Earth, Wind & Fire Saxophonist Andrew Woolfolk Dies at 71

Earth, Wind & Fire Saxophonist Andrew Woolfolk Dies at 71

Andrew Woolfolk, longtime Earth, Wind & Fire saxophonist, has died. He was 71 years old.

The instrumentalist’s fellow bandmate Philip Bailey took to Instagram to confirm the news on Tuesday (April 26), sharing a photo of the duo with the caption, “I met him in High School, and we quickly became friends and band mates. Andrew Paul Woolfolk was his name. We lost him today, after being ill of over 6 years. He has Transitioned on to the forever, from this Land of the dying to the Land of the Living. Great memories. Great Talent. Funny. Competitive. Quick witted. And always styling. Booski…  I’ll see you on the other side, my friend.”

Woolfolk joined the genre-spanning band in 1973, according to the group’s website, as a flautist and saxophonist, and played on and off with Earth, Wind and Fire until 1993.

His most recognizable work comes in the form of his lively, dancefloor-ready soprano saxophone on the band’s beloved 1978 hit, “September.” The was originally a Billboard Hot 100 top 10 over four decades ago, hitting No. 8 in February 1979, becoming Earth, Wind & Fire’s fourth of seven career top 10s. Every year, “September” scores significant sales and streaming gains on Sept. 21, the day (or night, technically) mentioned in the classic hit’s opening line. Most recently, in 2021, “September” drew 1.5 million on-demand U.S. streams, according to MRC Data. That’s a 322% surge over Sept. 20, when the song racked up 352,000 streams.

In 2000, Woolfolk was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame along with his fellow original Earth, Wind & Fire members. That evening, Woolfolk, dressed in a fiery red suit jacket, performed a jaw-dropping solo on “Shining Star.”

Earth, Wind & Fire Saxophonist Andrew Woolfolk Dies at 71 Andrew Woolfolk, longtime Earth, Wind & Fire saxophonist, has died. He was 71 years old. The instrumentalist’s fellow bandmate Philip Bailey took to Instagram to confirm the news on Tuesday (April 26), sharing a photo of the duo with the caption, “I met him in High…