Thursday, 26 September 2013

America's West Coast Music Recording Icons

                                                         ( Part 2 )

Barry White

Barry White exerted incredible influence as a cultural icon, famous all over the world for his romantic and sexual themes: many parents around the world claim that they were influenced by his songs in terms of their love making and no doubt babies have been born due to the effects of the sexually-charged lyrics of songs such as “Please take of your clothes” and “I am here to please you”. If you use your imagination, you can understand the extent of his influence on females, with his sexy, raspy bass-baritone voice, supported by lush orchestral backing. Barry White has certainly mastered the language of foreplay to a fine art. His sensuous songs concentrated on male-female relationships with great sensitivity and later influenced disco music and British soul artists such as Lisa Stansfield and Soul 11 Soul.

This album was Barry White's first gold certified
album of his career as a solo artist
Between 1973 and 1974 Barry White generated over $16 million in revenue for 20th Century Records, from three different sources. With Love Unlimited he achieved R&B number 1 and Pop number 27 with the song “I Belong To You” from the gold album “In Heat”. From the Love Unlimited Orchestra came “Love Theme”, a gold single (for over million copies sold in the USA) taken from the gold album “Rhapsody In White”. The orchestra produced another gold album entitled “White Gold”, featuring the hit single “Satin Soul”. But the greatest achievement amongst White’s recording projects were his solo efforts, starting in 1973 with his first gold single “I’m Gonna Love You Just A Little More Baby” which reached R&B number 1 and Pop number 3, from the gold album “I’ve Got So Much To Give”.

This is the third solo album that contains gold singles
 "You're The First, My Last My Everything" and
 "Can't Get Enough Your Love Babe"
The next major achievement was the gold single “You’re The First, The Last, My Everything” which topped the British Pop chart and peaked at Pop number 2 and R&B number 1 in America. In 1974 White finally achieved the ultimate by going to number one on both Billboard Pop and R&B charts with another gold single “Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love, Babe” in the USA . It is interesting to note that these last two gold singles came from the same gold album entitled “Can’t Get Enough”. During that period in America Pop culture, Barry White was the only producer, songwriter and artist to have hit records from three different sources at the same time.

  White’s cultural influence became noticeable  with academic institutions such as Oxford University which invited the legendary artist to speak to their body of over 900 students organized by the Oxford Union about his “lady music” and his three decades of creative and dynamic involvement in the music industry. Barry’s voice and music has also appeared in television, movies and commercial advertisement. Compare to Bill Withers’  extensive list , White’s listing is extremely small, arranging from movies: Coonskin aka Street Fight (1975); Why Color? Voice only (1992) and television: Ally McBeal series ( cameo role appearance singing one of his hit songs).
The “Milk to the Rescue” commercial campaign in America used Love Unlimited  Orchestra to for background music with voiceover to inform us of the benefits of calcium in our health. The only major difference between the two artists is that Barry White has sold a large quantity of gold and platinum records globally with over 41 platinum albums and 106 gold albums, 10 platinum  and 20 gold singles to his credit mounting to worldwide sales in excess of 100 million at present. This is indeed remarkable for a man who achieved the American dream by using music as his transport to move from the ghetto to international success.

This was Barry White last  gold certified
solo album recording of his career
before death
Approximately 80 million baby boomers in the USA grew up listening to the powerful songs of Bill Withers and Barry White. According to the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America), consumers aged 40 and above purchased 36.6 percent of recorded music sold in America during 2003. The biggest selling genres were Rap and R&B, accounting for over one third of all records sold in 2003 (and 2004). Artists such as Bill Withers and Barry White have created economic sustainability in the recording industry with re-released recordings of previous hit albums and compilations, especially after 9/11, when the industry went through tremendously difficult and challenging times financially.

 On entering many five star hotels and corporate offices across the world you will hear the sound of the “Love Theme” by Love Unlimited Orchestra, creating an ambience to soothe the heavy demands of life in general. It is fascinating to see how these artists (the two BWs, Barry White and Bill Withers) have maintained their global appeal. They are indeed cultural institutions to be celebrated and respected for their outstanding achievement and impact on popular music. These men have proved once again that well written and brilliantly produced compositions will live on for generations, constantly renewing their appeal.

Researched and compiled by
Mr K Tomlin Music Historian

©RCM Music/Signaturesoundsonline 2013

America's West Coast Music Recording Icons

                                                   ( Part 1)

In this article we will examine the cultural, creative and corporate impact of Bill Withers and Barry White. They are two of the most successful artists from America’s west coast.


Bill Withers

Bill Withers is well known for the socially conscious lyrics, based on a psychology of human potential and empowerment and full of message-laden images, that characterized his hits during the 1970s. Songs such as “Lean On Me” and “Lovely Day” fit into that particular psychology, to which an electrifying and dynamic voice added a rich, pure, soulful feeling that combined a touch of Blues and R&B and which separated him from his contemporaries.

Bill Withers gold certified album 
and Billboard Hip/Hop
and R&B number one album
Bill is one of a list of legendary artists whose intellectual properties are used extensively used in advertisements, movies and recorded music. Core customers will have Bill Withers on their list of favourite artists to buy over the long term. His songs are used by many corporations because his recordings are felt to be especially appropriate for advertising their particular products; his output is middle of the  road,  safe and high quality with good production values and a smooth delivery that is pleasant to listen to.

This gold certified album 
contents the
classic hit single
 "Lovely Day"
When you play a track such as “Lovely Day”, it is easy to associate the song with the experience of driving a luxury sport car with the top down on a hot, sunny day in the countryside with your friends, family or partner. Or you can close your eyes and dream of enjoying a cool drink while relaxing on holiday in the Caribbean, away from the stresses of everyday life. It is very relaxing music, not dangerous but made very positive and uplifting by lyrics that are “good for the soul”.  

The list of advertisements featuring Withers’ work (this is a partial list of credits) includes:

Burger King
Frito Lay-Doritos
Campbell’s Soup
Chevrolet Truck
Hallmark Cards
Denny’s Breakfast

Movie-makers too have often seen the potential of these songs. Recent examples of their use in films include:

American Beauty
The Bodyguard
Jackie Brown
The Nephew

Notting Hill
Old School
Austin Powers-The Spy Who
Shagged Me
When We Were Kings

And of course where film goes television is not far behind. A television list of credits (again a partial list) includes:

Ally McBeal
Rosie O’Donnell
Bernie Mac Show
Saturday Night Live
Motown Live
The Oprah Winfrey Show
MTV: The Real World
The Simpsons

Researched and compiled by
Mr k Tomlin Music Historian

©RCM Music/Signaturesoundsonline 2013


About Me

My photo
Old Harlow, Essex, United Kingdom
Kevin Tomlin has over 34 years of teaching experience in Jamaica, England and America, including 15 years teaching music history of black origin and visual art in South Florida, U.S.A., through Arts in Education. Tomlin created special training programmes and workshops for music teachers in South Florida schools, using music history as the foundation, to build exciting programmes of study and support materials for education professionals. Since 2000, he’s taught music history, geography, religious education, history, visual arts and performing arts at schools in Hertfordshire and Essex, at both primary and secondary levels. He conducts research and provides consultancy services for multi-media organisations, schools, recording artists, cultural and faith-based groups and entertainment professionals.

Blog Archive