Brother mourns loss of drummer
Fred White of Earth, Wind and Fire has died
1/3/2023 2:33 am
Fred White is 19 years old when he joins the band of his two brothers Maurice and Verdine. Together with many other musicians they are on stage as “Earth, Wind and Fire”. Now the group’s former drummer has died.
Former Earth, Wind & Fire drummer Fred White has died aged 67. “Our family is mourning the loss of an amazing and talented member,” one of his brothers, Verdine White, the soul and funk band’s current bassist, wrote on Instagram. He was a “wonderful brother who was always entertaining and delightfully mischievous,” White said.
Born in Chicago in 1955, Fred White began playing the drums at a young age. In 1974 he joined the band that his brother Maurice White had founded in 1969 and renamed Earth, Wind & Fire in 1970. Together they won six Grammys.
Earth, Wind & Fire were particularly successful in the 1970s. With their sound somewhere between funk, soul, motown and pop, they were one of the first bands to break down the divide between whites and blacks in pop music. The musical group was popular with both whites, but also had a loyal African-American fan base. In 1979, they became the first black band to sell out New York’s Madison Square Garden.
In Germany, the hits “Boogie Wonderland” and “September” were particularly successful. The band posted a video of Fred White’s death on their Instagram channel showing him performing a drum solo in Essen in 1979. “Rest in love,” wrote the musicians.
After a lengthy hiatus in the 1980s, Earth, Wind & Fire made their comeback in 1987. However, Fred White was no longer there. The line-up of the band changed several times, and Fred’s brother Verdine White is still on the stage as a founding member. Barack Obama invited the musicians to the White House after his election as the first black US President in 2009, which helped the group to regain its popularity.