Barry White

September 12, 1944 - July 4, 2003
  • Songs
  • Artistfacts ®
  • Barry White was born Barry Carter in Galveston, Texas and grew up in South Central Los Angeles.
  • White had a brother Darryl, who was 13 months younger. Both brothers were gang members in South Central Los Angeles, but Darryl was murdered in a clash with a rival gang.
  • The teenage White was jailed for stealing $30,000 worth of Cadillac tires. During his time in prison, he heard Elvis Presley singing "It's Now Or Never" on the radio, which White later credited with changing the course of his life. Following his confinement, he left the gang life and began singing love songs.
  • Barry White's first release (under the name Barry Lee) was "Too Far to Turn Around" in 1960 as part of The Upfronts. He also recorded several solo singles as Barry White in the early 1960s, starting with "Strange World" and "Tracy (All I Have Is You) " in 1963 backed by vocal group the Atlantics.
  • White was hired as an A&R man for Del-Fi Records in the mid-1960s, and started working with the label's artists, including Felice Taylor and The Bobby Fuller Four as a songwriter, session musician, and arranger. (He played drums on the latter's hit "I Fought The Law").
  • During the late 1960s, White wrote several songs for The Banana Splits children's TV series, including "Doin' the Banana Split."
  • Barry White formed the Love Unlimited trio consisting of sisters Glodean and Linda James plus their cousin Diane Taylor in 1969. Their hit single "Walkin' In The Rain With The One I Love" featured White's gravely voice on the telephone. White married Glodean in 1974.
  • White also founded the Love Unlimited Orchestra, a 40-piece ensemble to accompany himself and the singing trio, for which he conducted, composed and arranged. The instrumental "Love's Theme" topped the US Hot 100 in 1974 and also had a significant influence on the disco sound, which exploded the following year.
  • Barry White embarked on a solo career in 1973, clocking up six US Top 10 singles, including the chart-topping "Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe." White was just as successful in the UK, where he achieved five Top 10 hits, including the #1 "You're the First, the Last, My Everything."
  • Known for his distinctive bass-baritone voice and romantic image, White was nicknamed "The Walrus Of Love."
  • In 1998 the Fun Lovin' Criminals had a UK Top 20 hit with "Love Unlimited," their tribute to Barry White.
  • The title track of White's final album, 1999's Staying Power, won him two Grammy Awards in the categories Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance.
  • White published his autobiography Insights on Life and Love in 1999.
  • In May 2003, White suffered a stroke while waiting for a kidney transplant. He died from kidney failure on July 4, 2003 in Los Angeles.
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