Philip Irvin Bailey
(born May 8, 1951) is an American R&B, soul, gospel and funk singer, songwriter, percussionist and actor, best known as one of the longtime members 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. Bailey was also inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame for his work with the band.Bailey has released several solo albums. Chinese Wall
from 1985, 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.Early daysBailey 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 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 was largely influenced by female singers such as Sarah Vaughan and Dionne Warwick.
Earth, Wind & Fire
In 1972, while attending college, Bailey was invited to join the band Earth, Wind & Fire by EWF-founder and bandleader Maurice White. Bailey went on to lead such popular Earth, Wind & Fire songs as "Devotion", "Head to the Sky", "Reasons", "Fantasy " and "I've Had Enough".Bailey is currently the on-stage leader of Earth, Wind & Fire, along with bassist Verdine White, vocalist/percussionist Ralph Johnson and vocalist/percussionist B. David Whitworth.Since the retirement of Maurice White, 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.
Bailey's most notable solo song is a duet with his friend Phil Collins called "Easy Lover" which was included on his gold solo album Chinese Wall
. The album was also produced by Collins, and both the album and single were released in 1984 on Columbia Records. "Easy Lover" went to number two on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and number one on the UK Singles Chart, while Chinese Wall
peaked at number 22 on the Billboard 200 and number 10 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts.
In 1979, Bailey collaborated with Andrae 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
.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 1985 Phillip 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.
In 1999, Bailey released his first jazz album, Dreams
, featuring Gerald Albright, Grover Washington, Jr. and Pat Metheny, and released his second jazz album entitled Soul on Jazz
in 2002. Both of these albums were released on Heads Up International records. Phillip has also worked with George Duke, Boney James, tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine on his 1981 album Tender Togetherness
, Kenny Loggins on his album Vox Humana
, Stanley Clarke on his album The Bass-ic Collection
and Anita Pointer.He has also worked with Stevie Wonder on his hit single "Part-Time Lover", Julio Iglesias on his gold album Non Stop
, jazz singer Nancy Wilson, the jazz group Fourplay on their gold albums Fourplay
and Between the Sheets
and also on Ray Parker Jr.'s album After Dark
. Bailey has collaborated with Little Richard, Deniece Williams and Eric Benet. He duetted with Phil Collins on the 1985 hit single "Easy Lover."On October 27, 2007, Bailey sang "God Bless America" during the seventh-inning stretch of game three of the World Series.
Bailey has appeared in the movie Full Metal Jacket
and on the TV show Matlock
portraying Pvt. Bobby Thomas.