Earth, Wind & Fire to Honor Late Bandmate at Clive Davis Party
Earth, Wind & Fire have assured music mogul Clive Davis they’ll be performing at his pre-Grammys party on Sunday, despite the death of founding member Maurice White last week. The executive booked the funk-soul act to headline his annual bash, alongside Andra Day, Tori Kelly and Elle King, and admits he feared they’d back out following White’s passing.
But instead the group, featuring the founder’s brother Verdine, plan to honor their late bandmate at the party as well as manager Irving Azoff. “Obviously we keenly feel the loss of Maurice White, but Verdine White and Philip Bailey called me and said that Earth, Wind & Fire will be performing,” Davis, who signed the band in 1972, told Billboard. And he can still remember the first time he saw Maurice and company perform. “They were opening for John Sebastian from the Lovin’ Spoonful in New York and they were doing a very short set… They were under contract to Warner Bros. and they were unhappy, so we arranged for a very secret audition for me in a studio… And we secretly signed there, and they were able to get out of their contract,” said Davis. “I flew them to London to appear before everybody who worked for Columbia Records all over the world, and there was no better way to spread the word than to showcase their talent. The rest is history!” Davis revealed his Sunday night party will feature “a lot of surprises,” adding, “I think it’s going to be a night that justifiably does pay tribute to (late stars) David Bowie and Glenn Frey, and a moment of silence for Natalie Cole and B.B. King and Maurice.” But there’s one surprise Davis is keeping to himself: “I can’t tell you about the opening act, but I can just tell you that it will make headlines around the world.”