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In Memoriam: A Look Back At Barry White's Impressive Career

A look inside Barry White's impressive career
November 2, 2019 - 11:28 / Cynthia Springer

Known for his deep, soulful voice, Barry White became an iconic singer and songwriter during the 1960s up until his death in 2003. White was influenced from all types of music from a young age, let's take a look at his impressive career and how he began his musical journey!

Although he was born in Texas, Barry White was raised in South Central Los Angeles. His original name was Barry Eugene Carter, but he would later take on the last name of his father in lieu of his mothers. The first genre of music he fell in love with was classical music. He was constantly listening to his mother's record collection, which ultimately inspired him to take up the piano.

Barry White's musical career

Barry White singing at the Printemps de Bourges Festival on April 5th, 1988 in Bourges, France.

It was when White was sent to jail at the age of 16 that turned around his life. While he sat behind bars for stealing $30,000 of Cadillac tires, White had listened to Elvis Presley's "It's Now or Never" on the radio, a song that would change his attitude and eagerness to become a musician.

American soul singer Barry White

By the 1960s, White had joined several musical groups, including The Upfronts, the Atlantics, and the Majestics, where he and others recorded multiple singles. Yet, his other talent was helping others become great artists through his songwriting and arranging. He is credited for boosting the careers of singers Felice Taylor and Viola Wills. In 1969, Barry White formed the girl group Love Unlimited, which included his future wife, Glodean James, her sister Linda, and their cousin Diane Taylor. The Motown group's album was entirely produced by White and went on to make the Billboard charts, as well as becoming an international success in the U.K. By 1973, he formed The Love Unlimited Orchestra, a 40-piece orchestral group which backed the singers of Love Unlimited, and flawlessly mixed the styles of R&B with classical music.

White plays multiple instruments, including piano and drums

Singer Barry White in 1993

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, White also started focusing more on a solo career. He had several hits in both the U.S. and the U.K., including "I'm Gonna Love You Just a Little More Baby", "Never, Never Gonna Give Ya Up", and "Can't Get Enough Of Your Love, Babe". His career had another boost in the early 1990s when he collaborated with Quincy Jones for the album Back on the Block. On top of his remarkable musical career, White had also participated in a few minor acting roles. He did some voice-over acting in a couple episodes of The Simpsons, portraying himself, as well as appearing in three episodes of Ally McBeal.

White was an eminent figure

American singer Barry White in 2001

In May 2003, Barry White had suffered a stroke while awaiting a kidney transplant. On July 4th, 2003, he passed away in Los Angeles at age 58. He posthumously received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2013, and was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame in 2004. His legacy continues as his rich voice is instilled within the R&B, soul, and funk music industries.