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Profile: Barry White

By

Barry White

Barry White

source: aaregistry.com

Born:

Barry Eugene Carter, September 12, 1944, Galveston, TX; d. July 4, 2003, West Hollywood, CA

Genres:

R&B, Soul, Disco, Urban contemporary, Pop

Instruments:

Vocals, Keyboards, Arranging

Contributions to music:

  • Created a smooth yet seductive brand of R&B that ruled the charts in the Seventies
  • Established a basso profundo lover-man persona that defines the genre
  • Created the Love Unlimited Orchestra, the greatest orchestral effort in R&B history
  • Helped presage disco with his orchestral arrangements and driving beats
  • A crucial element in the development of modern R&B
  • Sampled and cited as an influence by many early hip-hop pioneers

Early years:

Barry became interested in music at a very early age when he harmonized with his mother on "Silent Night," and he learned quickly --- by 11, he had his first recording session, playing piano on Jesse Belvin's R&B hit "Goodnight My Love." Immersing himself in every aspect of the business, White soon made a name for himself producing, writing, and mainly doing A&R work for various labels. It wasn't until 1972, when White wrote and produced the hit "Walkin' In The Rain With The One I Love" for Love Unlimited, a trio he'd met at Motown in the late Eighties (and whose lead, Glodean James, would later become his wife).

Success:

The Barry White sound, honed by years of production, had finally arrived, but one ingredient was missing -- Barry. Unhappy with the group's contract with the Uni label, he left for 20th Century and started looking for a male vocalist to sing a number of demos he'd written. Several people insisted he sing them, but Larry Nunes at Uni finally convinced him, at the last minute, to release the 1973 album I've Got So Much To Give as his own. That album and its leadoff single "I'm Gonna Love You Just a Little More Baby" were worldwide smash hits, as was the instrumental "Love's Theme" (done as the Love Unlimited Orchestra).

Later years:

The Seventies were phenomenally successful for Barry, and even when disco died and R&B changed in the Eighties, he never really went away, engineering several small comebacks and keeping his name in the public eye. His biggest resurgence came after the TV show Ally McBeal used several of his songs; that and his continuing influence on the R&B and hip-hop communities led to a second career that was still going when White suffered a stroke in 2003. Beset by chronic health problems including hypertension, high blood pressure and renal failure, White passed away on September 20, 2004.

Other facts:

  • Known as "The Walrus Of Love," though he resented the title
  • Ran with a Los Angeles gang at the age of ten and was jailed for four months at 17
  • Voice dropped into its famous lower register, overnight, at fourteen
  • Arranged Bob and Earl's 1963 hit "Harlem Shuffle"
  • A semi-regular on TV's Ally McBeal and notable for several appearances on FOX's The Simpsons
  • Lee Ritenour and Kenny G were both members of White's Love Unlimited Orchestra
  • Originally offered the recurring role of "Chef" on TV's South Park
  • Marine biologists have used White's music to encourage sharks to reproduce

Awards/Honors:

  • GRAMMY Awards (1999)
  • Dance Music Hall of Fame (2004)

Recorded work:

#1 hits:
Pop:
  • "Love's Theme" with the Love Unlimited Orchestra (1974)
R&B:
  • "You're The First, The Last, My Everything" (1975)
  • "What Am I Gonna Do With You" (1975)
  • "It's Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next To Me" (1977)
  • "Practice What You Preach" (1994)
Top 10 hits:
Pop:
  • "I'm Gonna Love You Just A Little More Baby" (1973)
  • "Never, Never Gonna Give Ya Up" (1974)
  • "What Am I Gonna Do With You" (1975)
  • "You're The First, The Last, My Everything" (1975)
  • "It's Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next To Me" (1977)
R&B:
  • "I've Got So Much To Give" (1973)
  • "Never, Never Gonna Give Ya Up" (1974)
  • "Love's Theme" with the Love Unlimited Orchestra(1974)
  • "I'll Do For You Anything You Want Me To" (1975)
  • "Let The Music Play" (1976)
  • "Playing Your Game, Baby" (1978)
  • "Your Sweetness Is My Weakness" (1978)
  • "Put Me in Your Mix" (1991)
#1 albums:
Pop:
  • Can't Get Enough (1974)
R&B:
  • I've Got So Much To Give (1973)
  • Can't Get Enough (1974)
  • Stone Gon' (1974)
  • Just Another Way To Say I Love You (1975)
  • Barry White Sings For Someone You Love (1977)
  • Barry White The Man (1978)
  • The Icon Is Love (1994)
Top 10 albums:
Pop:
  • Barry White Sings For Someone You Love (1977)
R&B:
  • Under The Influence Of... with the Love Unlimited Orchestra (1974)
  • White Gold with the Love Unlimited Orchestra (1975)
  • Let The Music Play (1976)
  • Put Me in Your Mix (1991)
Other important recordings: "Baby, We Better Try To Get It Together," "You See The Trouble With Me," "Just The Way You Are," "Satin Soul," "Don't Make Me Wait Too Long," "I'm Qualified To Satisfy You," "Oh What A Night For Dancing," "Love Makin' Music," "Change," "Sho' You Right," "Practice What You Preach"
Appears in the movies: "Coonskin" (1975)
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