Every Thursday, Bandwagon throws back to a seminal album of yesteryear for our younger readers to explore and for our older readers to reminisce. We’ll be picking out some absolutely essential records, spanning all genres and all time, and discussing their significance from a modern day perspective — whether they were immediate hits or made an impact only decades after its release.
Such a fact has long been forgotten now, but Barry White actually began in the music industry as a man behind the scenes. Beginning as an A&R guy, the fledging talent eventually moved up to become a songwriter and producer to the stars.
From penning hits such as 'Harlem Shuffle' for soul duo Bob & Earl to producing Billboard-topping albums for Motown girl groups like Love Unlimited, White had already built up a pretty considerable career even before he stepped into the spotlight.. If you don't believe us, you can just look through the 106 (!!!) gold albums he's earned over the years for further proof.
Nevertheless, his modern-day legacy certainly wouldn't be what it is today if a young Barry White hadn't gone for it as a solo singer (something he was incredibly reluctant to do). And frankly, we're estimating that a good chunk of you wouldn't even be alive to read this article today if White hadn't gone on to make some of the sexiest bedroom music in existence. We owe a lot to him.
"This album soothes and caresses with White's distinctive bass-baritone while it's instrumentals present the listener with some of the most life-affirming moments in musical history. And while his work may be known as "sexy", its counter-intuitively also as wholesome as you can get. If you can't already tell from his track titles, this is a man that believes in true love. At every turn, White's velvety voice espouses the joys of monogamy and croons about doing right by your woman."
After initially toying with the name White Heat (seriously) on his demos, White eventually decided to use to his given name when he signed onto the 20th Century record label (yes, 20th Century Fox had a label at one point), thus beginning a legendary reign. Alongside Isaac Hayes and Marvin Gaye, White became one of the foremost soul and R&B (and proto-disco to an extent) figures in the 70s.
His first pair of albums, I've Got So Much To Give and Stone Gon', were enormous break out successes, introducing him to the American public as the leading man of baby-making music. But it was his irresistible third record in 1974 called Can't Get Enough, with its lush instrumentals, sultry vocals and unabashed romantic persuasion that truly cemented him as a favourite on the radio and in the bedroom.
While previous (and future) albums all contained their fair share of timeless tracks, they were also sometimes uneven or filler-filled. Not so with Can't Get Enough. Not only does this album contain all-time classics such as 'You’re the First, the Last, My Everything' and 'Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe' (both of which hit #1 on the Billboard R&B charts), its lovely complements also featured some of White's most fetching slow-burners like 'I Love You More Than Anything (In This World Girl)' and 'I Can't Believe You Love Me'.
Alongside collaborator and co-arranger Gene Page, White went about writing and performing some of the most sophisticated and soaring love songs to have ever graced commercial pop. This album soothes and caresses with White's distinctive bass-baritone while it's instrumentals present the listener with some of the most passionate and life-affirming moments in musical history. And while his work may be known as "sexy", its counter-intuitively also as wholesome as you can get.
If you can't already tell from his track titles, this is a man that believes in true love. At every turn, White's velvety voice espouses the joys of monogamy and croons about doing right by your woman. "We got it together, didn’t we, we definitely got our thing together, isn’t that nice?" It sure is, Barry, it sure is.
If you like this, you'll like: Isaac Hayes' Black Moses, Al Green's Let's Stay Together, Marvin Gaye's Let's Get It On