Friday 5 February 2016

Remembering Maurice White

2016 is turning out to be a bit crap. We're barely a month into the new year, and this is the fourth obituary I've written. As readers know, the founder and driving force of Earth, Wind & Fire, Maurice White, passed away yesterday. His music, especially the hits the band had in the late 70s, stood out as playful celebrations of life. All of them were serious musicians, but when you know you're serious you don't have to show it off. You can let go and embrace kitsch and glitz while letting your musicianship and songwriting speak for itself.

This is what Earth, Wind & Fire did on their best known - and most overblown hit - Boogie Wonderland. Of all the disco tracks, their performance in the video summed up everything that the movement was about. Brash, confident, camp, fun. Maurice's slightly stiff dancing dad act was set off well against the exuberance of The Emotions, and the swirly sequins of the band. Even without one of the best tunes of the 1970s playing over it, there is something striking about the video, and one that deservedly sticks in the cultural memory.

It's sad that Maurice has left us, but his legacy is some of the finest dance music ever written. Sleep well.

1 comment:

Alex Ross said...

Have to say I was more moved by the death of Maurice White than that of Bowie, Lemmy...and other recent musical deaths.

Have had the pleasure of seeing Earth Wind and Fire live on a couple of occasions....all amazingly talented musicians (irritating that they are met with a degree of undeserved snobbery by some!!).

My favorite tune would be "In the Stone".