Philip Bailey

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Philip Bailey
Phillip Bailey.jpg
Bailey in 2000
Background information
Birth namePhilip James Bailey
Born (1951-05-08) May 8, 1951 (age 68)
Denver, Colorado, U.S.
GenresR&B, jazz, gospel, soul, pop, funk, rock
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter, musician
InstrumentsVocals, percussion
Years active1972–present
Associated actsEarth, Wind & Fire, Free Life, George Duke, Phil Collins

Philip James Bailey (born May 8, 1951) is an American R&B, soul, gospel and funk singer, songwriter and percussionist best known as an early member, and one of the two lead singers (along with group founder Maurice White) of the band Earth, Wind & Fire. Noted for his four-octave vocal range and distinctive falsetto register, Bailey has won seven Grammy Awards. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame as a member of Earth, Wind & Fire.[1][2] Bailey was also inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame for his work with the band.[3]

Bailey has released several solo albums. Chinese Wall from 1984, which received a Grammy Award nomination for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male, included the international hit, "Easy Lover", a duet with Phil Collins. "Easy Lover" won an MTV Video Music Award for Best Overall Performance in a Video in 1985 and was Grammy nominated for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals.[4][5]

In May 2008, Bailey was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Berklee College of Music at Berklee's Commencement Ceremony where he was the commencement speaker.[6]

Life and career[edit]

Early days[edit]

Bailey was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, United States. He attended East High School in Denver and graduated in 1969. He was also in a local R&B band called Friends & Love.[7] Some of Bailey's early influences included jazz musicians such as Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Max Roach, the Motown sound, in particular the music of Stevie Wonder and he was also largely influenced by female singers such as Sarah Vaughan and Dionne Warwick.[8]

Earth, Wind & Fire[edit]

In 1972, while attending college, Bailey was invited to join the band Earth, Wind & Fire by EWF-founder and bandleader Maurice White.[2] Bailey was the featured lead vocalist on popular Earth, Wind & Fire songs as "Devotion", "Keep Your Head to the Sky", "Reasons", "Fantasy", "I'll Write A Song For You", "Imagination", "I've Had Enough", and "Guiding Lights". He also shared lead vocals with Maurice White on such EWF hits as "Shining Star", "Getaway", "September", "Sing A Song", "Serpentine Fire", "Saturday Night", and sang lead with both White and the girl group The Emotions on their classic disco collaboration "Boogie Wonderland".

With Maurice White's retirement and then death, Bailey became the on-stage leader of Earth, Wind & Fire, along with bassist Verdine White, vocalist/percussionist Ralph Johnson and vocalist/percussionist B. David Whitworth.[8]

In live duet performances, Bailey will sing his falsetto part, then switch to the vocal part originally sung by White, showing off his vocal prowess and versatility.

Philip Bailey performing in 2011

Solo albums[edit]

In 1983, Bailey issued his debut studio album, titled Continuation, on Columbia Records. The album reached No. 19 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. An album cut titled "I Know" rose to No. 10 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.[9][10][11]

During 1984, Bailey released his second solo album, titled Chinese Wall, also on Columbia Records. The album reached No. 22 on the Billboard 200 chart and No. 10 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. The album was certified Gold in the US by the RIAA. Off the album, a duet with Collins titled "Easy Lover", rose to Nos. 1 & 2 on the UK Singles and Billboard Hot 100 charts, respectively.[12][13]

Bailey went on to issue his third studio album, titled Inside Out, in 1986 on Columbia. The album reached No. 30 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. A single from the album titled "State Of The Heart" reached No. 20 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.[14][15][16]

During 1994, Bailey issued his self titled fourth studio album on Zoo Entertainment. Artists including Brian McKnight, Chuckii Booker and PM Dawn guested on the LP. The album cut "Here With Me" rose to No. 33 on the Billboard Adult R&B Songs chart.[17][18]

Bailey went on to release his first jazz album, titled Dreams in 1999 on Heads Up International records. The album featured artistes such as Gerald Albright, Grover Washington, Jr. and Pat Metheny. It reached No. 43 on the Billboard Jazz Albums chart.[19][20] During 2002 he released Soul on Jazz, his sophomore jazz album once again on Heads Up. The album rose to No. 45 upon the Billboard Jazz Albums chart.[21][22]


Bailey featured on Andraé Crouch's 1979 album I'll Be Thinking of You. He and Maurice White then collaborated with The Hawkins Family on their 1981 live album, The Hawkins Family Live.[23]

In 1980, Bailey joined with friends, Deniece Williams, Billy Davis and Marilyn McCoo to present a gospel show at a popular Los Angeles club named The Roxy. The show was called "Jesus At the Roxy". Williams later reported that "God did something miraculous. Over three hundred people were saved." After that, both Bailey and Williams decided to pursue careers in Christian music.

During 1984, Bailey issued his first gospel album titled The Wonders of His Love on Myrrh Records.[24] The album reached No. 13 on the Billboard Christian Albums chart and No. 17 on the Billboard Top Gospel Albums chart.[25][26] The Wonders of His Love was also Grammy nominated in the category of Best Inspirational Performance.[27]

His second gospel album Triumph was released in 1986 on Horizon Records.[28] The LP reached No. 18 on the Top Christian Albums chart and No. 33 on the Billboard Top Gospel Albums chart.[29][30] Triumph also won a Grammy for Best Gospel Performance, Male.[27]

During 1989 he released his third gospel album titled Family Affair on Myrrh Records.[31] The album reached No. 37 on the Billboard Top Gospel Albums chart.[32]

Bailey later played percussion and sang on the King Baptist Church Mass Choir's 1990 album Holding on to Jesus' Hand.[2]

Work with other artists[edit]

Bailey played percussion along with Verdine White on bass on the Maurice White - Eumir Deodato penned instrumental track "Tahiti Hut" from Deodato's 1978 Love Island album.[33] He also sang on Ronnie Laws' 1978 album Flame.[2]

Bailey went on to produce R&B Band Kinsman Dazz's 1978 debut LP Kinsman Dazz and their sophomore 1979 album Dazz. As a band, Kinsman Dazz later became known as the Dazz Band. Bailey also collaborated as a vocalist with tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine on his 1981 album Tender Togetherness.[34][2]

As well he guested on Stevie Wonder's 1985 "In Square Circle" album, Kenny Loggins' 1985 LP Vox Humana, Ray Parker Jr.'s 1987 album After Dark and Anita Pointer's 1987 LP Love for What It Is. Bailey also collaborated with Julio Iglesias on his 1988 album Non Stop, Little Richard on the soundtrack of the 1988 feature film Twins and Deniece Williams on her 1988 album As Good As It Gets.[2]

He later featured on Nancy Wilson's 1989 LP A Lady with a Song, Dianne Reeves' 1990 album Never Too Far and George Duke and Stanley Clarke's 1990 LP 3. Bailey also guested on jazz group Fourplay's 1991 self-titled debut album, Ronnie Laws' 1992 LP Deep Soul, George Duke's 1992 LP Snapshot and Fourplay's 1993 sophomore album Between the Sheets.[2]

Bailey then featured on Chante Moore's 1994 album A Love Supreme, Keiko Matsui's 1994 LP Doll, George Duke's 2000 album Cool, Boney James's 2006 LP Shine and Deniece Williams' 2007 album Love Niecy Style.[2]

Bailey sung uncredited vocals on Travis Scott's "STOP TRYING TO BE GOD" from his 2018 album Astroworld. The song also features fellow musicians Stevie Wonder and Kid Cudi.

On screen[edit]

Bailey appeared in an episode of the TV show Matlock in the role of Pvt. Bobby Thomas. He also played a soldier in the 1987 feature film Full Metal Jacket.[35]

On October 27, 2007, Bailey sang "God Bless America" during the seventh-inning stretch in Game 3 of the 2007 World Series held at Coors Field, Denver, Colorado. This was the first World Series game that was ever played in his hometown of Denver.[36] He also threw out the ceremonial first pitch on June 30, 2012 in an MLB game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Detroit Tigers held at Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida.[37]

Personal life[edit]

Bailey is currently married to singer/ songwriter, Valerie Bailey (née Davis), who has worked with Whitney Houston and Celine Dion. Bailey is the father of seven children, one of whom is Pili Bailey, the daughter of Jeanette Hutchinson of the R&B hit group The Emotions. His son, Philip Doron Bailey, is also a member of Earth Wind & Fire.


Grammy Awards[edit]

The Grammy Awards are awarded annually by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Bailey has received one award out of four solo nominations.[27]

Year Category Nominated work Result
1983 Best Inspirational Performance The Wonders of His Love Nominated
1985 Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male Chinese Wall Nominated
Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal "Easy Lover" Nominated
1985 Best Gospel Performance, Male Triumph Won



Year[2] Album details[2] Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales thresholds)
US Pop
US Jazz
US Gos
US Chr
1983 Continuation 71 19
1984 The Wonders of His Love 17 13
1984 Chinese Wall
  • Released: 1984
  • Label: Columbia
22 10
  • US: Gold


1986 Triumph 33 18
1986 Inside Out
  • Released: 1986
  • Label: Columbia
84 30
1989 Family Affair
  • Released: 1986
  • Label: Word
1994 Philip Bailey 100
1995 Life and Love
1999 Dreams
  • Released: 1999
  • Label: Heads Up Records
2002 Soul on Jazz
  • Released: 2002
  • Label: Heads Up Records
2019 Love Will Find a Way
  • Released: 2019
  • Label: Verve

Compilation Albums[edit]

Year[2] Album details[2] Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales thresholds)
1991 The Best of Philip Bailey: A Gospel Collection
  • Released: 1991
  • Label: Sony

Film Soundtrack[edit]


Year[2] Title[2] Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales thresholds)
US Pop
US Adult R&B
US Jazz
UK Pop
1983 I Know 10
1983 Trapped 43
1984 Easy Lover with Phil Collins 2 3 1 * US: Gold


1984 Photogenic Memory 61
1985 Walking on the Chinese Wall 46 56 34
1986 State of the Heart 20
1994 Here With Me 66 33
2010 Fool for You (Cee Lo Green featuring Melanie Fiona or Philip Bailey) 13 1
2017 Serpentine Fire (Nathan East featuring Philip Bailey, Verdine White and Ralph Johnson) 17


  • Bailey, Philip; Keith Zimmerman; Kent Zimmerman (2014). Shining Star: Braving the Elements of Earth, Wind & Fire. New York: Viking. ISBN 9780670785889. OCLC 852221287.


  1. ^ "The Official Earth, Wind & Fire Website". Archived from the original on March 7, 2009. Retrieved March 11, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Philip Bailey". AllMusic.
  3. ^ Songwriters Hall of Fame Earth, Wind & Fire Biography
  4. ^ MTV Video Music Awards History: Best Overall Performance. Rock On The Net. Retrieved on May 2, 2012.
  5. ^ Mtv Video Music Awards History: Best Overall Performance. Retrieved on May 12, 2017.
  6. ^ R&B Briefs: Berklee College of Music, Chanté Moore. Billboard. Retrieved on May 12, 2017.
  7. ^ "Earth, Wind & Fire | Biography, Albums, Streaming Links". AllMusic.
  8. ^ a b Lockwood, Rod (July 23, 2008). "Earth, Wind and Fire: Band that has been topping charts since '70s is in Toledo tonight".
  9. ^ "Philip Bailey: Continuation". AllMusic.
  10. ^ "Philip Bailey: Continuation (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)".
  11. ^ "Philip Bailey: I Know (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)".
  12. ^ "Philip Bailey: Chinese Wall". RIAA.
  13. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 41. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  14. ^ "Philip Bailey: Inside Out". AllMusic.
  15. ^ "Philip Bailey: Inside Out (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)".
  16. ^ "Philip Bailey: State Of The Heart (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)".
  17. ^ "Philip Bailey: Philip Bailey". AllMusic.
  18. ^ "Philip Bailey: Here With Me (Adult R& Songs)".
  19. ^ "Philip Bailey: Dreams". AllMusic.
  20. ^ "Philip Bailey: Dreams (Jazz Albums)".
  21. ^ "Pgilip Bailey: Soul on Jazz". AllMusic.
  22. ^ "Philip Bailey: Soul on Jazz (Jazz Albums)".
  23. ^ Gay, Gregory (March 6, 2007). "Walter Hawkins – Take Me Back". Retrieved June 21, 2009.
  24. ^ "Philip Bailey: The Wonders Of His Love".
  25. ^ "Phillip Bailey: The Wonders Of His Love (Top Christian Albums)".
  26. ^ "Phillip Bailey: The Wonders Of His Love (Top Gospel Albums)".
  27. ^ a b c "Philip Bailey".
  28. ^ "Philip Bailey: Triumph".
  29. ^ "Philip Bailey: Triumph (Top Christian Albums)".
  30. ^ "Philip Bailey: Triumph (Top Gospel Albums)".
  31. ^ "Philip Bailey: Family Affair".
  32. ^ "Philip Bailey: Family Affair (Top Gospel Albums)".
  33. ^ "Love Island - Deodato | Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved November 1, 2019.
  34. ^ "Kinsman Dazz: Dazz". AllMusic.
  35. ^ "Philip Bailey".
  36. ^ "Musical performers set for Games 3 and 4 of 2007 World Series". MLB. October 27, 2007.
  37. ^ "Detroit Tigers v Tampa Bay Rays". Getty Images.
  38. ^ "Philip Bailey: Billboard 200".
  39. ^ "Philip Bailey: Top R&B Albums".
  40. ^ "Philip Bailey: Top Jazz Albums".
  41. ^ "Philip Bailey: Top Gospel Albums".
  42. ^ "Philip Bailey: Top Christian Albums".
  43. ^ a b "Philip Bailey". Recording Industry Association of America.
  44. ^ "Philip Bailey: Billboard 200".
  45. ^ "Philip Bailey: Top R&B Albums".
  46. ^ "Philip Bailey: Top Jazz Albums".
  47. ^ "Philip Bailey: Top Gospel Albums".
  48. ^ "Philip Bailey: Top Christian Albums".
  49. ^ "Philip Bailey". IMDb. Retrieved November 1, 2019.
  50. ^ "Philip Bailey: Hot 100".
  51. ^ "Philip Bailey: Hot Soul Songs".
  52. ^ "Philip Bailey: Adult R&B Songs".
  53. ^ "Philip Bailey: Top Jazz Songs".
  54. ^ "Philip Bailey". Official Charts.

External links[edit]