The music business is full of stories of artists who took a decade or more to become overnight sensations. Barry White had been working away at his craft since he was a teenager at the turn of the 1960s. He made a living as A&R man, session played and songwriter, but it wasn’t until the turn of the next decade that his career as a producer started to accelerate.
Then he began making records under his own name, and the world discovered him. On September 7, 1974, White entered the US pop album chart with Can’t Get Enough — and America couldn’t. By October 26, it was No.1.
White’s breakthrough as a producer had come in 1972 with his girl group discovery Love Unlimited, who hit the charts with his song “Walking In The Rain With The One I Love.” His own first album, I’ve Got So Much To Give, was an R&B No.1 in 1973, as was its single “I’m Gonna Love You Just A Little More Baby,“ which also hit the pop Top 3.
The follow-up album the same year, Stone Gon’, was another soul chart-topper. The soul veteran was, to coin a phrase, White hot. In September 1974, “Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love, Babe” became a pop No. 1 in America, and audiences really couldn’t get enough of Barry White. The parent album, just called Can’t Get Enough, was another multi-tasking masterstroke, with Barry as singer, writer, producer and arranger.
White hot in soul and pop
“Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love, Babe” went to No.8 in the UK, where his audience became so huge that the next single from the album, “You’re The First, The Last, My Everything,” went all the way to No.1. Back in the States, the album entered the chart at No.76, as Eric Clapton’s 461 Ocean Boulevard continued at the top.
By the end of October, White’s LP was itself topping the bestsellers. It was buoyed by the chart-topping single and by positive reviews that included a Billboard notice describing it as “perhaps his most ambitious and certainly his most well done effort to date.”
As Quincy Jones said in 2009, “Barry was one of the gentlest souls I’ve ever met. He knew how to reveal his warmth as romance and run a woman clean out of her mind.”
Buy or stream Can’t Get Enough.