On this day in 1944, the great singer and songwriter Barry White was born. Above all, he created great sounding music that generally transcends any particular genres, although I guess we would have to classify his work as generally soul. Added to his music was his amazing bass-baritone voice. I still listen to him a lot.
He was born in Galveston, Texas. And in his teens, he became involved with gangs and ended up serving four months in jail for stealing car tires. There is a story that may be true that he heard Elvis Presley on the radio while in jail and it changed his life. Regardless, after getting out of jail, he started performing music. In fact, he was in a band that released a single when he was only 16 years old. He went on to work for Del-Fi Records, developing talent, writing songs, and eventually producing. One of the acts he discovered was Love Unlimited — a trio of female singers, kind of like The Supremes.
A couple of years later, he was developing music for a male singer. As a result, he put together a three song demo tape with himself singing. People at 20th Century Records (where he had moved to a couple of years before) loved what he had done and convinced him to record an album that became, I’ve Got So Much to Give. And the rest really is history. He went on to earn over a hundred gold records world wide.
Here is a very unusual (but still great) version of his top-ten hit “Never, Never Gonna Give Ya Up”:
Happy birthday Barry White!