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Earth, Wind & Fire Songs: 14 Top Tracks

Let’s groove tonight with this knockout playlist!

When news dropped that Earth, Wind & Fire was heading out on the road with Lionel Richie for the Sing a Song All Night Long tour last year, let’s just say demand was high. “I can’t even get a ticket!” joked Earth, Wind & Fire founding member Verdine White to Planet Guitar, noting that he and the rest of the band were thrilled that the shows were selling out.

Now they and Richie are back by popular demand, gearing up for a second leg of the tour that kicks off May 23 in Knoxville, Tennessee, and runs through June. The fact that Earth, Wind & Fire remains in such high demand would do Maurice White, who founded the group in Chicago in 1969, proud. “Maurice was my mentor and leader,” Verdine shared of his older sibling, who passed away at the age of 74 in 2016, the same year EW&F was given the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

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band members standing together and smiling
Verdine White, Ralph Johnson, and Philip Bailey of Earth, Wind & Fire (2024)Aaron J. Thornton / Contributor / Getty

Younger brother Fred, who died at 67 last January, was a drummer for the band, and Verdine, now 72, is determined to keep his siblings’ spirits alive on the road. “[Fred] was a wonderful person; we played music together as kids,” Verdine noted. “They are in my heart forever. I couldn’t have asked for two better brothers.”

The joy for music the Whites shared seeped into all the Earth, Wind & Fire songs they produced through the years with fellow members such as Philip Bailey, Ralph Johnson, Al McKay, Don Whitehead, Andrew Woolfolk, Johnny Graham, Larry Dunn and others. The band’s irresistible mix of funk, African roots, soul, jazz, R&B, blues, gospel and pop pushed music to new boundaries in the 70s and 80s, and, as journalist Harry Weinger noted, they “proved the power of Black music” and solidified its growth.

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band members performing a concert
Earth, Wind & Fire performing (1979)Michael Putland / Contributor / Getty

“Maurice was very clear,” Verdine shared. “We were to strive to be part of the great history of Black music. He pulled from our roots, Miles Davis, John Coltrane. Then he’d point to Sly Stone and say, ‘There’s someone who’s bringing the music forward.’”

As Lil’ Kim noted when she inducted them into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2000, Earth, Wind & Fire “made music that celebrates who we are and who we can be… [bringing] a jazziness, a funk and a wide open spirit to the pop charts without ever selling out, or selling themselves short.”

The band, which has sold more than 90 million records, seems as unstoppable today as ever: After their tour with Richie, they’ll join Chicago on dates throughout the summer on the bands’ joint Heart & Soul tour. And starting October 9, they’ll kick off another multiple-week residency in Las Vegas at The Venetian Theatre.

three men performing on stage; earth, wind and fire
Earth, Wind & Fire (2021)Terry Wyatt / Contributor / Getty

“We get to call the Venetian home for a few weeks every year,” Bailey, whose son Philip Bailey, Jr., is now part of the current band’s lineup, told Las Vegas Weekly about their fifth year at the resort.

“We’ve gone around the globe so many times, it’s kind of like our neighborhood,” he added of the band’s travels, noting how they love to meet and party with audiences wherever they are. “We definitely want to thank all the fans who have embraced the fire and supported us for as long as [they] have.”

But why wait for a concert to get in on the fun? Here are some of the Earth, Wind & Fire songs that are sure to have everyone up out of their seats and dancing!

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14. “Fall in Love With Me” (1983): Earth, Wind & Fire songs

I would build you up, never let you down, if you fall in love with me.” This proved to be Earth, Wind & Fire’s final Top 40 hit and one that Vanity Fair hailed as a “classic disco throbber, with Maurice White inviting listeners to ‘Help yourself to all of me.’”

13. “You Want My Love” (2021)

So why you keep it bottled up? Open, open, let me show you what I can do.” The band reworked their 1976 song “Can’t Hide Love” with the help of producer-guitarist Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds and singer Lucky Daye. “The reimagined…classic with a new-school crooner is a hit across the board,” Vibe raves of this smooth and sexy track that “[showcases] ’60s juke joint realness” and debuted at No. 1 on R&B radio.

12. “Mighty Mighty” (1974): Earth, Wind & Fire songs

Everyday is real, don’t run from fear, ’cause better days are very near.” This funky gem proved to be the band’s first Top 40 hit, reaching No. 23, though it went all the way to No. 4 on the Soul charts. It might’ve reached higher on the pop charts, Verdine told Goldmine, “[but] at the time Top 40 radio was scared of ‘Mighty Mighty,’ because they thought it was a song about Black Power.”

11. “Getaway” (1976)

So come, take me by the hand, we’ll leave this troubled land.” Verdine once noted that this was a tricky track for the band to lay down in the studio, but co-writer Peter Cor assured Songfacts that everyone’s persistence and hard work paid off. “[Bernard Taylor and I] wrote the tune…in a more progressive rock style with still a funk feel behind it… So I think Verdine is probably alluding to the fact that it was a challenge to put their style on this tune, but they knocked it out of the park.”

10. “Wanna Be With You” (1982): Earth, Wind & Fire songs

Look at you, like someone from a dream, you came to me in time of need.” This mid-tempo winner took home the Grammy for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group. The song, with its blend of disco, funk, and R&B, offers a chill, jazzy vibe with steady handclaps throughout that just make you, well, want to clap and sway along.

9. “Serpentine Fire” (1977)

I wanna see your face in the morning sun. Ignite my energy, ow!” This classic sure did light up Billboard’s Soul charts, as it owned the No. 1 position for seven weeks straight. Co-written by Maurice and Verdine White, along with Reginald Burke, the song was inspired by Kundalini yoga and how one can reach a higher consciousness of energy. “Nobody knows what I’m talking about, but a lot of kids go out and look it up and immediately it expands their consciousness,” Maurice once noted of the unique power this track had.

8. “Sing a Song” (1975): Earth, Wind & Fire songs

When you feel down and out, sing a song (it’ll make your day).” Truer words were never spoken — or sung! No matter your current mood, this track’s lyrics (and heavenly horns!) are guaranteed to put a smile on your face and a groove in your step. “[Maurice] White kept the words simple and optimistic, penning an infectious disco-flecked jingle praising the healing power of music,” Rolling Stone said of this No. 1 R&B “studio gem.”

7. “Fantasy” (1978)

Our voices will ring together, until the twelfth of never. We all will live, love forever, as one.” As Rolling Stone noted, “The music is as close to elegance as any funk song has come,” praising its “odd instrumental mix that gives equal emphasis to percussion…bass, rhythm guitars and stabbing, staccato horn bursts.” Philip Bailey’s brilliant falsetto is front and center, as is the tune’s feel-good message. “It’s not only trippy lyrics, but the song…It’s an international song. One of my favorites, personally,” co-writer Verdine White told Vegas’ ShulmanSays website, adding, “And the audience? They still love it!”

6. “That’s the Way of the World” (1975): Earth, Wind & Fire songs

You will find peace of mind if you look way down in your heart and soul.” “It reaches a climax and just stays there. It was a great song from the beginning,” Maurice White told musician-journalist Paul Zollo’s online magazine Bluerailroad about this track, adding that it was arguably his all-time favorite of the band’s. “Some songs are just more inspirational than others,” Maurice noted. “And that’s one of the few [that] just gets better and better and better.”

5. “After the Love Has Gone” (1979)

Something happened along the way, and yesterday was all we had.” This brilliantly beautiful ballad (co-written by David Foster, along with Chicago’s Bill Champlin) won a Grammy for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group or Chorus. The song, the band’s second-highest Billboard Hot 100 single, was only kept out of the No. 1 position by The Knack’s “My Sharona.” Foster noted to the New York Times that Maurice White, who sings lead on this track, taught him more than any other singer he’d ever worked with, “because he did jazz, pop, R&B, country. Because you name the genre and he could do it.”

4. “Boogie Wonderland” (1979): Earth, Wind & Fire songs

I find romance when I start to dance in Boogie Wonderland.” Earth, Wind & Fire teamed up with The Emotions on this disco treat, which was Grammy-nominated for Best Disco Recording in the sole year that award was given out by the Recording Academy. While it didn’t win that category, it did take home a metal gramophone trophy for Best R&B Instrumental Performance (for its B-side alternate version), a category the band also won the year prior for “Runnin’.”

3. “Let’s Groove” (1981)

Let this groove, get you to move. It’s alright (alright!).” Just try not to glide like a 747 when this one gets played! As Pop Matters notes, “Any DJ in the world will tell you that the opening notes of ‘Let’s Groove’ retain the power to bring any party, anywhere, to the next level.” This million-selling funked-up classic was co-written by Maurice White and The Emotions’ Wanda Vaughn and her husband Wayne Vaughn, and “Let’s Groove” got stuck in one very impressive groove: the top spot on the R&B charts for eight weeks.

2. “Shining Star” (1975): Earth, Wind & Fire songs

You’re a shining star, no matter who you are, shining bright to see, what you could truly be.” This monster hit was the first of Earth, Wind & Fire’s to top both the pop and the soul charts. It also nabbed a Grammy win for Best R&B Vocal Performance By A Duo, Group or Chorus. The song came at a time that “signaled whether we would go on and become a mainstream group or just be an R&B act,” Verdine White told Mix magazine. “At that particular time, which is different than radio today, they didn’t really cross a lot of Black acts over to mainstream radio. We already had two gold albums…but still, most of the mainstream didn’t know who we were.” They sure did, though, after this one broke through.

1.  “September” (1978)

Do you remember…” Verdine White has cited this classic as the Earth, Wind & Fire song that still gets audiences the most excited today. Unbelievably, the joyous tune — “a ballad with a big groove,” as Maurice White once described it — was penned during turbulent circumstances. “That was written actually in Washington D.C. in the middle of a riot,” he revealed to Bluerailroad. “We were just trying to find something to do so in the middle of it, we just started to write a tune. We wrote it while looking outside the window at the riot. And ‘September’ was the song.”

The lyrics don’t touch upon the riots, of course. As Maurice once told the Associated Press, Earth, Wind & Fire’s goal was to “inspire young people” to have self-belief and confidence. “The bell was ringing, our souls were singing, do you remember, never a cloudy day…

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