Exclusive: Earth, Wind & Fire to Release First Holiday Album

Randee St. Nicholas
Earth, Wind & Fire

Eight-time Grammy Award-winning group Earth, Wind & Fire is adding another first to its long list of achievements: a holiday album. The aptly titled Holiday will be released Oct. 21 through Sony Music Entertainment’s Legacy Recordings division.

The 13-track set, available now for pre-order at Amazon, is comprised of such seasonal fare as “Winter Wonderland," “Sleigh Ride,” “Joy to the World” and “Jingle Bell Rock.” Rounding out the mix are two songs inspired by well-known EWF classics: “Happy Seasons” (the 1975 album track “Happy Feelin’”) and “December” (1978’s “September”). The latter song features lead singer/co-founder Philip Bailey dueting with the original master vocals of fellow co-founder Maurice White.

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“We stretched the envelope a bit on several songs, changing the harmonic structures and rhythms --kind of what we did with [the Beatles] ‘Got to Get You Into My Life,’” says Bailey. “It’s Christmas songs but still EWF-esque.” He and EWF music director Myron McKinley produced Holiday with assistance from Philip Bailey Jr.

“It’s our special twist,” adds co-founder Verdine White. “We never thought about doing a holiday album before. But Legacy/Sony asked and so have our fans, so we hope the audience likes it.”

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Holiday marks EWF’s 21st studio album and second for Legacy. The band’s first Legacy project was 2013’s Now, Then & Forever. Featuring new EWF music for the first time since 2005, the set debuted at No. 11 on the Billboard 200 -- the group’s highest-charting album since Raise! peaked at No. 5 in 1981. 

Track Listing For "Holiday":

1. "Joy to the World"
2. "Happy Seasons"
3. "Oh Come All Ye Faithful"
4. "Winter Wonderland"
5. "What Child Is This?"
6. "Away In a Manger"
7. "The Little Drummer Boy"
8. "Every Day Is Like Christmas"
9. "The First Noël"
10. "Sleigh Ride"
11. "Snow"
12. "Jingle Bell Rock"
13. "December"