Cover image for Love unlimited : insights on life and love
Love unlimited : insights on life and love
White, Barry, 1944-2003.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Broadway Books, [1999]

Physical Description:
246 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Personal Subject:
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML420.W473 A3 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Biography

On Order



"I see a world of beauty and perfection, and I strive through my music to spread that vision, to help make this planet we call home a better, more desirable place for us to love one another, to procreate, and to keep our spirits renewed." 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 on self-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 him--from 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.

Author Notes

Marc Eliot is a New York Times bestselling author and American biographer. He has written over a dozen books on the media and popular culture including the biographies of Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, Walt Disney and Bruce Springsteen, and Clint Eastwood. His writing has also appeared in several publications including L.A. Weekly and California Magazine.

Eliot lives in New York and Los Angeles.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Barry White, like Tom Jones, Robert Goulet, and Wayne Newton, was a pop-music hitmaker who lapsed into obscurity, then became a kitsch celebrity, and now says dankeschoen to the pop culture mavens for whom context is content and to whom White and his cohorts are legitimate objects of pop cultural inquiry. What does it mean when the recent past is a cultural perennial on the meandering karmic wheel of fashion? Probably about as much as a Barry White lyric. The crooning moaner (moaning crooner?) whom James Brown once dismissed as "Barry Whiteboy" set a mood with his songs. Lyrics were essentially the proverbial sweet nothings, honeyed and aged by the mellowing chambers of White's throat and soul. The ultimate disco-era slow-dance purveyor, White crafted songs that well may have been incidental music to as many illicit adolescent couplings as Hank Ballard's suggestive '50s R & B number "Work with Me, Annie" and its louche offspring. White's book reads like his songs: "I write sheet music, baby, for use in your temple of love. The patterns are simple and direct, like the purity and the glory of love itself. Come here, baby . . . oh come here." We even register transitions between spoken and crooned parts of the text, thanks to the liberal use of italics. This book may ignite deep, throbbing need in many baby boomers. Mildly informative, oozing with soul, and equally interesting as star bio and objet de kitsch, it's a surefire hit--and heaven help those who don't acquire it if Oprah latches on to it. --Mike Tribby

Publisher's Weekly Review

Lovers everywhere surely owe a debt to Barry White, a deep-voiced R&B singer, songwriter and producer whose body of work represents a kind of holy grail of romance. In this entertaining bookÄpart show-biz autobiography, part self-helpÄWhite expands on the philosophy behind such soulful hits as "Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe" and "You're the First, the Last, My Everything." White's story originates with a gang-banging childhood in South Central Los Angeles, in which a brief stint in juvenile hall for stealing tires caused him to turn his life around. After breaking into the music business first as a studio musician and then in an A&R position with Mustang Bronco Records, White began managing, producing and writing for the all-female trio Love Unlimited, whose first album went gold. Although he claims he had no desire to become a recording artist himself, White was eventually persuaded that the voice most capable of singing a Barry White love song was his own distinctive bass. His 1973 debut album, I've Got So Much to Give, spawned White's first hit single, "I'm Gonna Love You Just a Little More, Baby." Twenty-one solo albums later, White is an international icon whose songs are renowned for being both unabashedly sentimental and undeniably sensual. White's personal history at times serves merely as a pretext for advice on love, courtship and self-empowerment, written in his own singular, lyrical style. "Use your power to love wisely, ladies," he suggests at one point. What this book lacks in personal revelation, it makes up for in tone, for in the end what matters most is the voice: brashly confident, warmly soothing and unmistakably Barry White's. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Before White was part of soul music's pantheon of love men (along with Isaac Hayes and Marvin Gaye), he was just another impoverished child growing up in a fatherless family in South Central Los Angeles. He was headed down the same road of petty crime and violence as his brother DarrylÄuntil puberty hit and he developed "The Voice." White's magnificently deep voice (coupled with a musical talent inherited from his mother) was not only a hit with the ladies but his ticket out of the ghetto. He paid his dues with several years of production, songwriting, and A&R work, and by the early 1970s he had discovered the three young women who would become Love Unlimited. He developed a lush, orchestrated sound that fit perfectly into the burgeoning disco movement. Soon tunes by Love Unlimited, the Love Unlimited Orchestra, and Barry White were being heard on radios and in discos everywhere. White's story, told with as much modesty as one could expect from the self-proclaimed "Guru of Love," may be in demand if his new record becomes a hit. Still, most libraries would be better off purchasing his greatest hits CD. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/99.]ÄDan Bogey, Clearfield Cty. P.L. Federation, Curwensville, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



"I'VE GOT SO MUCH TO GIVE" Now that I'm here, not more tears 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, my sound 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." "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?" "Barry White." "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      ALBUM RELEASE DATE   20th Century Records  I. I've Got So Much to Give 19732. Stone Gon' 19733. Can't Get Enough 19744. Just Another Way to Say, I Love You 19755. Barry White's Greatest Hits, Volume I 19756. Let the Music Play 19767. Is This Watcha Wont? 19768. Barry White Sings for Someone You Love 19779. Barry White--The Man 1978l0. I Love to Sing the Songs I Sing 1979II. Barry White's Greatest Hits, Volume II 1980   Unlimited Gold Records, Inc.  12. The Message Is Love 197913. The Best of Love 198014. Barry White's Sheet Music 1980I5. Barry & Glodean 198116. Beware! 198117. Change 198218. Dedicated 1983   A&M Records, Inc.  19. The Right Night & Barry White 198720. The Man is Back! 19892I. Put Me in Your Mix 199122. The Icon Is Love 1994   Mercury Records  23. Just for You (box set) 199224. All-Time Greatest Hits 1994   Private Music  25. Staying Power 1999 Excerpted from Love Unlimited: Insights on Life and Love by Barry White, Marc Eliot All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

1 Looking Forward and Looking Backp. 1
2 A Place Called Freedomp. 25
3 On My Wayp. 37
4 Guided by Destinyp. 57
5 Love Unlimitedp. 81
6 White Heatp. 101
7 I Am, You Are, and It Isp. 123
8 The True American Dreamp. 133
9 The Sound of Distinctionp. 157
10 Let Me Open the Door for Youp. 169
11 Desire and Abilityp. 191
Acknowledgmentsp. 201
Discographyp. 205
Photo Captions and Creditsp. 243