18 June, 2024
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Earth, Wind & Fire’s Fred White dies


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Percussionist Fred White of the trailblazing Chicago band Earth, Wind & Fire is dead at 67.

“Our family is saddened today with the loss of an amazing and talented family member, Our beloved brother Frederick Eugene ‘Freddie, White,” his brother Verdine White posted on Instagram on Monday.

Verdine White, a founding member and bass player for the Grammy-winning band started in 1969, said “brother number 4 in the family lineup” was now “drumming with the angels”.

While Verdine called his brother a founding member of the band in his tribute, the late percussionist was not credited on any Earth, Wind and Fire records until 1974.

He continued to play with the band live and on numerous recordings until the mid-1980s.

Maurice White is credited with starting the band that fused funk, pop, jazz and disco to create hit 1970s tunes including September, Boogie Wonderland and Shining Star. He died in 2016.

Monte White, the band’s tour manager, died in 2020, aged 66. Verdine White, 71, also remembered their brother Ronald White in his online memorial to younger brother Fred, who he called a “child protege”.

“He joins our brothers Maurice, Monte and Ronald in heaven and is now drumming with the angels!

“Child protege, member of the EWF ORIGINAL 9, with gold records at the young age of 16 years old! He was brother number four in the family line-up.

“But more than that at home and beyond he was the wonderful bro that was always entertaining and delightfully mischievous!

“And we could always count on him to make a seemingly bad situation more light hearted!

“He will live in our hearts forever, rest in power beloved Freddie!!

“We thank you all for your love, blessings and support at this time. Soar high baby bro, we love you to the shining and back!”

American singer-songwriter Lenny Kravitz remembered White as a “true king” as he paid tribute.

Commenting under Verdine’s Instagram post, Kravitz wrote: “Sending my love and deepest condolences to you and the family.

“I was blessed to have been in his presence and blessed to have been influenced by him. A true king. Rest in power.”

The band’s official Instagram page also posted a video of White solo drumming at a concert at Rockpalast in Essen, Germany as part of their Tour of the World in 1979 in tribute to the late musician.

Earth, Wind & Fire joined the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2000, where their live performances were recognised as “a spectacle of magic, muscle and musicianship”.


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