On stage he’s the tall, thin one on the electric bass, his long hair and magic fingers flying in passionate fury. Verdine’s musical career started back in high school. His father, Dr. Verdine White Sr., was encouraging him to follow in his footsteps and take up medicine, but it was not to be. Verdine tells his musical origin story on his website as follows:
"The instrument (string bass) was standing alone in the corner of the orchestra class....tall, mysterious and majestic, so different from all the others, it called me and the love affair began."
It didn’t stop there. He was so good that he played with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for several years while hitting jazz clubs all over the area, perfecting his style on Fender electric guitars. When his brother Maurice, the drummer for Ramsey Lewis’s Trio, decided to start a band in 1969, Verdine joined him. Earth, Wind and Fire was born.
Now, after thirty five years, six Grammy Awards and seventeen nominations, induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, he’s still going strong, playing solo and with many others. And through it all, he’s been married to a former Ikette, Shelly (Michelle) Clark.
Still on the road with his band and the band Chicago, Verdine will be in the neighborhood in late August, playing in Aurora at their Riveredge Park. Welcome home and happy birthday, Verdine.
~Lydia Barnes (email@example.com)
Side note: Earth Wind and Fire has earned more than 50 gold and platinum albums and sold over 90 million albums.
Our Smooth Video of the Day: Chicago's Verdine White, Chicago's Emotions and Earth Wind and Fire.