This week William Price King shares the music of legendary American band Earth, Wind and Fire
Earth, Wind & Fire (abbreviated as EW&F or simply EWF) is an American band that has spanned the musical genres of R&B, soul, funk, jazz, disco, pop, rock, dance, Latin, and Afro pop.They have been described as one of the most innovative and commercially successful acts of all time. Rolling Stone called them “innovative, precise yet sensual, calculated yet galvanizing” and declared that the band “changed the sound of black pop”. VH1 has also described EWF as “one of the greatest bands” ever.
The band was founded in Chicago by Maurice White in 1969, having grown out of a previous band known as the Salty Peppers. As well other prominent members of EWF have included Philip Bailey, Verdine White, Ralph Johnson, Larry Dunn, Al McKay, Roland Bautista, Robert Brookins, Sonny Emory, Fred Ravel, Ronnie Laws, Sheldon Reynolds and Andrew Woolfolk. The band is known for its kalimba sound, dynamic horn section, energetic and elaborate stage shows, and the contrast between Philip Bailey’s falsetto vocals and Maurice White’s baritone.
The band has won six Grammys from their 17 nominations and four American Music Awards out of 12 nominations. They have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, the NAACP Image Award Hall of Fame, and Hollywood’s Rockwalk, in addition to receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. With sales of over 90 million records, they are one of the world’s best-selling bands of all time.
The band has also received an ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Heritage Award, BET Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Soul Train Legend Award, as well as a NARAS Signature Governor’s Award, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2012 Congressional Horizon Award and the Kennedy Center Honors in 2019, along with Sally Field, Linda Ronstadt, Sesame Street and Michael Tilson Thomas. Sources: Wikipedia
You can find out more about the band’s history and tour dates: Earth, Wind and Fire Official site
Now time for some music from this amazing band.
“September” was released as a single in 1978 on ARC/Colombia Records and reached #1 on the US Billboard Hot R&B Songs chart, #8 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and #3 on the UK Singles Chart. “September” was used in the opening of the 1997 movie “Soul Food” and HBO even named a movie after the song. It made its way into TV shows, commercials, sporting events and video games. In 2008, it was played at both the Republican and Democratic national conventions. The song was penned by Maurice White, Al McKay, and Allee Willis and was nominated for the CMT Music award as the CMT Performance of the Year. The structure of the song is a four chord dance cycle that keeps moving forward, like the four seasons, in an endless transition from warm to cool.
“Boogie Wonderland,” composed by Allee Willis and Jon Lind, was recorded with the female singing group ‘The Emotions’ and released in April 1979 on Colombia Records. It peaked at #14 on the dance chart, #6 on the Billboard Hot 100, and #2 on the Hot Soul Singles chart. This song was inspired by the movie “Looking for Mr. Goodbar,” with Diane Keaton as a lost soul who goes to clubs every night to dance away her misery, looking for true love, someone to drag her out of her abyss. “Boogie Wonderland” was nominated for a Grammy in the categories of ‘Best R&B Instrumental Performance’ and ‘Best Disco Recording.’
“Fantasy” is from the album “All ‘N All” and was released as a single in 1978. Composed by Maurice White, Verdine White, and Eddie del Barrio, it reached #32 on the US Pop Chart, #12 on the R&B singles chart, and #14 on the UK singles chart. This piece was composed over a period of three months and was inspired by the film ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind.’
“Fantasy” was nominated for a Grammy Award as ‘Best R&B Song’ and is featured in the films ‘Be Cool’ starring John Travolta, and Private Lessons.’
“That’s The Way of the World” was the sixth studio album by Earth, Wind & Fire on Colombia Records. Daryl Easlea of the BBC described the album as a “soul masterpiece. The album peaked at #1 on both the Billboard 200 and Top Soul Albums charts and was certified Triple Platinum in the by the RIAA. It was nominated for an American Music Award in 1975 and 1976 for ‘Favorite Soul/R&B Album and won a ‘Rock Music Award’ in the category of ‘Best R&B and Blues Album.’ While many hits of the disco era were meaningless, Earth, Wind & Fire considered their songs meaningful, and this one projected a positive message in a turbulent time.
William Price King is an American jazz singer, crooner, and composer.
His interest in music began at an early age when he studied piano and clarinet in high school. At Morehouse College in Atlanta where he grew up, he sang in the Glee Club and studied classical music. After graduation he went off to the Yale School of Music where he earned a Masters degree. From there he journeyed to New York where he created a jazz trio ‘Au Naturel’ which performed in some of the hottest venues in Manhattan including gigs on Broadway and the famous ‘Rainbow Room.’ These gigs opened doors for performances in Montreal and a European tour.
While touring Europe he met a lovely French lady, Jeanne Maïstre, who, a year later became his wife. King left the group ‘Au Naturel’ and settled in the south of France where he started a new life on the French Riviera, opening his own music school – the “Price King Ecole Internationale de Chant.” He has had the pleasure over the years of seeing many of his students excel as singers on a professional level, and some going on to become national celebrities. He continues to coach young singers today, in his spare time.
His debut jazz album was entitled “Home,” and was a collection of contemporary compositions he composed, with lyrics written by his wife Jeanne King. His second album was a Duo (Voice and Guitar) with Eric Sempé on the guitar. This album included original songs as well as well known standards from contemporary jazz and pop artists. The “King-Sempé” duo toured France and thrilled audiences for more than three years before going their separate ways. King has formed a new duo with French/Greek guitarist Manolis, and is now exploring new ideas, in a smooth jazz/soul/folk direction.
In addition to singing and composing, King has been collaborating with author Sally Cronin over the past few years on her blog “Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life,” with the series “A Man And His Music – Jazz, Contemporary, Classical, and Legends” and now, the “William Price King Music Column.” Working with author Sally Cronin has been an exhilarating experience in many ways and has brought a new dimension to King’s creative life. King has also created a micro blog, “Improvisation,” which features and introduces mostly jazz artists from across the jazz spectrum who have made considerable contributions in the world of jazz; and also artwork from painters who have made their mark in the world of art. This micro blog can be found on Tumblr.
His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Tormé. King has a distinctive wide-ranging voice which displays a remarkable technical facility and emotional depth.
My thanks to William for the amazing artists he has brought to the blog and thank you for dropping in today. As always your feedback is very welcome.