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The official Story
Earth, Wind & Fire

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Earth Wind and Fire
Shining Stars

If VH-1 won't do a Behind The Music special on you, you have to do your own. That's exactly what Earth, Wind & Fire did with this "official" documentry of arguable the biggest and best black acts of the 1970's.

Since this was done with the full cooperation of the band, a lot of their history is of course glossed over, but this is still an entertaining watch. Done with no narration, the story is told in pictures, archival live footage and interviews with members of the band.

The band was formed by Maurice White and his brother Verdine in the late 1960's after Maurice left a succesfull stint as the drummer in the Ramsey Lewis Trio (there's a hilarious clip of the Trio playing in front of a bunch of white college kids, while go-go girls dance in cages behind the band!). Blending a mix of R&B and Jazz with Latin, African and Cuban rythms, most critics and fans didn't know what to make of them at first. After a line-up overhaul and the addition of vocalist Philip Bailey, the hits finally started coming with 'Mighty Mighty" from their 5th album, Open Our Eyes.

While the interviews with the band leave a little to be desired, the live footage from the '70's is what makes this entertaining. These guys knew how to put on a show. With the afros, outlandish costumes, laser beams, pyramids and spaceships, they rivaled many of the arena rock bands of their era. In fact the DVD mentions that they were one of the bigger arena acts of the decade, up there with bands like the Rolling Stones. Nowdays, a band like this would be unheard of. These guys wrote some great tunes with a very positive message.

-- Gary Allen