Barry White (born Barry Eugene Carter; September 12, 1944 – July 4, 2003) was an American composer and singer-songwriter.
A three-time Grammy Award–winner known for his distinctive bass-baritone voice and romantic image, White’s greatest success came in the 1970s as a solo singer and with the Love Unlimited Orchestra, crafting many enduring soul, funk, and disco songs such as his two biggest hits, “You’re the First, the Last, My Everything” and “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe”.
During the course of his career in the music business, White achieved 106 gold albums worldwide, 41 of which also attained platinum status. White had 20 gold and 10 platinum singles, with worldwide records sales in excess of 100 million. He is one of the world’s best-selling artists of all time. His influences included Rev. James Cleveland, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, and Elvis Presley plus Motown artists The Supremes, The Four Tops, and Marvin Gaye.
A 1970s nostalgia fad allowed White to enjoy a renewed wave of popularity in the 1990s. After White participated in a Quincy Jones record titled Back on the Block, on the song titled “The Secret Garden (Sweet Seduction Suite)”, which topped the R&B chart in 1990, he mounted an effective comeback with several albums, each more successful than the last. He returned to the top of the charts in 1991 with the album Put Me in Your Mix, which reached #8 on the Billboard R&B Albums chart and the song by the same name reached #2 on the Billboard R&B singles chart.
In 1994 he released The Icon Is Love, which went to #1 on the Billboard R&B album charts, and the single “Practice What You Preach” gave him his first #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart in almost 20 years. The album was nominated for a Grammy in the Best R&B Album category, but lost to TLC’s CrazySexyCool.
In 1996, White recorded the duet “In Your Wildest Dreams” with Tina Turner. 1996 also saw the release of Space Jam and its soundtrack, on which White had a duet with Chris Rock, called “Basketball Jones,” a remake of Cheech & Chong’s “Basketball Jones” from 1973.
His final album, 1999’s Staying Power, resulted in his last hit song “Staying Power,” which placed #45 on the Billboard R&B charts. The single won him two Grammy Awards in the categories Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance.
His autobiography, Love Unlimited, written with Mark Eliot, was published in 1999 by Broadway Books.