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Gone But Not Forgotten: Barry White

Barry White, 9/12/1944 - 7/4/2003
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    Barry White, 9/12/1944 - 7/4/2003
    Barry White's larger than life frame was only eclipsed by his larger than life talent. "The Maestro of Love" was at home on "Soul Train", guesting on "The Today Show", playing a showcase on "The Dinah Shore Show" in the 70s, as well as appearing in cartoon form on "The Simpsons". Photo: WireImage
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    Born in Galveston, TX, Barry White grew up singing gospel songs with his mother and taught himself to play piano. Shortly after moving from Texas to South Central Los Angeles, White made his recording debut at the tender age of 11, playing piano on Jesse Belvin's "Goodnight My Love." He made his first record, "Little Girl", when he was 16 with a group called the Upfronts. Photo: WireImage
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    Prior to his recording career, Barry White worked for various indie labels as an A&R man, working with the Bobby Fuller Four and the 5th Dimension. When the primary label he worked for went under, he started writing songs for other artists, including an unknown girl group who White christened Love Unlimited. Next, White decided he wanted to write for a male artist but was convinced to record this own material. He made his debut with 1973's I've Got So Much to Give featuring "I'm Gonna Love You Just a Little More Baby".
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    Can't Get Enough followed in 1974 with single "You're the First, the Last, My Everything". White's other major hits include "Can't Get Enough of Your Love", "Let the Music Play", "Never Gonna Give You Up", "Your Sweetness Is My Weakness" and "It's Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next to Me".
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    Barry White pictured in 1974 with the Love Unlimited, the vocal trio who contributed the cooing background vocals to his million-selling hits and sold-out concerts. The group included White's future wife Glodean James. Photo: WireImage
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    The Love Unlimited's Under the Influence Of... album includes the smash hit "Love's Theme". The 40-piece Love Unlimited Orchestra's lush, string-laden sound helped set the stage for the emergence of disco.
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    Barry White's classic single "You're the First, the Last, My Everything" was released in 1974 on the Can't Get Enough album. Barry White's studio band included such luminaries as Ray Parker Jr., Lee Ritenour, and bassist Wilton Felder of The Crusaders.
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    Barry White on the cover of Jet in August 22, 1974 with wife Glodean. They would release a duets album in 1981, Barry & Glodean.
    Photo: Jet magazine
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    The Love Unlimited Orchestra's Rhapsody in White (1974)
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    Barry White on the cover Jet (June 21, 1979). After a decade with eight Barry White albums, four Love Unlimited albums, four Love Unlimited Orchestra albums, constant touring, dealing with the rigors of the music industry and declining sales entering the 80s, White would soon take an extended break from music.
    Photo: Jet magazine
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    Later in his career, White worked with Gerald Levert, Big Daddy Kane, Isaac Hayes, Quincy Jones, Regina Bell, and producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. He revived his career with 1992's The Icon Is Love, the biggest selling album of his career since the 70s, and won two Grammys in 1999 with Staying Power. Photo: Getty Images
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    A fan holds up I've Got So Much to Give at Barry White's funeral. White died in 2003 from chronic illness - a combination of kidney failure, hypertension, and high blood pressure. White's career took him from the ghetto to international success with 106 gold and 41 platinum albums, 20 gold and ten platinum singles, with worldwide sales in excess of 100 million. Photo: WireImage