Earth, Wind & Fire: 12 Essential Songs

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

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"That's the Way of the World" (1975)

Just as Earth, Wind & Fire made their debut on the Sweet Sweetback soundtrack, their first Number One album was also birthed out of a film project: Sig Shore's 1975 flop That's the Way of the World. The band was cast as the Group, an up-and-coming R&B outfit shepherded by a cocky record producer played by Harvey Keitel. Band vocalist and percussionist Philip Bailey wrote in his autobiography, Shining Star, that recording the album was "a spiritual experience," especially for the silky title track, adding, "when Maurice played us the finished mix ... I thought we sounded like angels. ... It was as if God had been guiding us." The group's real life success far outshone the film that birthed it; Shore's flick didn't even get a DVD release until 2006 while the album of the same name became one of the best sellers of 1975, eventually going triple platinum. 

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