree that "Fantasy" is one of the group's best songs: 

Five Top 20 hits followed before the group scored another big hit with "September" in 1979.

The next year, Earth, Wind & Fire scored another big hit with "After The Love Has Gone".

In 1981, the group returned with this #3 smash.

Songwriter Mentor Williams died November 16 in Taos, New Mexico at the age of 70.

Williams wrote the classic "Drift Away", which Dobie Gray turned into a #1 song in 1973.  In addition, Williams wrote for Jackie DeShannon, Alabama and the Ventures.

Bernie Worrell, member of Parliament and Funkadelic, died at age 72 June 24 in Everson, Washington from lung cancer.

Parliament and Funkadelic was a highly influential aggregation of nearly 40 musicians led by songwriter, lead singer and producer George Clinton.  Parliament is best known for their 1978 hit "Flash Light", one of The Top R&B Songs of the '70s*.

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