“Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” Earth, Wind & Fire 1972
[Full disclosure: The first concert I ever attended was Earth, Wind & Fire —way back in 1979—and I think they’re pretty cool.]
In 1972, Maurice White and his cadre of pan-African funkateers were standing on the threshold of greatness. Having taken wardrobe and cosmic spirituality clues from Sun Ra and working up a sound that combined jazz, Motown, Sly and the Family Stone, and even P-Funk into a radio-friendly groove that would provide the soundtrack to the second half of the ’70s, they weren’t quite there when they recorded Pete Seeger’s haunting anti-war folk song. After two albums of finding their way, EW&F had just picked up the missing piece. Their third disc, Last Days and Time, is the first to feature four-octave secret weapon Philip Bailey—and for my money, he nails this tune.