Phillip Bailey to be inducted to East High School Heritage Hall

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It's been a hellacious day over here at Backbeat HQ. I've been busier than a one-eyed cat keeping watch over two mouse holes. In addition to digging out from a litany of e-mails leftover from last week's DNC onslaught and from the long weekend, I've spent the day putting the finishing touches on an extended Q&A with David Marion from Fear Before the March of Flames (which will hit the blog around the time the paper hits stands on Thursday) and getting started on a feature for next week's issue. Anyhow, slogging through my e-mail, I came across a message that instantly caught my attention. Christine Genovese, an East High alumni, shot a note over to my colleague, Jonathan Shikes, an alumni himself, alerting him to the fact that Philip Bailey will be inducted into the East High School Alumni Heritage Hall on Thursday, September 18, and asking, "Would Dave Herrera be interested?"

Um, yeah, Christine, I'm pretty sure he would be.

Almost as soon as I could speak intelligibly, I was singing along with Earth, Wind & Fire. The way my oldest sister tells it, I would stand up in the passenger seat of her Vega (it was the '70s, and car seats apparently weren't mandatory yet) and sing the songs (theirs and many others, evidently) at the top of my lungs. For my part, I vividly remember being in first grade and relentlessly pestering my folks to buy me my very own copy of All N' All. My persistence finally paid off when, for my seventh birthday, I finally laid my hands on that precious piece of vinyl. I can still recall being as enthralled with the artwork, the pyramids and statues, as I was with the music. I was an EWF fanatic. Like Marvin Gaye before him and Gene Simmons after, Phillip Bailey became my hero. I learned how to sing by listening to him -- in falsetto, no less, before I even knew there was a term for hitting all those high notes. And then, to find out later that Bailey was from my hometown. Fahgettaboudit!

So while I'm not too familiar with many of the other thirty notable alumni from East who are also being inducted, you can bet that I'll be there in spirit, if not body (tickets for the event are $100) to honor one of Denver's finest exports. All proceeds from the event will go towards constructing Alumni Heritage Hall, which is being built inside the school near the library. To purchase tickets or to get more information, call 303-757-8253 or visit EastAngelAlliance.org. -- Dave Herrera

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Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


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