By 1974, Earth, Wind, & Fire was already in their classic period, following the success of their 1973 album Head to the Sky.
But in March of that year, they were on the road to bigger acclaim when they released their fifth studio album Open Our Eyes. Along with lead singer Maurice White, the album was co-produced by Charles Stepney, who was best known for working with Ramsey Lewis and Minnie Riperton. It was the band’s first album to top the R&B charts, and make the top twenty in pop. It also went on to be certified platinum by the RIAA.
Open Our Eyes yielded three hit singles. “Mighty Mighty” (the band’s first top thirty pop hit) and “Kalimba Story” both reached the top ten on the R&B charts. “Devotion”, perhaps the best track on the album went top forty on both R&B and pop (peaking at #23 and #33 respectively), but went on to be covered and sample a few times, including one time by rapper Yo-Yo for her hit “You Can’t Play With My Yo-Yo”. Other key tracks include “Feelin’ Blue”, “Drum Song” (which was sampled by TLC’s Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes), and the glorious title track.
In addition to being a top twenty album, Open Our Eyes was also Earth, Wind & Fire’s most acclaimed album to date, with comments ranging from being described as a tour de force to superb. The album was also a glimpse of what was to come later in the 1970s.