Earth, Wind & Fire’s “Biyo” From Their 1976 Album Spirit
From Earth, Wind & Fire’s 1976 album, Spirit, here’s the track “Biyo.”
Written by Maurice and Al McKay
Spirit was produced by Maurice and Charles Stepney for Kalimba Productions.
Spirit may or may not have been our best record commercially, but it was by far our most important one, solidifying Earth, Wind & Fire as musical and spiritual progressives. It was the right album at the right time and a foundational building block in our story, with the perfect blend of black church and mystical spiritual optimism. Another great thing about Spirit is that it established a black masculinity for the band that was different than the one generally expressed in public.
There is only one romantic song on the Spirit album, “Imagination,” and even that has a philosophical slant. Everything else is our distinctive blend of social and spiritual progressivism. The first single, the driving ball of fire “Getaway,” set a new tone for us. However, with the exception of “Getaway” and the instrumental “Biyo,” the album is introspective. Even the other two up-tempo songs, “Saturday Night” and “On Your Face,” are kind of laid-back. That mellow feeling was probably just a reflection of the cosmic vibe around us.
I had been carrying a mental picture for a long time that I couldn’t let go of: an album cover with the band dressed in white, standing, eyes closed, in front of three huge white pyramids – meditative and spiritually Eastern in flavor. With the addition of some Sufi-style placing of the arms, this became the album cover for Spirit, another attempt to broaden our audience and appeal to a wider view of consciousness.
– Maurice White. My Life With Earth, Wind & Fire, by Maurice White with Herb Powell, 2016.