It is uncertain what was the first Earth, Wind & Fire song I heard but considering that we only had the Open Our Eyes album in our house until Spirit was released, it’s safe to guess that it would be the opening track to Open Our Eyes, “Mighty Mighty”. The song has a groove and a wicked sense of funk, what a way to begin a fantastic album. Sure, I got into the band more as they released That’s The Way Of The World, Spirit and All-N-All but Open Our Eyes was my album, it was a must, it became necessary for me to listen to.
As a kid, I wasn’t paying attention to the lyrics for “Mighty Mighty” but I knew the chorus “we are people of the mighty, mighty people of the sun” because it seemed to represent my upbringing in Honolulu, for me at least. When I heard the second half of the chorus which said “in our heart lies all the answers to the truth you can’t run from“, I wasn’t sure what they were singing about, and it would take me awhile, and living life where I’d be able to relate to it completely, did I know its meaning.
The first chorus had Maurice White and Philip Bailey singing about keeping true to yourself, whether it’s with a spiritual sense or whatever you choose to believe in because “how’s your faith? ’cause your faith is you/who you kiddin’, to yourself be true“. What I never understood was the second chorus, but once I started living as an adult and got a job, then it all became perfectly clear:
“The eagle flies every seven days
still cryin’ blue all about your pay
what ya gonna do ’bout your living thing?
will ya make it better or just complain?
everyday is real, don’t run from fear
’cause better days are very near
there are times when you’re bound to cry
one more time, head to the sky”
The song was about working a 9 to 5, having to deal with the powers that be and feeling stuck within certain boundaries. If you stick to your intentions and what you enjoy doing, you’ll be happy. After that point, Bailey starts reading the high notes of the song, but he doesn’t even stop there. He goes higher during the chorus and that has got to be the brightest sound of jubilation ever heard on wax.
Even the small moments in the song are great, from the brief mention of “delicious” after the line “who you kiddin’, to yourself be true” to a minor “uh” panned to the left channel after the line “the eagle flies every seven days“, whatever reasons they were placed and remained in the mix, it sounds awesome. The song lasts a mere thre eminutes and yet I’d love to hear a full version of it, be it unedited or to a proper close without a fade. I want this to happen in my life, it is on my bucket list.
Considering how much I love the drums, it makes sense that another reason why I like this 45 is because of its B-side, the song that opened side two of Open Our Eyes, “Drum Song”. It opened me to the kalimba and made me want to have one, even though I had no idea how to play one. I received it as a gift for my 7th or 8th birthday and I have it to this day, out-of-tune and everything.
I also intended of putting other Earth, Wind & Fire songs into my dream jukebox, including “Got To Get You Into My Life”, “Serpentine Fire”, or “Fantasy” but no other song would fit perfectly into my jukebox than “Mighty Mighty”, for me at least. I remember it as one of my earliest musical pleasures. If the entire album was released as 45’s, I’d include it too but “Mighty Mighty” would have to go in there, for it represents who I am, in many ways.