🇺🇸 Galveston, TX
September 12, 1944
July 4, 2003
Barry White's sybarite symphonies crossed over from the dancefloor to the pop charts to define the disco sound of the mid-1970s.
White - a man-mountain with a deep, purring voice - grew up in Los Angeles' Watts neighborhood, emulating what he learned from his mother's collection of classical recordings when he began teaching himself piano. He made his first appearance on record in 1960, cutting "Too Far to Turn Around" as a member of the Upfronts, and went on to headline a series of little-heard solo singles for labels like Rampart and Faro. When Del-Fi Records' Bob Keane hired White as an A&R man for the fledgling Bronco Records imprint, he further diversified his portfolio, collaborating with acts like the Bobby Fuller Four and Viola Wills as a songwriter, producer, arranger and session musician.
White' career remained in neutral until his protégées Love Unlimited - future wife Glodean James, her sister Linda and their cousin Diane Taylor - landed at Uni Records. Love Unlimited's gauzy harmonies evoked the Supremes, so White borrowed liberally from the Motown writing and production playbook to create the trio's majestic debut From a Girl's Point of View, We Give You… Love Unlimited, highlighted by the million-selling 1972 single "Walking in the Rain with the One I Love." White's relationship with Uni quickly soured, however, so he signed a new production deal with 20th Century Records and architected the Love Unlimited Orchestra, a 40-piece ensemble whose satin-trimmed instrumental "Love's Theme" topped the Billboard pop charts.
White finally launched a solo career with "I'm Gonna Love You Just a Little More Baby," and he
continued to refine his art of seduction in the months to follow, returning to the Top Ten with "Never, Never Gonna Give You Up," "Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe" and "You're the First, the Last, My Everything." White's commercial fortunes declined as disco fell from favor, but he remained a fixture on the R&B charts until his death in 2003.
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