Barry White (Sept. 12, 1944 — July 4, 2003) was an American soul singer, composer, conductor, and producer from Galveston, Tex.
White was born Barrence Eugene Carter on September 12, 1944, in Galveston, Tex., the second of two children born to Melvin A. White and Sadie Marie Carter. His parents never married, so his mother gave him her surname, though he later took his father’s surname. He was mostly raised in south-central Los Angeles, where he grew up listening to his mother’s classical records and took up piano.
At age 16, White was given a four-month jail sentence for tire theft. While incarcerated, he heard “It’s Now or Never” by Elvis Presley and decided to get serious about music. In 1960, he recorded the track “Too Far to Turn Around” with LA doo wop combo The Upfronts. He then cut three singles with The Atlantics on the Linda and Faro labels.
In 1965, White produced the organ-rock instrumental “Feel Aw Right” by the Bel Canto’s, issued on Downey Records. That same year, he issued the single “Forty Acres” (b/w “Thru My Window”) on Gemini under the name Lee Barry, followed in 1966 with the Downey single “Man Ain’t Nothin'” (b/w “I Don’t Need It”). Over the next year, he wrote and arranged the singles “I Got Love” and “Don’t Kiss Me Hello and Mean Goodbye” by Viola Wills and “Together Forever” (b/w “They are the Lonely” by Pat Powdrill & The Powerdrills. With partner Paul Politi, White co-wrote the singles “It May Be Winter Outside (But in My Heart It’s Spring)” and “I Feel Love Comin’ On” (b/w “I’m Under the Influence of Love“) by Felice Taylor.
Starting with Taylor, White moved into production. In 1967, he produced the singles “Everybody’s Goin’ Mod” and “This Thing Called Love” (b/w “To Whom It May Concern”) by Johnny Wyatt on Bronco Records. The following year, he produced “I Can’t Make It Without Him” by Brendetta Davis and “Sandy” (b/w “Don’t Slam the Door In My Face”) by Larry Marks. White and Davis appear as backing vocalists on Jackie DeShannon’s 1969 album Laurel Canyon, which includes his composition “I Got My Reason.”
- I’ve Got So Much to Give (1973)
- Stone Gon’ (1973)
- Together Brothers (1974 • Barry White, Love Unlimited & Love Unlimited Orchestra)
- Can’t Get Enough (1974)
- Just Another Way to Say I Love You (1975)
- Let the Music Play (1976)
- Is This Whatcha Wont? (1976)
- Barry White Sings for Someone You Love (1977)
- The Man (1978)
- The Message Is Love (1979)
- I Love to Sing the Songs I Sing (1979)
- Sheet Music (1980)
- Beware! (1981)
- Change (1982)
- Dedicated (1983)
- The Right Night & Barry White (1987)
- The Man Is Back (1989)
- Put Me in Your Mix (1991)
- The Icon Is Love (1994)
- Staying Power (1999)
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