Earth, Wind & Fire: 12 Essential Songs

Savor the smoothest soul and most enlightened funk from the hitmaking legends

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"Shining Star" (1975)

1975 was the year Earth, Wind & Fire wrote themselves into the pop canon, and that had a lot to do with this jubilant, chart-topping smash. "Shining Star" sounds like a party – and it certainly soundtracked more than a few — but it's really an uplifting motivational anthem along the same lines as Sly and the Family Stone's "Everybody Is a Star," riding along on a clean, bright, brassy groove that stands as one of White's finest production jobs. In 2000, when Earth, Wind & Fire joined the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, he remembered the single as a crucial turning point. "That's the Way of the World really took off very slow," he said of their sixth studio LP. "We thought it wasn't gonna happen. Then we released 'Shining Star,' and it went to the top of the charts and saved the album."

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