Barry White (1944-2003) is remembered as a top notch baritone vocalist, musician, composer, arranger and producer who rose to international fame in the 1970s.
He was an early pioneer in R&B-flavored disco music, creating some of the most artistic recordings in the genre.
Over the course of his career he won two Grammy Awards and sold over 100 million units worldwide. Here are his most memorable songs.
Top Barry White Songs
This mesmerizing instrumental helped escalate disco fever in early 1974, hitting #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Barry wrote, conducted and produced the music, as the recording artist was listed as The Love Unlimited Orchestra.
This group was essentially his production project that featured female soul singers and a 40-piece orchestra.
Some historians call this record the first #1 pop hit in history to have a definitive disco sound. For years afterward it was the theme for sporting events on ABC-TV.
“Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe”
Released in June 1974 as America was warming up to soulful disco sounds, this song made #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and R&B chart. It became his second chart-topper and gold record.
During the song’s chart run, Barry performed it live on the TV show Midnight Special. The following year he performed it on the TV show Soul Train. For many people who love Barry’s voice, it’s his most remembered song.
“You’re the First, the Last, My Everything”
Many Barry White fans who enjoy dancing to disco choose this song as their favorite dance number in his collection. It’s one of his most bouncy upbeat hits as an everlasting crowd-pleaser for all ages.
The song was part of the 1974 wave that ushered in the disco era and has never disappeared as a dance classic. It has appeared in various films such as Zoo Keeper and Dark Shadows, as well as the TV show Ally McBeal and the music video game Just Dance 4.
“I’m Gonna Love You Just a Little Bit More Baby”
Released in the spring of 1973, this record marked the beginning of a long string of hits for Barry. It was the lead-off single from his debut album I’ve Got So Much To Give and it hit #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 after topping the R&B chart.
One of the guitarists on the hit was Ray Parker, Jr., who had several hits of his own in the next decade. The record’s free-spirited lyrics and sensual talk in the intro established Barry’s signature sound.
“Never, Never Gonna Give Ya Up”
Another big R&B and pop hit, plus another gold record, this 1973 smash established Barry White as more than a one hit wonder following the success of “I’m Gonna Love You Just a Little Bit More Baby.”
Some historians argue these first few hits for Barry paved the way to the disco gold rush of the seventies.
“It’s Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next to Me”
Venturing deeper into funk, this hit brought Barry back into the spotlight in 1977 after disappearing from the top ten for a few years.
It would also be his final major pop hit, although he would still thrive on the R&B chart for the next decade. This record made the top 5 and was his last gold single for the next 17 years.
A few years later Barry launched his own record label called Unlimited Gold with the backing of CBS/Columbia Records. In the early eighties he turned his attention back to making music, but by then the disco trend had subsided.
“What Am I Gonna Do With You”
This disco era gem from 1975 went top ten on the pop chart and #1 on the R&B chart. This song captures much of the familiar elements Barry injected in his music.
It features a little bit of talk in the intro followed by lush orchestration and a cheerful dance vibe.
“I’ll Do For You Anything You Want Me To”
More well-polished orchestration over a vibrant dance beat characterizes this 1974 hit.
Like a dreamy romantic ballad over an uplifting groove, this record has a unique chemistry. It’s one of Barry’s most innovative dance tracks.
“Practice What You Preach”
As one of Barry’s more laid back songs, this one is tuneful with an optimistic spark.
It’s a sensual “turn down the lights” love song with a steady pulse. From an historical perspective, it was his final #1 song on the R&B charts in 1994.
“Let the Music Play”
Barry opens this record with spoken word artistry over a soft tuneful background leading up to the storyline of visiting a discoteque.
Then a disco beat kicks in and as a listener you lose yourself in the escapism of night club imagery and steady dance groove.