Earth, Wind & Fire, one of the world top-selling musical groups of all-time was born in Chicago in 1969. With a signature sound beyond category and a groove as deep as the soul of the planet, the band’s legendary journey has set the standard for music of all genres and made a profound and lasting impact on popular culture.
One of the most important, innovative, and commercially invincible contemporary forces of the 20th century, Earth, Wind & Fire has released 23 albums. They have recorded eight #1 R&B singles and eight Double Platinum Top 10 Pop Albums. EWF has earned more than 50 Gold and Platinum albums and sold over 100 million albums worldwide, earning them a solid spot as one of best selling music artists of all time.
Earth, Wind & Fire’s career achievements and influences have impacted music history. They have been inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (2000) and The National Academy of Recording Arts & Science (NARAS) bestowed its highest honor, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016, totaling nine Grammy Awards for the group. The ensemble has also earned Lifetime Achievement honors from ASCAP, NAACP, and the BET Awards.
Many contemporary superstar artists –including Kanye West, Usher, Beyoncé, Prince, Kendrick Lamar and Chance the Rapper —are self proclaimed Earth, Wind & Fire fans. Alicia Keys has said that EWF ” the best band ever” while Mary J. Blige showed her love for the band in her own version of the band’s hit “Imagination.” The Black Eyed Peas took the stage with EWF for
a performance at the XXIX Super Bowl, and again when opening the 57th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards.
The worldwide EWF fanbase also extends to include heads-of-state. President Bill Clinton invited the group to the White House in 2000 as special guests at a State dinner and, in February 2009, President Barack Obama invited Earth, Wind & Fire to perform in the East Room at the White House for the first social event of the his administration and declaring in an interview with Rolling Stone that EWF was a “rhythm and blues and pop staple” for him.
In 2016, the powerful and substantial memoir by EWF’s founder and creative force, Maurice White was released posthumously. The work chronicles his personal journey and the band’s legendary rise to the top of music history.
April of 2014, lead singer Philip Bailey released his memoir SHINING STAR: Braving the Elements of Earth, Wind & Fire.
Three of the group’s principle members–Philip Bailey, Verdine White and Ralph Johnson–have each earned honorary doctorate degrees from the Columbia College in Chicago. Philip Bailey and founder Maurice White each earned a doctorate degree at Berklee College of Music.