19 February 2024

Earth, Wind & Fire’s “Keep Your Head To The Sky” From Their 1973 Album Head To The Sky

From Earth, Wind & Fire’s 1973 release, Head To The Sky, here’s the track “Keep Your Head To The Sky.”

“Keep Your Head To The Sky”
Written by Maurice

The new song “Keep Your Head to the Sky” became our lighthouse.  It’s one of the few songs I wrote alone.  I was sitting at the piano in the twilight of an overcast Los Angeles morning in the fall of 1972 when it came to me.  It has given many people hope and optimism.  At the time, it gave hope to young African Americans.  I wanted the black men of Earth, Wind & Fire to inspire self-worthiness.  I wanted to show confidence in our own heritage, but not stay stuck there.  We wanted our black fans to stand tall and fulfill their highest potential from a position of cultural strength.  My plan was to increase everybody’s level of ethnic consciousness, forcing them to transcend into a philosophy that embraced all of humanity for the planet’s highest good.

“Keep Your Head to the Sky” was written for me.  The song came out of a spiritual experience that I was going through.  I had for the previous twelve years been searching for a purpose through music.  God knows I loved music.  Music was my friend.  Music was my manhood, and Earth, Wind & Fire was my baby.  Yet as vitally important as this was to me, I was growing to believe that ultimately music wasn’t the rainbow’s end.  Prior to writing “Keep Your Head to the Sky,” I’d been questioning my purpose.  I was figuring out that my loyalty to God – to hold on to my faith, to fight through my doubts.  I wanted to keep believing that God was with me in spite of the challenges I was facing with the band.  How far we had come was a blessing.  “Keep Your Head to the Sky” is my response to that blessing, my true and heartfelt thank-you to God, my way of affirming that to walk through this life, so full of change, we need to stay grounded in our own atmosphere of faith.

The album was a declaration of the band’s personal and professional transformations.  We were shifting our ears toward jazz and world music.  Latin sounds were also modifying our palette.  The EW&F band in early ’73 had the musicality, youth, and hunger we needed to expand into new musical horizons.

Head To The Sky, cut in only a couple of weeks at Clover Studios, showcased our musical diversity, which was there from the beginning, even in the Warner Bros. days.  “The World’s a Masquerade,” “Build Your Nest,” “Evil,” and “Keep Your Head to the Sky” espoused consciousness.  We wanted our audience to realize that to be young, gifted, and black, it was necessary to be awake and sensitive to the inner as well as the outer man.

– Maurice White. My Life With Earth, Wind & Fire, by Maurice White with Herb Powell, 2016.

Earth, Wind & Fire (Head To The Sky) –
Maurice: Vocal, Drums, Kalimba
Philip Bailey: Vocals, Congas, Percussion
Verdine White: Vocals, Bass, Percussion
Larry Dunn: Clavinet, Piano, Organ
Al McKay: Guitar, Sitar, Percussion
Andrew Woolfolk: Soprano Sax, Flute
Johnny Graham: Guitar, Percussion
Ralph Johnson: Drums, Percussion
Jessica Cleaves: Vocals

Arrangements: Earth, Wind & Fire

Switch On Your Radio // Maurice White (1985)
  1. Switch On Your Radio // Maurice White (1985)
  2. Stand By Me // Maurice White (1985)
  3. I Need You // Maurice White (1985)
  4. Life // Maurice White (1985)
  5. Adventures Of The Heart // Maurice White (1985)