10 Interesting Barry White Facts: Why This Musician Left the Gang Life Behind

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Barry White in 17 February 1974. Image from the Dutch Archives from Wikimedia Commons.

Last updated on June 3rd, 2023 at 10:46 pm

Known to most as an American singer, songwriter, and producer, Barry White made his way onto the music scene in the 1960s. With his deep baritone voice and ability to croon his way around various lyrics, White became one of the most influential musicians of all time.

White released worldwide hit songs from, “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe,” to “You’re the First, the Last, My Everything,” Barry White led a successful and exciting musical career. Keep reading to learn more interesting facts about Barry White that you probably don’t know.

How Tall Was Barry White?

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Barry White in Italia with Vittorio Salvetti in 1978. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Mr. White was not only larger-than-life in his songs but also in person as he stood tall at about 6 feet four inches tall.

Barry White’s Zodiac Sign

The Virgo Zodiac Sign. Image from Shutterstock.

Barry White was born on September 12, 1944, which makes his zodiac sign Virgo. This sign is well-known for its perfectionist and logistical personality which fits the artist somewhat well (though we pegged him for more of a Cancer!)

Barry White’s Real Name

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Barry White in 1974. Image from the Dutch Archives on Wikimedia Commons.

Born as Barrence Eugene Carter, Barry White took on his stage name once he decided to pursue a musical career because his full name was just too long for fans to remember. He has also been called several nicknames over the years like, “The Maestro” and “The Walrus of Love.”

Related: The Life and Music of Elvis Presley

Barry White was a Texan at Birth

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Barry White was Born in Texas. Image from Shutterstock.

Although this legendary musician spent most of his childhood in Los Angeles, he was actually born in Galveston, Texas on September 12, 1944.

From Gang Member to World-Renowned Musician

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Viersen, Germany – January 9. 2020: Close up of vinyl vintage record cover of soul singer Barry White (focus on cover in front). Image from Shutterstock.

Growing up in Southeast Los Angeles, Barry White never hid his early years from his fans, including the fact that he and his brother were once gang members. This was much to the disappointment of their mother, who wanted more for her sons than a life of crime. 

Did You Know That Barry White Went to Jail at the Age of 16?

An image of Jail by Emiliano Barr on Unsplash.

While he was running around with the gangs of Los Angeles in his teen years, Barry White spent about four months in jail for stealing $30,000 worth of tires when he was just 16 years old. During his time behind bars, he did some soul-searching and decided to get out of the gang life and pursue a music career (quite the 180!)

Barry White Did Not Get to Fulfill One of His Dreams 

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Publicity photo of Marvin Gaye in 1973, during recording sessions for the album Let’s Get It On at the “Hitsville West” Studio in Los Angeles. Gaye’s record label, Motown, distributed the publicity photo in the early to mid-1970s. Image by Jim Britt on Wikimedia Commons.

One of the dreams that Barry White had from the start of his career was to work with the legendary singer Marvin Gaye. Although they had plans in the works to do so, Gaye, unfortunately, passed away before they could begin their project and fulfill Barry’s dream.

Barry White Had Six Children

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LOS ANGELES – APR 29: Barry White Jr at the 2017 Radio Disney Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater on April 29, 2017 in Los Angeles, CA. Image from Shutterstock.

Barry White was married twice during his life, and from the two marriages, he had a total of six children. Barry White’s children are named Shaherah White, Barry White, Jr., Darrell White, La Nece White, Deniece White, Nina White, and Barriana White.

Related: The 21 Best 60s Songs of All Time: The Music That Defined a Decade

It Took More than a Decade for Barry White to Get Noticed

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Viersen, Germany – May 9. 2022: Closeup of vinyl record cover of soul singer Barry white from 70s. Image from Shutterstock.

It is difficult to imagine that Barry White went unnoticed for a decade when he has such a distinctive voice. However, after getting out of jail, he worked with various bands in pursuit of a music career and it took 10 years for him to be recognized for his talent. 

Barry White Had Major Health Issues that Eventually Led to His Death

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Barry White posters in Italy in 1992 to advertise for his concert in Rome. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Near the end of his life, Barry White suffered from some major health issues that got in the way of his ability to perform. He reportedly suffered from kidney failure, and blood pressure issues, and had a stroke which kept him from doing what he loved best.

It was these health issues that eventually led to his death in July 2003.

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Written by Hope Davis

Long-time music lover Hope became a full-time writer in 2020 after being laid off from her regular job due to COVID-19. She now spends her time traveling the world to see her favorite bands while writing about them!


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