If Barry White had a good 1973, he had an unbelievable 1974. The multi-talented Texan had toiled in the shadows for years before his first chart success as writer, producer and voice-on-the-telephone on Love Unlimited’s 1972 hit “Walkin’ In The Rain With The One I Love,” which opened the door to huge popularity in his own name. On August 3, 1974, he was en route to another smash with “Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love, Babe.”
White had hit the top of the R&B chart in 1973 with “I’m Gonna Love You Just A Little More Baby,” a pop No.3 that he followed with three more Top 10 soul hits. Meanwhile, he scored his first pop No.1 in America early in 1974 in the guise of the Love Unlimited Orchestra, with the string-laden instrumental “Love’s Theme.”
Now audiences were eager for every new White release. On that first August chart, “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe” burst onto the Billboard Hot 100, the highest new entry of the week at an impressive No.51. It was the joint-highest debut on the chart for years, matching the ranking just a week earlier for “Then Came You” by Dionne Warwicke (with her intentional extra “e” at the time) and the Spinners. Indeed, Barry’s single was more than 40 places ahead of the next newcomer that first week in August, Stevie Wonder’s “You Haven’t Done Nothin.’’’
Barry succeeds Slowhand
Seven weeks later, “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe” was sitting proudly at the top of the US charts, replacing Eric Clapton’s “I Shot the Sheriff.” Just as that was EC’s only US singles chart-topper, Barry’s latest was his one US No.1 under his own name. But he came remarkably close to making it two in a row when his follow-up, “You’re The First, The Last, My Everything,” spent two weeks at No.2 in January 1975, held off the top by Elton John’s remake of “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.” By way of consolation, “You’re The First…” became White’s one UK chart topper, as his reign continued nationally and internationally.
To underline Barry’s cultural impact, and that of the song, “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe” was featured in The Simpsons, in the Season 4 episode Whacking Day, in 1993. Introduced by Mayor Quimby as Larry White, the great soulman appears as himself, as snakes are lured to safety by the song. The hit also appears in the Season 2 episode The Way We Was.
Buy or stream “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe” on the Barry White album Can’t Get Enough.