The hit record on which the voice of Barry White made its chart debut became a gold record in July 1972 — but, before we got to know his honeyed vocals as a frontman, this time he was on the telephone with Love Unlimited.
That group’s Uni Records single ‘Walkin’ In The Rain With The One I Love’ was, effectively, a prototype for White’s own huge solo success that was soon to follow. But here, he was the voice on the line, calling his baby before they walk between the raindrops in celebration of their love.
There was real romance in the air, too. The three-girl group from San Pedro, California, included sisters Glodean and Linda James, with their cousin Diane Taylor. White also managed the group, and in 1974, Glodean and Barry were married.
Any resemblance between Love Unlimited and the Supremes is unlikely to have been a complete coincidence. They sang on this first hit to be written and produced by White, and arranged by him with his soon-to-be-regular collaborator Gene Page.
The single — which, as you can see from the original sleeve at the top of the story, was advertised to record buyers as ‘…With The One You Love’ — made the US R&B chart in late March, 1972, rising to No. 6 in a 14-week run and making No. 14 on the pop chart.
In July, the song also peaked at No. 14 in the UK, in the same week it was certified gold by the RIAA in America, which in those days signified not 500,000, but one million sales. Love Unlimited had further hits, alongside White’s solo popularity, until Taylor’s sad death in 1975, and also lent their name to Barry’s Love Unlimited Orchestra.
‘Walking In The Rain With The One I Love’ is on the Soul Grooves Vol. 1 compilation, which can be bought here.
Follow the official Barry White Best Of playlist.