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charles stepney

Charles Stepney

b. Charles Stepney, 26th March 1931, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.

d. 17th May 1976, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.

Charles Stepney was an American recording artist, vibraphonist, pianist, arranger, producer and songwriter.

Charles Stepney

Charles performed alongside the likes of Eddie Harris, Muddy Waters, Ramsey Lewis, The Dells, Rotary Connection, Terry Callier, Howlin' Wolf, Phil Upchurch along with many others.

Murice, Ramsey, Charles

He was, probably, best remembered as a producer for Earth, Wind & Fire.

In the Fifties, Charles Stepney was a member of the group the Johnny Pate Quintet.

Charles Stepney

In the Sixties, he became a staff arranger and producer at the Chicago-based imprint Chess Records.

Charles Stepney

He began working with the Dells at the label, along with the likes of Rotary Connection (featuring Minnie Riperton), later going on to produce Minnie’s solo work.

Charles worked with the Dells at Veejay Records and, later, on with Cadet Records (after the label folded).

Charles Stepney

Working with the producer, Bobby Miller, which realised a hit in 1968, with the group’s classic Soul recording, ‘Stay in My Corner’ (number one R&B that year).

After Bobby moved to Motown, Charles took over the overall production duties for the Dells.

The 1971 album ‘Freedom Means’, featured the Soul evergreen ‘It’s All Up To You’.

The track was co-penned by Terry Callier, whom Charles went on to have a good working relationship in the years to come.

Charles Stepney

With Charles, the Dells album, ‘The Dells Sing Dionne Warwicke's Greatest Hits’ (1972) became hugely popular that year.

As the Seventies developed, Charles began working with Maurice White (who was later to front Earth, Wind & Fire, and was also an ex Chess Records session drummer).

Charles wrote (and co-wrote) some of Earth, Wind & Fire's most memorable melodies, including’ ‘That’s The Way Of The World’, ‘Reasons’, ‘Yearnin', Learnin’, ‘On Your Face’ and ‘Imagination’.

Charles Stepney

At Maurice White's Kalimba Records, Charles co-produced tracks on two 1976 Columbia LPs, Deniece Williams' ‘This Is Niecy’ (in 1977) and the Emotions' ‘Flowers’.

He also penned the song ‘Love Has Fallen On Me’ for Chaka Khan for her, later, album ‘Chaka’ in 1978.

His song ‘Completeness’ was originally penned for Minnie Riperton, and was later recorded by the singer Jean Carn in 1982.


In 1976, before the release of Earth, Wind & Fire’s ‘Spirit’ album, (and about to work with Michael Jackson and Barbra Streisand), he died in May 1976, at home in Chicago, at the young age of 43.

Charles Stepney

His children are Charlene Stepney, Chante Stepney and Eibur Stepney.

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