Verdine White

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Verdine White
White with Earth Wind, and Fire performing in 2010 in the Netherlands
White with Earth Wind, and Fire performing in 2010 in the Netherlands
Background information
Born (1951-07-25) July 25, 1951 (age 70)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
GenresR&B, funk, soul, jazz fusion
Occupation(s)Musician, Songwriter, Producer, Author, Motivational Speaker
InstrumentsBass guitar, Vocals, Percussions
Years active1969–present
Associated actsEarth, Wind & Fire, Level 42, The Emotions, Deniece Williams, Ramsey Lewis, Jennifer Lopez, DJ Cassidy, Busty and Bass, Robin Thicke, Meghan Trainor
WebsiteOfficial website

Verdine White (born July 25, 1951) is an American musician, best known as a founding member and bassist for the band Earth, Wind & Fire.[1] White was placed at No. 27 on Bass Player's list of The 100 Greatest Bass Players of All Time.[2]

Early life[edit]

Verdine was born Verdine Adams, Jr. in Chicago, Illinois, on July 25, 1951. His father, Verdine Sr., was a doctor who also played the saxophone. He grew up listening to recordings of Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and other jazz musicians. He was also influenced by Cleveland Eaton, The Beatles, the Motown sound, and his two drummer brothers, Fred and Maurice. When he was 15, he saw a double bass in his high school orchestra class and decided that he wanted to play bass.

He soon got a red electric bass and, taking the advice of brother Maurice and his father, took private lessons from Radi Velah of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, learning the Bille double bass method[clarification needed], and on weekends learned the electric bass with Chess Records session bassist and trombonist Louis Satterfield, who would later become a member of Earth, Wind & Fire's famed horn section, The Phenix Horns. Verdine says he learned everything about the bass guitar from Louis Satterfield, and some of his early bass influences were James Jamerson, Paul McCartney, and Gary Karr.

Moving toward a newly bought Fender Telecaster Bass instead of the upright bass, Verdine began working the Chicago club scene with local bands. Meanwhile, brother Maurice, who was a former session drummer at Chess Records and a member of pianist Ramsey Lewis' trio, had formed the Salty Peppers, scoring a local hit that caught the ears of Capitol Records.

In early 1970 Maurice moved to Los Angeles, hoping to record the group, which he had renamed Earth, Wind & Fire and called up Verdine asking whether he would like to join, which he did, arriving in Los Angeles on June 6, 1970.

Earth, Wind & Fire[edit]

White performing in the Netherlands, 1982

As Earth, Wind & Fire's bassist since the band's inception, White has won six and received two honoree Grammy Awards, has been Grammy nominated eighteen times[3] and has also been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame to name a few honors.[4][5] The band has also earned more than 50 gold and platinum albums and have sold over 90 million albums worldwide.[6][7]

In November 2008 White was presented with Bass Player magazine's Lifetime Achievement Award by Nathan East.[8] On Friday, February 26, 2010 Verdine was inducted as a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity at the ceremony held at the Crowne Plaza Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles, California.[9] Verdine White holds an honorary doctorate degree from the American Conservatory of Music.

On July 2, 2020, Rolling Stone Australia Magazine ranked White number 19 on "The 50 Greatest Bassists of All Time".[10]


White's credits as a songwriter date back to Earth, Wind & Fire's self-titled debut studio album, on which White co-wrote "C'mon Children" and "Bad Tune". White co-wrote three songs on their third album, Last Days and Time. He had one writing credit on their fourth album, Head To The Sky. On their fifth album, Open Our Eyes, White co-wrote the group's first top 5 R&B/Soul hit (No. 4), "Mighty, Mighty" along with his brother Maurice. They also co-wrote, "Kalimba Story", a top 10 R&B/Soul hit (No. 6). These two songs along with their single, "Devotion" (No. 23), helped the album top Billboard's Soul Album Chart, given them their first No. 1 album. White's co-writes include some of Earth, Wind & Fire's biggest hits, such as "That's the Way of the World".

White is credited on many artist's songs as heard in commercials, movie soundtracks, and televisions shows.[11]


White is the Co Founder and Director of the Verdine White Foundation which aims to provide musical education to underprivileged and gifted students.[12] During 2007 he was as well inducted into the Boys and Girls Club's Alumni Hall of Fame.[13][14]

White is the founder of the non profit organization, The Verdine White Performing Arts Center (VWPAC) that is located in Los Angeles. Founded in 2010, VWPAC encourages students to reach their fullest potential as artists and people, equipped with a well rounded performing arts education and the confidence to take on whatever path they choose within the arts.[15]


In 2012, White co-authored a book with Louis Satterfield, "Playing Bass Guitar, A Beginner's Guide To The Electric Bass".[16]

Personal life[edit]

Verdine White lives in Los Angeles in a house built in 1919, with his wife of 40 years Shelly Clark. She was once a member of R&B groups The Ikettes and Honey Cone. They have a son and a granddaughter. He also has a twin sister by the name of Geraldine. He is the younger half-brother of Earth, Wind, and Fire band founder Maurice White and older brother of drummer Fred White and Monte White, (October 16, 1953 - April 21, 2020). Both were members of Earth, Wind & Fire. Fred played drums and percussion as a band member from 1974 to 1984 and was inducted with the band into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. Monte served as the group's tour manager from 1974 to 1984.[17]


With Earth, Wind & Fire[edit]

Backing Musician and Production Credits[edit]



RIAA Awards[edit]

Multi-Platinum Albums [18][19]

  • 1975 - That's The Way Of The World
  • 1975 - Gratitude
  • 1976 - Spirit

Platinum Albums

  • 1973 - Head To The Sky
  • 1974 - Open Our Eyes
  • 1981 - Raise!

Gold Albums

  • 1980 - Faces
  • 1983 - Powerlight
  • 1987 - Touch The World
  • 1988 - The Best Of Earth, Wind & Fire Vol. II
  • 2003 - The Essential Earth, Wind & Fire

Gold Singles

  • 1975 - Shining Star
  • 1975 - Singasong
  • 1976 - Getaway
  • 1978 - September
  • 1978 - Got To Get You Into My Life
  • 1979 - Boogie Wonderland
  • 1979 - After The Love Has Gone
  • 1981 - Let's Groove


  • 1995 - Star on Hollywood's Walk Of Fame [20]
  • 2000 - Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame [21]
  • 2003 - Inducted into Hollywood's RockWalk
  • 2003 - Inducted into The Vocal Group Hall Of Fame[22]
  • 2010 - Songwriters Hall Of Fame [23]
  • 2012 - Beacon of Change award at the Beacon Awards Banquet[24]
  • 2019 - Kennedy Center Honors [25][26]

Grammy Awards[edit]

  • 2016 - Lifetime Achievement Award [27]
  • 2008 - GRAMMY Hall Of Fame, "Shining Star"
  • 2004 - NARAS Signature Governors Award
  • 1982 - Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals, "Wanna Be With You"
  • 1979 - Best R&B Vocal Performance By A Duo, Group Or Chorus, "After The Love Has Gone"
  • 1979 - Best R&B Instrumental Performance, "Boogie Wonderland"
  • 1978 - Best R&B Vocal Performance By A Duo, Group Or Chorus, "All 'n All"
  • 1978 - Best R&B Instrumental Performance, "Runnin'"
  • 1975 - Best R&B Vocal Performance By A Duo, Group Or Chorus, "Shining Star"

American Music Awards[edit]

  • 1976 - Favorite Band, Duo Or Group - Soul/Rhythm & Blues [28]
  • 1977 - Favorite Band, Duo Or Group- Soul/Rhythm & Blues
  • 1978 - Favorite Band, Duo Or Group- Soul/Rhythm & Blues
  • 1980 - Favorite Band, Duo Or Group- Soul/Rhythm & Blues

Other awards[edit]

  • 1994 - NAACP Hall Of Fame Image Award [29]
  • 2002 - BET Lifetime Achievement Award
  • 2002 - ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Heritage Award
  • 2002 - TV Land's Entertainer Award
  • 2002 - The Daniel L. Stephenson Humanitarian Award for Lifetime Achievement in Music
  • 2008 - Bass Player Lifetime Achievement Award
  • 2008 - Honorary Doctorates in the arts from Columbia College in Chicago [30]
  • 2016 - Induction into The Soul Music Hall of Fame.[31]
  • 2021 - Mayor John Hamilton proclaimed February 1, 2021, Verdine White and Shelly Clark day in Bloomington, Indiana.[32]


  1. ^ "Verdine White | Biography, Albums, Streaming Links". AllMusic. Retrieved 2021-04-13.
  2. ^ "The 100 Greatest Bass Players of All Time".
  3. ^ "Verdine White". 23 November 2020. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  4. ^ "Earth, Wind and Fire | Rock & Roll Hall of Fame". Retrieved 2021-04-13.
  5. ^ "Earth, Wind and Fire ― The Vocal Group Hall of Fame". Retrieved 2021-04-13.
  6. ^ "Larry Dunn".
  7. ^ "Maurice White".
  8. ^ "BASS PLAYER LIVE! Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients". Bass Player Magazine. 2011-06-15. Retrieved 2011-12-17.
  9. ^ "PHI BETA SIGMA GOES HOLLYWOOD". Archived from the original on 2011-12-17. Retrieved 2011-12-17.
  10. ^ "Verdine White". Rolling Stone Australia. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  11. ^ a b "Verdine White | Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 14 December 2020.
  12. ^ "The Verdine White Foundation". Archived from the original on 20 August 2008. Retrieved 16 June 2009.
  13. ^ "2007 Annual Report - Inspiring a Generation". Retrieved 16 June 2009.
  14. ^ "Alumni Hall of Fame". Archived from the original on 1 June 2009. Retrieved 16 June 2009.
  15. ^ "Verdine White Performing Arts Center | The HistoryMakers". Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  16. ^ Tuckman, Dave (24 October 2012). "Playing the Bass Guitar by Verdine White". Bass Musician Magazine, The Face of Bass. Retrieved 14 December 2020.
  17. ^ "Black Music Month Remembers Monte White". Living Legends Foundation. 26 June 2020. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  18. ^ "The Official Earth, Wind & Fire Website". 20 February 2012. Archived from the original on 2012-02-20. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  19. ^ "Gold & Platinum". RIAA. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  20. ^ "Earth, Wind & Fire". Hollywood Walk of Fame. 25 October 2019. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  21. ^ "Earth, Wind and Fire | Rock & Roll Hall of Fame". Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  22. ^ "The Vocal Group Hall Of Fame | Earth, Wind and Fire". Retrieved 14 December 2020.
  23. ^ "Verdine White | Songwriters Hall of Fame". Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  24. ^ "Don Newcombe to receive Major League Baseball's Beacon of Hope Award". Retrieved 14 December 2020.
  25. ^ December 9, CBS News. "Kennedy Center honorees Earth Wind & Fire on their "message of hope and love and respect"". Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  26. ^ "Earth, Wind & Fire Makes History By Becoming The First Black Group Inducted Into Kennedy Honors". NewsOne. 15 December 2019. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  27. ^ "Verdine White". 23 November 2020. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  28. ^ "The Official Earth, Wind & Fire Website". 20 February 2012. Archived from the original on 2012-02-20. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  29. ^ "The Official Earth, Wind & Fire Website". 20 February 2012. Archived from the original on 2012-02-20. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  30. ^ Sauro, Tony. "Shining stars: Earth, Wind and Fire". Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  31. ^ "SoulMusic Hall Of Fame Inductees (Group)". SoulMusic. Retrieved 5 February 2021.
  32. ^ "Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center and City of Bloomington host online Black History Month panel". Indiana Daily Student. Retrieved 5 February 2021.

External links[edit]