That's the Way of the World

That's the Way of the World is the sixth studio album by American band Earth, Wind & Fire, released on March 15, 1975 by Columbia Records. It was also the soundtrack for a 1975 motion picture of the same name.[2][3] The album rose to No. 1 on both the Billboard 200 and Top Soul Albums charts.[4][5]That's the Way of the World has also been certified Triple Platinum in the U.S by the RIAA.[6]

That's the Way of the World
Whiskeytown-Stranger's Almanac (album cover).jpg
Soundtrack album by
ReleasedMarch 15, 1975
RecordedSeptember 16, 1974 - October 2, 1974
StudioCaribou Ranch (Nederland, CO); Sunset Sound (Los Angeles, CA); Hollywood Sound Recorders (Hollywood, CA); The Burbank Studios (Burbank, CA)
GenreProgressive soul,[1] R&B, soul, funk
Length38:23
LabelColumbia
Legacy (1999 reissue)
ProducerMaurice White, Charles Stepney
Earth, Wind & Fire chronology
Another Time
(1974)
That's the Way of the World
(1975)
Gratitude
(1975)
Singles from That's the Way of the World
  1. "Shining Star"
    Released: January 21, 1975
  2. "That's the Way of the World"
    Released: June 17, 1975

OverviewEdit

That's the Way of the World was produced by both EWF leader Maurice White and Charles Stepney.[3][2] The album spent three weeks atop the Billboard 200 chart.[4] That's the Way of the World also stayed on top of the Billboard Top Soul Albums chart for five weeks altogether.[5]

SinglesEdit

The single, "Shining Star", reached number one on both the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot Soul Singles charts. "Shining Star" went on to win a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.[7][8][9] The album's title track reached No. 5 on the Billboard Hot Soul Singles chart and No. 12 on the Hot 100 chart.[10][11]

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
Allmusic     [12]
Variety(favorable)[13]
Village Voice(B+)[14]
Boston Globe(favourable)[15]
Rolling Stone(mixed)[16]
Vibe(favorable)[17]
LA Weekly(favourable)[18]
Stereo Review(favorable)[19]
Chicago Tribune(favourable)[20]
BBC(favourable)[21]

Stephen Curwood of the Boston Globe said "these guys are great and this is a sound you shouldn't miss".[15] Variety exclaimed "Earth, Wind & Fire turn their multi-voiced big soul sound loose on eight solid numbers".[13] Daryl Easlea of the BBC wrote "Seen as a meditation on the rules of living, the album is nothing less than a spiritual soul masterpiece." He added "leader Maurice White synthesised all the elements of the group so far – straight-up funk, African mysticism, jazz and sublime balladry, and made a brief, focused album."[21] Chris Albertson of Stereo Review described the band's performance as a "disco delight" and the recording itself as "excellent".[19] Alex Henderson of Allmusic noted That's the Way of the World is "EWF's crowning achievement".[12] Gordon Fletcher of Rolling Stone said "Lousy production works to this LP's detriment — Maurice White has surprisingly chosen to have the entire album sound hot." Fletcher added "Great tunes (particularly the dynamic "Africano") and great musicianship are not what this one lacks — hopefully the next time out White will be able to tone things down accordingly in the places where a little under-statement is appropriate."[16] LA Weekly called the LP "Serious romantic music to wear silk bellbottom slacks to."[18] Clarence Page of the Chicago Tribune wrote "Their new album 'That's the Way of the World' [Columbia], exploits the moods, if not the explosive instrumental power, that made their last platter 'Open Our Eyes,' a smash hit."[20] Robert Christgau of the Village Voice found that "Here ethnomusicology and colloquial homiletics are tacked onto the funk and soul and doowop and jazz, which makes for an instructive contrast -the taped-in-Africa Matepe Ensemble, whose spontaneous laughter closes out the coda, versus Maurice White, whose humorless platitutdes prove there's more to roots than turning a mbira into an ersatz vibraphone."[14] Vibe also proclaimed "That's the Way of the World coursed effortlessly through a myriad of genres, from rock to jazz to funk to heavy African influences".[17]

That's the Way of the World was nominated in 1975 and 1976 for an American Music Award for Favorite Soul/R&B Album. EWF also won a Rock Music Award for That's the Way of the World in the category of Best Rhythm and Blues Album.[22][23]

During 2004 That's the Way of the World was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. In 2012 Rolling Stone placed the album at 486 on its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, calling it "make-out music of the gods".[24][25]For the 2020 update of the list, the album's rank climbed to number 420.[26]

Track listingEdit

Original issue[27]Edit

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Shining Star"Philip Bailey, Larry Dunn, Maurice White2:50
2."That's the Way of the World"Charles Stepney, Verdine White, M. White5:45
3."Happy Feelin'"Al McKay, V. White, P. Bailey, L. Dunn, M. White3:35
4."All About Love"L. Dunn, M. White6:35
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
5."Yearnin' Learnin'"P. Bailey, C. Stepney, M. White3:39
6."Reasons"P. Bailey, C. Stepney, M. White4:59
7."Africano"L. Dunn, M. White5:09
8."See the Light"Louise Anglin, P. Bailey, L. Dunn6:18
1999 Legacy reissue (CK 65920)[12][28]
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Shining Star"Philip Bailey, Larry Dunn, Maurice White, Verdine White, Sonny Burke2:50
2."That's the Way of the World"Charles Stepney, V. White, M. White5:45
3."Happy Feelin'"Al McKay, V. White, P. Bailey, L. Dunn, M. White3:35
4."All About Love"L. Dunn, M. White6:35
5."Yearnin' Learnin'"P. Bailey, C. Stepney, M. White3:39
6."Reasons"P. Bailey, C. Stepney, M. White4:59
7."Africano"L. Dunn, M. White5:09
8."See the Light"Louise Anglin, P. Bailey, L. Dunn6:18
9."Shining Star (Future Star) [Original Sketches]"L. Dunn, M. White, P. Bailey1:05
10."All About Love (First Impression) [Original Sketches]"L. Dunn, M. White3:12
11."Happy Feelin' (Anatomy of a Groove) [Original Sketches]"P. Bailey, L. Dunn, A. McKay, M. White, V. White3:31
12."Caribou Chaser (Jazzy Jam) [Original Sketches]"L. Dunn, M. White1:39
13."That's the Way of the World (Latin Expedition) [Original Sketches]"C. Stepney, M. White, V. White1:41

PersonnelEdit

ProductionEdit

  • Producer – Maurice White (Original), Leo Sacks (Reissue)
  • Co-producer – Charles Stepney (Original)
  • Recording Engineer – George Massenburg (1-8), Curt Wittig (8)
  • Mixing – George Massenburg (1-8), Maurice White (9-13), Paul Klingberg (9-13), Leo Sacks (9-13)
  • Mixed at Hollywood Sound Recorders (Hollywood, CA).
  • Mastered at Kendun Recorders (Burbank, CA).
  • Art Direction – Howard Fritzen
  • Design – Stephen Newman and Shusei Nagaoka
  • Photography – Norman Seeff
  • Musical Arrangements – Earth, Wind & Fire and Charles Stepney[27][28]

Charts and certificationsEdit

ChartsEdit

Album
Chart (1975) Peak
position
US Top LPs & Tape (Billboard) 1
US Top Soul LPs (Billboard)
Canada RPM Top Albums 15[29]

Year-end chartsEdit

Chart (1975) Peak
position
US Top Soul LPs (Billboard) 1
Singles
Year Single Chart Position
1975 "Shining Star" Billboard Hot Soul Singles 1
Billboard Hot 100 1
"That's the Way of the World" Billboard Hot Soul Singles 5
Billboard Hot 100 12

CertificationsEdit

Country Award
US (RIAA) Triple Platinum[6]

AccoladesEdit

The information regarding accolades attributed to That's the Way of the World is adapted from acclaimedmusic.net, soultracks.com and rockhall.com.[24][30][31]

Publication Accolade Year Rank
Pause & Play Albums Inducted into a Time Capsule, One Album per Week 2008 *
Robert Dimery 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die 2005 *
Rolling Stone The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 2012 486
2020 420
The Recording Academy Grammy Hall of Fame 2004 *
Vibe Magazine 51 Albums representing a Generation, a Sound and a Movement 2004 *
Rickey Vincent Five Star Albums from "FUNK: The MUSIC, the PEOPLE, and the RHYTHM *
National Association of Recording Merchandisers and The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame The Definitive 200 2007 187
Soultracks.com The Greatest Soul albums of the 1970s 2009 1
(*) designates lists that are unordered.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Strong, Martin Charles; Griffin, Brendon (2008). Lights, Camera, Soundtracks. Canongate. p. 365. ISBN 9781847670038.
  2. ^ a b "Earth, Wind & Fire: That's The Way Of The World". 45worlds.
  3. ^ a b Flans, Robyn (December 1, 2004). "Classic Tracks: Earth, Wind & Fire's "Shining Star"". mixonline.com. Archived from the original on November 10, 2009. Retrieved May 7, 2009.
  4. ^ a b "Earth, Wind & Fire: That's The Way Of The World (Billboard 200)". billboard.com.
  5. ^ a b "Earth, Wind & Fire: That's The Way Of The World (Top Soul Albums)". billboard.com.
  6. ^ a b "Earth, Wind & Fire: That's The Way Of The World". riaa.com. RIAA.
  7. ^ "Earth, Wind & Fire: Shining Star (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  8. ^ "Earth, Wind & Fire: Shining Star (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard.
  9. ^ "Earth, Wind & Fire". Recording Academy Grammy Awards.
  10. ^ "Earth, Wind & Fire: That's the Way of the World (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard.
  11. ^ "Earth, Wind & Fire: That's the Way of the World (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  12. ^ a b c Henderson, Alex. "Earth, Wind & Fire: That's the Way of the World". allmusic.com. Allmusic.
  13. ^ a b "Music Records: EW&F, Heyward-Lodge, Byrd, Argent, West, Moon, Kershaw, Newberry, Toussaint Top LPs". proquest.com. Vol. 178 no. 6. Variety. March 19, 1975. p. 64. ProQuest 1285987120.
  14. ^ a b Christgau, Robert. "Earth, Wind & Fire: That's the Way of the World". robertchristgau.com. Village Voice.
  15. ^ a b Curwood, Stephen (July 18, 1975). "Records: Nelson, Earth etc., Bee Gees". newspapers.com. Boston Globe. p. 11.
  16. ^ a b Fletcher, Gordon (July 3, 1975). "Earth, Wind & Fire: That's The Way Of The World". rollingstone.com. Rolling Stone.
  17. ^ a b "Earth, Wind & Fire: That's The Way Of The World". Vol. 12 no. 9. Vibe Magazine. September 2004. p. 205. Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  18. ^ a b "Earth, Wind & Fire: That's the Way of the World". newspapers.com. LA Weekly. August 16, 1984. p. 51.
  19. ^ a b Albertson, Chris (September 1975). "Earth, Wind & Fire: That's the Way of the World" (PDF). americanradiohistory.com. Vol. 35 no. 3. Stereo Review. p. 93.
  20. ^ a b Page, Clarence (March 23, 1975). "6". Soul that's wet, self contained and in boot camp. Chicago Tribune. p. 16.
  21. ^ a b Easlea, Daryl (2010). "Earth, Wind & Fire: That's the Way of the World Review". bbc.co.uk. BBC.
  22. ^ earthwindandfire.com/bio_awards Archived 2009-03-07 at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ Rockwell, John (August 11, 1975). "Elton John and Dylan get rock prizes". nytimes.com.
  24. ^ a b "Earth, Wind & Fire: That's The Way Of The World". acclaimedmusic.net.
  25. ^ Wenner, Jann S., ed. (2012). Rolling Stone – Special Collectors Issue – The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. USA: Wenner Media Specials. ISBN 978-7-09-893419-6
  26. ^ Rollingstone
  27. ^ a b c Earth, Wind & Fire. “That’s the Way of the World”. Columbia. 1975.
  28. ^ a b c Earth, Wind & Fire: "That’s the Way of the World" (Remastered). Columbia / Legacy. 1999.
  29. ^ https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/films-videos-sound-recordings/rpm/Pages/list.aspx?OCRText=That%27s+The+Way+Of+The+World&Year=1975&ChartEn=Top+Albums%2fCDs&
  30. ^ "Definitive 200". rockhall.com. Archived from the original on 2008-08-20.
  31. ^ "The 50 Best Soul Albums of the 1970s". soultracks.com.

External linksEdit