Interviews

Published on September 8th, 2013 | by Gerry Galipault

0

Back to basics for Earth, Wind & Fire

More than a year ago, Earth, Wind & Fire thought it had its first album in eight years all finished and ready to go.

Then Philip Bailey’s son, Philip D. Bailey, had a heart to heart with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame singer.

“We had just finished recording ‘Guiding Lights,’ which he had co-written,” Bailey said. “It was pretty emotional – for me and for him. He said to me, ‘This is who you are. This is how you sound.’

“He was right. It sounded like classic Earth, Wind & Fire, like something from our ‘Head to the Sky’ album (1973). Right then and there, I knew we had to go back to the drawing board. We needed all new songs that matched our original sound.”

A year later – on Tuesday (Sept. 10), in fact – Earth, Wind & Fire returns with its 20th album “Now, Then & Forever” (Legacy) and a whole new batch of back-to-basics EWF tracks.

Bailey admits EWF had strayed from its innovative mix of R&B, soul, funk, jazz and disco after leader Maurice White stopped touring with the band in 1994.

“He was such an integral part of the band, he was the architect of our sound,” he said. “You move that piece out and it’s bound to affect you. We pretty much carried on without him.”

After talking with his son, Bailey reassessed EWF’s direction. White, who has Parkinson’s Disease, left the keys to the band in Bailey’s hands, along with singer-percussionist Ralph Johnson and White’s younger brother, bassist Verdine White.

“Maurice is our guiding force, but we had to go through a little adversity to get back to who we are. I realized that our music is essential in people’s lives, the same as the Eagles and Stevie Wonder are. I would be pissed off if Stevie Wonder tried folk or if the Eagles tried to sound like Journey. We had to do what we do best.”

The 10-song “Now, Then & Forever” features the first single, “My Promise” (co-written by Siedah Garrett), “Guiding Lights” and “Sign On,” also co-written by Bailey’s son.

“Once we bought into it, it wasn’t so hard to get back on the right path,” Bailey said. “We’re so happy with this album, and we’re excited about getting it out to our fans.

“The momentum has not stopped for us. It’s such a blessing that we still get to do this after some 40 years.”

(Photo by Randee St. Nicholas)

 

 

Tags: , , , ,


About the Author

Gerry Galipault debuted Pause & Play online in October 1997. Since then, it has become the definitive place for CD-release dates — with a worldwide audience.



Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to Top ↑
  • BEST OF THE WEB

     

    Entertainment Weekly names Pause & Play one of “the 100 greatest Web sites”

  • Album Release Dates

    * Release dates are subject to change due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

    Sept. 17, 2021 » Lil Nas X, Lindsey Buckingham, Melissa Etheridge, The Felice Brothers, Herb Alpert, Billy Idol, José González, Scotty McCreery, Jonas Kaufmann, Carly Pearce, Candlebox, Daughtry, Rumer, Carcass, Charley Crockett, etc.

    Sept. 24, 2021 » Mickey Guyton, Steely Dan, Ringo Starr, G-Eazy, Esperanza Spalding, Angels & Airwaves, Natalie Imbruglia, Donald Fagen, Japanese Breakfast, Sufjan Stevens & Angelo De Augustine, Alessia Cara, Vangelis, Anthony Hamilton, X Ambassadors, Billy Strings, Men Without Hats, Jesse Malin, Poppy, etc.

    Oct. 1, 2021 » Metallica, Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga, Brandi Carlile, The Doobie Brothers, Yes, the The, Ministry, Strand of Oaks, Roger Taylor, Newsboys, Asleep at the Wheel, Dar Williams, etc.

    More New Releases » Oct. 8 and Beyond: James Arthur, Ladyhawke, Sam Fender, Billy Bragg, Natalie Hemby, Old Dominion, Coldplay, Santana, Zac Brown Band, FINNEAS, Elton John, Lana Del Rey, Lady A, Duran Duran, My Morning Jacket, Dream Theater, Ed Sheeran, Mastodon, Migos, Black Veil Brides, They Might Be Giants, ABBA, Diana Ross, Bullet For My Valentine, Steve Perry, Hanson, Aimee Mann, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Rod Stewart, Courtney Barnett, Eric Clapton, Damon Albarn, Allen Stone, Taylor Swift, Robert Plant | Alison Krauss, Sting, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Paul Weller, Underoath, and many more.

    More Upcoming Releases » Albums coming in 2021 and 2022 but yet to be scheduled

    Elton John loves Pauseandplay.comDeals of the DayBest SellersSennheiser MOMENTUM 2 Wireless Over-Ear HeadphonesIE 400 Pro In-Ear Monitors

  • New Merch at Hot TopicSave on Tablets at Walmart.comBand T-ShirtsTurntables & AccessoriesHome Audio SystemsAmazon Tap $40 OffSave up to 90% on Textbooks

    NOTE: Pauseandplay.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. We also participate in other affiliate programs.

  • Love Pauseandplay.com? We do, too … Help us keep it going. (Every little bit helps.) We ♥ u.

  • Recent Posts

  • Connect on Facebook

  • On Twitter