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Earth, Wind & Fire - Powerlight.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedFebruary 3, 1983
GenreR&B, electro-funk, post-disco, new wave, funk, boogie, synth-funk
ProducerMaurice White
Earth, Wind & Fire chronology
Electric Universe
Singles from Powerlight
  1. "Fall in Love with Me"
    Released: November 1982
  2. "Side by Side"
    Released: April 1983
  3. "Spread Your Love"
    Released: June 1983

Powerlight is the twelfth studio album of American band Earth, Wind & Fire, released in February 1983 by Columbia Records.[1] The album rose to Nos. 4 & 12 upon the Billboard Top R&B Albums and Billboard 200 charts respectively.[2][3]Powerlight was also certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.[4]


Powerlight was produced by EWF leader Maurice White.[1]


The album cut "Fall in Love with Me" rose to Nos. 17 & 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot R&B Songs charts respectively. "Fall in Love with Me" was also Grammy nominated for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.[5]

As well another single entitled Side by Side got to No. 15 upon the Billboard Hot R&B Songs chart.[6]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4/5 stars[7]
Robert Christgau(A-)[8]
Warr.org3.5/5 stars[9]
Stereo Review(favourable)[10]
New York Times(favourable)[12]
Rolling Stone2/5 stars[14]
Los Angeles Times(favourable)[15][16]

The New York Times noted "melodious pop lyricism based on relatively complex, jazzy harmonies" on Powerlight.[12] Allmusic's Craig Lytle refers to the album as "an entertaining piece" and goes on to say that "Throughout the entire album, White's unifying message is fueled by the aggressive rhythms and relaxing melodies".[7] Robert Christgau also declared that on the LP "we're free to gape at this band's spectacular popcraft".[8]


Off the album "Something Special" was sampled by Will Smith on the title track of his 1997 debut album Big Willie Style.[17]

As well "Side by Side" was sampled by Common on the track "Charms Alarm", off his 1992 debut album Can I Borrow a Dollar?.[17]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
1."Fall in Love with Me"Wayne Vaughn, Wanda Vaughn, Maurice White5:54
2."Spread Your Love"Azar Lawrence, Beloyd Taylor, White3:51
3."Side by Side"W. Vaughn, W. Vaughn, White5:57
4."Straight from the Heart"Philip Bailey, Eduardo del Barrio, Roxanne Seeman, Freddie Washington4:42
Side two
5."The Speed of Love"Earth, Wind & Fire, Tony Haynes, Wayne Vaughn, White3:36
6."Freedom of Choice"Lawrence, Taylor, White4:10
7."Something Special"W. Vaughn, W. Vaughn, White4:23
8."Hearts to Heart"Lawrence, Taylor, White3:45
9."Miracles"Marry D'Astugues, del Barrio, Jon Lind, White4:58


Credits and personnel[edit]

Adapted from the Discogs credits.[19]

  • Additional backing vocals - Ms. Pluto
  • Additional backing vocals, guitar - Beloyd Taylor
  • Bass - Verdine White
  • Cello - Douglas Davis, Earl Madison, Frederick Seykora, Larry Corbett, Ronald Cooper, Suzie Katayama
  • Double bass - Arni Egilsson
  • Drums, percussion - Fred White
  • Guitar - Roland Bautista
  • Harp - Dorothy Remsen
  • Keyboards - Eduardo Del Barrio, Rick Kelly, Skip Scarborough, Wayne Vaughn, George Del Barrio
  • Lead & backing vocals, percussion - Philip Bailey
  • Lead & backing vocals, drums, kalimba - Maurice White
  • Percussion - Paulinho Da Costa, Ralph Johnson
  • Piano - Maxanne Lewis
  • Prophet-5 synthesizer - Azar Lawrence
  • Saxophone - Donald Myrick
  • Steel drums - Robert Greenidge
  • Synthesizer programming - Larry Dunn
  • Tabla - Zakir Hussain
  • Tenor saxophone - Andrew Woolfolk
  • Trombone - Bill Reichenbach Jr., Charles Loper, George Bohanon, Lew McCreary, Louis Satterfield
  • Trumpet - Chuck Findley, Gary Grant, Michael Harris, Oscar Brashear, Rahmlee Michael Davis, Jerry Hey
  • Viola - Alan Deveritch, Allan Harshman, Carole Mukogawa, David Schwartz, Joel Soultanian, Linn Subotnick, Milton Kestenbaum, Pamela Goldsmith, Roland Karo, Rollice Dale
  • Violin - Anatol Kaminsky, Arnold Belnick, Bill Hybel, Bob Sanov, Brenton Banks, George Kast, Haim Shtrum, Harry Bluestone, Janet Lakatos, Karen Jones, Marshall Sosson, Miwako Watanabe, Myer Bello, Nathan Ross, Nicole Bush, Pam Tompkins, Robert Lipsett, Robert Sushel, Ron Clark, Shari Zippert, Sheldon Sanov, Stanley Plummer


  • Strings arranged by Bill Meyers & George Del Barrio
  • Horns arranged by Jerry Hey, George Del Barrio & Bill Meyers
  • Art Direction - Monte White & Roger Carpenter
  • Illustration - Shusei Nagaoka
  • Concertmaster - Assa Drori, David Frisina
  • Assistant Engineers - Robert Spano & Steve Crimmel
  • Mastered by Bernie Grundman
  • Additional Mixing - Tom Perry
  • Production Staff - Geri White, Leonard Smith & Monte White
  • Steel drums made by Rudolph Charles
  • Producer - Maurice White
  • Recorded & Mixed by Mick Guzauski


Year Chart Position
1983 UK Albums (OCC) 22
US Top R&B Albums[2] 4
US Billboard 200[3] 12
Year Single Chart[20][21] Position
1983 "Fall in Love with Me" US Hot R&B Singles 4
US Dance Club Play 31
US Hot 100 17
"Side by Side" US Hot R&B Singles 15
US Hot 100 76
"Spread Your Love" US Hot R&B Singles 57


Publication Country Accolade[22] Year Rank
Village Voice U.S Dean's List 1983 36


  1. ^ a b "Earth, Wind & Fire: Powerlight". 45worlds.com.
  2. ^ a b "Earth, Wind & Fire: Powerlight (Top R&B Albums)". Billboard.com.
  3. ^ a b "Earth, Wind & Fire: Powerlight (Billboard 200)". Billboard.com.
  4. ^ "Earth, Wind & Fire: Powerlight". RIAA.com.
  5. ^ "Earth, Wind & Fire". Grammy.com.
  6. ^ "Earth, Wind & Fire: Side by Side". Billboard.com.
  7. ^ a b "Earth, Wind & Fire: Powerlight". Allmusic.com.
  8. ^ a b Christgau, Robert. "Consumer Guide Album Earth, Wind & Fire: Powerlight". robertchristgau.com.
  9. ^ Warr.org review
  10. ^ "EARTH, WIND & FIRE: Powerlight". Stero Review.
  11. ^ Album Reviews. Billboard Magazine. February 26, 1983. p. 52.
  12. ^ a b "BRAZIL'S BEAT ALTERS BLACK POP". nytimes.com.
  13. ^ Feature Picks. 44. Cashbox Magazine. February 26, 1983. p. 6.
  14. ^ "Earth, Wind & Fire: Powerlight". rollingstone.com.
  15. ^ "Earth, Wind & Fire: Powerlight". newspapers.com. Los Angeles Times. February 27, 1983. p. 303.
  16. ^ "Earth, Wind & Fire: Powerlight". newspapers.com. Los Angeles Times. February 27, 1983. p. 304.
  17. ^ a b "Earth, Wind & Fire: Powerlight". whosampled.com.
  18. ^ "Powerlight - Overview". allmusic.com. Retrieved September 13, 2010.
  19. ^ Powerlight on discogs.com
  20. ^ "Earth, Wind & Fire: Top R&B/Hip-Hop Songs". Billboard.com.
  21. ^ "Earth, Wind & Fire: Dance Club Songs". Billboard.com.
  22. ^ "Dean's List (1983)". robertchristgau.com.