Tuesday Open Thread | Earth, Wind and Fire Week

More from Earth, Wind & Fire…..


Maurice White-4

Earth, Wind & Fire: 12 Essential Songs
Savor the smoothest soul and most enlightened funk from the hitmaking legends


“I was writing about my life,” Maurice White once told the late journalist Timothy White. Yet in the mid-to-late 1970s, his funk juggernaut Earth Wind & Fire resonated with millions. They were arguably the biggest black rock band in the world, scoring nearly a dozen gold and platinum albums, and charting Top 10 singles like “Shining Star,” “Sing a Song” and “After the Love Is Gone.” Critics may have eventually soured on their increasingly sophisticated mix of disco, fusion jazz, Africana, soft pop and stoned soul; but their message of peace, spirituality and love, as well as their fantastic outfits and incendiary live concerts, made them one of the quintessential bands of the era.

Earth, Wind & Fire employed 10 musicians during their peak years, as well as the famed Phoenix Horns section. White was always at the center, whether singing lead vocals with the gospel-trained Philip Bailey, or working in the studio alongside legendary producer Charles Stepney (who tragically passed away in 1976). He oversaw the intricately designed gatefold covers that depicted Egyptian pyramids and Biblical symbols, and inserted references to his beliefs in his lyrics. Whether the audience understood everything he sang about or not, no one could deny the power of EWF. Here’s some of the group’s best.

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“Sweetback’s Theme” (1971)

Circa 1970, playwright, poet and radical raconteur Melvin Van Peebles was finishing work on his low-budget film Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song. The filmmaker still needed a soundtrack and his assistant happened to be dating a young Chicago transplant to Los Angeles, Maurice White, whose band Earth, Wind & Fire was still shopping their demos. As Peebles told Wax Poetics, “they were all starving to death on Hollywood Boulevard” but he enlisted their help in concocting a set of greasy funk and jazz loops that Peebles himself warbled and screeched over. The album and movie unexpectedly became runaway successes and EWF became the first musical stars of the blaxploitation era, paving the way for Isaac Hayes’s Shaft and Curtis Mayfield’s Superfly.

Maurice White-7

“Devotion” (1974)

“Maurice’s whole vision was to kinda sneak a little jazz on people,” said EWF singer Philip Bailey in a 2013 interview. Nowhere is that more evident than in “Devotion,” a minor hit but major fan favorite from 1974’s Open Our Eyes. Awash in shimmering chords, fusion-rich keys and a lusciously sinuous bass line, the song’s hooks are as subtle as they are unshakeable. It’s a tender song for a time when America felt anything but — and White’s mission to smuggle jazz into the R&B and pop charts feels more sacred here than almost anywhere else in EWF’s catalogue. Or as the song itself unabashedly states, “So our mission, to bring melody/Ringing voices sing sweet harmony.” Its most memorable version can be heard on the 1975 live album Gratitude, where the band’s rendition at the Omni Theater in Atlanta is like a gospel-funk revival.

THE CLEVELAND SHOW: Earth, Wind & Fire (guest-voicing as themselves) play at the Brown wedding in the "You're The Best Man, Cleveland Brown" season finale episode of THE CLEVELAND SHOW airing Sunday, May 23 (8:30-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.   THE CLEVELAND SHOW ™ and © 2010 TTCFFC ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

THE CLEVELAND SHOW: Earth, Wind & Fire (guest-voicing as themselves) play at the Brown wedding in the "You’re The Best Man, Cleveland Brown" season finale episode of THE CLEVELAND SHOW airing Sunday, May 23 (8:30-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. THE CLEVELAND SHOW ™ and © 2010 TTCFFC ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

“Shining Star” (1975)

1975 was the year Earth, Wind & Fire wrote themselves into the pop canon, and that had a lot to do with this jubilant, chart-topping smash. “Shining Star” sounds like a party – and it certainly soundtracked more than a few — but it’s really an uplifting motivational anthem along the same lines as Sly and the Family Stone’s “Everybody Is a Star,” riding along on a clean, bright, brassy groove that stands as one of White’s finest production jobs. In 2000, when Earth, Wind & Fire joined the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, he remembered the single as a crucial turning point. “That’s the Way of the World really took off very slow,” he said of their sixth studio LP. “We thought it wasn’t gonna happen. Then we released ‘Shining Star,’ and it went to the top of the charts and saved the album.”

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Ramsey Lewis, “Sun Goddess” (1975)

Maurice White was involved in numerous groups in the late Sixties and early Seventies, even as Earth, Wind & Fire was starting to become his main attraction. One of those groups is the band that backed popular jazz pianist Ramsey Lewis — so it only makes sense that Lewis and EWF would cross paths, which they did to scintillating effect on “Sun Goddess.” The 1974 single is a monstrously groovy funk dreamscape full of airy harmonies, ripe brass and a deeply reverential undertone — a beautiful illustration of White’s transition from sideman and session player to bandleader nonpareil.

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109 Responses to Tuesday Open Thread | Earth, Wind and Fire Week

  1. rikyrah says:

    from POU:

    Evening POU. I happen to be listening to Roland Martin. Yeah, him. On radio. Did someone do a lobotomy on him? Spitting all kinds of truth about police brutality, Beyonce, etc. Any how, I came by to say, before going to bed, that the single greatest thing that has happened to black folks, and white America, is the election(s) of Barack Obama. All the attacks on us, all the coonery……is what we needed, and it became much more entrenched by the deliberation of Barack Obama in exercising his legal rights to that office. Never mind we still hurt- we were going to hurt anyway, and for a long long time to come, in more subtle ways. That man in that WH peeled back the proverbial wool exposing the cancer to sunlight. And did it at the expense of security for himself, as well as his entire family. This is my bottom line. Have a blessed night all !

  2. A very sad day in America. #Trump #NHPrimary

  3. eliihass says:

    Listen to Hillary’s speech and listen to Bernie’s and you’ll understand why he’s winning and she’s not..

    Hers is transparently all about her about her desperate and obsessive need to move back into the White House and take the reins of power for her and Bill’s benefit…

    His is completely inclusive and about the ordinary people…taking the reins of power away from the oligarchs..and very little to do with him wanting the title of president…or even moving into the White House…

    • eliihass says:

      Have you ever seen or heard Robby Mook interviewed SG…

      He’s one of those who don’t give a rats a**s about black folks…never has, never will…

      You see and hear immediately how alien black folks are to him…

      Flint and black people are to him, merely remote data extracted concepts of what is needed to move the needle for a Hillary win…

      That’s it…

      I still marvel at how there are so many young, racially obtuse and removed and arrogantly and condescendingly exploitative and tone-deaf white ‘Democrats’ out there …especially those in the inner circle and running the show for so-called liberal-minded, longtime ‘friend’ and doer for blacks Hillary…

      • rikyrah says:

        WHO is Robby Mook?

        • eliihass says:

          Robby Mook is Hillary’s 36 year old campaign manager…

          “..After college, he worked as a United States Senate Page, then returned to Vermont to work for the Vermont Democratic Party. He worked on state campaigns, leading up to Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign. Mook then joined the Democratic National Committee, and worked for Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign as a state director in three states.

          Mook managed Senator Jeanne Shaheen’s campaign as she ran in New Hampshire for election to the U.S. Senate in the fall of 2008, served as the executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2012, and as the campaign manager for Terry McAuliffe’s successful 2013 gubernatorial campaign. Mook is from Sharon, Vermont, but was raised in nearby Norwich, across the river from Hanover, New Hampshire…”

  4. Ametia says:

    How Russell Westbrook, Odell Beckham Jr., & Cam Newton Have Changed Black Masculinity
    Posted: 09 Feb 2016 07:26 AM PST


  5. Can you believe this? A hateful disgusting vile racist won the New Hampshire primary. America is racist as hell. God help this country.

    • Liza says:

      I feel really sad about Trump’s success. Awhile back, I would not have predicted his getting as far as he has. But it reveals so much about some of the inhabitants of this country, and really explains why unity is impossible. I didn’t always know this, I used to be idealistic and hopeful, but now I can’t explain why. Right now I’m just sad, but sad in a way that suggests permanence, that it won’t get better. Or maybe it’s just this election.

    • rikyrah says:


      not a bit of difference between any of them. they are all vile people. they are all pure-D racists, with the exception of Unca Ben, who is a Slave Catching Sambo. Didn’t matter who won…they all think the same.

  6. Liza says:

    New Hampshire, 2008. We thought PBO was going to win New Hampshire, but he narrowly lost to Hillary Clinton, and then gave one of the best speeches of his life, Yes We Can.

    • Liza, I remember PBO being up in the polls in New Hampshire and was in shock when he lost. I still say they cheated.

      • Liza says:

        I put nothing past them.

      • rikyrah says:

        And this picture went viral in emails across America:

        [caption id="attachment_67288" align="alignnone" width="640"]Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) addresses a primary night rally in the gymnasium at the Nashua South High School on January 8, 2008 in Nashua, New Hampshire. Obama finished a projected 2nd place behind Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) in the nation’s first democratic primary Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) addresses a primary night rally in the gymnasium at the Nashua South High School on January 8, 2008 in Nashua, New Hampshire. Obama finished a projected 2nd place behind Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) in the nation’s first democratic primary[/caption]

  7. eliihass says:

    Harry Belafonte to endorse Bernie Sanders tomorrow in New York.

    • Liza says:

      Yeah, Danny Glover endorsed Bernie a few days ago. Harry Belafonte and Danny Glover are two very intelligent, courageous, long time activists and I hope these endorsements help Bernie.

      • eliihass says:

        Harry Belafonte is one of the only truth-tellers out there…His is not a spiteful truth-telling – or an opportunistic or mealy-mouthed truth-telling…

  8. rikyrah says:


    Stephen Wolf ‏@PoliticsWolf 5h5 hours ago
    % of blacks who can’t vote due to felon voting bans:

    FL 23%
    KY 22
    VA 20
    TN 19
    WY 18
    AL 15
    MS 14
    NV 13
    AZ 11

    Total 8%

  9. rikyrah says:

    If You’ve Never Questioned Tom Brady’s or Bill Belichick’s Lack of Humility, Don’t Question Cam Newton’s
    Imagine yourself losing the biggest game of your career; how humble would you be?

    Posted: Feb. 8 2016 7:32 AM


  10. rikyrah says:

    Black Girls in Durham, NC, School Denied Right to Honor African Heritage
    What began as a celebration of Black History Month in Durham by wearing African head wraps, is now a protest over expression.

    Posted: Feb. 9 2016 9:23 AM

    It started as a collective expression of pride. A group of young women at the School for Creative Studies in Durham, N.C., decided to wear head wraps—also called geles—to align with and honor their culture at the start of Black History Month.

    Instead, they say administrators warned that they were in violation of the dress code and threatened them with suspension. They were given the choice to wear the geles only in a way that allowed their hair to show or to remove them altogether. According to the policy, “hats, caps, hoods, sweat bands and bandannas or other head wear worn inside [the] school building” are impermissible, but it details nothing about garments worn in accordance with cultural tradition.

    “It says to me symbolically that our girls—and our boys, as well—have to alter not only their attire, but their whole selves in order to seem less disruptive or offensive,” said Dosali Reed-Bandele. Her daughter Nandi, an 11th-grader at the school, was among those admonished. “This is utterly ridiculous and I am tired of those messages bombarding our babies day in and day out.”

    That the enforcement is falling heavy on this particular segment of students is part of the cycle of inequitable standards, a tradition in and of itself. The young women also say they were told that they were not being inclusive to other students at the school. Because, of course, being expressly proud of being black compromises the ability of others to be expressly proud of their variety of nonblack.

    The bright spot: In the same glorious way that black women have always pushed back against the limitations and obstacles pressing in on them, those young women being told how to wear their blackness helped organize a mass demonstration Monday afternoon to rally community support. Clusters of protesters showed up wearing their own geles, calling for administrators to acknowledge students’ rights to honor their heritage. Particularly at a school focused on creative studies, that form of expression seems elementary since cultural pride lies so close to the root of identity and self-perception.

  11. rikyrah says:

    uh huh

    uh huh

    When Addiction Has a White Face
    FEB. 9, 2016

    WHEN crack hit America in the mid-1980s, for African-Americans, to borrow from Ta-Nehisi Coates, civilization fell. Crack embodied instant and fatal addiction; we saw endless images of thin, ravaged bodies, always black, as though from a famined land. And always those desperate, cracked lips. Our hearts broke learning the words “crack baby.”
    Even for those of us African-Americans living at a relatively safe distance, there were soul-deadening costs. City centers, and by extension black neighborhoods, were seen in the national imagination as lawless landscapes. We were warned of a new wave of “super predators,” young, faceless black men wearing bandannas and sagging jeans. The addicted, those who preyed on them and those caught by class, geography and especially race were swept together. At the edges of my 12-year-old mind was the ominous sense that no matter how far crack was from my actual life, I was somehow associated with the scourge.


    Thirty years later, America is again seeing an epidemic of drug addiction, particularly heroin. The surge is so great that for the first time in generations, mortality among young white adults has risen. But the national attitude toward drug addiction is utterly different. Even Republican presidential candidates are eschewing the perennial tough-on-drugs speeches and opening up about struggles within their own families.

    More important, police chiefs in the cities most affected by heroin are responding not by invoking military metaphors, weapons and tactics but by ensuring that police officers save lives and get people into rehab. As one former narcotics officer described his change of heart on addiction, “These are people and they have a purpose in life and we can’t as law enforcement look at them any other way.” In his inability to name the change that allowed this epiphany, his words also capture our cringe-worthy self-denial. Suddenly, police officers understand crime as a sign of underlying addiction requiring coordinated assistance, rather than a scourge to be eradicated.

    It is hard to describe the bittersweet sting that many African-Americans feel witnessing this national embrace of addicts. It is heartening to see the eclipse of the generations-long failed war on drugs. But black Americans are also knowingly weary and embittered by the absence of such enlightened thinking when those in our own families were similarly wounded. When the face of addiction had dark skin, this nation’s police did not see sons and daughters, sister and brothers. They saw “brothas,” young thugs to be locked up, rather than “people with a purpose in life.”

  12. rikyrah says:

    There is the pesky problem that he doesn’t relate to the actual BASE of the Democratic Party..

    but, yeah…if you can get past THAT…

    He’s the future..


    Bernie Sanders is the future of the Democratic Party
    Updated by Matthew Yglesias on February 9, 2016, 8:00 a.m. ET

    Whether or not Bernie Sanders wins in New Hampshire, or wins the Democratic nomination outright, he’s already won in another, perhaps more important way: His brand of politics is the future of the Democratic Party.

    Sanders is the overwhelming choice of young voters, scoring a staggering 84 percent of voters under 30 in the Iowa caucuses and projected to do better in New Hampshire.

    Any young and ambitious Democrat looking at the demographics of the party and the demographics of Sanders supporters has to conclude that his brand of politics is extremely promising for the future. There are racial and demographic gaps between Clinton and Sanders supporters, but the overwhelming reality is that for all groups, the young people are feeling the Bern.

  13. rikyrah says:

    American By Birth

    I was born in North Carolina and I grew up three miles away from the hospital I was born in. After I grew up and got married we bought a house around the corner from that same hospital. I’m not an adventurous soul obviously. My grandmother was born in 1900; she said her grandfather fought in the civil war. She had a picture of some man on a horse wearing a Confederate uniform. Sometimes to hear her talk the war had just been fought. I was born in 1955 and I heard many stories about the glorious south.


    Now I’m going to tell you the ugly side of the south, there were people who acted almost giddy when this good man was murdered. (MLK) They could barely hide their glee. I heard comments about how it served him right being so pushy and thinking he was a good as white people. Yes this is what was said fifty years ago. I remember interracial couples being victimized and treated shamefully. I remember their children being called half-breeds. One of the most telling photographs from the period was taken in Charlotte North Carolina and one black girl was going to go to a white high school. The picture shows her being escorted by the police and the white kids around her were screaming at her, spitting on her and shaking their fists. Here was this girl maybe fifteen years old all alone, she stood tall and held her head up while the kids around her did their worst to make her feel afraid, their faces twisted with hate.


    I don’t know why most southern states are conservative politically because God knows the Republican Party hasn’t done shit for the middle class or poor. For some reason these same people think if you’re a Democrat you get free stuff, so far that hasn’t happened for me. I’m a Democrat because I refuse to be affiliated with a party that lets idiots run for President. For some reason racism was becoming hidden so well you could almost forget it. Then something happened that gave racism a whole new lease on life. A black man ran for President then damn if he didn’t win.

    Believe me when I say our racism got all up in your face when that happened. People who I thought were evolved were blurting out the “N word” like all of a sudden that shit was okay. That Confederate flag was flying high and proud in front of single-wides and shacks everywhere along with the Romney/Ryan campaign signs. Of course the signs should have come down but I guess they were afraid the Confederate flag wasn’t enough to show their displeasure at the election results.

    I also want to tell you people out there who think it’s really witty to spell the President’s name wrong like Obummer or some such shit as that, it’s not funny, it’s sad. Also any of you who refer to him as the Liar in Chief, the irony must make your assholes pucker up after the eight years of the Bush Presidency. This is the crux of the whole thing; this is what racism is, the lowest, most uneducated, toothless, inbred, southern white man still believes that his white skin makes him better than the President. Until we can get around that, racism will always be with us.

  14. rikyrah says:

    The message that Cam Newton’s Mother sent him on Game Day:


    • Ametia says:

      Just rest up and enjoy yourself for next season Cam. Stop defending yourself against these idiots. It takes attention & energy away from YOU BEING YOU.

  15. Liza says:

    Ha ha, so Red Lobster got lucky…

    Red Lobster's sales have spiked 33% since Beyoncé's endorsement https://t.co/kL0lVlAxG5 pic.twitter.com/LEMciL05MT— CNN (@CNN) February 9, 2016


  16. Liza says:

    I didn’t know that Bryan Stevenson’s “Just Mercy” is going to be made into a film.

    "Next up [Michael B.[ Jordan will star in Destin Cretton’s Just Mercy, based on Bryan Stevenson’s memoir." https://t.co/2GLzOUowxZ— Chris Jackson (@cjaxone) January 12, 2016


  17. Liza says:

    This guy is funny, his perspective. But, hell yes, dogs are family.

    Now white folks are going to flip their lids! Dogs have been ill affected by the water poisoning… https://t.co/g9KidT0HQp— Michael J. Muhammad (@mjmuhammad757) February 9, 2016


  18. rikyrah says:

    Axelrod subtweets Bill and Hillary Clinton after shake-up report
    By Jennifer Shutt
    02/08/16 04:28 PM EST

    David Axelrod took to Twitter on Monday to criticize Hillary Clinton’s political strategy in New Hampshire, following news that her campaign is considering shaking up its staffing after an expected loss there.
    “When the exact same problems crop up in separate campaigns, with different staff, at what point do the principals say, ‘Hey, maybe it’s US?’,” the former top aide to President Barack Obama tweeted.

  19. rikyrah says:

    Clinton weighs staff shake-up after New Hampshire
    ‘The Clintons are not happy, and have been letting all of us know that,’ one Democrat says.
    By Glenn Thrush and Annie Karni
    02/08/16 02:04 PM EST
    Updated 02/08/16 11:54 PM EST

    Hillary and Bill Clinton are so dissatisfied with their campaign’s messaging and digital operations they are considering staffing and strategy changes after what’s expected to be a loss in Tuesday’s primary in New Hampshire, according to a half-dozen people with direct knowledge of the situation.

    The Clintons — stung by her narrow victory in Iowa and shocked by polls showing her losing by as much as 20 percent here — had been planning to reassess staffing at the campaign’s Brooklyn headquarters after the first four primaries, but the Clintons have become increasingly caustic in their criticism of aides and demanded the reassessment sooner, a source told POLITICO.

  20. rikyrah says:

    These muthaphuckas belong IN JAIL:

    NEA President Meets With Flint Teachers for Crisis Update

    Submitted by mgarcia on Fri, 02/05/2016 – 14:58

    The “Flint Water Crisis” is so much more than the label implies. It goes beyond water, and it’s bigger than a crisis. Every day, it seems, the tragedy takes on a new dimension.


    Eisenhower Elementary teacher Darlene McClendon says her fifth and sixth graders worry they’re dying. Many have rashes, headaches, and stomachaches.

    “How do we reassure them? It’s heartbreaking to look in the eyes of a child and have them say ‘I’m scared,’” she said, tearing up as she told her story to Eskelsen García and a room full of MEA leaders gathered for the MEA’s 2016 Bargaining, Public Policy and Professional Development Conference.


    • Ametia says:

      Thank you for this, Rikyrah. Would you mind posting this on a separate thread for our archives?

      We won’t see another instance of this kind of celebration in the WH, at least not in my lifetime.

      Thank you!

    • yahtzeebutterfly says:

      Wow! What talented dancers + amazing choreography!

  21. I was up early making my oldest sister some homemade chicken noodle soup. She’s not doing well at all. People think she is my mother but no she is my daddy’s child from a previous marriage. She has heart problems, it’s very weak. I’m worried. If you pray, please lift her in prayer.

    • Liza says:

      Thank you for this. Ms. Morrison is a very wise lady. Stop playing defense. Game over. The opponent has no place to go.

  22. rikyrah says:

    Sometimes, you just can’t make this stuff up.



    Marco Rubio, Lampooned for Repeating Himself, Does It Again

    MANCHESTER, N.H. – Maybe it was just the end of a long, tiring day of campaigning. Or maybe Senator Marco Rubio’s opponents have gotten into his head.

    But on Monday, Mr. Rubio, the Florida Republican, who has been under relentless criticism for uttering his talking points over and over in Saturday’s presidential debate, had another repetitious lapse.

    Speaking to a crowd in Nashua, he was lamenting the decline in American family values.

    Then he lamented the decline in American values again.

    This is what he said verbatim, as his wife and four children looked on:

    “We are taking our message to families that are struggling to raise their children in the 21st century because, as you saw, Jeanette and I are raising our four children in the 21st century, and we know how hard it’s become to instill our values in our kids instead of the values they try to ram down our throats.

    “In the 21st century, it’s becoming harder than ever to instill in your children the values they teach in our homes and in our church instead of the values that they try to ram down our throats in the movies, in music, in popular culture.”

    Mr. Rubio appeared to notice his own echo: As he repeated the word “throats,” he caught himself, but proceeded to the end of his sentence nonetheless.


  23. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

  24. Ametia says:

    If you get a moment today, listen to the Murdering Joke-Carly Fio interview. I’ll look for the video. If you find it, feel free to post here. Thanks!


  25. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, EVeryone!

    Shining STAR for you to see, what your LIFE can truly BE.

    Thank you for EWF week, Rik. Loving the tribute to Mr. White too.

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