Drummer Fred White, who backed his brothers Maurice and Verdine White in the Grammy-winning ensemble Earth, Wind & Fire, has died. He was 67 years old.
Verdine White, vocalist, percussionist and bassist for the band, published on Sunday on his Instagram account that his younger brother Frederick Eugene “Freddie” White had died. He did not say how or where his brother died.
Earth, Wind & Fire began in 1970 under the leadership of white mauritius, who created a band that could blend elements of jazz, funk, R&B, soul, dance, pop and rock, and celebrated African musicianship and spiritualism. Fueled by their Phenix Horns brass section and a reputation for energetic live performances, the group’s popularity grew after they moved to Columbia Records, then under the leadership of Clive Davis.
Fred White was already an accomplished drummer, playing for Donny Hathaway, before joining Earth, Wind & Fire in the mid-1970s. Paired with drummer and percussionist Ralph Johnson, the band’s rhythm section was solid and upbeat. and set the stage for songs like “Boogie Wonderland” and “September” to become instant favorites.
Verdine White said that her brother Fred was a gifted child musician, “with gold records at the young age of 16!” Fred White remained with the band until 1983.
“But more than that at home and beyond, he was the wonderful brother who was always entertaining and deliciously mischievous! And we could always count on him to make a seemingly bad situation more joyful!” White wrote.
Some of the band’s biggest hits remain hugely popular, often sampled and used in countless films. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000, played at the 2005 Super Bowl halftime show, and has six Grammy Awards. The band’s version of the Beatles’ “Got to Get You Into My Life” was on President Barack Obama’s first Spotify playlist.
The band’s most successful period began with the 1975 album “That’s the Way of the World” and continued for the rest of the decade. Other hits included “Serpentine Fire,” ″Shining Star” and “After the Love Has Gone.”
Maurice White died in the 74 years in 2016.