2016 has been a depressing year for the music world. We have lost so many great talents: Glenn Frey, David Bowie, Paul Kantner, Natalie Cole, and many more. The most recent star to fade was Maurice White, who died this past Friday from a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease.
White was best known as the co-lead vocalist for the disco/funk/R&B band Earth, Wind and Fire. A band who has sold over 90 million albums, singles, DVDs, cassettes, video tapes, and other media since they formed in 1969. The band is most remembered for their late 70s’ smash hits “September”, “Let’s Groove”, and “Boogie Wonderland”. White’s smooth tenor voice mixed with high pitched background vocals help to make Earth, Wind and Fire prominent in the late 70s.
One of my favorite Earth, Wind & Fire songs is “Boogie Wonderland”. I have a 12″ version of this song, which runs over eight minutes, in my music player. But, it’s never getting tiring. Its laid back, ambient feel makes “Boogie Wonderland” a pleasant tune to listen at any time.
By the late 80s, this groove maker’s health became worse as he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 1987. He was forced to retire from his band in 1994 and cut back his involvement in other musical projects. However, that same year, the Japanese pop band DREAMS COME TRUE released their second English single, “WHEREVER YOU ARE”, that featured White as background vocals.
“WHEREVER YOU ARE” is a perfect fit for Maurice White’s vocals as it’s a upbeat funky pop tune that shares a tiny resemblance to Earth, Wind & Fire’s popular hits. And White’s vocals compliments Miwa Yoshida’s vocals nicely as they share color and tone. Yoshida’s vocals, unlike the high pitched of the background female vocals of such songs like “Boogie Wonderland”, has a soulful but husky timbre.
This DREAMS COME TRUE song is a must-listen as it from the era when the band produced many great songs, like the one above. You don’t have to be a Japanese music enthusiastic to enjoy splendid melodies and the immense talent from each member. But also, “WHEREVER YOU ARE” includes a brilliant vocalist, Maurice White, whose talent will never vanished and always live on.
Don’t forgot to check out White’s mini-solo from the 1:55 mark!