Shining star

Posted: February 5, 2016 in music
Tags: , , , , , ,

Now Maurice White, founder of Earth, Wind & Fire, is dead. How can we mourn so many pop legends in so short a time?!

Maurice White is one of only three drummers I can think of who founded a band that actually counts for something:

Maurice White, Earth, Wind & Fire
Mick Fleetwood, Fleetwood Mac*
Dave Grohl, Foo Fighters

* I mostly don’t like Fleetwood Mac, but I can’t pretend they don’t exist.

In the second half of the 1970s, Bruce Springsteen and Fleetwood Mac got the press, but EWF sold the records. I was going to include a list here of my five favorite EWF songs but I stopped when I hit 15. They were that infectious.

Maurice White and his band could play rock, jazz, funk, R&B, and (their downfall) disco. White started out as a session musician. Today in his memory I listened to one of his early gigs, the jazz disc Soul in the Night (1966). White might not have been a great drummer, but he was plenty good enough to play beside two all-star sax players, Sonny Stitt and Bunky Green.

(Bunky Green – now that’s a name. The man was destined to play the saxophone for Chess Records or third base for the Cubs.)

Soul in the Night is not the easiest record to listen to, but the artistry and competence it represents is reassuring in a world that offers us Donald Trump and the armed takeover of a bird sanctuary.

Rest easy, Maurice White.

Shining star come in to view
Shine its watchful light on you

Postscript: If you listen to Earth, Wind & Fire’s “Magic Mind” on All ’N All from 1977 you’ll hear Talking Heads’ future.



  1. mikener says:

    In know that they might not actually count for something and I’m certain that you have pretended many times that they do not exist, but a little foursome called U2 was “founded by 14 year-old drummer Larry Mullen Jr.” sources tell me.

    Phil Collins, may or may not have, founded Genesis, but he was a drummer and fronted them (from the back of the stage while singing) and was bossy. Maybe that counts, maybe that doesn’t.

    Bunky Green sounds like a golfer to me, or at least the names of his sand wedge and putter.

    (I’m a very slow reader, but I have managed to make it into the same calendar year that you are writing in)…

    • Run-DMSteve says:

      I’m amazed that anyone is trying to catch up with all this drivel! As soon as I make up Run-DMSteve T-shirts, you get one. In fact, you get three!

      U2 counts for a lot, but were they really founded by Larry? If that’s the case, they’re the greatest rock band ever begun by a drummer.

      Phil Collins did NOT found Genesis. But he was bossy, and for a while he was everywhere, like Sting.

      • mikener says:

        Yes, my sources say U2 was founded by their drummer. But then, my sources believe in sorcery. You might want to double check with your less sordid sources.

        As an aside, I admit to having cloistered myself from all creative types for some time now. You in particular are very addictive. I’m near the end of the big creativity-suck project that I’ve been working on in my o’ so little spare time. Thus, I am slowly inoculating, I mean acclimating, myself for a safe return to the exotic lands inhabited by one RUN-DMSteve.
        Catch you on the flip side. (Does that even mean anything anymore?)

      • Run-DMSteve says:

        To reply to you totally backwards:
        I once memorized a CB dictionary (two sides of a laminated sheet of cardboard), not because I didn’t want to be ignored by an 18-wheeler but for parties. I never went to a party where I was able to use any of that stuff.
        You should write a blog about your creativity-suck project!
        Your sorcerous sources are (sort of) right about U2. says:

        “…U2 formed in 1976…Larry Mullen Jr. (born October 31, 1961; drums), posted a notice on a high-school bulletin board asking for fellow musicians to form a band. Bono (born Paul Hewson, May 10, 1960; vocals), the Edge (born David Evans, August 8, 1961; guitar, keyboards, vocals), Adam Clayton (born March 13, 1960; bass), and Dick Evans responded to the ad, and the teenagers banded together as a Beatles and Stones cover band called the Feedback. They then changed their name to the Hype in 1977. Shortly afterward, Dick Evans left the band to form the Virgin Prunes, and the group changed names once again, this time adopting the moniker of U2.”

        So the drummer did get the ball rolling, but it was never his band.

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