“That’s The Way of the World” is the original, uncut 4-track demo version, making it a piece of music history not to be underestimated. The final studio version of the song, co-written by Charles Stepney and Maurice and Verdine White of Earth, Wind & Fire and arranged by Stepney for the EWF album and film of the same name, became one of the most successful recordings ever released by the band.
In 2004, it was included in Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. This recording of “That’s The Way of the World” provides unprecedented insight into Stepney’s creative process and helps to understand what EWF singer Philip Bailey meant when he said in 2001: “The success of Earth Wind & Fire, and all our great songs that we made in that era, would not, could not, and wouldn’t have been made without Charles Stepney. He was very much an equal part, or more, than all of us put together.”
The digital cover of “That’s The Way of The World” is an old family photo of Stepney’s youngest daughter Chanté (who was still a toddler when her father died in 1976) in a high chair at the family’s home on Chicago’s Southside.
The forthcoming “Step On Step”, which will be released in September, is Charles Stepney’s de facto debut album released almost 50 years after his death, contains 23 tracks, most of which are original Stepney compositions never recorded again by him or any other artist. It also contains prototypical demos of Stepney’s compositions for Earth, Wind & Fire, including “That’s The Way of The World”, “Imagination” and “On Your Face”, as well as the original version of “Black Gold” later recorded by Rotary Connection as “I Am The Black Gold of The Sun”.
About Charles Stepney
Charles Stepney was one of the great American record producers, arrangers, songwriters and musicians of the 60s and 70s. He began his musical career as a jazz pianist and vibraphonist and worked later for Chess Records as a musician and arranger, collaborating with The Dells, Ramsey Lewis, Minnie Riperton and Rotary Connection, among others.
In 1968, he began working with the Ramsey Lewis Trio as a producer. The trio included a young drummer named Maurice White, who had previously played for Chess Records.
Maurice White later formed and led the legendary Earth, Wind & Fire. Stepney eventually worked as an associate producer on the band’s 1974 release “Open Our Eyes”. He also collaborated with Maurice on the Earth, Wind & Fire albums “That’s the Way of the World” and “Gratitude” from 1975. In 1976, Steppney died unexpectedly of a heart attack at the age of 45.