Earth, Wind & Fire’s Philip Bailey Pays Tribute to Bandmate and Guitarist Sheldon Reynolds

Former Earth, Wind & Fire singer-guitarist Sheldon Reynolds, who also played for the Commodores, died on Tuesday (May 23). He was 63. 

Videos by American Songwriter

Current band member Philip Bailey confirmed the news. 

“This news of Sheldon Reynolds transition is very sad for all of us who knew and worked with him. Sheldon vocally had Reese down,” wrote Bailey alongside a throwback photo of Earth, Wind & Fire. “Sheldon was an excellent addition to the band, a great writer and producer, and a kind, loving person. He will be missed. Our condolences to his family.” 

The musician did not confirm the cause of Reynolds’ death. 

Reynolds was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1959. Before joining the Commodores in the ’80s, the instrumentalist recorded three albums with a soul-funk band called Sun. He later contributed his vocals to the Commodores’ 1985 LP Nightshift and played guitar on their 1986 record United. He was with the R&B group for four years until he made the shift to Earth, Wind & Fire.

Reynolds became a vital member of Earth, Wind & Fire. The seasoned performer, known for his stirring guitar riffs and smooth-like butter vocals, was featured on their 1987 Touch the World album, The Best of Earth, Wind & Fire Vol. 2, 1990 collection Heritage, Millennium and 17th studio album, In the Name of Love

While working with Earth, Wind & Fire, Reynolds scored Grammy nominations in 1994 for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and for his track “Sunday Morning.” In total, the band has earned six Grammy Awards. 

Days after Reynolds’ death, Bailey returned to social media to announce that their longtime stage production manager had also passed away from cancer. He has served as the ensemble’s manager since 1997. Before taking the position, he was a percussion technician for Lionel Richie and a manager for Luther Vandross for 15 years. 

“Dwight “Popcorn” Miller was a legend in stage production for 50 years, having worked with almost every one of the greats,” wrote Bailey. “He took us around the world many times over. We were always in good hands. His passion was playing jazz drums and working in the studio. He was truthful, funny, and dependable. He will be sorely missed. Rest in Peace, my Man. PB.”

Earth, Wind & Fire is gearing up for its nationwide tour, which will kick off on June 16 in Wheatland, California. Following the run, they will head to Sin City for their Las Vegas residency at The Venetian Theatre. 

(Photo by Howard Denner/Avalon/Getty Images)

Leave a Reply

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts Release First New Song in Decade with Punk “If You’re Blue”