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Earth, Wind & Fire - Powerlight.jpg
Studio album by Earth, Wind & Fire
Released February 3, 1983
Recorded 1982
Genre R&B, electro-funk, post-disco, new wave, funk, boogie, synth-funk
Length 41:23
Label Columbia
Producer Maurice White
Earth, Wind & Fire chronology
Electric Universe
(1983)Electric Universe1983
Singles from Powerlight
  1. "Fall in Love with Me"
    Released: December 27, 1982
  2. "Side by Side"
    Released: April 19, 1983
  3. "Spread Your Love"
    Released: June 24, 1983

Powerlight is the twelfth studio album of American band Earth, Wind & Fire, released on February 3, 1983 by Columbia Records. The album was produced by the band's founder Maurice White. Powerlight rose to nos. 4 & 12 upon the Billboard Top R&B Albums and Billboard 200 charts respectively.[1][2]Powerlight was also certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.[3][4]


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[3]
Robert Christgau(A-)[7]
Warr.org3.5/5 stars[8]
Stereo Review(favourable)[9]

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".[10] Robert Christgau says that on the album "we're free to gape at this band's spectacular popcraft" and summed up his review by describing Powerlight as "the best argument for universalism they'll ever make".[7]


"Something Special" was sampled by rapper Will Smith on the title track of his debut 1997 album Big Willie Style. "Side by Side" was sampled by rapper Common on his song "Charms Alarm", featured on his 1992 debut album Can I Borrow a Dollar?.[11]

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.[13]

  • 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[1] 4
US Billboard 200[2] 12
Year Single Chart[14][15] 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