Eric Zuley And Dr. Dante Sears eZWay Family Birthday Celebration

Source: Amy Graves / Getty

Sheldon Reynolds, best known as a vocalist and guitarist with The Commodores as well as Earth, Wind and Fire, died this week at the age of 63.

His passing was confirmed by EWF’s Philip Bailey, who posted a tribute to Reynolds on social media early Wednesday. “This news of Sheldon Reynolds’ transition is very sad for all of us who knew and worked with him,” Bailey wrote. “Sheldon vocally had Reese down. That’s what Maurice said when he hired Sheldon to share vocals and play guitar. Sheldon was an excellent addition to the band, a great writer and producer, and a genuinely kind and loving person. He will be missed.”

The Cincinnati native was a member of the iconic group from 1987 to 2002, performing on albums such as Touch The World (1987), Heritage (1990), Millennium (1993) and In The Name of Love (1997). He earned a Grammy nomination with the group in 1994, as the song “Sunday Morning” was up for Best R&B Performance by a Duo/Group With Vocals.

Prior to his time with “The Elements,” Reynolds performed with another iconic group, The Commodores, from 1983 to 1986. He provided backing vocals on the group’s Nightshift album (1983) and played on 1986’s United. 

In addition, Reynolds worked on solo projects for EWF’s Maurice White and Philip Bailey, as well as projects for Barbara Weathers, Smokey Robinson, Joey Lawrence, Urban Knights, and Take 6.

Reynolds’ ex-wife is the adopted sister of Jimi Hendrix, the iconic guitarist for whom the Commodores legend produced the 2009 tribute album, “The Power of Soul.”

In fact, Reynolds was involved in a contentious court battle that centered on Hendrix’s estate and a guitar allegedly given to the Commodores member. A company that managed Hendrix’s estate sued Reynolds for allegedly stealing the acoustic guitar.

“According to the lawsuit, Reynolds claims he received the instrument as part of divorce settlement with Janie Hendrix – but also has claimed that Janie’s 14-year-old-son told him to take a pile of guitars when he went to her house to collect his belongings,” the Courthouse News Service reported in 2014.

Reynolds previously described his experience when he and the Commodores were first introduced to the world back in the early 1980s.

He said James Earl Jones introduced the group at one of their first shows.

“That voice ringing through an arena on those speakers was like … a voice of God coming through,” he recalled.

Reynolds joked later in that same interview that he was “considered a spy” because of his role as a guitarist for both Earth, Wind & Fire in addition to The Commodores.

Watch the interview below.


Actor, Activist And Legendary Singer Harry Belafonte Dies At 96

Tributes Pour In For Randall Robinson After Anti-Apartheid Icon And TransAfrica Founder Dies At 81

Rest In Power: Notable Black People Who Died In 2023
12th Annual "Love N' Courage" Tribute To Tammy Grimes
67 photos

Sheldon Reynolds, Guitarist For The Commodores And Earth, Wind And Fire, Dies At 63  was originally published on