September/After The Love Has Gone
I rarely post two songs by the same group or solo artist in this series, but today is an exception. By coincidence, I had a draft in post about a song by the group ‘Earth, Wind & Fire’, then I heard the sad news about Maurice White. I decided to delete that one, and combine two of the band’s best-known songs into this delayed tribute.
It was around the end of 1975 when I first heard this band. They assembled a sound that was a fusion of funk, soul, and jazz, with the feel of a big band thrown in for good measure. The vocals were strong, and the harmonies a delight to the ear. The songs were pretty good too, and the huge line-up made for some real stage presence. There were outlandish outfits, and eye-catching album covers, referencing everything from Egyptian motifs, to Modernist graphics. What drew me in, and kept me there, was the dynamic horn section, perfectly accompanying the high voice of Phil Bailey, or the deeper tones of Maurice White. Nobody else ever sounded like EWF, and that sound was always instantly recognisable.
When I got around to buying my first copy of one of their albums, they had already been working for more than five years with some success, though mainly in the USA. By the time the album ‘All ‘N All’ was released in 1977, they were known the world over, and the track ‘Fantasy’ became a huge hit single, with the following year seeing the release of ‘September.’ By 1979, they could do no wrong, and the album that year, ‘I Am’ gave us ‘After The Love Has Gone’, ‘In The Stone’, and ‘Boogie Wonderland’. That last track was and still is a Disco classic, played every day on the radio all around the world, and ‘After The Love Has Gone’ left us one of the great mournful love songs of the age.
They continued their successful career, despite Maurice no longer being able to tour, after contracting Parkinson’s disease, and were still performing as recently as December 2014. On 4th February, two days ago, Maurice White died, aged 74. Thanks for the decades of great music, Maurice.