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White, Barry 1944–2003

Barry White 19442003

Singer, songwriter, arranger, producer

Youth Fitted With Crime and Music

Transitioned From Songwriter to Singer

Gained Fans With Unique Voice

The Man Is Back

Selected discography

Sources

Over the years people have come up with almost as many nicknames for Barry White as he has gold and platinum records. From Dr. Love to the Prince of Pillow Talk, he has heard it all. With his signature lushly orchestrated compositions and basso-profundo voice, White carved out a niche for himself in the 1970s as a disco king, and again in the 1990s as the father of the slow jam. As Ebonys Kevin Chappell summed it up, Hes come back strong, captivating a new generation of romantics with his unique brand of toe-curling, make-you-want-to-love-somebody ballads that give men courage and women chills.

White was born Barry Eugene Carter in September of 1944, in Galveston, Texas, but only because his mother, Sadie Marie Carter, had extended a family visit there. He was raised in California in the Watts area of south Los Angeles. Whites father, machinist Melvin White, who already had a wife and children across town, never married Sadie Marie but was around occasionally. When White started school, his father happened to catch a glimpse of the boys birth certificate with the name Carter on it. He crossed it out and wrote in White.

Youth Fitted With Crime and Music

Sadie Marie had been forced onto welfare when chronic arthritis ended her three-film acting career. She gave piano lessons; and she taught White how to harmonize when he was just four. I stayed glued to the phonograph when Mama played her recordssymphonies, sonatas, melodies soaring through me, he told David Ritz for his press materials. He took up piano by age five after hearing his mother play Beethovens Moonlight Sonata on their $50-upright piano. That blew my mind, he told Peoples Jeremy Helligar. I will never forget that day. But he also remembered to Michael A. Gonzales in Vibe, My mother tried to teach me the scales, but I told her I wanted to learn it my way. One of the greatest gifts she gave me was when she said okay. White never did learn to read or write music, but he did become a multi-instrumentalist who could simultaneously create and arrange music in his head.

White had a brother just 13 months younger than he, though they looked like twins. Unfortunately Darryl liked trouble as much as White loved music. Growing up in Watts during the 1950s and 1960s, both boys easily found trouble. They were in and out of gangs, but were mostly considered a gang of two. Darryl went to jailjuvenile detentionfor the first time when he was just eight. White himself went at age 16 after stealing thousands of dollars worth of tires from Cadillacs on a lot. When he got out after seven months he vowed to never go to jail again.

Whites voice had changed virtually over night, from the regular treble of a high school teen into a bass like he had never heard before. It scared me and my mother when I spoke that morning, he told Chappell in Ebony. It was totally unexpected. My chest rattled; I mean vibrations. My mother was staring at me, and I was staring at her. The next thing I knew her straight face broke into a beautiful smile. Tears came down her face and she said, My sons a man now. When some

At a Glance

Born in September of 1944, in Galveston, TX; died on July 4, 2003, in Los Angeles, CA; son of Melvin White {a machinist) and Sadie Marie Carter (an actress and piano teacher); married Betty Smith (divorced); married Glodean James, 1973 (divorced, 1988); children: nine from various marriages and relationships.

Career: Sang with groups the Upfronts and the Atlantics 1960s; Del-Fi, Mustang, and Bronco Records, songwriter, producer, A&R rep, 1960s; signed with 20th Century Records, 1972; Love Unlimited, producer and songwriter, 197279; solo singer, 197383, 19872003; Love Unlimited Orchestra, leader and producer, 197483.

Awards: Grammy Awards for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance, for Staying Power, 1999.

of the kids from John Adams Junior High formed a harmony group called the Upfronts, White was a natural choice for bass. They even recorded a song called Little Girl. His mom kept a copy for his entire life.

Transitioned From Songwriter to Singer

After the Upfronts, White joined a quartet called the Atlantics, followed by a stint playing drums for Jackie Lee. He then went on to work for Bob Keene at his many labelsDel-Fi, Mustang, and Bronco Recordsas a songwriter, producer, and A&R guy. But none of this was coming easily and White was struggling. He married his high school sweetheart, Betty Smith, fathered four children, and got divorced, all before the age of 21. He dropped out of high school in his senior year and supported his family mainly on low-wage jobs and welfare checks. His marriage failed under the strain of poverty.

In 1972 White finally got his first real break after years of struggling at the bottom rung of the recording industrys ladder. Having made somewhat of a reputation as a songwriterhe even wrote two songs for the kids show The Banana Splits White signed a contract with 20th Century Records. He recorded the lilting instrumental Loves Theme with his newly formed Love Unlimited Orchestra. As he gained notice for his composing, White put together a girls group called Love Unlimited. Under his tutelage the trio struck gold with their 1972 million-selling record Walkin in the Rain with the One I Love, penned by White. In 1973 White fell in love with one of his trio of singers, Glodean James, and they married.

Meanwhile the man most famous for his singing voice had yet to get around to solo work. Although it was never his first lovehe really preferred writing, producing, and arrangingWhite finally got his solo recording career rolling in 1973 with his first number-one hit, Im Gonna Love You Just a Little More Baby. He sold $16 million worth of his music in 1973 alone.

Critics argued, wrote Vibes Gonzales, that Whites sound was overly repetitive and lacked the kind of social consciousness that fueled the works of Curtis Mayfield or power crooners like the man then known as Theodore Pendergrass, Jr. [Teddy Pendergrass]. From the beginning skeptics said his popularity could not last. Ebony quoted a 1974 reviewer calling White a limited performer capitalizing on a gimmick with his deep voice; but White was unstoppable, as was Love Unlimited. During the 1970s White had dozens of gold and platinum smashes including Never Gonna Give You Up, Ecstasy, and Ive Got So Much To Give.

Gained Fans With Unique Voice

Listeners could not get enough of Whites voice; and his songs were the essence of seduction. The lyrics are not shocking by todays standards; they are simply verbal foreplay backed up by heady swirling orchestrations. He was perhaps most famous when he simply spoke words of love during his songs, as if he were speaking directly to a single listener; and words of love were all he ever sang about. Although White had strong political feelingshe had a portrait of civil rights leader Malcolm X hanging in his living roomthese are issues he rarely spoke about in the press, and never about in his work.

Not only did Whites music become huge in the 1970s, it catapulted him to the lofty role of King of Disco. Every generation has had its dance music, and in the 1970s it was disco; artists like Donna Summer, the Bee Gees, and Abba had people dancing, but to Whites music, they mostly made love. Jet quoted writer Adrian Deevoy as having said, When he sings, strong men tremble and ladies are transported up the stairway of unparalleled ecstasy, and children, they say, are often conceived that very night.

But in 1979 White left 20th Century and signed a lucrative contract with CBS Records. He felt strongly that the vibe was changing and record companies were ignoring it. To Ritz he said, At that point, disco was exploited and overexposed, raped and ruined by a business that never knows when to stop. I listened to my accountants and lawyers. I signed the contract and put the advance in the bank, but inside my heart I felt something was wrong. This $8 million deal included Whites own label, Unlimited Gold. Although he produced around ten albums on that label, for which he was credited with flashes of brilliance, sales were weak. Whites relationship with CBS was not strong and in four years he failed to have any hits in the United States, something he still blames on the record company.

White knew that music was changing and all he wanted was to learn the new technologies of the 1980s. I was locked into one style of recording. In the middle of my 40s I had to shift my mind without losing my soul, he told Chappell. Although even after his contract with CBS Records and the fact that disco itself seemed to have gone by the wayside, offers still poured in for White but he would have none of it. He had saved enough money that he would be fine on his own, figuring out where the future of his music lay.

The 1980s were also difficult in other ways for White. In December of 1983 Whites brother, Darryl, was murdered on the streets of south central Los Angeles. Although White had predicted such an occurrence, it was no less devastating to him. No one could understand the bond between me and Darryl, he told Ritz. I struggled to understand the forces that drove his soul in one direction and mine in another. That struggle continues. In 1988 White and his wife, Glodean, divorced. By then music was his closest friend, and it had become time for that music to live again.

In 1987 White released The Right Night on A&M Records, a strong company in which White had confidence. Chappell said the album successfully used the technology White had once so greatly feared without changing the music that made him famous. Skeptics wondered if White could survive the disco backlash that had slapped down recent comeback albums by the Bee Gees and Donna Summer. Although that album did not catch on, 1989s Barry; White: The Man Is Back became a steady seller on the soul market.

The Man Is Back

With the 1990s, dance music returned and a great many young soul singersblack and white, in England and the United Statesstarted touting Barry White as one of their greatest influences. In 1990 White won a Grammy award for his part in the Quincy Jones-produced song Secret Garden. In 1991 Put Me in Your Mix fueled the fire, but it was his 1994 album The Icon Is Love that really caused White to explode full-force back on the scene.

Suddenly the big man was back in the U.S. spotlighthe had never really gone away to the rest of the world. The single Practice What You Preach became his first number-one hit in 17 years. He was all over television with his more sophisticated, but always sexy, 1990s look. He even appeared on David Lettermans late night talk show twice in one month, which was a rare occurrence for any artist. Valentines Day saw him plugging prime time television shows with a message of love. Everybody was thrilled to see Dr. Feel Good back on top.

White knew what he was doing. He had embraced the new music technologies of the 1980s and he looked to young people, collaborating with hit-makers like Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, and Gerald Levert & Tony Nicholas, as well as with his musical godson Chuckii Booker, and longtime musical partner Jack Perry. I chose these people to work with, he told BRE, because they are all masters at what they do. According to BRE, In Whites wise eyes, these producers are among the few who hold the future of black music in their hands.

White did not respect a good many of the young artists making music in the 1990s because they couldnt craft songs. But he did see a difference between his generation and the new generation of young starswhen he was a kid they burned Watts during the riots, but 1990s ghetto kids invented rap music. White realized that there were still kids killing each other, but there were also young people letting their anger out in song, taking power, and creating a place for themselves in the record industry. That was why White needed to learn what was new, because he knew change was inevitable. This resulted in his soulful slow raps being laid over a hip-hop beat.

As Whites star grew bright again, so did disco, as did most everything representing the 1970s. He had reclaimed his old fans as well as picking up a younger set. And he still had that voice. As Jonathan Gold described a concert in the Los Angeles Times, His basso molto profundo [was] so awesome that he could have read the phone book and gotten an ovation.

The song is the most important thing. That hasnt changed, he told Dennis Hunt in the Los Angeles Times. As long as I can still write a song, therell be a place for me in music. Although he told Chappell in Ebony, I dont know how much longer Ill be around, but when I leave next time thatll be it, he assured Jeremy Helligar in People, Ive got everything. Coming from the ghettos of Los Angeles, Ive turned my life from negative to positive. Ive lived. Ive made my mark. Im probably the happiest being youll ever set with in your life.

And Whites popularity continued to increase. He released the album Staying Power in 1999 for which he received Grammy Awards for both Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance. He followed the success of his new album with his autobiography, Unlimited: Insights on Life and Love, co-written with Marc Eliot. In 2000 he was invited to join the ranks of such greats as W. B. Yeats, David Lloyd George, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu in being invited to speak at the prestigious Oxford Union Debating Society. And what did he talk about? Love. And what did the students think of him? I thought he was brilliant, said student Elizabeth Hunt, 19, according to People Weekly. And that wasnt the end. Pavarotti invited White to sing with him for his annual charity concert Pavarotti and Friends, a high honor for any performer, and one for which White received critical acclaim. He also received a lot of exposure to a whole new generation through the television series Ally McBeal, in which one of the characters, John Cage, was constantly singing his songs to make himself feel better, sometimes accompanied by White himself. White was also seen, or at least heard, on Behind the Music, the popular show The Simpsons, and in a string of commercials for the fast food restaurant Arbys.

Unfortunately, Whites health was not keeping up with the pace of his life. White was forced to cancel seven concerts when he went on tour in 1999 because his doctor told him the stress was causing him harm. Then White had a stroke in September of 2002, which left him hospitalized. On July 4, 2003, White died in Los Angeles of kidney failure. He was only 58 years old. Ally McBeal creator David E. Kelley put it well when he told Entertainment Weekly, Bigger than life, [Barry White] was a legend who made us all smile. And he is certainly one who will not soon be forgotten.

Selected discography

Solo performances

Ive Got So Much to Give, 20th Century, 1973.

Cant Get Enough, 20th Century, 1974.

Just Another Way to Say I Love You, 20th Century, 1975.

Barry Whites Greatest Hits, 20th Century, 1975.

Let the Music Play, 20th Century, 1976.

Is This Whatcha Wont?, 20th Century, 1976.

Barry White Sings For Someone You Love, 20th Century, 1977.

The Man, 20th Century, 1978.

I Love to Sing The Songs I Sing, 20th Century, 1979.

Barry Whites Greatest Hits, Volume 2, 20th Century, 1980.

The Message Is Love, Unlimited Gold, 1979.

Sheet Music, Unlimited Gold, 1980.

Barry & Glodean, Unlimited Gold, 1981.

Beware!, Unlimited Gold, 1981.

Change, Unlimited Gold, 1982.

Dedicated, Unlimited Gold, 1983.

The Right Night & Barry White, A&M, 1987.

The Man Is Back!, A&M, 1989.

Put Me in Your Mix, A&M, 1991.

The Icon Is Love, A&M, 1994.

Staying Power, Private Music, 1999.

The Best of Barry White, Island/UMe, 2003.

As producer for Love Unlimited

From a Girls Point of View We Give To You, Uni, 1972.

Under the Influence of, 20th Century, 1973.

In Heat, 20th Century, 1974.

Hes All Ive Got, Unlimited Gold, 1977.

Love Is Back, Unlimited Gold, 1979.

As producer and leader of hove Unlimited Orchestra

Rhapsody in White, 20th Century, 1974.

Together Brothers Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, 20th Century, 1974.

White Gold, 20th Century, 1974.

Music Maestro Please, 20th Century, 1975.

My Sweet Summer Suite, 20th Century, 1976.

My Musical Bouquet, 20th Century, 1978.

Super Movie Themes, Just a Little Bit Different, 20th Century, 1979.

Let Em Dance!, Unlimited Gold, 1981.

Welcome Aboard (Presents Mr. Webster Lewis), Unlimited Gold, 1981.

Rise, Unlimited Gold, 1983.

Sources

Books

Contemporary Authors, Gale, 2003.

St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture, St. James Press, 2000.

Periodicals

Advertising Age, April 16, 2001, p. 8.

Billboard, December 24, 1994; July 3, 1999, p. 24; September 25, 1999, p. 96.

BRE, October 28, 1994, pp. 2326.

Business Wire, February 23, 2000.

Ebony, March 1990, p. 24; May 1995, pp. 5258.

Entertainment Weekly, October 21, 1994, p. 66; November 12, 1999, p. 74; July 18, 2003, p. 17.

Europe Intelligence Wire, November 1, 2002.

Jet, July 30, 1990, p. 37; January 9, 1995, pp. 5458; December 11, 1995, p. 32; August 23, 1999, p. 39; June 18, 2001, p. 44; June 2, 2003, p. 53.

Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, June 20, 1996.

Los Angeles Times, November 12, 1987; July 7, 1990, p. F5; July 10, 1990, p. F9.

New York Times, July 9, 1995, sec. 2, p. 29; July 14, 1995, C3.

People, January 23, 1995, pp. 6667.

People Weekly, January 22,1996, p. 80; October 23, 2000, p. 21; July 21, 2003, p. 71.

PR Newswire, December 1, 2000; July 10, 2003; July 23, 2003.

Rolling Stone, February 9, 1995, p. 30.

United Press International, July 6, 2003.

Vibe, February 1995, pp. 6061.

Other

Additional information for this profile was obtained from A&M Records press materials, 1992 and 1994.

Joanna Rubiner and Catherine V. Donaldson

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White, Barry 1944–

Barry White 1944

Troubled Youth

That Voice

The Man Is Back

Selected discography

As producer and leader of Love Unlimited Orchestra

Sources

Singer, songwriter, arranger, producer

Over the years people have come up with almost as many nicknames for Barry White as he has gold and platinum records. From Dr. Love to the Prince of Pillow Talk, he has heard it all. With his signature lushly orchestrated compositions and basso-profun-do voice, White carved out a niche for himself in the 1970s as a disco king, and again in the 1990s as the father of the slow jam. As Ebonys Kevin Chap-pell summed it up, Hes come back strong, captivating a new generation of romantics with his unique brand of toecurling, make-you-want-to-love-somebody ballads that give men courage and women chills.

White was born Barry Eugene Carter in September of 1944, in Galveston, Texas, but only because his mother, Sadie Marie Carter, had extended a family visit there. He was raised in California in the Watts area of south Los Angeles. Whites father, machinist Melvin White, who already had a wife and children across town, never married Sadie Marie but was around occasionally. When White started school, his father happened to catch a glimpse of the boys birth certificate with the name Carter on it. He crossed it out and wrote in White.

Sadie Marie had been forced onto welfare when chronic arthritis ended her three-film acting career. She gave piano lessons, and she taught White how to harmonize when he was just four. I stayed glued to the phonograph when Mama played her recordssymphonies, sonatas, melodies soaring through me, he told David Ritz for his press materials. He took up piano by age five after hearing his mother play Beethovens Moonlight Sonata on their $50-upright piano. That blew my mind, he told Peoples Jeremy Helligar. I will never forget that day. But he also remembered to Michael A. Gonzales in Vibe, My mother tried to teach me the scales, but I told her I wanted to learn it my way. One of the greatest gifts she gave me was when she said okay. White never did learn to read or write music, but he did become a multi-instrumentalist who can simultaneously create and arrange music in his head.

Troubled Youth

White had a brother just 13 months younger than he, though they looked like twins. Unfortunately Darryl

At a Glance

Born September of 1944, in Galveston, TX; son of Melvin (a machinist) and Sadie Marie Carter (an actress and piano teacher) White; married Betty Smith (divorced); married Glodean James, 1973 (divorced, 1988); children: eight from various marriages and relationships.

Sang with groups the Upfronts and the Atlantics, 1960s; worked variously as songwriter, producer, 1960s; signed with 20th Century Records, 1972; began having hits with the Love Unlimited Orchestra, Love Unlimited, and his solo act, 1972-73; went on hiatus, mid-1980s; made a comeback, early 1990s.

Addresses: Record CompanyA & M Records, 825 8th Avenue, 27th Floor, New York, NY 10019.

liked trouble as much as White loved music. Growing up in Watts during the 1950s and 1960s, both boys were trouble. They were in and out of gangs, but were mostly considered a gang of two. Darryl went to jailjuvenile detentionfor the first time when he was just eight. White himself went at age 16 after stealing thousands of dollars worth of tires from Cadillacs on a lot. When he got out after seven months he vowed to never be in jail again.

Whites voice had changed virtually over night, from the regular treble of a high school teen into a bass like he had never heard before. It scared me and my mother when I spoke that morning, he told Chappell in Ebony. It was totally unexpected. My chest rattled; I mean vibrations. My mother was staring at me, and I was staring at her. The next thing I knew her straight face broke into a beautiful smile. Tears came down her face and she said, My sons a man now. When some of the kids from John Adams Junior High formed a harmony group called the Upfronts, White was a natural choice for bass. They even recorded a song called Little Girl. His mom still has a copy.

After the Upfronts, White joined a quartet called the Atlantics, followed by a stint playing drums for Jackie Lee. He then went on to work for Bob Keene at his many labelsDel-Fi, Mustang, and Bronco Recordsas a songwriter, producer, and A & R guy. But none of this was coming easily and White was struggling. He married his high school sweetheart, Betty Smith, fathered four children, and got divorced, all before the age of 21. He dropped out of high school in his senior year and supported his family mainly on low-wage jobs and welfare checks. His marriage failed under the strain of poverty.

In 1972 White finally got his first real break after years of struggling at the bottom rung of the recording industrys ladder. Having made somewhat of a reputation as a songwriterhe even wrote two songs for the kids show The Banana Splits White signed a contract with 20th Century Records. He recorded the lilting instrumental Loves Theme with his newly formed Love Unlimited Orchestra. As he gained notice for his composing, White put together a girls group called Love Unlimited. Under his tutelage their trio struck gold with their 1972 million-selling record Walkin in the Rain with the One I Love, penned by White. In 1973 White fell in love with one of his trio of singers, Glodean James, and they married.

Meanwhile the man most famous for his singing voice had yet to get around to solo work. Although it was never his first lovehe really preferred writing, producing, and arranging, White finally got his solo recording career rolling in 1973 with his first number-one hit, Im Gonna Love You Just a Little More Baby. He sold $16 million worth of his music in 1973 alone.

Critics argued, wrote Vibes Gonzales, that Whites sound was overly repetitive and lacked the kind of social consciousness that fueled the works of Curtis Mayfield or power crooners like the man then known as Theodore Pendergrass, Jr. [Teddy Pendergrass]. From the beginning skeptics said his popularity could not last.Ebony quoted a 1974 reviewer calling White a limited performer capitalizing on a gimmick with his deep voice; but White was unstoppable, as was Love Unlimited. During the 1970s White had dozens of gold and platinum smashes including Never Gonna Give You Up, Ecstasy, and Ive Got So Much To Give.

That Voice

Listeners could not get enough of Whites voice; and his songs were the essence of seduction. The lyrics are not shocking by the standards of the 1990s; they are simply verbal foreplay backed up by heady swirling orchestrations. He was perhaps most famous when he simply spoke words of love during his songs, as if he were speaking directly to a single listener; and words of love were all he ever sang about. Although White has strong political f eelingshe has a portrait of civil rights leader Malcolm X hanging in his living roomthese are things he has rarely spoken about in the press, and never about in his work.

Not only did Whites music become huge in the 1970s, it catapulted him to the lofty role of King of Disco. Every generation has had its dance music, and in the 1970s it was disco; artists like Donna Summer, the Bee Gees, and Abba had people dancing, but to Whites music, they mostly made love. Jet quoted writer Adrian Deevoy as having said, When he sings, strong men tremble and ladies are transported up the stairway of unparalleled ecstasy, and children, they say, are often conceived that very night.

But in 1979 White left 20th Century and signed a lucrative contract with CBS records. He felt strongly that the vibe was changing and record companies were ignoring it. To Ritz he said, At that point, disco was exploited and overexposed, raped and ruined by a business that never knows when to stop. I listened to my accountants and lawyers. I signed the contract and put the advance in the bank, but inside my heart I felt something was wrong. This $8 million deal included Whites own label, Unlimited Gold. Although he produced around ten albums on that label, for which he was credited with flashes of brilliance, sales were weak. Whites relationship with CBS was not strong and in four years he failed to have any hits in the United States, something he still blames on the record company.

White knew the music was changing and all he wanted was to learn the new technologies of the 1980s. I was locked into one style of recording In the middle of my 40s I had to shift my mind without losing my soul, he told Chappell. Although even after his contract with CBS records and disco itself seemed to have gone by the wayside, offers still poured in for White but he would have none of it. He had saved enough money that he would be fine on his own, figuring out where the future of his music lay.

The 1980s were also difficult in other ways for White. In December of 1983 Whites brother Darryl was murdered on the streets of south central Los Angeles. Although White had predicted such an occurrence, it was no less devastating to him. No one could understand the bond between me and Darryl, he told Ritz. I struggled to understand the forces that drove his soul in one direction and mine in another. That struggle continues. In 1988 White and his wife Glodean were divorced. By then music was his closest friend, and it had become time for that music to live again.

In 1987 White released The Right Night on A&M Records, a strong company in which White had confidence. Chappell said the album successfully used the technology White had once so greatly feared without changing the music that made him famous. Skeptics wondered if White could survive the disco backlash that had slapped down recent comeback albums by the Bee Gees and Donna Summer. Although that album did not catch on, 1989s Barry White: The Man Is Back became a steady seller on the soul market.

The Man Is Back

With the 1990s, dance music returned and a great many young soul singersblack and white, in England and the United Statesstarted touting Barry White as one of their greatest influences. In 1990 White won a Grammy award for his part in the Quincy Jones-produced song Secret Garden. In 1991 Put Me in Your Mix fueled the fire, but it was his 1994 album The Icon Is Love that really caused White to explode full-force back on the scene.

Suddenly the big man was back in the U.S. spotlighthe had never really gone away to the rest of the world. The single Practice What You Preach became his first number-one hit in 17 years. He was all over television with his more sophisticated, but always sexy, 1990s look. He even appeared on David Lettermans late night talk show twice in one month, which was a rare occurrence for any artist. Valentines Day saw him plugging prime time television shows with a message of love. Everybody was thrilled to see Dr. Feel Good back on top.

White knew what he was doing. He had embraced the new music technologies of the 1980s and he looked to young people, collaborating with hit-makers like Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, and Gerald Levert & Tony Nicholas, as well as with his musical godson Chuckii Booker, and longtime musical partner Jack Perry. I chose these people to work with, he told BRE, because they are all masters at what they do. According to BRE, In Whites wise eyes, these producers are among the few who hold the future of black music in their hands. White does not respect a good many of the young artists making music today because they cannot craft songs. But he does see a difference between his generation and todays young starswhen he was a kid they burned Watts during the riots, but todays ghetto kids have invented rap music. There are still kids killing each other, but there are also young people letting their anger out in song, taking power, and creating a place for themselves in the record industry. That was why White needed to learn what was new, because he knew change was inevitable. Now his soulful slow raps are laid over a hip-hop beat.

As Whites star grew bright again, so did disco, as did most everything representing the 1970s. He had reclaimed his old fans and now the younger set. And he still has that voice. As Jonathan Gold described a concert in the Los Angeles Times, His basso molto profundo [is] so awesome that he could have read the phone book and gotten an ovation.

The song is the most important thing. That hasnt changed, he told Dennis Hunt in the Los Angles Times. As long as I can still write a song, therell be a place for me in music. Although he told Chappell in Ebony, I dont know how much longer Ill be around, but when I leave next time thatll be it, he assured Jeremy Helligar in People, Ive got everything. Coming from the ghettos of Los Angeles, Ive turned my life from negative to positive. Ive lived. Ive made my mark. Im probably the happiest being youll ever set with in your life.

Selected discography

Solo performances

Ive Got So Much to Give, 20th Century, 1973.

Cant Get Enough, 20th Century, 1974.

Just Another Way to Say I Love You, 20th Century, 1975.

Barry Whites Greatest Hits, 20th Century, 1975.

Let the Music Play, 20th Century, 1976.

Is This Whatcha Wont?, 20th Century, 1976.

Barry White Sings For Someone You Love, 20th Century, 1977.

The Man, 20th Century, 1978.

I Love to Sing The Songs I Sing, 20th Century, 1979.

Barry Whites Greatest Hits, Volume 2, 20th Century, 1980.

The Message Is Love, Unlimited Gold, 1979.

Sheet Music, Unlimited Gold, 1980.

Barry & Glodean, Unlimited Gold, 1981.

Beware!, Unlimited Gold, 1981.

Change, Unlimited Gold, 1982.

Dedicated, Unlimited Gold, 1983.

The Right Night & Barry White, A&M, 1987.

The Man Is Back!, A&M, 1989.

Put Me in Your Mix, A&M, 1991.

The Icon Is Love, A&M, 1994.

As producer for Love Unlimited

From a Girls Point of View We Give To You, Uni, 1972.

Under the Influence of, 20th Century, 1973.

In Heat, 20th Century, 1974.

Hes All Ive Got, Unlimited Gold, 1977.

Love Is Back, Unlimited Gold, 1979.

As producer and leader of Love Unlimited Orchestra

Rhapsody in White, 20th Century, 1974

Together Brothers Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, 20th Century, 1974.

White Gold, 20th Century, 1974.

Music Maestro Please, 20th Century, 1975.

My Sweet Summer Suite, 20th Century, 1976.

My Musical Bouquet, 20th Century, 1978.

Super Movie Themes, Just a Little Bit Different, 20th Century, 1979.

Let Em Dance!, Unlimited Gold, 1981.

Welcome Aboard (Presents Mr. Webster Lewis), Unlimited Gold, 1981.

Rise, Unlimited Gold, 1983.

Sources

Periodicals

Billboard, December 24, 1994.

BRE, October 28, 1994, pp. 23-26.

Ebony, March 1990, p. 24; May 1995, pp. 52-58.

Entertainment Weekly, October 21, 1994, p. 66.

Jet, July 30,1990, p. 37; January 9,1995, pp. 54-58.

Los Angeles Times, November 12, 1987; July 7, 1990, p. F5; July 10, 1990, p. F9.

New York Times, July 9, 1995, sec. 2, p. 29; July 14, 1995, C3.

People, January 23, 1995, pp. 66-67.

Rolling Stone, February 9, 1995, p. 30.

Vibe, February 1995, pp. 60-61.

Other

Additional information for this profile was obtained from A&M Records press materials, 1992 and 1994.

Joanna Rubiner

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White, Barry

Barry White

Singer, songwriter, composer, arranger, record producer

For the Record

Selected discography

Sources

During the mid-1970s singer/songwriter Barry White was the undisputed maestro of sensual soul music. Growling seductive lyrics in a deep, husky voice backed by lush orchestration, White produced a string of hit songs during the decade, with titles such as Im Gonna Love You Just a Little Bit More, Baby, Ill Do Anything You Want Me To, and Im Qualified to Satisfy. His repetitive melodies and danceable rhythms were major influences on the disco music that emerged later in the decade; with his 41-piece Love Unlimited Orchestra he produced the prognostic disco hit Loves Theme in 1973. The multifaceted White frequently wrote, arranged, and produced for other performers as well as himself; by the time his popularity as a singer had waned in the late seventies, his musical talents had earned him more than one hundred million dollars in worldwide record sales. Before Teddy Pendergrasss snarl, Luther Vandrosss arpeggios and Michael Jacksons hiccups, there was Barry Whites deep, smooth moan, High Fidelity writer Havelock Nelson recalled. He promised his baby virtually everything, Dave Marsh remarked in the New Rolling Stone Record Guide, in a way still acceptable to the FCC.

White grew up in poverty and, like many poor black performers, got his musical start at a local church. At eight he began singing in the choir and two years later he played the organ and assisted the choir director. By the time he was 16 White had joined a rhythm and blues band, the Upfronts, as a singer and pianist performing in small clubs in the Los Angeles area. He next joined Rampart Records and started composing and producing. During this time he met performers Bob and Earl and wrote their 1963 hit The Harlem Shuffle. In 1966 White became head of A & R (artists and repertoire) for Mustang/Bronco Records, where he wrote, produced, and unsuccessfully recorded as a solo vocalist. While there he met three female singersDiane Taylor, Linda James, and Glodean James. Naming them Love Unlimited, he produced their first single, Walkinin the Rain with the One I Love which turned gold. In 1973 White and his female associates signed recording contracts with Twentieth Century-Fox Records. His initial release, Im Gonna Love You Just a Little Bit More, Baby, topped the charts, the first in a succession of million-selling singles and albums which included Never, Never Gonna Give You Up, Youre My First, My Last, My Everything, Cant Get Enough, and Just Another to Say I Love You. Whites easy-listening soul appealed to both pop and rhythm and blues audiences and was described as sophistisoul. In 1973 White formed the Love Unlimited Orchestra to accompany him on his concert tours. The performer and his entourage left Twentieth Century-Fox when he founded his own recording company, Unlimited Gold, in 1979.

For the Record

Born September 12, 1944, in Galveston, TX (one source says Los Angeles, CA), raised in Los Angeles; married Glodean James (a singer), July 4, 1974; children: Kevin, Bridgett, Barry, Jr.

Sang in Galveston church choir at age eight; became church organist and part-time choir director at ten; professional debut at age 11 playing piano on Jesse Belvins recording of Goodnight My Love; joined Los Angeles rhythm and blues band the Upfronts as singer/pianist at 16; worked as arranger for Rampart Records under name Lee Barry and as road manager for Bob and Earl; songwriter and producer for Mustang/Bronco Records, beginning 1966; producer for Love Unlimited singing trio, beginning 1972; signed recording contract with Twentieth Century-Fox, 1973; conductor, composer, and arranger for Love Unlimited Orchestra, beginning 1973; founded recording company, Unlimited Gold, 1979; other business interests include Sa-Vette Music, Soul Unlimited, and Barry White, Inc.

Awards: 20 gold singles and 103 gold albums; 10 platinum singles and 38 platinum albums.

Addresses: Record companyA&M Records Inc., 1416 North La Brea Ave., Hollywood, CA 90028.

Although Whites appeal declined in the 1980s, he continued to compose, produce, and perform. His 1982 album Chance sold particularly well. Marsh quipped that the singers corpulent frame and cluster of huge rings sabotaged his reign as a black matinee idol. In a 1990 Jet interview White deemed many current love songs blatant and vulgar. Making love is one thing, he related, having sex is another Ive always advocated loving, sharing, giving, understanding, making love, making time for each other, making time to communicate, stimulate. While critics have noted more uptempo tunes and less heavy orchestration in later White albums, a People critic wrote in a review of Change that the product seems to be the same basic White bread: a little change, and a lot of status quo. Still, in his High Fidelity critique of the 1988 album The Right Night and Barry White, Nelson concluded: During any quiet storm, underneath White satin is still a pretty good place to be.

Selected discography

Compositions

Has written numerous songs, including The Harlem Shuffle, recorded by Bob and Earl and The Rolling Stones; I Feel Love Coming On, recorded by Felice Taylor; and the instrumental Loves Theme, recorded by the Love Unlimited Orchestra.

Albums

Ive Got So Much to Give, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1973.

Stone Gon, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1973.

Rhapsody in White, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1974.

Cant Get Enough, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1974.

Just Another to Say I Love You, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1975.

Barry Whites Greatest Hits, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1975.

Let the Music Play, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1976.

Is This Whatcha Want?, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1976.

Barry White Sings for Someone You Love, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1977.

The Man, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1978.

The Message Is Love, Unlimited Gold, 1979.

I Love to Sing the Songs I Sing, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1979.

Sheet Music, Unlimited Gold, 1980.

Best of Our Love, Unlimited Gold, 1981.

Beware, Unlimited Gold, 1981.

Barry Whites Greatest Hits, volume 2, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1981.

Change, Unlimited Gold, 1982.

Dedicated, 1983.

The Right Night, A&M, 1987.

The Man Is Back, A&M, 1989.

Put Me in Your Mix, A&M, 1991.

Also contributed to Quincy Joness Grammy Award-winning The Secret Garden (The Seduction Suite) from the album Back on the Block, and to rapper Big Daddy Kanes All of Me Wants All of You, 1990.

Sources

Books

The Encyclopedia of Rock, edited by Phil Hardy and Dave Laing, Schirmer Books, 1988.

The New Rolling Stone Record Guide, edited by Dave Marsh and John Swenson, Random House, 1983.

The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock and Roll, edited by Jon Pareles and Patricia Romanowski, Summit Books, 1983.

Periodicals

Daily News (New York), May 20, 1990.

Ebony, March 1990.

Elle, December 1989.

High Fidelity, March 1988.

Jet, July 9, 1990.

Newspaper, June 7, 1990.

People, August 18, 1980; October 4, 1982; September 26, 1983.

Washington Times, June 21, 1990.

Nancy Pear

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Pear, Nancy. "White, Barry." Contemporary Musicians. 1992. Encyclopedia.com. 25 Jun. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

Pear, Nancy. "White, Barry." Contemporary Musicians. 1992. Encyclopedia.com. (June 25, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3492400092.html

Pear, Nancy. "White, Barry." Contemporary Musicians. 1992. Retrieved June 25, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3492400092.html

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