Columbia/Legacy's double-disc set The Essential Earth, Wind & Fire lives up to its title by offering 34 tracks of the groundbreaking funk band at its peak. All of the hits, whether they're R&B or tunes that crossed over to the pop charts, are here, along with important album tracks that capture the range and depth of EWF. Since this focuses on their peak of the '70s and early '80s, there's very little here that doesn't qualify as "essential," which makes it a better bet than their box set. The single-disc Greatest Hits remains the choice for the casual and the curious listener due to its concise concentration of classics, but anybody who wants a thorough retrospective should choose this.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2
feat: The Emotions