Formed by ex-session drummer Maurice White, Earth, Wind and Fire gravitated from their rangey jazzy beginnings in the early 1970s into one of funk’s mightiest motherships. With their joyously ludicrous garb, extravagant stage shows featuring acts of levitation and much-vaunted interest in Egyptology and cosmology, Earth, Wind and Fire were occasionally a hoot to behold, a pop cousin to jazz’s Sun Ra. Musically, however, they were deadly serious, their effortlessly elaborate string and brass arrangements, afro rhythms and fast-moving spandex-tight funk gloriously topped off with Philip Bailey’s falsetto wail. The onset of electro-funk in the more automated 1980s sadly brought about Eath, Wind and Fire’s commercial downfall. This collection, however, including Fantasy, In The Stone and Let’s Groove draws almost entirely on their peak period, between 1977 and 1981, when Earth, Wind and Fire were arguably the finest pop / funk band on the planet.