Drummer, Fred White, who backed up his brothers Maurice and Verdine White in the Grammy-winning ensemble Earth, Wind and Fire, has died at the age of 67.
Verdine White, a vocalist, percussionist and bass player for the band, posted on his Instagram account that his younger brother, Frederick Eugene “Freddie” White, had died. He didn’t say how or where his brother died.
Earth, Wind and Fire began in 1970 under the leadership of Maurice White, who created a band that could combine elements of jazz, funk, R&B, soul, dance, pop and rock, and celebrated African musicianship and spiritualism.
Driven by their horn section, the Phenix Horns and a reputation for energetic and bombastic live performances, the group’s popularity grew after they moved to Columbia Records, which was then under the leadership of Clive Davis.
Fred White was already an accomplished drummer, playing for Donny Hathaway, before he joined Earth, Wind and Fire in the mid-1970s.
Paired alongside drummer and percussionist, Ralph Johnson, the band’s rhythm section was tight and upbeat and set the stage for songs like “Boogie Wonderland” and “September” to become instant favorites.
Verdine White said Fred was a gifted child musician, “with gold records at the young age of 16 years old!” Fred White remained with the band until 1983.
Some of the band’s biggest hits are still widely popular, often sampled and used in countless movies.
The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000, played the 2005 Super Bowl halftime show and has six Grammys.
The band’s “Got to Get You into My Life” was on President Barack Obama’s first Spotify playlist.
Writing by Tersoo Nicholas; Editing by Tony Okerafor