Earth, Wind and Fire ditched a whole album before recording 'Now, Then & Forever'.

Two years ago the 'September' funk band - who have been together for more than 40 years - wrote an entire album which was never got released as they didn't think it suited their style.

Lead singer Philip Bailey told BANG Showbiz: ''Once we got to the end of the last batch of songs about a year ago, we had a song called 'Guiding Light' and that sound kind of typified the sound of Earth Wind & Fire. It was like the catalyst for rethinking what we were doing.

''We dropped the other material and went back to the drawing board.

''I literally ditched the entire first album we had prepared. It wasn't that the music wasn't good but I guess it was kinda like you wanting an Eagles record and it sounds like Journey.

''We compared it to our classic sounds and it just didn't have the magic that the song 'Guiding Light'.''

Philip said the sound was ''radically different'' and doesn't know if they will ever come back to the unreleased material again.

He added: ''Who knows if we'll ever release the other album. Maybe sometime in the future the record company will resurrect the material and release it. It's in the vault somewhere.''

Earth, Wind and Fire put their long-standing success down to the diversity of their music.

Philip said: ''We have a great catalogue of music made up of different genres but still very commercial. Our message is positive and makes people feel good and we try to make a live show that people will want to come back and see. We're still loving doing what we do, so I think all of those factors are the secret to our longevity.''

'Now, Then & Forever' - the band's first new album since 2005 - is released this week.