Foreword by Steve Harvey and afterword by David Foster
The Grammy-winning founder of the legendary pop/R&B/soul/funk/disco group tells his story and charts the rise of his legendary band in this sincere memoir that captures the heart and soul of an artist whose groundbreaking sound continues to influence music today.
With its dynamic horns, contrasting vocals, and vivid stage shows, Earth, Wind & Fire was one of the most popular acts of the late twentieth century—the band “that changed the sound of black pop” (Rolling Stone)—and its music continues to inspire modern artists including Usher, Jay-Z, Cee-Lo Green, and Outkast. At last, the band’s founder, Maurice White, shares the story of his success.
Now in his seventies, White reflects on the great blessings music has brought to his life and the struggles he’s endured: his mother leaving him behind in Memphis when he was four; learning to play the drums with Booker T. Jones; moving to Chicago at eighteen and later Los Angeles after leaving the Ramsey Lewis Trio; forming EWF, only to have the original group fall apart; working with Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond; his diagnosis of Parkinson’s; and his final public performance with the group at the 2006 Grammy Awards. Through it all, White credits his faith for his amazing success and guidance in overcoming his many challenges.
Keep Your Head to the Sky is an intimate, moving, and beautiful memoir from a man whose creativity and determination carried him to great success, and whose faith enabled him to savor every moment.
In this powerful and substantial memoir, White (who died in February 2016), the creative force behind Earth, Wind & Fire, shares the belief in God, in himself, in the power of music that helped him overcome an underprivileged childhood and institutional racism to create phenomenal, self-driven success. White keeps his personal life closely guarded, but he addresses his failures with self-deprecating honesty. The book is more than a chronological tale of a career; it's a quest for meaning. White does stray into some repetitive territory during the second half, but this reflects his dogged, focused personality. It is only through pushing himself to work hard in the face of disappointment and to remain positive and avoid the pitfalls of drugs that White can steer Earth, Wind & Fire to become the musical force it remains to this day. White's life and music orbit themes of social justice, spirituality, and self-reliance. White writes strongly about the nature of black masculinity during and after the civil rights movement, and what it means to be a good man. Diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in the 1990s, White showed dramatic grace in his acceptance of decline and loss. The memoir captures a life of determination, positivity, and success tempered by depth and humility.