Maurice White, co-founder of Earth, Wind & Fire, has died. The New York Times reports that White died late Wednesday or early Thursday, after being treated for Parkinson’s for many years. He was 74.
White was born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1941, and joined his church choir at age six. He started drumming with the Ramsey Lewis Trio in Chicago in the mid-1960s, and later formed the R&B group Salty Peppers in 1969 with Wade Flemons and Don Whitehead. When the group moved to Los Angeles, they signed with Warner Bros. and changed their name to Earth, Wind & Fire. Their self-titled debut was released in 1971.
White was a key player in Earth, Wind & Fire during their career, and co-wrote and produced many of their albums, including 1975′s That’s the Way of the World, 1977′s All ‘N All, 1980′s Faces and other recordings. White also worked with many other artists as a producer and composer, including Neil Diamond, Barbra Streisand and Barry Manilow.