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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]

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, George Duke, Phil Collins

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 careerEdit

Early daysEdit

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 & FireEdit

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 albumsEdit

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]


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.[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.

During 1984, Bailey issued his first gospel album entitled The Wonders of His Love on Myrrh Records.[23] The album reached No. 13 on the Billboard Christian Albums chart and No. 17 on the Billboard Top Gospel Albums chart.[24][25] The Wonders of His Love was also Grammy nominated in the category of Best Inspirational Performance.[26]

His second gospel album Triumph was released in 1986 on Horizon Records.[27] The LP reached No. 18 on the Top Christian Albums chart and No. 33 on the Billboard Top Gospel Albums chart.[28][29] Triumph also won a Grammy for Best Gospel Performance, Male.[26]

During 1989 he released his third gospel album entitled Family Affair on Myrrh Records.[30] The album reached No. 37 on the Billboard Top Gospel Albums chart.[31]

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 artistsEdit

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.[2][32]

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]

As well he featured on jazz singer Nancy Wilson 1989 LP 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 the jazz group Fourplay's 1991 self-titled debut album, George Duke's 1992 LP Snapshot and Fourplay's 1993 sophomore album Between the Sheets.[2]

Bailey also featured 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][33]

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 screenEdit

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.[34]

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).[35]

Personal lifeEdit

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 which 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 AwardsEdit

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.[26]

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)
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
2019 Love Will Find a Way
  • Released: 2019
  • Label: Verve


  • 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 "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. ^ "Philip Bailey: The Wonders Of His Love".
  24. ^ "Phillip Bailey: The Wonders Of His Love (Top Christian Albums)".
  25. ^ "Phillip Bailey: The Wonders Of His Love (Top Gospel Albums)".
  26. ^ a b c "Philip Bailey".
  27. ^ "Philip Bailey: Triumph".
  28. ^ "Philip Bailey: Triumph (Top Christian Albums)".
  29. ^ "Philip Bailey: Triumph (Top Gospel Albums)".
  30. ^ "Philip Bailey: Family Affair".
  31. ^ "Philip Bailey: Family Affair (Top Gospel Albums)".
  32. ^ "Kinsman Dazz: Dazz".
  33. ^ "Twins: Music from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack".
  34. ^ "Philip Bailey".
  35. ^ Musical performers set for Games 3 and 4 of 2007 World Series. Retrieved on May 12, 2017.
  36. ^ "Philip Bailey: Billboard 200".
  37. ^ "Philip Bailey: Top R&B Albums".
  38. ^ "Philip Bailey: Top Jazz Albums".
  39. ^ "Philip Bailey: Top Gospel Albums".
  40. ^ "Philip Bailey: Top Christian Albums".
  41. ^ "Philip Bailey". Recording Industry Association of America.

External linksEdit