After his classic acoustic albums in the 1960s, Ramsey Lewis wanted to head in a new musical direction in the 1970s. As the mid-70s approached, he reunited with Maurice White, who at that time was with his own band, Earth, Wind & Fire. Members of EW&F including White played on the album sessions, while Philip Bailey added vocals.
The album became a crossover hit, charting at No. 1 on the Billboard R&B and jazz album charts, while peaking at No. 12 on the pop album chart. The tracks, "Hot Dawgit" and "Sun Goddess", charted on the R&B, pop and disco singles charts.Sun Goddess was certified gold by the RIAA.
For years, the identity of the woman on the album cover, photographed by Herb Breuer, had been a mystery among fans, as there was no credit on the album cover. Lewis revealed on his Facebook page in June 2011 that the model was Susan Leigh Scott, now Susan Maxon. Maxon had moved to Seattle, where Lewis was performing during his 2011 Sun Goddess Tour, and decided to attend one of his performances. A photo was taken of the backstage meeting between Lewis and Maxon, which Lewis posted on his page.