Earth Wind & Fire’s music has stood the test of time and it seems like more tunes might be on the way. On Sunday (Dec 8), the iconic band was officially inducted into the Kennedy Center Honors, making them the first African American group to receive the honor. The group’s original members Philip Bailey, Ralph Johnson and Verdine White were in attendance at the 42nd annual event with the exception of the group’s founder Maurice White, who died in 2016.
In addition to celebrating White’s creation and the group’s legacy, the remaining members hinted towards a new project. “We’re making a list, and checking it twice,” Bailey told Billboard of a possible duets album. “And you’ll hear about it soon.” We can only imagine many artists would clamor for the opportunity. During the event, the group was treated to reworkings of their biggest hits by Cynthia Erivo, John Legend, the Jonas Brothers and Ne-Yo. The group has remained mum on the details of the album but were proud to celebrate their rich legacy and how proud White would be of the feat.
“You can’t play any Earth Wind & Fire songs without Maurice’s DNA being on it, so he’s always here and we’re always celebrating him and his vision,” Johnson told Billboard. “People are still coming together and having fun.” Since the release of their first album in 1971, the group has strongly influenced R&B, disco and soul. The biggest artists in the world have sampled the group including Jay Z, Drake, the late Mac Miller, Missy Elliot and Nas.
Next year will celebrate their 50 years in the industry with many more to go. The 42nd Kennedy Center Honors will air on CBS on Sunday, Dec. 15 at 8pm.