Verdine White Biography

Music Producer, Songwriter, Bassist(1951–)
Verdine White has been a member of Earth, Wind & Fire since 1970, and has worked as a bassist and songwriter for the popular R&B group.

Synopsis

Born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1951, Verdine White grew up to be a talented bass player. When he was still a teenager, Maurice White (his older brother) invited him to join Earth, Wind & Fire. Verdine was part of the band as it skyrocketed to success in the 1970s, and also helped the group reclaim its popularity in the 1990s and 2000s. He has won six Grammy Awards and is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Early Life

Verdine White was born on July 25, 1951, in Chicago, Illinois. There, he grew up listening to pop, jazz and classical music. His father was a doctor, but Verdine followed in the footsteps of other family members, like his grandfather and his older brother, Maurice White, and pursued music. Over the years, he turned into a talented bass player.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JUNE 8:  Recording artists Earth Wind and Fire (L-R) Philip Bailey, Maurice White, Verdine White, Ralph Johnson and Larry Dunn attend the 2004 Governors Membership Awards luncheon at the Beverly Hills Hotel on June 8, 2004 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JUNE 8: Recording artists Earth Wind and Fire (L-R) Philip Bailey, Maurice White, Ralph Johnson,Verdine White, and Larry Dunn attend the 2004 Governors Membership Awards luncheon at the Beverly Hills Hotel on June 8, 2004 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)

Earth, Wind & Fire: Early Years

In 1970, Maurice, the founder of Earth, Wind & Fire, invited Verdine to join him in Los Angeles, California, and become a member of the group. Verdine stayed in the band as its membership was reconfigured a couple of years later, welcoming newcomers like singer Philip Bailey, guitarist Al McKay and keyboardist Larry Dunn.

Between 1973 and 1983, Earth, Wind & Fire became an immense, chart-topping success. The band melded pop, R&B and other musical influences on a succession of gold and platinum albums, and also received six Grammy Awards. Their concerts were known for impressive feats of showmanship, including Verdine being lifted into the air while he continued to play bass.

Earth, Wind & Fire: Later Years

After separating for four years—during which time Verdine worked as a producer and directed videos—Earth, Wind & Fire got back together in 1987. Maurice's diagnosis with Parkinson's disease made him withdraw from touring in the 1990s. However, Verdine stayed on the road with Bailey and percussionist Ralph Johnson. Earth, Wind & Fire also played at the White House for both the Clinton and Obama administrations.

Verdine and his fellow band members have received numerous accolades for their work with Earth, Wind & Fire, such as receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (1995) and being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (2000). As a songwriter who contributed to many popular Earth, Wind & Fire songs, including "Fantasy," "Serpentine Fire" and "That's The Way of The World," Verdine also joined the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2010.

Personal Life

Verdine is married to Shelly Clark, who was a member of the 1970s girl group Honey Cone.

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