Barry White

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Barry White by David Atlas

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Barry White


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Say the name Barry White and you'd be hard pressed to follow it with the name of any other recording artist with such a huge, cross-sectional following. He was at home appearing on Soul Train, guesting with a full band on The Today Show, and appearing in cartoon form in various episodes of The Simpsons. During the '70s, Dinah Shore devoted a full hour of her daily syndicated Dinah! show to White. While there was a period where Barry White wasn't releasing records or making the pop charts, he did stay active touring and appearing on other artists' records including Quincy Jones' "The Secret Garden (The Seduction Suite)," Regina Belle, and rap star Big Daddy Kane's "All of Me." It's surprising to find out that such an illustrious career almost didn't happen because White wasn't interested in being a recording artist.

Born in Galveston, TX, Barry White grew up singing gospel songs with his mother and taught himself to play piano. Shortly after moving from Texas to South Central Los Angeles, White made his recording debut at the tender age of 11, playing piano on Jesse Belvin's "Goodnight My Love." He made his first record when he was 16 with a group called the Upfronts. The song was called "Little Girl" on a local L.A. label called Lummtone Records. Later he worked for various independent labels around Los Angeles, landing an A&R position with Bob Keane, the man responsible for the first pop recordings by Sam Cooke. One of his labels, Mustang, was hot at the time with a group called the Bobby Fuller Four in 1966. White was hired for 40 dollars a week to do A&R for Keane's family of labels: Del-Fi, Mustang and Bronco. During this time, White flirted with the idea of being a recording artist, making a record for Bronco called "All in the Run of a Day." But he chose to stick with his A&R duties. One of the first groups he worked with was the Versatiles who later changed heir name to the 5th Dimension. White's first big hit came from an artist familiar to dancefloor denizens � Viola Wills, whose "Lost Without the Love of My Guy" went Top 20 R&B. His salary went up to 60 dollars a week. White started working with the Bobby Fuller Four. Bob Keene and Larry Nunes � who later became White's spiritual advisor and true friend � wanted to cut a female act. White had heard about a singer named Felice Taylor. They had three hit records, "It May Be Winter Outside," "I'm Under the Influence of Love," and "I Feel Love Coming On." They were huge hits in England. White started making 400 dollars a week.

When Bronco went out of business, White began doing independent production. Those were some lean times for White. Veteran arranger Gene Page, who would later arrange or co-arrange White's hits, helped him out, giving him work and non-repayable loans. Then three years later, Paul Politti, who also worked at Bronco, contacted him to tell him that Larry Nunes was interested in starting a business with him. Nunes had started cutting tracks for a concept album he was working on. Meanwhile, White had started working with this girl group who hadn't done any singing professionally. They rehearsed for almost a year. White wrote "Walkin' in the Rain (With the One I Love)" with lyrics that were inspired by conversations with one of the singers, Glodean James (who would later become White's second wife). White christened the group Love Unlimited.

Larry Nunes took the record to Russ Regan, who was the head of the Uni label owned by MCA. Love Unlimited's From a Girl's Point of View became a million-seller. Soon after, Regan left Uni for 20th Century Records. Without Regan, White's relationship with Uni soured. With his relationship with Uni in chaos and Love Unlimited contract-bound with the label, White decided he needed to work with another act. He wanted to work with a male artist. He made three song demos of himself singing and playing the piano. Nunes heard them and insisted that he re-record and release them as a recording artist. They argued for days about it. Then he somehow convinced White to do it. White was still hesitating up to the time the label copy was made. He was going to use the name "White Heat," but the record became the first Barry White album. That first album was 1973's I've Got So Much to Give on 20th Century Records. It included the title track and "I'm Gonna Love You Just a Little More Baby."

White got a release from Uni for Love Unlimited and they joined him over at 20th Century Records. Then he had a brainstorm for another concept album. He told Regan he wanted to do an instrumental album. Regan thought he had lost it. White wanted to call it the Love Unlimited Orchestra. The single, "Love's Theme," went to number one pop, was a million-seller, and was a smash all over the world. The song earned him a BMI award for over three million covers.

For the next five years, from 1974 to 1979, there was no stopping the Barry White Hit Train � his own Stone Gon, Barry White Sings Love Songs for the One You Love ("It's Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next to Me," "Playing Your Game Baby"), Let the Music Play (title track, "You See the Trouble with Me"), Just Another Way to Say I Love You ("I'll Do for You Anything You Want Me To," "Love Serenade"), The Man ("Your Sweetness Is My Weakness," "Sha La La Means I Love You," "September When We Met," a splendid cover of Billy Joel's "Just the Way You Are"), and Love Unlimited's In Heat ("I Belong to You," "Move Me No Mountain," "Share a Little Love in Your Heart," and "Love's Theme," with lyrics). He also scored a soundtrack for the 20th Century Fox film The Together Brothers, enjoying a resurgence on home video.

His studio band included such luminaries as guitarists Ray Parker Jr. (pre-Raydio, co-writer with White on "You See the Trouble With Me"), bassist Nathan East, Wah Wah Watson, David T. Walker, Dean Parks, Don Peake, bassist Wilton Felder of the Crusaders, Lee Ritenour, drummer Ed Greene, percussionist Gary Coleman, and later keyboardist Rahn Coleman. His hit streak seemed, well, unlimited. Then it all derailed. Russ Regan and another ally, Hosea Wilson, left 20th Century Records and White was left with management that he thought of in less than glowing terms.

White left after fulfilling his contract with two more album releases, Love Unlimited Orchestra's My Musical Bouquet and his own I Love to Sing the Songs I Sing. White signed a custom label deal with CBS Records. At the time it was touted as one of the biggest deals ever. He started a label called Unlimited Gold. The roster included White, Love Unlimited, the Love Unlimited Orchestra, Jack Perry, and a teenaged singer named Danny Pearson who charted with a song called "What's Your Sign Girl." He also did a duet album with Glodean James called Barry & Glodean. Aside from the gold album The Message Is Love, most of the albums weren't huge sellers. After eight Barry White albums, four Love Unlimited albums, four Love Unlimited Orchestra albums, constant touring, and dealing with the rigors of the music industry, White decided to take a break.

Then in 1992, White signed with A&M, releasing the albums The Man Is Back, The Right Night & Barry White, and Put Me in Your Mix (which contains a duet with Issac Hayes, "Dark and Lovely"). The Icon Is Love became his biggest-selling album since the '70s releases, going multi-platinum. It includes the platinum single "Pratice What You Preach." The production lineup includes Gerald Levert and Tony Nicholas, his godson Chuckii Booker, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, and White and his longtime friend Jack Perry. While some later efforts buried his vocals in whiz-bang electronic effects, on The Icon Is Love, White's deep steam engine baritone pipes are upfront in the mix. Staying Power followed in 1999, showcased in the best tradition of soul music where the focus is the singer and the song. The album earned White two Grammys. White's career took him from the ghetto to international success with 106 gold and 41 platinum albums, 20 gold and ten platinum singles, with worldwide sales in excess of 100 million.

White, who suffered from hypertension and chronic high blood pressure, was hospitalized for kidney failure in September of 2002. He was undergoing dialysis treatment, but the combination of illnesses proved too much and he died July 4, 2003 at a West Hollywood hospital. By the time of his death, Barry White had achieved a near-universal acclaim and popularity that few artists achieve and even fewer within their own lifetime.

-- Ed Hogan & Wade Kergan, All Music Guide


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1973I've Got So Much to Give
1973Stone Gon'
1974Can't Get Enough
1974Rhapsody in White
1974White Gold
1974Together Brothers
1975Just Another Way to Say I Love You
1976Let the Music Play
1976Is This Whatcha Wont?
1977Barry White Sings for Someone You Love
1978Barry White the Man
1978My Musical Bouquet
1979The Message Is Love
1979Super Movie Themes: Just a Little Bit Different
1979I Love to Sing the Songs I Sing
1980Sheet Music
1981Barry & Glodean
1981Let Em Dance
1987The Right Night & Barry White
1989The Man Is Back!
1991Put Me in Your Mix
1994The Icon Is Love
1995Under the Influence of Love
1996Back to Back
1999Staying Power
2000Your Heart and Soul: The Love Album
2003Unlimited Love


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1973 I've Got So Much to Give

01. Standing in the Shadows of Love
02. Bring Back My Yesterday
03. I've Found Someone
04. I've Got So Much to Give
05. I'm Gonna Love You Just a Little More Baby

1973 Stone Gon'

01. Girl It's True, Yes I'll Always Love You
02. Honey Please, Can't Ya See
03. You're My Baby
04. Hard to Believe That I Found You
05. Never, Never Gonna Give You Up

1974 Can't Get Enough

01. Mellow Mood (pt.1)
02. You�re The First, The Last, My Everything
03. I Can�t Believe You Love Me
04. Can�t Get Enough Of Your Love, Babe
05. Oh Love, Well We Finally Made It
06. I Love You More Than Anything(in this world, girl)
07. Mellow Mood (pt, 2)


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1974 Rhapsody in White (w/Love Unlimited Orchestra)

01. Barry's Theme
02. Rhapsody in White
03. Midnight and You
04. I Feel Love Coming On
05. Baby Blues
06. Don't Take It Away from Me
07. What a Groove
08. Love's Theme

1974 White Gold (w/Love Unlimited Orchestra)

01. Barry's Love, Pt. 1
02. Satin Soul
03. Always Thinking of You
04. Power of Love
05. Spanish Lei
06. You Make Me Feel Like This (When You Touch Me)
07. Only You Can Make Me Blue
08. Dreaming
09. Just Living It Up
10. Just Like a Baby
11. Barry's Love, Pt. 2

1974 Together Brothers (w/Love Unlimited Orchestra)

01. Somebody's Gonna off the Man
02. So Nice to Hear
03. Alive and Well
04. Find the Man Bros.
05. You Gotta Case
06. Killer's Lullaby
07. Theme from Together Brothers
08. Getaway
09. People of Tomorrow Are the Children of Today
10. Somebody's Gonna off the Man [instrumental]
11. The Rip
12. Stick Up
13. Dreamin'
14. Killer's Back
15. Do Drop In
16. Killer Don't Do It
17. Here Comes the Man
18. Dream On
19. Honey Please, Can't Ya See
20. Can't Seem to Find Him
21. People of Tomorrow Are the Children of Today


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1975 Just Another Way to Say I Love You

01. Heavenly, That's What You Are to Me
02. I'll Do for You Anything You Want Me To
03. All Because of You
04. Love Serenade
05. What Am I Gonna Do With You?
06. Let Me Live My Life Lovin' You Babe
07. Love Serenade, Pt. 2

1976 Let the Music Play

01. I Don't Know Where Love Has Gone
02. If You Know, Won't You Tell Me
03. I'm So Blue and You Are Too
04. Baby, We Better Try to Get It Together
05. You See the Trouble With Me
06. Let the Music Play

1976 Is This Whatcha Wont?

01. Don't Make Me Wait Too Long
02. Your Love -- So Good I Can Taste It
03. I'm Qualified to Satisfy You
04. I Wanna Lay Down With You Baby
05. Now I'm Gonna Make Love to You

1977 Barry White Sings for Someone You Love

01. Playing Your Game, Baby
02. It's Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next to Me
03. You're So Good You're Bad
04. Never Thought I'd Fall in Love With You
05. You Turned My Whole World Around
06. Oh What a Night for Dancing
07. Of All the Guys in the World


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1978 Barry White the Man

01. Look at Her
02. Your Sweetness Is My Weakness
03. Sha La La (Means I Love You)
04. September When I First Met You
05. It's Only Love Doing Its Thing
06. Just the Way You Are
07. Early Years

1978 My Musical Bouquet

01. Don't You Know How Much I Love You
02. Stay Please and Make Love to Me
03. Hey Look at Me, I'm in Love
04. Love You, Ooh It's True I Do
05. Whisper Softly
06. Enter Love's Interlude
07. Can't You See

1979 The Message Is Love

01. It Ain't Love, Babe (Until You Give It)
02. Hung up in Your Love
03. You're the One I Need
04. Any Fool Could See (You Were Meant for Me)
05. Love Ain't Easy
06. I'm on Fire
07. I Found Love

1979 Super Movie Themes: Just a Little Bit Different

01. Theme from Superman
02. Theme from King Kong
03. Night Fever
04. Grease
05. Intermission
06. Theme from Shaft
07. Theme from "A Summer Place"
08. The Way We Were
09. As Time Goes By
10. People of Tomorrow Are the Children of Today


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1979 I Love to Sing the Songs I Sing

01. I Love to Sing the Songs I Sing
02. Girl, What's Your Name
03. Once upon a Time (You Were a Friend of Mine)
04. Oh Me, Oh My (I'm Such a Lucky Guy)
05. I Can't Leave You Alone
06. Call Me Baby
07. How Did You Know It Was Me?

1980 Sheet Music

01. Sheet Music
02. Lady, Sweet Lady
03. I Believe in Love
04. Ghetto Letto
05. Rum and Coke
06. She's Everything to Me
07. Love Makin' Music

1981 Beware!

01. Beware
02. Relax to the Max
03. Let Me in and Let's Begin With Love
04. Your Love, Your Love
05. Tell Me Who Do You Love
06. Rio de Janeiro
07. You're My High
08. Oooo...Ahhh
09. I Won't Settle for Less Than the Best For You
10. Louie, Louie


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1981 Barry & Glodean

01. Our Theme
02. I Want You
03. You're the Only One for Me
04. This Love
05. The Better Love Is...
06. You
07. We Can't Let Go of Love
08. You Make My Life Easy Livin'
09. Didn't We Make It Happen Baby
10. Baby

1981 Let Em Dance (w/Love Unlimited Orchestra)

01. Bayou
02. Jamaican Girl
03. I Wanna Boogie and Woogie With You
04. Vieni Qua Bella Mi
05. Freeway Flyer
06. I'm in the Mood
07. Young America

1982 Change

01. Change
02. Turnin' on, Tunin' in (To Your Love)
03. Let's Make Tonight (An Evening to Remember)
04. Don't Tell Me About Heartaches
05. Passion
06. I've Got That Love Fever
07. I Like You, You Like Me
08. It's All About Love

1983 Dedicated

01. America
02. Free
03. Don't Forget...Remember
04. Life
05. Love Song
06. All in the Run of a Day
07. Don't Let 'Em Blow Your Mind
08. Dreams


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1987 The Right Night & Barry White

01. Good Dancin' Music
02. As Time Goes By
03. Sho' You Right
04. For Your Love (I'll Do Most Anything)
05. There's a Place (Where Love Never Ends)
06. Love Is in You Eyes
07. I'm Ready for Love
08. Share
09. Who's the Fool
10. The Right Night

1989 The Man Is Back!

01. Responsible
02. Super Lover
03. L.A. My Kinda Place
04. Follow That and See (Where It Leads Y'all)
05. When Will I See You Again
06. I Wanna Do It Good to Ya
07. It's Getting Harder All the Time
08. Don't Let Go
09. Loves Interlude/Good Night My Love

1991 Put Me in Your Mix

01. Let's Get Busy
02. Love Is Good With You
03. For Real Chill
04. Break It Down With You
05. Volare
06. Put Me in Your Mix
07. Who You Giving Your Love To
08. Love Will Find Us
09. We're Gonna Have It All
10. Dark and Lovely (You over There)


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1994 The Icon Is Love

01. Practice What You Preach
02. There It Is
03. I Only Want to Be With You
04. The Time Is Right
05. Baby's Home
06. Come On
07. Love Is the Icon
08. Sexy Undercover
09. Don't You Want to Know
10. Whatever We Had, We Had

1995 Under the Influence of Love

01. I've Got the World to Hold Me Up
02. Under the Influence of Love
03. Your Heart and Soul
04. Long Black Veil
05. All in the Run of a Day
06. Fragile, Handle with Care
07. Come on in Love
08. Where Can I Turn To
09. Out of the Shadows of Love
10. I Owe It All to You

1996 Back to Back (w/Love Unlimited Orchestra)

01. Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe
02. Oh What a Night for Dancing
03. I've Got So Much to Give
04. Standing in the Shadows of Love
05. Don't Make Me Wait Too Long
06. Just the Way You Are
07. Loves' Theme
08. Midnight Groove
09. Rhapsody in White
10. Forever in Love
11. Power of Love
12. Barry's Theme


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1999 Staying Power

01. Staying Power
02. Don't Play Games
03. The Longer We Make Love(w / Chaka Khan)
04. I Get off on You
05. Which Way Is Up
06. Get Up
07. Sometimes
08. Low Rider
09. Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)
10. Slow Your Roll
11. The Longer We Make Love(w / Lisa Stansfield)

2000 Your Heart and Soul: The Love Album

01. I've Got the Whole World to Hold Me Up
02. Your Heart and Soul
03. Under the Influence of Love
04. All in the Run of Love
05. Out of the Shadows of Love
06. Long Black Veil
07. Come on in Love
08. Where Can I Turn To
09. I Owe It All to You
10. Fragile, Handle with Care
11. My Buddy
12. I've Got the Whole World to Hold Me Up [Big Man Remix]

2003 Unlimited Love

01. All in the Run of a Day
02. Come on in, Love
03. Fragile, Handle With Care
04. I Owe It All to You
05. I've Got the World to Hold Me Up
06. Long Black Veil
07. Out of the Shadows of Love
08. Under the Influences of Love
09. Where Can I Turn To
10. Your Heart and Soul

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