Earth, Wind & Fire (album)

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Earth, Wind & Fire
Earth, Wind & Fire - Earth, Wind & Fire.jpg
Studio album by Earth, Wind & Fire
Released February 1971
Studio Sunset Sound Studios, Hollywood
Genre Funk, soul, psychedelic soul
Length 27:58
Label Warner Bros.
Producer Joe Wissert
Earth, Wind & Fire chronology
Earth, Wind & Fire
The Need of Love

Earth, Wind & Fire is the self-titled debut studio album by American group Earth, Wind & Fire, released in February 1971 by Warner Bros. Records, however, some early pressings list 1970. The lineup is quite different from the one that became famous during the mid-1970s. This edition of the group would be disbanded after its second album.

The music on this album is much tougher and more raw than the sound the group later became famous for. The vocals are very much a collaborative effort. Leads are freely traded, and many lines are sung by multiple voices. Leader Maurice White, who would front later editions of the group, is content to stay behind the drums here, blending his vocals with the rest. Young Leslie Drayton, who would later gain respect as a jazz man, handles the horn arrangements. "Love is Life", from this album, was a modest hit for the group.

After EWF scored multi-platinum success in the mid-1970s, Warner Bros repackaged this album along with the group's second effort "Need of Love", as a double LP set entitled "Another Time".

Critical reception[edit]

In a review upon the album's release, Lester Bangs of Rolling Stone complimented its "heavy Sly influence" and funk riffs, but noted a lack of originality in the songwriting, writing that the songs lack "Sly's sense of derision and irony. The lyrics, unwisely printed inside, are as preachy and lovepeace cloying as anything Motown has done recently".[1] In his consumer guide for The Village Voice, critic Robert Christgau gave the album a "C+".[2] Christgau was ambivalent towards the album's various musical "cross-references", including "the expert vocal harmonies [that] neither fit the concept nor assert any personality of their own", and said that even its successful songs have "a way of slipping away unnoticed once the record is over".[2]

In a retrospective review, AllMusic editor John Bush gave the album four-and-a-half out of five stars and complimented its songs' "freewheeling arrangements".[3] Bush found the songwriting "as strong and focused as the musicianship" and praised the songs' social context, noting "unerringly positive compositions, reflecting the influence of the civil rights movement with nearly every song urging love, community, and knowledge as alternatives to the increasing hopelessness plaguing American society".[3]

Sample use[edit]

"Bad Tune" was sampled by Lupe Fiasco on his song "Carrera Lu" on his album Food & Liquor and by Brand Nubian on their song "Dance to My Ministry" that was featured on their album One for All. Rapper Ghostface Killah sampled "Love is Life" on the track "Miguel Sanchez" on his album More Fish and "Moment of Truth" was sampled by LL Cool J and Kid N' Play on the track "Murdergram" and the track "Energy" on the album Mama Said Knock You Out and the album Funhouse respectively.[4]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
1."Help Somebody"Wade Flemons, Maurice White, Don Whitehead3:37
2."Moment of Truth"Wade Flemons, Maurice White, Don Whitehead3:08
3."Love Is Life"Wade Flemons, Maurice White, Don Whitehead5:02
4."Fan the Fire"Wade Flemons, Maurice White, Don Whitehead4:59
Side two
5."C'mon Children"Michael Beal, Wade Flemons, Maurice White, Verdine White, Don Whitehead3:08
6."This World Today"Wade Flemons, Maurice White, Don Whitehead3:33
7."Bad Tune"Michael Beal, Wade Flemons, Maurice White, Verdine White, Don Whitehead4:31




  • Producer: Joe Wissert
  • Recording engineer: Bruce Botnick
  • Arranger: Earth, Wind & Fire
  • Horn arrangements: Leslie Drayton
  • Art direction: Ed Thrasher
  • Design: Mary Ann Dibs
  • Artwork: Russ Smith


AlbumBillboard (United States)

Year Chart Position
1971 Black Albums 24
Pop Albums 172

Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
France (SNEP)[5] Gold 100,000[6]


External links[edit]