Prior to "Fire," the group's highest-charting Hot 100 entry was "Funky Worm
," an influential novelty number led by keyboardist/vocalist Junie Morrison that hit #15 in 1973. When the band left the Detroit-based Westbound label for a major deal at Mercury Records, Morrison stayed behind and, after pursuing a solo career, eventually joined up with Parliament-Funkadelic. Billy Beck replaced him on keys and Jimmy "Diamond" Williams took over on drums, forming the Ohio Players' classic lineup. Fire
, which boasted the hit title track, was the band's second Mercury album. It was their first and only chart-topper on the US albums chart.