Philip Bailey

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Philip Bailey
Philip Bailey 1.jpg
Philip Bailey performing with Earth, Wind & Fire in 2008
Background information
Birth namePhilip Irvin Bailey
Born (1951-05-08) May 8, 1951 (age 67)
Denver, Colorado, U.S.
GenresR&B, jazz, gospel, soul, pop, funk, rock
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter, musician, actor
InstrumentsVocals, percussion
Years active1969–present
Associated actsEarth, Wind & Fire, Phil Collins

Philip Irvin Bailey (born May 8, 1951) is an American R&B, soul, gospel and funk singer, songwriter, percussionist and actor, 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 global 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. 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 went on to lead such 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]

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

During 1984 he released his sophomore solo album entitled Chinese Wall upon Columbia Records. Produced by Phil Collins the album got to Nos. 22 & 10 upon the Billboard 200 and Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts. Off the album, a duet with Collins entitled "Easy Lover", got to Nos. 1 & 2 upon the UK Singles and Billboard Hot 100 charts respectively. While Bailey had a number of hits with Earth, Wind & Fire, "Easy Lover" was his only Top 40 solo hit.[12]

He went on to issue his third studio album being Inside Out in 1986 on Columbia. The album got to No. 30 upon the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. Off the album a single entitled State Of The Heart got to No. 20 upon the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.[13][14][15]

During 1994 Bailey issued his self titled fourth studio album on Zoo Entertainment. Artistes such as Brian McKnight, Chuckii Booker and PM Dawn guested on the LP. The album cut Here With Me also rose to No. 33 upon the Billboard Adult R&B Songs chart.[16][17]

Bailey went on to release his first jazz album entitled Dreams in 1999 upon Heads Up International records. Dreams featured artistes such as Gerald Albright, Grover Washington, Jr. and Pat Metheny. As well the album got to No. 43 upon the Billboard Jazz Albums chart.[18][19] 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.[20][21]


In 1979, Bailey collaborated with Andraé Crouch on his album I'll Be Thinking of You, and in 1981 he and Maurice White collaborated with The Hawkins Family on their live album, The Hawkins Family Live.[22]

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.

In 1983, Bailey and Williams recorded "They Say" an atmospheric, slow praise song that builds towards the end with rousing words of praise with just the two voices of Williams and Bailey. The song was written by songwriters Skip Scarborough and Terri McFaddin and was popular on both Urban and Gospel Black radio. Williams later recorded the song with Christian artist Sandi Patti and won a Grammy for it.

In 1984, Bailey released his first gospel album The Wonders of His Love on Myrrh Records which reached number 13 and 17 on the Top Contemporary Christian and Top Gospel Albums charts respectively and it featured percussionist Paulinho da Costa and pianist and keyboard player George Duke.

His second gospel album Triumph was released in 1986, and the album won Bailey a Grammy for Best Gospel Performance, Male and reached number 18 on the Top Contemporary Christian charts. In 1989, he released his third gospel album Family Affair on which Sheldon Reynolds and Kirk Whalum appeared. He played percussion and provided vocals on the King Baptist Church Mass Choir's album Holding on to Jesus' Hand, released in 1990.

Work with other artists[edit]

Bailey went on to produce R&B Band Kinsman Dazz's 1978 debut LP Kinsman Dazz. As well he produced 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.[2][23]

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 on her 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. As well he featured as a vocalist upon jazz singer Nancy Wilson 1989 LP Lady With A Song, jazz group Fourplay's 1991 self-titled debut album, George Duke's LP of the following year Snapshot and Fourplay's 1993 sophomore album Between the Sheets.[2]

Bailey also guested on Chante Moore's 1994 album A Love Supreme, George Duke's 2000 LP Cool, Boney James's 2006 album Shine and Deniece Williams' 2007 LP Love Niecy Style.[2][24]

On October 27, 2007, Bailey sang "God Bless America" during the seventh-inning stretch of the first World Series game ever to be played in his hometown of Denver (Game 3 in 2007).[25]

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 has appeared on the TV show Matlock portraying Pvt. Bobby Thomas.[26]

Personal life[edit]

Bailey is currently married to singer/ songwriter, Valerie Bailey (née Davis), who has worked with superstars Whitney Houston, Celine Dion etc. Bailey is the father of seven children; One of his children, Pili Bailey, is 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 (album)" 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)
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
1991 The Best of Philip Bailey: A Gospel Collection
  • Released: 1991
  • Label: Sony
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


  • 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 "Philip Bailey".
  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. ^ "EWF bio at".
  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".
  10. ^ "Philip Bailey: Continuation (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)".
  11. ^ "Philip Bailey: I Know (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)".
  12. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 41. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  13. ^ "Philip Bailey: Inside Out".
  14. ^ "Philip Bailey: Inside Out (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)".
  15. ^ "Philip Bailey: State Of The Heart (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)".
  16. ^ "Philip Bailey: Philip Bailey".
  17. ^ "Philip Bailey: Here With Me (Adult R& Songs)".
  18. ^ "Philip Bailey: Dreams".
  19. ^ "Philip Bailey: Dreams (Jazz Albums)".
  20. ^ "Pgilip Bailey: Soul on Jazz".
  21. ^ "Philip Bailey: Soul on Jazz (Jazz Albums)".
  22. ^ Gay, Gregory (March 6, 2007). "Walter Hawkins – Take Me Back". Retrieved June 21, 2009.
  23. ^ "Kinsman Dazz: Dazz".
  24. ^ "Twins: Music from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack".
  25. ^ Musical performers set for Games 3 and 4 of 2007 World Series. Retrieved on May 12, 2017.
  26. ^ "Philip Bailey at". Internet Movie Database.
  27. ^ "Philip Bailey".
  28. ^ "Philip Bailey: Billboard 200".
  29. ^ "Philip Bailey: Top R&B Albums".
  30. ^ "Philip Bailey: Top Jazz Albums".
  31. ^ "Philip Bailey: Top Gospel Albums".
  32. ^ "Philip Bailey: Top Christian Albums".
  33. ^ "Philip Bailey". Recording Industry Association of America.

External links[edit]