Throwback Thursday — Earth Wind and Fire!

Raise your hand if you owned this album as a young’un. If you grew up in a black family in the Seventies and Eighties, it was probably in the crate somewhere, right next to Songs In The Key Of Life and the Jackson 5 Christmas album. Earth Wind and Fire’s volume one is a timeless classic. For some reason, we didn’t have volume two at the crib. What is with that?

Growing up in my household, EWF Volume 1 was never far from the turntable. I grew up on Earth Wind and Fire as a staple, and other bands sometimes came later. I actually knew EWF’s cover of “Got to Get You Into My Life” long before I knew about the Beatles (or what the song is about!). Maybe that’s where I got my love for big brass sections — when Earth Wind and Fire takes the stage, they roll DEEP. Like fifteen people or more. Horns, back up vocals, keyboardists spread all over the place. And back in the day, every one of them was dressed like a funky spaceship was about to up and take them away. I love that over-the-top futuristic Seventies LaBelle, P-Funk, EWF style. There’s something about a man in skintight gold lame that brings joy to my heart. Speaking of which, here’s a classic live performance from the classic late Seventies/early Eighties era. LIVE. Performance. The song is “Fantasy.” The band is insane. And listen to Philip Bailey’s voice. It’s like buttah!

For a quick dose of unadulterated musical ecstasy, fast forward to 3:10 and let it ride. He is hitting those high notes like nobody’s business, and the band literally starts jumping for joy. It’s awesome. What’s even more awesome is that EWF is STILL out there doing the damn thing. Still touring the world. Check them out here, performing “Head To the Sky” and “Shining Star” at the Nobel Peace Prize concert in Norway last year. Harmonies as tight as ever!

What’s your favorite Earth Wind and Fire song? I know, I know – it’s hard to choose just one. My top three are Shining Star, Can’t Hide Love (the horns!), and That’s The Way Of the World. Oh, that’s my JAM. That might be my favorite one!

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Comments

  1. Mrs.Mckinzie says:

    Hey Bella,my favorite Earth Wind & Fire song is definately “Reasons”.I also like “September”,and “Sing A Song.

  2. Mr.Mckinzie says:

    Hello Afrobella,this is Mr. Mckinzie,and I just wanted to post my favorite Earth Wind & Fire songs to.”Where Have All The Flowers Gone”,and “Loves Holiday”.

  3. Patrick Jnr. says:

    Fantasy lil Sis! Remember how often I played it?

  4. Hey! My big brother makes an appearance! Of COURSE I remember — you are responsible for a lot of my musical loves. I was just thinking about you — they played a Chuckii Booker video on VH1 Soul, but it wasn’t “Turned Away.” How are you? Love you, Patrick!

    Mr. and Mrs. Mckinzie! Great to hear from you both! Reasons is definitely one of my favorites. I also love Love’s Holiday. Great choices!

  5. Ooooh, bella, I’m going to have to think on which is my favorite! Wow, this made me smile, and today is ROUGH, plumbing problems, the house is a wreck, work, blah, blah, blah. Anyway, I just wanted to say that EWF has always had fantastic musicianship, the horns are off the chain!! I was in a high school marching band that was not your white-bread kind of band (we danced while we played, more like a miniature college band). Anyway, the musical score of many of their songs was used in several compositions our director developed for marching season. Uhmmm, uhmmm, uhmmm. Good times. Let me get back to work, but thank you for this! THIS is the kind of “Hi-C” we need with lunch, okay?

  6. Okay, I think I’m going to go with “Let’s Groove”.

  7. Wow….it’s got to be Reasons for Philip Bailey’s STUNNING vocals….The high falsetto and then when he brought you back down to earth with his lower register “It’s all about love…..”. WHEW!!!!

    But I also love September, Shining Star and Head To The Sky!!!

  8. I love “September!” And unfortunately, cannot bear to listen to “Fantasy.” I was in a talent show one year – maybe 10th grade – anyhoo, a young lady sang “Fantasy” (and I use the term sang quite loosely!) and forever ruined that song for me. Even now when it comes on the radio – I change stations!!

  9. FrenchCameroonianGirl says:

    It reminds me off so many things, We used to listen to it in Cameroon. I love “september”

  10. I just LOVE Love’s Holiday…Sing A Song….I’ll Write a Song to You…I can go on and on. LOL

  11. Shooo, you know I of all people got this album and a couple of other. The Elements are my all time favorite band. Anyone that has never experienced them live is missing out!

    It’s hard to pick fave EWF songs…but according to the Top 50 list I was forced to create it would have to be “Reasons” and “Can’t Hide Love.” Gotta throw “September” and “After the Love is Gone” in there too.

  12. Patrick Jnr. says:

    Thanks for the ‘big up’ lil sister! I am here in my office enjoying the relative quiet today, and now reminiscing on those HBO Sinbad Summer Jams they aired in the 90′s, with all that incredible funk! Oh how I wish those were still happening, and even more so, that they chose Trinidad to have it! Earth Wind and Fire performed at the Plymouth Jazz Festival last year, I should have gone! Sigh…

  13. New Moring to you Bella’s,

    I’m a yougin lol but I know Real Music when I hear it.. the bass, horn, flute, drums, congas, trumpet, saxophone. And about 3 men playing and singing at the same time. That’s a band.. yeah yeah I like SOME! of the music that is out now.. Im a real Neo Soul, Conscious Rap Kinda Girl. But even I know nothings is better than a Real bad back up a Soulful, Majestic, used to sing in the church choir as a kid voice. Earth, Wind and Fire will always be above the rest! .. My Fave is “Shine A Star”, my mother said that song always lifted her up when she was down and gave her momentum when she felt like giving up.

  14. I’m a BIG EWF fan. I can’t pick just one song. ha

    I was also in a marching band in HS. My school was in a town that was very, uhm, suburban but we got down.

    One of our best songs was “In The Stone”. I love “Getaway”, “Shining Star”, “September” and of course “Reasons”.

    Thanks Bella for this kick butt throwback!

  15. I’m going to pick one one else has said so far….Boogie Wonderland featuring the girl group The Emotions….that always makes me wanna dance…

  16. Esteban Agosto Reid says:

    RIGHT ON with EWF!!

  17. Bella,

    You’ve gone and made me do it (a few things, actually)! I had to pull out their latest album from my mp3 player (“Show Me the Way” IS a jam for real although it’s newer), and now I’ll have to borrow a few cds from the library today. Thank the Lord I work in one! A trip to Amazon may be in the works too…

    Thanks bunches for the uplifting post!

  18. JasminetheJigsaw says:

    I’m only 18 but EWF is one of my favorite groups! I love “Can’t Hide Love”, “After The Love is Gone” and “That’s the Way of the World”!

    :)

  19. EWF!!! I remember when I was a little girl growing up in Chicago watching the “big kids” step to “That’s the way of the world”. I would watch them and think to myself that I was going to step to EWF songs when I got “big”. LOL!!

    I own both best of EWF Vol’s 1 & 2. I love blasting “Reasons” in my car!

    Thanks for the memories Bella.

  20. You can’t go wrong with ‘the Elements,’ as my dad would call them. “Fantasy” was the first EWF song I was introduced to. But “Getaway” is my all-time favorite. I just HAVE to dance when that song comes on! “Getaway…let’s leave today….”

  21. Hey Bella,

    It’s sooo funny to see a column about EWF-me and my intimate freind were just debating the best ever EWF song…I always cast my vote for “I Write a Song For You”, where Phillip Bailey sang the lead. To me, it, in totality, speaks everything you ever wanted to know, hear and feel from EWF. The horn section, the backgrounds, and of course the ever-melodic singing itself….I miss music like that. Just pure, untouched magic for your ears.

  22. excellentia says:

    hey bella! their coming to miami in early april at the fillmore! my favorite ewf songs are love cant hide, fantasy devotion and keep your head to the sky…

  23. deevinej23 says:

    I was weened on EWF like everybody else. I think I literally got excited at a really young age when I heard their songs. I remember constantly playing the album That’s the Way of the World in the 70′s and early 80′s. The Beatles connection to “Got to Get You Into My Life” didn’t happen until well into my 20′s when I became of fan of their music. EWF’s version is much better tho.

    Most of the faves have been listed, but here are a few more: Yearnin’ Learnin’, Side by Side, and All About Love

    The Essential EWF is a good to add to your collection. It covers the best and important songs of their career.

  24. Selina Kyle-Rodriguez says:

    I absolutely love “September” it reminds me of my sister, cousin and I dancing and playing around such wonderful memories bittersweet as my cousin is no longer with us.

    Loves Holiday is 2nd
    Boogie Wonderland 3rd

    This is so not fair I love EWF!!!!

  25. Fantasy undoubtedly is my absolute, absolute, absolute, absolute, absolute favorite sound by the elements…oh my goodness did I say favorite absolutely!!! Wow I knew there was a reason I was rocking a ‘fro in the last few days…I just clicked on that video and had a blast!…I have special feelings for September & After the love is Gone too…but Fantasy has my heart & mind each & every time…WOOWOO!

  26. lioness says:

    I love virtually anything EWF, but I have to say “Keep Your Head to the Sky” because my dad would always play this for me if I was feeling down or he wanted me to do just that. It was one of the more pleasant memories I have of my father. Plus Phil Bailey’s voice is like an angel and the way they hit that hi note at the end, I was totally in awe. The song has a very positive message, that’s how I started loving EWF and a lot of other artists from the “old school”. I love the old school.

  27. A friend told me about this music blog that may interest you throwback song lovers, like myself –

    http://www.throwbacksongs.com

    I’m currently hooked on it like morning coffee!!!

    Alicia

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