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. Bailey was also inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame for his work with the band.
Bailey in 2000
|Birth name||Philip James Bailey|
|Born||May 8, 1951|
Denver, Colorado, U.S.
|Genres||R&B, jazz, gospel, soul, pop, funk, rock|
|Occupation(s)||Singer, songwriter, musician|
|Instruments||Vocals, percussion, kalimba|
Myrrh, Word, Heads Up, Verve
|Associated acts||Earth, Wind & Fire, George Duke, Phil Collins, Fourplay, Ronnie Laws|
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.
Life and careerEdit
Bailey was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. He attended Denver's East High School. He later attended the Metropolitan State University of Denver and Colorado University thereafter. Bailey 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 largely influenced by female singers such as Sarah Vaughan and Dionne Warwick.
Earth, Wind & FireEdit
In 1972, while attending Colorado University, Bailey was invited to join the band Earth, Wind & Fire by founder and bandleader Maurice White. Bailey was the featured lead vocalist on popular Earth, Wind & Fire songs as "Devotion", "Keep Your Head to the Sky", "Reasons", "Fantasy", "Star", "I've Had Enough", "Turn on (The Beat Box)" 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 Nite", and sang lead with both White and the girl group The Emotions on their classic disco collaboration "Boogie Wonderland".
With Maurice White's retirement from the road, Bailey became the on-stage leader of Earth, Wind & Fire, performing alongside longtime members, bassist Verdine White and vocalist/percussionist Ralph Johnson.
During 1983, Bailey issued his debut studio album, titled Continuation, on Columbia Records. The album reached No. 19 on the US Billboard Top R&B Albums chart, No. 36 on the Dutch Pop Albums chart and No. 31 on the Swedish Pop Albums chart. Martin Basch of the Boston Globe declared "this is the rare R&B dance album where each cut is outstanding". Hugh Wyatt of the New York Daily News also called Continuation "a top-notch recording".
During 1984, Bailey released his second solo album, titled Chinese Wall on Columbia. 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. A duet with Phil Collins entitled "Easy Lover", rose to No. 1 on the UK Pop Singles chart and No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
During 1986 Bailey went on to issue his third studio album, titled Inside Out on Columbia. The album reached No. 30 on the US Billboard Top R&B Albums chart, No. 29 on the Swiss Pop Albums chart and No. 30 on the Swedish Pop Albums chart. Carlo Wolff of the Boston Globe wrote "Bailey's most coherent and relaxed solo album chronicles his walk through city streets, his eyes turned toward the heavens". Thom Duffy of the Orlando Sentinel said "on this new album, Bailey aims for a polished yet punchy funk and ballad style."
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. Carol Cooper of Newsday wrote Philip Bailey takes another step forward for neo-traditionalism in black music, with the sensitive gentleman-crooner triumphantly ascendant."Michael Eric Dyson of Rolling Stone stated "In the hands of a lesser talent, some of these songs might barely seep through the cracks, less than memorable fare conjured up to please a legend. But Bailey's grace and magic, apparent throughout, redeem the recordings." Dyson added "What's remarkable above all on this album is that Bailey's brilliant falsetto retains its sweet purity, even as he employs more of a pleasing baritone than he has revealed before. While that alone doesn't compensate for some of the just-OK stuff he has to work with, it delights nonetheless."
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. Paula Edelstein of All About Jazz said "Philip sings with the spiritual essence from on high and with the finesse and soul of the Song Master that he is. This CD is worth the wait". Al Hunter Jr. of the Philadelphia Daily News wrote ""Dreams" is an excellent showcase for Bailey" adding "Bailey serves up a jazz-flavored disc that is as impressive as his four-octave singing range." 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. Christopher Loudon of Jazz Times proclaimed "reinterpreting jazz treasures both familiar and lesser-known, he moves from triumph to triumph." Eugene Holley Jr. of Vibe also stated "backed by a swinging combo, Bailey's vivid vocals extend to realms beyond category." Bailey then issued in 2019 his third jazz album entitled Love Will Find A Way on Verve Records. That album reached No. 1 on both the Billboard Top Jazz Albums chart and the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Albums chart.
Bailey featured on Andraé Crouch's 1979 Grammy winning album I'll Be Thinking of You. Along with Maurice White he then collaborated with Walter Hawkins on his 1980 Grammy nominated 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.
During 1984, Bailey issued his first gospel album titled The Wonders of His Love on Myrrh Records. The album reached No. 13 on the Billboard Christian Albums chart and No. 17 on the Billboard Top Gospel Albums chart. The Wonders of His Love was also Grammy nominated in the category of Best Inspirational Performance.
His second gospel album Triumph was released in 1986 on Horizon Records. The LP reached No. 18 on the Top Christian Albums chart and No. 33 on the Billboard Top Gospel Albums chart. Triumph also won a Grammy for Best Gospel Performance, Male.
Bailey later played percussion and sang on the King Baptist Church Mass Choir's 1990 album Holding on to Jesus' Hand.
Work with other artistsEdit
Bailey sang on Jazz guitarist Alphonso Johnson's 1976 LP Yesterday's Dreams. He later played percussion alongside Verdine White on bass upon the track "Tahiti Hut" composed by both Maurice White and Eumir Deodato from Deodato's 1978 album Love Island. He also sang on Ronnie Laws' 1978 album Flame.
Bailey went on to produce R&B Band Kinsman Dazz's 1978 debut LP Kinsman Dazz and work as an arranger and guest artist on their sophomore 1979 album Dazz. As a band, Kinsman Dazz later became known as the Dazz Band. Bailey also collaborated as a vocalist with Ramsey Lewis on his 1980 LP Routes, Stanley Turrentine on his 1981 album Tender Togetherness and Deniece Williams on her 1983 Grammy nominated album I'm So Proud.
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, Deniece Williams on her 1988 album As Good As It Gets and collaborated with Little Richard on the title tune of the soundtrack to the 1988 feature film Twins. That song reached No. 16 on the Dutch Pop Singles chart and No. 36 on the Belgian Pop Singles chart.
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 album Snapshot and Fourplay's 1993 sophomore LP Between the Sheets.
Bailey then featured on Chante Moore's 1994 album A Love Supreme, Keiko Matsui's 1994 LP Doll, Doc Powell's 1996 album Inner City Blues, George Duke's 2000 Grammy nominated album Cool, Boney James's 2006 LP Shine, Deniece Williams' 2007 album Love Niecy Style and Gerald Albright's 2008 Grammy nominated LP Sax for Stax.
He then featured on the song Fool for You from CeeLo Green's 2010 album The Lady Killer. Fool for You got to No. 1 on the Billboard Adult R&B Songs chart and No. 13 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. That song also won two Grammy awards in the categories of Best Traditional R&B Performance and Best R&B Song. Bailey later appeared on Nathan East's 2017 LP Reverence and Chick Corea's 2018 album Chinese Butterfly.
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 and appeared in the 1995 staging of "Raisin", the Broadway musical based on "A Raisin In The Sun".
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. 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.
|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|
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