Television Listings

Chicago and Earth, Wind & Fire mull joint album

By Gary Graff

DETROIT (Billboard) - After several years of touring together and a new joint charity single, Chicago and Earth, Wind & Fire are contemplating a full-scale collaborative album project.

"Both bands kind of separately and together said, 'Wouldn't it be great to do an album together, so that's something that's just kind of flying around," Chicago's Robert Lamm told Billboard.com. "I think the guys that write (songs) are thinking that could possibly be the next project."

Lamm predicted that a Chicago-EWF album "would sound big. It obviously has to genetically reflect where the two bands are coming from sonically and writing-wise, but I'm hoping that something new could emerge, something modern, something contemporary that the sum of the two bands is greater than that, so that's my fantasy of what it could be."

In conjunction with their 2009 summer tour, which kicks off June 5 in Orange Beach, Alabama, the two groups put together a special set of songs for download, with proceeds going to World Hunger Year. Chicago recorded a version of EWF's "I Can't Let You Go," while EWF covered Chicago's "Wishing You Were Here." The two bands then collaborated on a new EWF-composed song, "You."

"It's kind of a very Earth, Wind & Fire sort of funk, ballad groove," Lamm said, "but the lyrics really sort of chastise people into thinking beyond just themselves and (to) think for a minute about what you see when you're walking through an urban landscape, let's say -- or anywhere, for that matter. I mean, I was in Santa Monica and there is homelessness and hunger right out here in Laguna Beach, so this song kind of alludes to if things are going to change they have to start with 'you.' It's kind of cliche, but it just happens to be true."

Chicago and EWF are asking fans coming to the shows to bring three cans of nonperishable food or $3 -- which will go to local food banks -- in exchange for a download card. The songs also can be accessed by making a donation at EWFandChicago.com.

Lamm said he and Chicago's other songwriters were recently in Nashville "doing some recording for our own amusement," with no firm plans for any of those songs. The group's Bill Champlin will release a solo album, "No Place Left to Fall," on August 4, while Lamm said he's "always" entertaining ideas for solo projects and also has been in touch with former Chicago bassist Peter Cetera about doing some writing together.

(Editing by Sheri Linden at Reuters)

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