Black History: Special Delivery!!
Barry White was born in Galveston, TX but grew up in South Central, Los Angeles, California. He was raised by his mother. At the time of his birth, his father was married to another woman. Whit grew up in poverty and also got involved in gangs as a teenager. His mother gave him music lessons. Disabled by arthritis, she also gave lessons to make extra money. White learned to play on his mother’s second hand $50 upright piano. She wanted to teach him how to read music. But he asked her to let him learn his own way and she did! He never learned to read music but became an accomplished composer and arranger. As a youth he was placed in juvenile detention after stealing tires that were worth thousands of dollars. While in detention, he heard the Elvis Presley song, “It’s Now or Never” and decided to turn his life around.
White did not start out as a singer. He initially got his start in the music industry as a music rep who signed artist to various record companies in the 60s. He launched his solo career in 1973 with the album, “I’ve Got So Much To Give.”. I’m Going To Love You Just A Little More Baby” made it to number one on the Billboard R&B chart. He then decided to assemble the Love Unlimited Orchestra, which provided the background instrumentals for his next album, “Love’s Theme”. Some of his hits include, You’re The First The Last My Everything, Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love Baby, Never Going To Give You Up, Practice What You Preach, Let The Music Play, Oh What a Night, Just the Way You Are (remake of original Billy Joel) and many other hit songs.
White built his own music label with Columbia Records in 1978. He later signed with A&M records in 1987 that he created the song, Sho’ You Right” which would become a signature phrase and calling card of White with his fans. White teamed with Quincy Jones in 1990 on the song, Secret Garden. This musical project helped to revive his solo career. He also ventured into acting during his career. White did many voice overs for commercials and TV shows. During his career, he made 106 gold albums with 41 going Platinum. He has also been celebrated as one of the pioneers of disco music.
White suffered for many years with chronic high blood pressure which eventually led to kidney failure. At the time of his death in 2003, he was waiting for a kidney transplant and had also suffered a stroke. This post would not be complete without hearing from the Maestro himself. Check out this video of him live in Belgium.
Truly a legend. Gone Too Soon. What is your favorite Barry White song?