From City News Service
HOLLYWOOD — Grammy award-winning crooner Barry White, who sold more than 100 million albums and singles thanks to a velvety voice that delivered unabashedly seductive lyrics, posthumously received the 2,506th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Thursday.
“He was a big guy with a big sound and a big heart,” Motown Records founder Berry Gordy said at the 11:30 a.m. ceremony on Hollywood Boulevard, across from the Dolby Theatre.
“One of a kind and he was always good to me and my family. I’m thrilled that Barry White is getting his long overdue star right here on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.”
White’s widow Glodean accepted the star on his behalf.
The ceremony came on the 69th anniversary of White’s birth in Galveston, Texas. Born Barry Lee on Sept. 12, 1944, the self-taught pianist grew up with his mother and brother Darryl in South Los Angeles.
Despite an early background of singing and directing a Baptist church choir in Los Angeles, White would become known globally for his verbal seduction, featuring lyrics like “I want you the way you came into the world/I don’t want to feel no clothes” from “Love Serenade.”
A near cult figure, the crooner with songs like “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe” and “It’s Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next to Me,” was known as “The Love Man,” “The Maestro” and the “Doctor of Love.”
His tunes were laced with sexual allusions, music that was said to put couples “in the mood.”
Known for his trademark voice and husky, sexy growl, White was a mainstay in the soul music scene for 30 years.
White’s greatest success came in the 1970s as a solo singer and with his Love Unlimited Orchestra, crafting many enduring hit soul, funk, pop and disco songs, most prominently “Love’s Theme.”
White’s self-produced debut album “I’ve Got So Much to Give,” released in 1973 on the 20th Century label, became the first of his four consecutive albums to top the R&B and pop charts.
The album included the title track and his first solo chart hit, “I’m Gonna Love You Just a Little More Baby,” which rose to No. 1 on the Billboard R&B charts and No. 3 on its pop charts.
White’s other 1970s chart hits included “Never, Never Gonna Give You Up,” “What Am I Gonna Do with You,” “Let the Music Play,” “It’s Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next to Me,” and “Your Sweetness is My Weakness.”
In 1989, White released “The Man Is Back!” and with it had three top 40 singles on the Billboard R&B charts.
White’s 1994 album “The Icon Is Love” reached No. 1 on the Billboard R&B album charts and the single “Practice What You Preach” gave him his first No. 1 hit on the Billboard R&B singles chart in almost 20 years. The album received a Grammy nomination in the best R&B album category.
What proved to be White’s final album “Staying Power,” released in 1999, brought him his only Grammys — one for best male R&B vocal performance and the other for best traditional R&B vocal performance.
White died on July 4, 2003, of complications due to kidney failure. He was 58.