Possibly the most single-minded artist in all of music history, he made songs about love in an era when little of it seemed to be around. #barrywhite #blackhistorymonth
Welcome to the first of my Black History Month 2019 programs. Today, I am going to spend some time on why I chose Barry White as our lead artist to spotlight, and it isn’t for reasons that many of you probably think it is.
White, originally from Texas and raised in Los Angeles by a single mother, was a child prodigy who would play along, by ear, to the classical music his mother would listen to. While a teen, he and his brother Darryl often were involved in illegal activity. After his brother was murdered by a gang member, White also served time for grand larceny. As the legend goes, White heard Elvis Presley while incarcerated and decided to turn his life around.
If that were all you knew about 70’s superstar White, you might think that this was a tale of happy endings. But his success was so much more than that. What White’s story is about is about how we sometimes negatively view the mirror’s reflection and what happens when we actually stop to allow ourselves to receive positive affirmations in order to believe in ourselves.
You see, White never intended on becoming synonymous with the quintessential lover man persona. He was a writer, bandleader and producer, who, coincidentally, also pretty much gave Disco music its distinctive sound. He was very dark skinned, not movie star pretty, had a voice like an operatic baritone and wasn’t thin or athletic. His first success came in writing and producing Love Unlimited, a female vocal group whose lead singer, Glodean, would become his second wife.
Larry Nunes, a music industry businessman, heard White’s demo recordings in 1973 meant for another singer and begged him to release them as a solo act, something White almost didn’t believe he could successfully pull off because he didn’t fit the traditional mode of what a Soul singer sounded or looked like. He had attempted it once in the mid-1960’s, and it definitely became a case of “once bitten, twice shy”.
With a global total of 100 million recordings sold, his talent was never in question. What was most surprising to White was that he became an sex symbol that gave hope to millions of men who previously saw themselves as lesser than because they had similar physical attributes that the entertainment industry, and large swaths of society, had largely ignored or ridiculed.
- I’m Gonna Love You Just A Little More Baby, 1973
- I’ve Got So Much To Give (Single Version), 1973
- Honey Please, Can’t Ya See (Single Version), 1973
- You’re The First, The Last, My Everything, 1974
- Let The Music Play (Promo Single Version), 1975
- I Belong to You, 1975, Love Unlimited
- Love’s Theme, 1973, The Love Unlimited Orchestra
- It’s Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next To Me (Single Version), 1977
- Baby Blues, 1974, The Love Unlimited Orchestra
- Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love, Babe (Single Version), 1974
- Never, Never Gonna Give You Up, 1973
Love to you all.
Ben “Bear” Brown Jr., owner
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