Maurice White, Founder and Leader of Earth, Wind & Fire, Dies at 74

Maurice White, the founder and leader of Earth, Wind & Fire, whose genre-defying music made it one of the most successful bands of the 1970s, has died at his home in Los Angeles. He was 74.

The band’s publicist, Mark Young, said Mr. White died late Wednesday or early Thursday. He did not specify the cause, but Mr. White had announced in 2000 that he had Parkinson’s disease.

Earth, Wind & Fire — whose many hits included “Shining Star,” “September,” “That’s the Way of the World” and a cover of the Beatles’ “Got to Get You Into My Life” — had a sound that was rooted in rhythm and blues but crossed musical boundaries, attracting an audience that was as diverse racially as the music was stylistically.

The horn arrangements were punchy, the bass lines funky and the rhythms infectious, but there was also room for adventurous improvisation, mellow vocal harmonies and pure pop melodicism.

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