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 forms the heart of the current EWF line-up on stage along with Verdine White and Ralph Johnson and recently, Bailey’s son, Philip Jr.
Bailey was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. He attended East High School in Denver, graduating in 1969. He also was 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 Vaughn and Dionne Warwick.
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”, “Keep Your 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.
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, including 1984’s Chinese Wall. Chinese Wall included the global hit, “Easy Lover”, a duet with Phil Collins. “Easy Lover” won an MTV Video Music Award for Best Overall Performance in 1985 and was Grammy nominated for Best Pop Vocal Performance By A Duo or Group.
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