Maurice White – Your Music Lives On!

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Maurice White

December 19, 1941 – February 3, 2016

Love, Peace and Happiness spring to mind when I think of Maurice White, the founding member of the groundbreaking band Earth, Wind, and Fire whose passing we learned about on Thursday, February 4th.

Earth, Wind, and Fire were the soundtrack for the 70’s and in my life because of Maurice’s inspirational and energizing lyrics. “The band drew inspiration from funk, jazz, R&B and Latin music – as well as Sly Stone and James Brown – for a unique sound that set the tone for soul music in the Seventies”. (Rolling Stone)

It’s  impossible to pick a favorite from the incredible music they made. “Keep Your Head to the Sky” and “Devotion” come to my mind at this moment of reliving memories and feeling the loss of an integral part of personal, as well as, music history.

Maurice White’s passing is a major blow not only to the music industry but his fans especially.

Rest in happiness.

 

The Five Heartbeats 🎶

 

In honor of Black History Month, I’ll be featuring films either starring or representing African American themes.

My second film, “The Five Heartbeats” (1991) is a rousing, slice of 60’s R&B music and reminiscent of groups like The Temptations and the Four Tops. Growing up in the 60’s in Motown, this film speaks to me and brings back wonderful memories of the times and the music. Another Robert Townsend production which he wrote directed and starred, it does not disappoint in energy or the drama of the music industry.

 

Inspired by the R&B group The Dells, it is co-written by Keenan Ivory Wayans and Robert Townsend. The movie also features 40’s tap dance icon Harold Nicholas (Nicholas Brothers) as Ernest “Sarge” Johnson in his final film as the group’s spunky choreographer.

After extensive research with R&B singing group The Dells, who were renowned for their four-decade career, Townsend used his film to depict a similar story, following the lives of five friends who aspire to musical stardom. Given the setting of the film, he was able to tie in other elements, such as race relations, as well.

The Five Heartbeats

The music (by Stanley Clarke) is phenomenal and a soundtrack for the film was released by Virgin Records, featuring original music by various artists. Both “Nights like This” and “A Heart Is a House for Love” became top 20 hits on the U.S. Billboard Hot R&B Singles chart. The film received an ASCAP award for Most Performed Songs in a Motion Picture for the song “Nights Like This.”

The Five Heartbeats:

For an evening of great R&B music and entertainment, grab some snacks and fire up “The Five Heartbeats”.