That's the Way of the World

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That's the Way of the World
Whiskeytown-Stranger's Almanac (album cover).jpg
Soundtrack album by
ReleasedMarch 15, 1975
RecordedSeptember 16, 1974 - October 2, 1974, Caribou Ranch (Nederland, CO); Sunset Sound (Los Angeles, CA); Hollywood Sound Recorders (Hollywood, CA); The Burbank Studios (Burbank, CA).
GenreR&B, soul, funk
Legacy (1999 reissue)
ProducerMaurice White, Charles Stepney
Earth, Wind & Fire chronology
Another Time
That's the Way of the World
Singles from That's the Way of the World
  1. "Shining Star"
    Released: January 21, 1975
  2. "That's the Way of the World"
    Released: June 17, 1975

That's the Way of the World is the sixth studio album by Earth, Wind & Fire, released on March 15, 1975 by Columbia Records. It was also the soundtrack for a 1975 motion picture of the same name.[1][2] The album rose to No. 1 on both the Billboard 200 and Top Soul Albums charts.[3][4] That's the Way of the World has also been certified Triple Platinum in the U.S by the RIAA.[5]


That's the Way of the World was produced by both EWF leader Maurice White and Charles Stepney.[2][1] The album spent three weeks atop the Billboard 200 chart.[3] That's the Way of the World also stayed on top of the Billboard Top Soul Albums chart for five weeks altogether.[4]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4.5/5 stars[6]
Village VoiceB+[8]
MusicHound3.5/5 stars[9]
Rolling Stone(favorable)[10]
Virgin Encyclopedia4/5 stars[12]
The Guardian(favorable)[13]

The album received generally positive reviews from critics. Billboard described the album as "a very tightly produced and performed package" and added in their review that "EW&F has some of the finest musicians in any band and the compositions are all top-notch".[7] Music critic Robert Christgau noted that on the album "this unit can do so many things it qualifies as the one-man band of black music even though it has nine members".[8] That's the Way of the World has also been described by Alex Henderson of Allmusic as and "one of the strongest albums of the 1970s" and "EWF's crowning achievement".[6]

That's the Way of the World was nominated in 1975 and 1976 for an American Music Award for Favorite Soul/R&B Album. EWF also won a Rock Music Award for That's the Way of the World in the category of Best Rhythm and Blues Album.[16][17]


Off the LP came the single "Shining Star" which rose to number one on both the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot Soul Singles charts. Shining Star went on to win a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.[18][19][20] The album's "title track," also reached Nos. 5 & 12 on the Billboard Hot Soul Singles and Hot 100 charts respectively.[21][22]

Track listing[edit]

Original release (33280)[23][edit]

Side one
1."Shining Star"Philip Bailey, Larry Dunn, Maurice White2:50
2."That's the Way of the World"Charles Stepney, Verdine White, M. White5:45
3."Happy Feelin'"Al McKay, V. White, P. Bailey, L. Dunn, M. White3:35
4."All About Love"L. Dunn, M. White6:35
Side two
5."Yearnin' Learnin'"P. Bailey, C. Stepney, M. White3:39
6."Reasons"P. Bailey, C. Stepney, M. White4:59
7."Africano"L. Dunn, M. White5:09
8."See the Light"Louise Anglin, P. Bailey, L. Dunn6:18

Covers and samples[edit]

"Reasons," the album's breakout love ballad, has been covered by Stanley Turrentine, Ramsey Lewis, Maxi Priest and other artists.[25] "Reasons" has also been sampled by Master P on Intro/17 on his album 99 Ways to Die.[26] In 1988, saxophonist Najee covered the song from his album Day by Day.[27] In 1999, Groove Armada sampled the drum intro of "Happy Feelin'" for their song I See You Baby.[28]


Credits are adapted from Allmusic[6] and the album’s Liner Notes[23][24]


  • Producer – Maurice White (Original), Leo Sacks (Reissue)
  • Co-producer – Charles Stepney (Original)
  • Recording Engineer – George Massenburg (1-8), Curt Wittig (8)
  • Mixing – George Massenburg (1-8), Maurice White (9-13), Paul Klingberg (9-13), Leo Sacks (9-13)
  • Mixed at Hollywood Sound Recorders (Hollywood, CA).
  • Mastered at Kendun Recorders (Burbank, CA).
  • Art Direction – Howard Fritzen
  • Design – Stephen Newman and Shusei Nagaoka
  • Photography – Norman Seeff
  • Musical Arrangements – Earth, Wind & Fire and Charles Stepney


Album - Billboard
Year Chart Position
1975 Pop Albums 1
Black Albums
Singles – Billboard
Year Single Chart Position
1975 "Shining Star" Black Singles 1
Pop Singles 1
"That's the Way of the World" Black Singles 5
Pop Singles 12


The information regarding accolades attributed to That's the Way of the World is adapted from, and[29][30][31]

Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
Pause & Play U.S. Albums Inducted into a Time Capsule, One Album per Week 2008 *
Robert Dimery 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die 2005 *
Rolling Stone The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 2003 493
The Recording Academy Grammy Hall of Fame 2004 *
Vibe Magazine 51 Albums representing a Generation, a Sound and a Movement 2004 *
Rickey Vincent Five Star Albums from "FUNK: The MUSIC, the PEOPLE, and the RHYTHM *
National Association of Recording Merchandisers and The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame The Definitive 200 2007 187 The Greatest Soul albums of the 1970s 2009 1
(*) designates lists that are unordered.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Earth, Wind & Fire: That's The Way Of The World". 45worlds.
  2. ^ a b Flans, Robyn (December 1, 2004). "Classic Tracks: Earth, Wind & Fire's "Shining Star"". Archived from the original on November 10, 2009. Retrieved May 7, 2009.
  3. ^ a b "Earth, Wind & Fire: That's The Way Of The World (Billboard 200)".
  4. ^ a b "Earrh, Wind & Fire: That's The Way Of The World (Top Soul Albums)".
  5. ^ "Earth, Wind & Fire: That's The Way Of The World".
  6. ^ a b c d Henderson, Alex. "Earth, Wind & Fire: That's the Way of the World".
  7. ^ a b Album Reviews. Billboard Magazine. March 8, 1975. p. 84.
  8. ^ a b "Earth, Wind & Fire: That's the Way of the World". Village Voice.
  9. ^ Holtje, Steve (1996). Earth, Wind & Fire: That's The Way Of The World. Musichound Rock: The Essential Album Guide.
  10. ^ Fletcher, G. (2011). "Earth, Wind & Fire: That's The Way Of The World : Music Reviews : Rolling Stone". Archived from the original on May 4, 2009. Retrieved 22 July 2011.
  11. ^ "Vibe - Google Bücher". 2011. Retrieved 22 July 2011.
  12. ^ "Acclaimed Music - That's the Way of the World". Acclaimed Music. 2010. Archived from the original on 2011-01-17. Retrieved 22 July 2011.
  13. ^ "Old music: Earth, Wind & Fire – That's the Way of the World".
  14. ^ Cashbox Album Reviews. Cashbox Magazine. 36. March 8, 1975. p. 36.
  15. ^ Easlea, D. (2010). "Earth, Wind & Fire That's the Way of the World Review". Retrieved 22 July 2011.
  16. ^ Archived 2009-03-07 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ Rockwell, John (August 11, 1975). "Elton John and Dylan get rock prizes".
  18. ^ "Earth, Wind & Fire: Shining Star (Hot 100)".
  19. ^ "Earth, Wind & Fire: Shining Star (Hot Soul Songs)".
  20. ^ "Earth, Wind & Fire".
  21. ^ "Earth, Wind & Fire: That's the Way of the World (Hot Soul Songs)".
  22. ^ "Earth, Wind & Fire: That's the Way of the World (Hot 100)".
  23. ^ a b Earth, Wind & Fire. “That’s the Way of the World” (Album Notes). Columbia. 1975.
  24. ^ a b Earth, Wind & Fire: "That’s the Way of the World" (Remastered). Columbia / Legacy. 1999.
  25. ^ Covers of Reasons on[dead link]
  26. ^ Samples of Reasons on Archived 2011-10-06 at the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ "Day by Day overview".
  28. ^ "I See You Baby" sample of "Happy Feelin'" at
  29. ^ "That's The Way Of The World".
  30. ^ "Definitive 200".
  31. ^ "The 50 Best Soul Albums of the 1970s".

External links[edit]