I was introduced to Earth, Wind and Fire in an unusual way. When I lived near Akron Ohio, a good friend of mine announced he was being transferred to Atlanta soon. Downhearted, we decided to make a “suicide pact” and go to the local Ticketmaster and buy concert tickets to whatever was playing at the Cleveland Coliseum that week… no matter what it was.
We ended up being the only two white (and I mean really white) guys in the whole place! We also wound up nearly in the back row behind a post — behind the stage. To prove how suicidal he really was, my friend decided to begin working his way down and around, occupying empty seats until someone one came along with tickets and we’d have to apologize and move. Did we go back meekly to our own seats? No, he’d keep urging us forward to the point miraculously where we were about fifteenth row center.
I expected to be murdered at any moment or thrown out by security.
In the darkness a pyramid appeared in dry ice smoke and the sides dropped to the opening strains of “That’s the Way of the World”.
My jaw dropped. To this day that song has a lot of meaning to me. The studio version (which is reproduced crystal clearly here) versus my scratched album can take you off on a relaxing cloud of "Ahhhh…" It is best listened to with cranked headphones and a DO NOT DISTURB sign hung around your neck.
Earth, Wind, and Fire produced the kind of Grammy winning music that you listen to over and over and over again. While doing so you think you’ll never get tired of it. However after a few months of eye-closed cologne bottle lip-syncing to the words and playing either air guitar, air trumpet or air piano, you’ll eventually put it away in favor of their next album. A couple of months later you hear it on the radio and you go back and you’re hooked all over again and again and again.
There are songs here that will make you moan in satisfaction and cause you to smile at a memory that the opening chords will evoke. When “After the Love is Gone” starts, the next thing you know you’ll be up on your feet, headphone cord whipping around your ankles while the cat plays with it, and eventually your imaginary concert crowd will applaud you wildly as you bow and sign autographs all over again. To this day I still can’t listen to that track without breaking out in tears.
I don’t care how bad your falsetto is — it’ll get a workout on “Reasons”. Just make sure no one’s recording you while you’re blissfully unaware in your headphones with your eyes closed.
Over the years the personnel of this large group of talented performers has grown and changed, but there’s one thing that never has — the music.
There are roots in gospel, blues, jazz and even country music. You’ll hear hints of Elvis, Ray Charles, James Brown, and even Bach and Mozart.
Compilation producers Leo Sacks and lead singer Maurice White did a great job for Legacy.
*My personal favorites. **My absolute favorites.
1. That's the Way of the World**
4. Can't Hide Love*
6. I'll Write a Song for You*
7. Be Ever Wonderful
9. After the Love Has Gone**
10. Love's Holiday
11. Keep Your Head to the Sky
Even if you’ve never heard of Earth Wind and Fire, this CD is definitely worth trying out. Once you do, you’ll never look at today’s music the same ever again. Unlike a few rip-off CDs, these are the original glorious recordings, all clear and beautifully flawless.
Just be sure the "previous track" button works on your remote — it’ll get a workout.