Barry White – You’re The First, The Last, My Everything

12th May 2021 · 1970s, 1974, Disco, Music, Uncategorised

Barry White’s only chart-topping single started life as a country-and-western tune before he gave it a disco makeover.

It was written as a country song with a slightly different title (You’re My First, You’re My Last, My In-Beween) but it went unrecorded for 21 years until Bazza tweaked the lyrics and turned it into a disco classic. 

Music history does not relate the fate of the original songwriter, Peter Radcliffe, but he must have made a few bob from this mega-selling tune, which was no.1 in the UK and no.2 in America.

Barry had already had hits, initially with his Love Unlimited Orchestra and then in his own right, establishing the formula that earned him the soubriquet ‘The Walrus Of Love’ with variations on a theme – Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love Babe, I’m Gonna Love You Just A Little Bit More Baby and Never Gonna Give You Up.

Bazza’s life was a proper rags-to-riches affair. Born in Texas, he grew up in a gang neighbourhood in South Central LA and at 16 he was sent to jail (for stealing $30,000 of Cadillac tyres) where his life was transformed when he heard Elvis sing It’s Now Or Never.

After his release from jail, White left the gang life and began a musical career, recording his first single in 1960 with a group called The Upfronts. In the mid-Sixties, he moved into production and songwriting in the mid-Sixtie, penning Doin’ the Banana Split by The Banana Splits.

His big break came in 1972 when he discovered a girl group called Love Unlimited, producing, arranging and writing songs including the million-selling Walkin’ In The Rain With The One I Love (and even making a vocal appearance as the bloke who answers the phone to his baby), before forming the 40-piece Love Unlimited Orchestra to back them.

Reluctant to step into the spotlight himself – his first TOTP appearance was conducting the orchestra – he had to be persuaded to record some songs himself, and initially wanted to go by the name White Heat. To be fair, it’s not as bad as his nickname – the Walrus of Love.