In his much anticipated memoir, Barry White, the international pop and R&B legend whose music has carried countless couples from first kisses to the walk down the aisle, takes his legendary singing voice from the airwaves to the page.
With honesty, warmth, and his signature sensuality, White recounts his rough road to superstardom and shares his deepest feelings and wise philosophy. Born into the tough streets of South Central Los Angeles to a single mother, Barry ran with the "oldest, baddest, and most envied" gang and was hooked on fighting, drinking, and stealing when he wound up in Juvenile Hall at age sixteen. While behind bars, he had a life-shaking epiphany that changed the direction of his life. From that moment on Barry vowed to get and stay on a straight, hardworking path and fulfill his dream of making music. He dropped out of school and literally walked to Hollywood to make his fortune.
Love Unlimited follows Barry from his hungry years as a jack of all trades, struggling to support a wife and four small children, to his first professional gig in the music business as a talent spotter; from his breakthrough producing the girls he named Love Unlimited to his own emergence into the international spotlight as a producer, songwriter, and singer renowned for his deep bass and gift for articulating the needs and desires of both men and women. At every step, the Maestro offers heartfelt reflections onself-pride and perseverance, the bonds of family and friendship, the key elements to keeping a lover happy, and the true meaning of ecstasy.
Barry also explores the relationships that have inspired himfrom his profound love of his mother, who bought him his first piano, his brother, who didn't have music to save him, his love Glodean, and his children, to his ultimate love, Lady Music. He also discusses his relationships with such legends and luminaries as Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, Muhammed Ali, and Maxine Waters.
Featuring intimate, behind-the-scenes photographs, a complete discography, and some of his favorite lyrics, Love Unlimited is Barry's ultimate love song for his fans.
|Edition description:||1 ED|
|Product dimensions:||6.50(w) x 9.53(h) x 0.95(d)|
About the Author
Marc Eliot is the award-winning, bestselling author of several biographies and books on American pop culture, including works on Walt Disney, Phil Ochs, Bruce Springsteen, and The Eagles. He divides his time between New York City and Los Angeles, California.
Read an Excerpt
"I'VE GOT SO MUCH TO GIVE"
Come here, come here
And you won't find
Things that broke your heart
And threw your mind,
Not here, no, not here--
To you, my dear,
I've got so much to give,
It's gonna take my lifetime,
Gonna take years and years and years and years--
This beautiful afternoon I am sitting on my terrace overlooking the peaceful waters of the great Pacific Ocean. I am relaxing in the afternoon of my life, a life that has taken me from the hard, mean streets of South Central Los Angeles to the fantastic, unbelievable heights of love, romance, fame, and fortune. The sun is just beginning to think about dropping into that gorgeous Pacific blue, and I am kicking back, thinking about how I got so far, to this place of comfort and relaxation, of beauty and satisfaction. Surely it has been a long road, but all worth it. And I look forward to all that still lies ahead.
This fabulous journey atop the first-class wings of fame began for me in 1948 when the music I have always heard inside my head first found an outlet through the special sound of my unique God-given voice. Making music wasn't something I "learned." Creating a sound of distinction isn't something anybody learns, no matter how many music lessons your parents forced upon you when you were a kid, no matter how many songs you listen to when you're in bed with your lover.
Naturally, I didn't always have the voice I have now. Until I was fourteen years old I had a sound not unlike the famous high-pitched voice of Michael Jackson. When adolescence hit me, mysound didn't go down to a tenor, the way most boys' do, and stay there. Mine went down twice, first to a first tenor and then to a bass singer, that second one like a drop off the Empire State Building. The change came overnight. One morning I woke up with my new voice and hair all over my face. My mother called me over and examined my cheeks and chin closely, with her eyes and fingertips. "My God," she said. "My baby has become a man!"
Once my voice dropped, there was no escaping its power. Everywhere I went I could see the immediate effect it had on people. It always took me by surprise and would continue to do so for many years, especially after I left the neighborhood. I'd be in an elevator and someone would call out for the floor. I'd say, "Top, please," and everybody's head would turn around to see where that voice was coming from. Or I'd pick up the phone to make a long-distance call, ask the operator for assistance, and hear back, "My, but you have a beautiful voice!" This happened to me wherever I went. I was uneasy with it at first, but eventually grew used to it.
Nevertheless, in spite of the stars, the counseling, and all my efforts to separate myself from the violence and brutality of the streets, by the time I was fifteen and got arrested for stealing those tires, I'd been exposed to so much street negativity I was in danger of becoming desensitized, of losing my way. The night they took me to Juvey (Juvenile) Hall I heard those gates close behind me, and it was the loudest clang I've ever heard in my life. I'd never been locked up like this. I'd been busted for little things before, but my mother would always come and somehow get me out. Well, I knew mother wasn't coming this time.
I hated being in jail. I didn't like people telling me what to do, when to get up, when to go to bed, what to eat, what not to eat, when to use the toilet, when not to use the toilet. And I hated not being home for my mama, who'd depended on me for so much. She didn't deserve having two sons behind bars.
After two months on the inside, it finally started kicking in. I have to change my ways, because if I don't, I'm going to end up in jail the rest of my life! All my partners and friends in the Businessmen were making a career out of going to jail. And here I was, just another bro from the 'hood locked up, shut down, not able to do anything I wanted to. Every night I kept thinking about something Darryl had once told me: When you start going inside, it's hard to break the habit. Your partners are all there. It's like being outside, only in. Outside, only in. That scared me.
It was a Wednesday night in May 1960 that changed my life. I went to bed, sank into my bunk, when all of a sudden out of the bleak stone-block nowhere down the hall from some other inmate's radio I started to hear this song. I'd heard it before, I don't know, twenty-five, thirty times, but it never hit me like it did that night. It was, of all people, Elvis Presley! The song? "It's Now or Never".
It became my personal message, meant only for me. "Stop wasting your time, Barry," it said. "When you get out you better change your ways. It's Now or Never!"
There was no other way to explain it. I just knew it was time to make my own place in this world. To do so, I had to learn what went on in Hollywood. I'd heard good things about the place, and bad things as well. Either way, I knew that Hollywood was where the big boys in the music business were, and I wanted to see it for myself.
I got dressed while my mother was still weeping like it was the end of the world, begging me not to. "You don't know nobody, you have no money, you have no clothes, you have no car. . .you're a young black boy going out into a grown-up white world, Barry."
"I know, Mama," I said, quietly but with conviction. "You're right. I may be messing myself up. I'm not going to finish school. I have no money, no car, no clothes, and no connections. I don't know anybody -- and I'm black!" Everything and everybody that could possible be against me was. Except for one person --me.
"I don't have none of those tools, Mama, but I do have something you didn't mention. Something you yourself taught me. I've got determination Mama! That's why I've got to go to Hollywood."
I walked a couple of streets along the boulevard, looked up, and saw the famous spindle-shaped Capitol Records building. I'd heard about it and seen it on TV, but standing right here in front of it, that was a whole other thing. I passed by the famed Wallich's Music City record and appliance store. In their window were some of the coldest stereo components I could ever have imagined.
I made this journey every morning, and one day I happened to run into a friend of mine I knew from the hood who invited me to sit in on a nearby recording session at Leon Renee's studio. Together we walked the few blocks south of the main drag. Leon owned a label called Class Records that featured some really good singers. Eugene Church recorded for Class, so did Bobby Day, who had a big two-sided hit record, "Rockin' Robin" and "Over and Over".
When we got there I decided to introduce myself to Leon. That's when I noticed Guggee Renee, a really bad organ player I knew from the 'hood. Guggee and three girls were working on a tune called "Tossin' Ice Cubes." I didn't think much of the song, but midway through, it turned out Leon needed a syncopation hand clap to lay on the track. He tried three different union players, not one of whom could snag it.
That rhythm thing again, so deceptively hard for most people. It was getting late and Leon was about to give it up when I said quietly to my friend, "I can do that." My mother always told me my voice had a way of carrying, and sure enough, my words reached all the way across the room to Leon.
He looked at me, for the first time really, and said, "Hey, who are you?"
"Barry White," he said slowly, as if measuring me up. "And you say you can clap your hands to this rhythm?"
"I sure can."
He told me to come into the recording booth, played the track again, and I nailed that clap in one take. Leon was amazed at first, then ecstatic. The session was only paying union scale, about twenty-five dollars, but he was so happy he gave a hundred-dollar bill as he shook my hand and said, "You nailed it, son. Thank you. What's your name again?"
"Well Barry White, I think you're a very gifted man." The sound in his voice added a layer of meaning to his words that instilled a newborn sense of confidence in me. It was like he was saying, "I don't know you, I never heard of you, but you're a real talent." He kept looking in a way that encouraged me more than getting the hand clap right and more than the hundred dollars. That look was the passkey to my future.
Everybody wants love to do something for them. They want love to do this, they want love to do that. They want love to fix everything rather than be everything. Love may make you feel as if it's doing what you want, but in reality, you're kidding yourself. You have to manifest things you want to happen through love. How do you do that? To be able to love somebody, you've got to learn to be unselfish, whether you're a man or a woman. By sacrificing that selfish part of yourself in order to see the effect take properly. That's what I believe a lot of men and women aren't really ready for, to take their individuality and carve it down the middle. Every part of your half is yours. Every part of the other half is hers or his. And that should be enough for the both of you. If she asks what you are holding back in that other half, and says that maybe some of it belongs to her, there's trouble. If she says thank you for giving me as much as you have, then you're all right. What we offer of ourselves to each other, in our deeds, not our words, is the true measure of love. Remember that, and you will understand your partner so much better. Unfortunately, most of the time people who insist they are "in love" don't really know their own half at all, while insisting they get every piece of the other person's half, which is really his whole. They make the same mistakes over and over again. If you have a problem with your partner, it may very well be that you are the problem. You've got to be willing to look at all of it, to understand any of it. You've got to be ready, willing, and able to acknowledge who you are, and who he or she is, and what is happening between the two of you.
You have to show yourself truly naked; I don't mean without clothes, I mean with your feelings exposed, ready to be shared by the other, your true feelings, no matter what they may be. The opposite of this is a form of lying, which is the cancer of love. Achieving this kind of truth is a higher level of love than the greeting-card level we've all had forced down our throats since we were too young and innocent to know better.
Men, stop trying to sell yourself with promises of material goods you won't be able to deliver. That's not love, that's falsehood to win her body. Her mind will never accept the lie of those idle promises you promised just to get her. Don't be a bully and force your will onto another for your own selfish gains. Don't pretend to be the best husband or wife in the world. Instead, try to be the best husband or wife you can be. Strive for that higher awareness. Once you understand this, you will understand yourself and your lover so much better, on a higher and more profound level.
|Barry White's Discography|
|20th Century Records|
|I. I've Got So Much to Give||1973|
|2. Stone Gon'||1973|
|3. Can't Get Enough||1974|
|4. Just Another Way to Say, I Love You||1975|
|5. Barry White's Greatest Hits, Volume I||1975|
|6. Let the Music Play||1976|
|7. Is This Watcha Wont?||1976|
|8. Barry White Sings for Someone You Love||1977|
|9. Barry White--The Man||1978|
|l0. I Love to Sing the Songs I Sing||1979|
|II. Barry White's Greatest Hits, Volume II||1980|
|Unlimited Gold Records, Inc.|
|12. The Message Is Love||1979|
|13. The Best of Love||1980|
|14. Barry White's Sheet Music||1980|
|I5. Barry & Glodean||1981|
|A&M Records, Inc.|
|19. The Right Night & Barry White||1987|
|20. The Man is Back!||1989|
|2I. Put Me in Your Mix|| ||1991|
|22. The Icon Is Love||1994|
|23. Just for You (box set)||1992|
|24. All-Time Greatest Hits||1994|
|25. Staying Power||1999|
What People are Saying About This
Barry White on what music he puts on to get in the mood, during a bn.com Author Chat (Friday, October 29th at 5pm ET.)
I don't need any music. It's just a distraction. Once you put on a record, you've got me listening to the beat, the groove, the artist...so it's just a distraction.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I have always wanted to own some of his music and this is the best of his best,, definetly makes you want to be with the love of your life,, very sensual and loving at the same time,,,
I found the story of one of my all-time favorite singers to be informative and inspiring. I especially enjoyed how he told of getting his kids back from his ex-wife. I was saddened to read of how he lost his mother to Alzheimers' and his dad to heart disease. I also read about how Barry White managed to get over the murder of his brother and get his career back on track in the 80's. I would recommend this book to anyone!