This Day In History: September 12, 1944

September 12, 1944 Barry White is born

Born in Galveston, Texas, on this day in 1944, Barry White–or “the Maestro”–went on to stunningly successful career as a pop singer that spanned five decades, and made him a star of the disco era.

It took some pushing to get future sex symbol Barry White out into the spotlight where he could work his seductive magic. The path he originally chose to follow in the music business was as an A&R man—a behind-the-scenes player in the “Artists and Repertoire” department of various independent labels in 1960s Los Angeles. White’s job was to spot talent and to act as a liaison between record labels and the artists he was charged with developing, and it was in this capacity that he discovered a female vocal trio he named Love Unlimited. Not only would Barry White marry one of its members, but he would write, produce and arrange a major hit for them in “Walking in the Rain (With The One I Love)” (1972). And when White finally stepped out into the spotlight as a performer himself—at the insistence of his record label–Love Unlimited would become the backup vocalists on his string of 1970s soul classics.

Having written several new songs and recorded his vocals for demo purposes only, White was surprised and reluctant when 20th Century Records pushed him to release the songs under his own name. When he finally did so in 1973, he quickly established himself as a star. From 1973 to 1977, sometimes under his own name and sometimes under the name Love Unlimited Orchestra, White recorded a string of steamy soul classics that featured his rumbling bass voice speaking and singing over lush orchestral arrangements of subject matter clearly expressed in his song titles alone: “Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love, Babe”; “Your Sweetness Is My Weakness”; “It’s Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next To Me”; and “I’m Gonna Love You Just A Little More, Baby.”

D. K. Smith

D. K. Smith

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