Verdine White

Verdine White is no stranger to compliments. As Earth, Wind & Fire's one and only bassist for 42 years now, he's used to fans stopping him to rave about a new album, a new song or a recent gig. But lately, White has noticed the sentiments have taken on a deeper, more emotional tone. "People thank us for just being who we are," he says. "All the music we've made, the shows, making people feel good – those are big moments in everybody's lives. And it's very meaningful to hear those kinds of comments. That's why we do what we do." The accomplishments of Earth, Wind & Fire, now celebrating their fifth decade in the business, are considerable: over 90 million albums sold, six Grammy wins (with 20 nominations), the distinction of being the first African-American group to sell out Madison Square Garden, along with induction into just about every "hall of fame" invented. And, of course, there are the songs: Shining Star, That's The Way Of The World, Getaway, September, Mighty Mighty, Let's Groove, Sing A Song – stone-cold classics, each and every one, all of them driven by Verdine's exquisite bass playing, by turns thunderous and supple, full-bottomed funk and high-minded jazz.