In the Land of Funk: Earth, Wind and Fire

By Camille Adams-Lonzer

When you think of funk the the first thing that always comes to mind are the thumping beats of the 70’s, followed by the eye catching sparkly outfits. Funk was created for the free minded souls who just wanted to have a funky good time. 

It was early to mid 70’s and peace, love and funk, flowed freely. Earth Wind and Fire quickly became the embodiment of the funky soul found all throughout the Black community. They brought a wave of strong funky bass lines that featured brass and percussion instruments and keyboard, along with sensual lyrics. By the time the 70’s had come and gone Earth, Wind and Fire had left their mark on the Black community and the world. Leaving us all screaming “Do you remember the 21st Night of September”. 

Who Is Earth, Wind and Fire?

Maurice White, Phillip Bailey and Verdine White were the principle members of the great band Earth Wind and Fire. Maurice White founded Earth, Wind and Fire in the 70’s as a Jazz Fusion group, but between the years of 1972-73 they began to explore more with soul and funk. By 1974 the group had fully transitioned from their Jazz Fusion days into the sound that they would stick with and evolve for years to come. Now, the groups sound is perhaps one of the best things about it. As aforementioned the group used many different instruments in their music the bass being the structure of most songs. They also used their background in jazz to incorporated the use of percussion, trumpets and saxophone which served as a filler between the bass and the vocals. Overall, the vocals of Maurice White and Phillip Bailey are iconic in their own right. The use of falsetto voices, harmonies and Maurice White’s mellow voice help to really round out the entire experience. When 1979 came around on their album “I Am” which featured the hit “Boogie Wonderland” which cemented the group’s shift from funk and soul to disco, which would follow them into the 80’s and beyond. 

To Conclude...

To conclude, Earth Wind and Fire has left the mark of funk on an entire decade. Even though they dance between multiple genres their work in funk has really been the core of their success and they continued to grow around it. Their music has gone on to influence the great artist of other decades. Funk wouldn’t be the same without them and other great Black artist of the time, and thanks to their contributions it will never go forgotten. 

Get Into the Elements!

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