Welcome to The Falsettometer, where we will look at Great Moments in Falsetto History. Please keep all glass objects out of reach when reading this column or playing one of the videos embedded in a falsettometer column.
Of course, we have to begin with one of the All Time Falsetto Greats. Someone whose voice can hit notes so high, 5 year old boys look at one another in awe and ask “How did he do that?”
At any rate, here are the three things that come to mind whenever I think of Earth, Wind & Fire:
1) No one must have been getting paid in that band, because there were about 64 members. Anyone remember seeing them on Merv Griffin or Mike Douglas back in the day? There were literal *tiers* of members.
2) Maurice White has one of pop music’s all-time biggest foreheads. Put him and Peabo Bryson together and you basically get a 10-foot tall skull.
3) Philip Bailey’s voice was so high, he didn’t even sound like a girl. He sounded *unnatural*. Whether the song was “Can’t Hide Love” (“bet-TAH!!”), “September” (“bow-de-ow-de-ow-de-ah!!” or his own “Easy Lover” (if you don’t love “Easy Lover”, something is wrong with you), there was no doubt who was singing. I would say the man’s testicles up and ran away at some point during the Seventies, but Mr. Bailey has *several* kids. God bless him.
Anyway, EW&F were one of the best at synthesizing pop and funk back in the day (although I’ll admit that they were a bit sanitized for my tastes-even Lionel Richie and The Commodores were grimier than EW&F), but their calling card was ballads. The combo of Maurice White’s ethereal growl and Philip’s falsetto was a hell of a two-pronged attack. And when it comes to slow jams, there are very few better than “Reasons”, which is all Philip. Enjoy, and stay tuned for future editions of The Falsettometer!!