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Earth, Wind & Fire

Maurice White Accused of

Stiffing DEAD Producer

3/30/2012 7:30 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Earth, Wind & Fire creator Maurice White is being sued for allegedly not forking over thousands of dollars to the guy who produced some of his biggest hits ... but there's a catch -- the producer DIED 36 years ago.

The man at the center of the controversy is Charles Stepney -- who produced a bunch of EWF hits from 1974 until his death in 1976 ... including Shining Star, Mighty Mighty, Devotion and Sing a Song.

But according to a new lawsuit, obtained by TMZ ... Stepney's children claim they recently discovered their dad NEVER got any royalty checks for his producer work on the EWF hits ... even while he was alive.

Now, they want Maurice ... along with Sony Music Holdings, Inc ... to fork over a HUGE check for all of the royalties they claim they deserve ... dating all the way back to 1974.

We reached out to Maurice for comment -- so far, no word back.


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935 days ago


Does ANYONE on TMZ do fact-checking......? First that is not Maurice White pictured and secondly, Maurice White has been suffering the effects of early onset Alzheimer's.

935 days ago

Anika Hutchinson    

This is not Maurice White in this picture! Maurice stopped performing with EWF in the late 80's due to Parkinson's disease. This picture is of a guy EWF got to replace Maurice.

935 days ago


maybe they all look the same to the guys at TMZ

935 days ago


And just like somebody who owes money "so far, no word back." They want money from 1974 forward. Do the words over my dead body mean anything ?

935 days ago

me me me     

suely there is a statute of limiations on something like this .... 30+ years and they NOW want $$$$ .... ever heard of the saying "you snooze ... you loose" ???

935 days ago


That's not Maurice White...but let me say, one of the last songs he did before he became sick in the early 80's, was the best version ever of Stand By Me.

935 days ago


Maurice White has Parkinson's disease, Anika- that is Ralph Johnson (drums at first then percussion/vocals) who has been with the band since 1971, he was not brought in to replace Maurice.

935 days ago


First off, How in the world do you show a photo of Ralph Johnson (singer/percussionist/drummer) under a headline like that?? Please hire new editors! Secondly, he didn't "produce" their hits, he CO-produced their hits. That's a big distinction. Maurice White was the main man behind the band. Stepney came along for the ride.
Additionally, Maurice has been seriously ill and debilitated, and not performed with the group for many many years. He's actually has nothing to do with the group. Johnson has been with them for nearly 40 years!

935 days ago


Lori is correct... THE PIC POSTED IS NOT MAURICE WHITE!!! It is another ORIGINAL EWF member named RALPH JOHNSON. TMZ you need to check your facts for accuracy!

935 days ago

Celeb Gossip Addict    

Claude have mercy

935 days ago

Celeb Gossip Addict    

Claude have mercy! You all don't even try to get sh*t right. That is NOT Maurice White in the picture.

935 days ago


well the statue of limitations depends on when this was started and when record co. turned over accounting, by why are they suing him??? he doesn't make royalty payments, they are paid by the record company, maurice just receive a check from sony like he did, that is bs to name him, trying to get a nuisance pay out from him - thats really crap - i bet this guy wouldn't do this if he was alive!

935 days ago

northern gypsy    

so that's the REAL M.W. !!! thxs for the correct photo...

935 days ago


Thanks for putting the correct picture of Maurice White up. I was about to say DAMN TMZ!!! You guys have black people there somebody knows what Maurice looks one again thanks for your correction...

935 days ago
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