Tributes paid to Earth, Wind & Fire drummer Fred White, who has died aged 67

Fred White of Earth Wind & Fire
(Image credit: Rob Verhorst / Getty)

Tributes have been paid to Earth, Wind & Fire drummer Fred White, who died aged 67 on new year's day. The sad news was announced on Instagram by his brother and bandmate Verdine White last night.


"Dearest family, friends and fans," Verdine White wrote. "Our family is saddened today with the loss of an amazing and talented family member, our beloved brother Frederick Eugene ‘Freddie’ White."

“He joins our brothers Maurice, Monte and Ronald in heaven and is now drumming with the angels! 

"Child protege, member of the EWF ORIGINAL 9, with gold records at the young age of 16 years old! He was brother number 4 in the family lineup."

Questlove was amongst the first to pay tribute on social media, writing "I clocked in a fazillion hours listening & idolizing the late great Fred White... He was also one of the first left-handed drummers I ever saw.

"I think I tried playing left-handed for like 2 weeks just to see if I could adjust like Fred/Phil Collins/Jellybean Johnson/Morris Day

"Rest In Beats Fred."

Lenny Kravitz also paid tribute, replying to Verdine's original post, “I was blessed to have been in his presence and blessed to have been influenced by him. A true king. Rest in power.”

Fred White was born Frederick Eugene Adams in 1955 in Chicago and toured with Donny Hathaway, featuring on Hathaway's Live album in 1972, before joining his brothers in EWF in 1974.

The band won 6 Grammys, from a total of 17 nominations, as well as four American Music Awards. They are members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame and have their own Hollywood Walk of Fame star. 

Massively influential, EWF were once described by Miles Davis as his "all-time favorite" band, while Qunicy Jones said he had been the "biggest fan of Earth, Wind & Fire since day one." They've also been widely sampled, featuring on tracks by the likes of Drake, LL Cool J, Salt-N-Pepa, Basement Jaxx, A Tribe Called Quest, Missy Elliott, Public Enemy, Snoop Dogg, Jay-Z, the Fugees and Björk.

Will Groves

I'm lucky enough to be MusicRadar's Editor-in-chief while being, by some considerable distance, the least proficient musician on the editorial team. An undeniably ropey but occasionally enthusiastic drummer, I've worked on the world's greatest music making website in one capacity or another since its launch in 2007. I hope you enjoy the site - we do.