Barry White (September 12, 1944 - July 4, 2003) was a highly acclaimed R&B/soul/disco singer, songwriter, and producer known for his distinctive and seductive smooth bass-baritone voice and romantic persona who became famous beginning in the early 1970s. His many signature songs include "Can't Get Enough Of Your Love, Babe" (1974), "You're The First, The Last, My Everything" (1974), and "It's Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next To Me" (1977).
Born in Galveston, Texas and raised in Los Angeles, White taught himself to play the piano as a child and began his career in the early 1960s while still in his teens as a member of an LA-area R&B group known as The Upfronts. By the mid 1960s, he had landed a position as an A&R man with Bob Keane of Del-Fi Records where he served as a songwriter, arranger, session musician, and producer. Among the many songs he wrote and produced for other artists were Felice Taylor's 1967 hit, "It May Be Winter Outside (But In My Heart It's Spring)," and "Doin' The Banana Split" (1968) for the TV bubblegum group, The Banana Splits.
In 1969, White formed Love Unlimited, a female vocal trio with a string of White-penned/produced hits that include the romantic ballad, "Walkin' In The Rain With The One I Love" (1972). Throughout the 1970s, they provided female vocal backing on many of White own solo hits (and he, in turn, backed many of their songs). In 1973, White founded The Love Unlimited Orchestra, a lavish 40-piece ensemble that backed both Love Unlimited and White. They also had their own series of mostly White-penned/produced hits that include the 1973 instrumental proto disco smash, "Love's Theme."
Barry White made his solo debut in 1973 with "I'm Gonna Love You Just A Little More Baby," a Top 5 Pop/Rock hit and the first of many R&B chart toppers. This smash was followed by "I've Got So Much To Give" (1973), "Never, Never Gonna Give Ya Up" (1973), and "Honey Please, Can't Ya See" (1974) before he had his biggest hit in late 1974 with the era-defining disco classic, "Can't Get Enough Of Your Love, Babe," which topped both charts. White's long string of mostly self-penned and produced hits, which continued through the 1990s on both charts, also include several other R&B chart toppers: "You're The First, The Last, My Everything" (1974), "What Am I Gonna Do With You" (1975), "It's Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next To Me" (1977), "The Secret Garden (Sweet Seduction Song)" (1990, with Quincy Jones, Al B. Sure!, James Ingram, and El DeBarge), and "Practice What You Preach" (1994). Other hits on both charts include "I'll Do For You Anything You Want Me To" (1975), "Let The Music Play" (1975), "Oh What A Night For Dancing" (1978), "Your Sweetness Is My Weakness" (1978), and his soulful soft rock rendition of Billy Joel's "Just The Way You Are" (1979). White's crossover success extended to the Adult Contemporary chart where many of his hits through 1990 made that tally's Top 40. His final charting song came in 1999 with the aptly titled "Staying Power."
During the latter part of his career, Barry White continued writing/co-writing songs for such artists as Mariah Carey, Q-Tip, Robin Thicke, and British rapper Estelle, and he also lent his trademark voice to TV and movies. A two-time Grammy winner, White's numerous honors and accolades also included being inducted posthumously into the Dance Music Hall of Fame in 2004. On September 12, 2013, which would have been his 69th birthday, he was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the category of recording. He remains one of the top-selling artists of all time with over 100 gold- and platinum-certified singles and albums in his extensive catalogue.
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- The New York Times remembers disco great Barry White.
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- Can't Get Enough Of Your Love, Babe 1974
(This song topped both the R&B and Pop/Rock charts and later also became a hit for Taylor Dayne (1993).)
- I'll Do For You Anything You Want Me To 1975
- I'm Gonna Love You Just A Little More Baby 1973
- I've Got So Much To Give 1973
- Let The Music Play 1975
- Never, Never Gonna Give Ya Up 1973
- What Am I Gonna Do With You 1975
- You're The First, The Last, My Everything 1974
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