Barry White Dies

Deep-voiced R&B singer was fifty-eight

July 7, 2003 12:00 AM ET

R&B legend Barry White, whose deep voice was a calling card during his thirty-year career, died of kidney failure on July 4th in Los Angeles; he was fifty-eight.

Born in Galveston, Texas, on September 12, 1944, White got his start singing, playing organ and conducting a choir in church. His professional career began in 1960 when he joined L.A. R&B ensemble the Upfronts, which was followed by a stint as an A&R man and producer for Mustang Records.

By 1973, White had launched a solo career. That year, he scored his first charting hit, "I'm Gonna Love You Just a Little More Baby," which climbed to Number Three. His love songs were a staple of Seventies radio, with "Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe" topping the pop charts in 1974. White hit the Top Forty ten times in the decade, in addition to landing numerous hit singles on the R&B charts and selling millions of albums.

Though the hits dried up in the early Eighties, by the Nineties, White enjoyed a rekindled popularity, starting with the pop-charting "The Secret Garden (Sweet Seduction Suite)" (from Quincy Jones' Back on the Block). White's lush arrangements, pillow-talk lyrics and rumbling baritone pushed him towards icon status in the Nineties, with an appearance on The Simpsons and in 2000 a recurring role on Ally McBeal. His latest release, 1999's Staying Power, won a pair of Grammy Awards.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Road to Nowhere”

Talking Heads | 1985

A cappella harmonies give way to an a fuller arrangement blending pop and electro-disco on "Road to Nowhere," but the theme remains constant: We're on an eternal journey to an undefined destination. The song vaulted back into the news a quarter century after it was a hit when Gov. Charlie Crist used it in his unsuccessful 2010 campaign for the U.S. Senate in Florida. "It's this little ditty about how there's no order and no plan and no scheme to life and death and it doesn't mean anything, but it's all right," Byrne said with a chuckle.

More Song Stories entries »