For a while there in the 1970s, it seemed like Barry White was the king of the music world. He could do no wrong whether it was as a songwriter, a producer, or a solo artist. For a period of about five years, from 1973-1978, White ran one hit after another up the charts. The hits included “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe” and “You’re the First, the Last, My Everything” both of which reached the top of the charts in 1974.
White’s success went well beyond the records he released under his own name though. In fact, he had success as a songwriter and producer before he ever did as a solo artist. Love Unlimited had formed in 1969 with an original lineup consisting of Glodean James (who later married White), her sister Linda James, and their cousin Diane Taylor. It wasn’t long before White took the group under his wing and began to polish their sound.
Eventually White got Love Unlimited a deal with Uni Records and in 1972 they had their first hit with “Walkin’ in the Rain With the One I Love,” a record written and produced by White. The single reached #14 on the pop chart and #6 on the R&B chart at the end of 1972. Oh, and that’s White himself who plays the part of the male lover on the record.
The 1973 Love Unlimited album Under the Influence of … Love Unlimited was a #3 hit on both the pop and R&B charts. They were the first female group to have a Top 5 album since Diana Ross & the Supremes did it in 1970.
White had made his production deal at Uni Records with Russ Regan. When Regan left the label for 20th Century Records, White followed him and took Love Unlimited with him. It was for 20th Century that the Love Unlimited single “I Belong to You” was a smash hit, reaching the top of the R&B chart and remaining on the chart for five months in 1974.
Love Unlimited had several other chart records over the next six years including “Share a Little Love in Your Heart,” and “High Steppin’, Hip Dressin’ Fella (You Got It Together)” which was released on White’s own Unlimited Gold label. In addition to their own hits, Love Unlimited could be heard providing backing vocals on White’s hits and for his live appearances.
All in all, Love Unlimited recorded four albums but when Diane Taylor passed away in 1985 at the age of 38, it marked the end of the group. Barry and Glodean White were married in 1974 and in 1981 they had chart singles as a duo with “Didn’t We Make it Happen Baby” and “I Want You.” They also released an album called Barry & Glodean.
Glodean White can be heard singing on White’s last album, Staying Power, which was released in 1999.
Barry White passed away in 2003.