Barry White Biography

Barry White was a famous American composer and songwriter. Check out this article to get to know in details about his life, career, works and timeline.

Barry White
Quick Facts

Nick Name: The Walrus of Love

Birthday: September 12, 1944

Nationality: American

Famous: Musicians American Men

Died At Age: 58

Sun Sign: Virgo

Born in: Galveston, Texas, U.S.

Family:

Spouse/Ex-: Betty Smith (m. 1962–1965), Glodean White (m. 1974–2003)

father: Melvin A. White

mother: Sadie Marie Carter

siblings: Darryl

children: Barry White Jr., Darryl White, Melva White, Nina White, Shaherah White

Died on: July 4, 2003

place of death: Los Angeles, California, U.S.

U.S. State: Texas

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Perhaps no other artist in the music industry enjoyed the huge cross-sectional popularity and following as did Barry White. The winner of two Grammy awards, he was a composer and singer-songwriter by profession. White took to music since an early age and showed signs of making it big someday, which he fruitfully realized. He started off as a significant part of various small independent groups and labels in Los Angeles. It was while working with the groups that he was spotted and enrobed to play the songwriter, session musician, and arranger for reputed labels. His biggest success however came when he launched himself as a solo artist in the 1970s. such was the amazing reception of his tracks that he became a pioneering force in disco music. About 109 of his albums reached the gold status, of which 41 attained the platinum status. In his career, he is reported to have recorded sales of 100 million records. To know more about his life, career and works, browse through the following lines.

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Barry White
Childhood & Early Life
  • Barry White was born as Barry Eugene Carter in Galveston Texas. He was the eldest of the two children born to the White couple.
  • Since an early age, he was musically inclined and grew up listening to his mother’s classical music collection.
  • The first instrument that young White laid hands on was a piano. He emulated the music he heard on records and no sooner, played piano for Jesse Belvin’s 1956 single, ‘Goodnight My Love’.
  • During his teenage years, he along with his younger brother took to criminal and gang activities. What’s more, he was also imprisoned for four months for stealing $30,000 worth of Cadillac tires.
  • It was during his days at jail that he listened to Elvis Presley’s ‘It’s Now or Never’. The music inspired him spiritually and morally thus changing the course of his life completely.
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Career
  • Relieved from the prison, he switched to a civil life and took up a music career. He became a part of various small independent groups and labels in Los Angeles. His first ever released song includes, ‘Too Far to Turn Around’ along with the group, ‘The Upfronts.
  • He released his solo songs in the 1960s, most of which were backed either by the vocal group The Atlantics or The Majestics. In the mid-1960s, he was hired by Bob Keane of Del-Fi Records as an A&R man.
  • In the new profile, he started collaborating with label's artists including Viola Wills and The Bobby Fuller Four, as a songwriter, session musician, and arranger. He wrote ‘Doin' the Banana Split’ for TV bubblegum act The Banana Splits in 1968.
  • Furthermore, he discovered singer Felice Taylor and made arrangements for the release of her songs, ‘I Feel Love Comin’ On’ and ‘Harlem Shuffle’. Both the songs were major hits and established her as an outstanding singer.
  • While his career was scaling steadily, the big break still eluded. In 1972, he hit the jackpot by launching the girl group, ‘Love Unlimited’. The trio group, formed on the lines of the Motown girl group The Supremes, had honed their skills for two years before the launch. It comprised of Diane Taylor, Glodean James and her sister Linda.
  • ‘Love Unlimited’ released their debut album, ‘From A Girl’s Point of View We Give To You…Love Unlimited’ in 1972. The song, released under the record label Uni, was a major hit and went on to become a million album seller.
  • Same year, he penned, produced and arranged for the girl group their classic soul ballad, ‘Walking in the Rain With The One I Love’. The song peaked at number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 Pop chart and at number 6 on the Billboard R&B chart. Much of the success of the song can be attributed to his husky vocals as the lover who answers the phone call.
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  • The other records that he worked for, along with the group include ‘I Belong To You’, which remained a blockbuster for five months on the Billboard R&B chart and ‘Under the Influence of Love’, which peaked at number 3 on the Billboard Pop album charts.
  • Regan’s resignation as the head of Uni label was soon followed by White’s end of relationship with the label as well. The latter moved to 20th Century Records, where Regan had taken over.
  • It was while he was working on the song demos for a male singer that he recorded several song demos of himself. Adhering to the advice of Nunes, he re-recorded and released them as a solo recording artist. Later on, he wrote the lyrics and recorded songs for an entire album of music
  • Aiming to name the album as ‘White Heat’, it eventually was called, ‘I’ve Got So Much To Give’. The album included the title track along with the song, ‘I'm Gonna Love You Just a Little More Baby’, which went on to become his first solo hit.
  • The song, ‘I'm Gonna Love You Just a Little More Baby’ peaked at number 1 on the Billboard R&B charts as well as number 3 on the Billboard Pop charts in 1973. Furthermore, it stayed on the top 40 for many weeks.
  • Same year, he released the song, ‘Never, Never Gonna Give Ya Up’ which peaked at number 2 on the Billboard R&B and at number 7 on the Billboard Pop chart.
  • The super hit success of 1973 was followed by an equally successful 1974 which included the chartbusters, ‘You’re The First, the Last My Everything’ which ranked at number 1 on the Billboard Pop Chart and number 2 on the Billboard R&B Chart. The song, ‘Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe’ peaked at number 1 on both Billboard Pop and R&B charts.
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  • His other super successful chartbusters include ‘What Am I Gonna Do with You’, ‘Let The Music Play’, ‘It’s Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next To Me’ and ‘Your Sweetness is My Weakness’
  • Meanwhile, in 1973, he initiated The Love Unlimited Orchestra, a 40-piece orchestral group to be used as a backing band for the trio-girl-group Love Unlimited. Same year, he wrote and released the single, ‘Love’s Theme’ which was played by the orchestra. The track was immensely successful and reached number 1 status on the Billboard Pop Chart.
  • In 1974, he came up with the debut album of Love Unlimited Orchestra titled, ‘Rhapsody in White’ based on the ‘Love’s Theme’. The track was a unique one given the fact that he fused R&B music with classical music.
  • The success of ‘Rhapsody in White’ led the orchestra to release further album which include, ‘Satin Soul’, ‘Bring It On Up’, ‘Forever in Love’, ‘My Sweet Summer Suite’ and ‘Theme From King Kong’.
  • His six years of association with 20th Century ended in 1979, at the time of which he launched his own label, ‘Unlimited Gold’ with CBS/Columbia Records. Though he released quite a number of songs, he wasn’t able to replicate the success of his previous ventures due to the end of the disco era.
  • It was only the 1982 released track, ‘Change’ that topped at the Billboard R&B Top 20 Charts at the number 12th position. Due to the heavy financial losses, he ended his label in 1983.
  • Four years later, he signed a contract with A&M Records. The venture proved to be successful as the single released titled, ‘Sho’ You Right’ peaked at Number 17 on the Billboard R&B chart.
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  • In 1989, he released the song, ‘The Man in Back!’ By the end of the decade, he had three of his songs in the Top 40 Billboard R&B chart, ‘Super Love’ at number 34, ‘When Will I See You Again’ at number 32 and ‘I Wanna Do It Good to Ya’ at number 26.
  • After a slack period, there came a boom in pop music which turned profitable for him. He released several songs, all of which became chartbusters. His album, ‘Put Me in Your Mix’ peaked at number 8 on the Billboard R&B Albums chart, with the title track reaching the number 2 position.
  • Year 1994 was a fruitful year for him as his album, ‘The Icon is Love’ reached the number 1 status on the Billboard R&B charts. Furthermore, the single, ‘Practice What You Preach’ became the first single to stand at the number 1 position on the Billboard R&B singles chart in almost 20 years.
  • He collaborated with Tina Turner for ‘In Your Wildest Dreams’ and sang a duet with Chris Rock titled, ‘Basketball Jones. In 1999, he released his final album, ‘Staying Power’ that reached the number 45 on the Billboard R&B charts and earned him two Grammy awards
  • Other than singing, he gave a couple of voice overs for television shows, movies and commercials. He even made guest appearances in several television shows.
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Awards & Achievements
  • He won two Grammy Awards in the categories of Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance for his final album, ‘Staying Power’.
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Personal Life & Legacy
  • He married the lead singer of the girl group ‘Love Unlimited’, Glodean James, on July 4, 1974.
  • Since he suffered from excessive weight issues for most part of his life, health hazards were natural occurrence for the final years of his life. He suffered from high blood pressure and diabetes and was diagnosed with kidney failure as well.
  • It was while undergoing dialysis treatment that he suffered from a stroke which forced him to retire from public life.
  • He breathed his last on July 4, 2003, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, after suffering from total renal failure. His body was cremated and ashes were scattered off the California coast.
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Trivia
  • This obese American composer and songwriter was popular as a singer of love songs due to which fans often referred to him with the nickname, ‘The Walrus of Love’.
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See the events in life of Barry White in Chronological Order

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Article Title
- Barry White Biography
Author
- Editors, TheFamousPeople.com
Website
- TheFamousPeople.com
URL
https://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/barry-white-4655.php
Last Updated
- September 18, 2017

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