Significant Songs (112/113)

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.

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15 thoughts on “Significant Songs (112/113)

  1. They’ve always been an enigma to me . . obviously enormously popular and danceable but not, for me, that ‘funky’ or soulful. However, for stage costumes they were the tops. Maurice was prolific . . writer, singer, producer, manager . . what a fine life, RIP.
    I can see you Pete in a gold glitter suit making your moves to ‘Let’s Groove’ . . yes, I like that picture!!
    R xx

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    1. I know what you mean, Ro. They didn’t stick to any genre long enough to be considered as part of one. I think that they were a ‘Show-Band’, probably great to watch live, and a spectacle on stage. I love the brass section, and always thought there was real talent in the band, even if it wasn’t always obvious from some of the hits.
      Gold glitter suit on order…x

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  2. With my focus of working in the house at the moment I recently discovered Radio 6 Music and it has become my new daily soundtrack. The last two days have been filled with EWF and I’m a happier person because of it. Mr White may be gone but the sound shall remain. Nice tribute as ever Pete.

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  3. Maurice’s astrological sign, Sagittarius, has a primary elemental quality of Fire and seasonal qualities of Earth and Air, according to classical triplicities. (Sagittarius in the northern hemisphere occurs in the autumn, whose element is earth, and in the southern hemisphere, it is spring, whose element is air. Hence the omission of Water, the fourth classical element.) Based on this, he changed the band’s name, to “Earth, Wind & Fire”. (Wikipedia)

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    1. For me, Cindy, they were of a certain time, and endured in the memories of that time. They were not legendary, for sure, but I always liked to hear my old favourites when they came on the radio. The records are on vinyl, stored in the loft, so I never played them myself anymore.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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      1. Sure! I can think of twenty great 80s songs out there that place me back in age and conjure up the chapter of my life. Music is a time portal! We listen to vinyl all the time. Now my sons are buying me vinyls as Christmas gifts, but a good analog classic still sounds sweet!

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