Barry White's deep, mesmerizing voice, romantic rhythms and satiny late-night love songs elevated the singer-songwriter-producer into a global icon. In celebration of his phenomenal career, Hip-O/UMe in association with the Barry White estate will release Number Ones, his first-ever collection of No. 1 hits, on September 15, 2009, three days after what would have been his 65th birthday (Sept. 12; Barry died July 4, 2003). In addition, Unlimited, a 5-disc, limited edition, career-spanning, rarities box set, will be released October 27. Number Ones brings together all of White's No. 1 hits as a solo artist and as leader of the instrumental ensemble Love Unlimited Orchestra plus his No. 1 production for his girl group Love Unlimited. Five bonus tracks that just missed the top spot and/or have become hip-hop sample favorites are also included.
White reluctantly stepped in front of the microphone to make his national recording debut as a solo artist in 1973. In just the next two years he scored four gold No. 1 hits: "I'm Gonna Love You Just A Little More, Baby" (#3 Pop/#1 R&B), "Never, Never Gonna Give Ya Up" (Cash Box #1 R&B, Billboard #7 Pop/#2 R&B), "Can't Get Enough Of Your Love, Babe" (#1 Pop/#1 R&B) and "You're The First, The Last, My Everything" (#2 Pop/#1 R&B). At the same time, his classic "Love's Theme" from Love Unlimited Orchestra, on which he played piano in addition to writing and producing, was a #1 Pop/#10 R&B smash - making Barry White the only artist ever to have No. 1 hits with a vocal and an instrumental record in the same year.
The rest of the decade brought "I Belong To You" from Love Unlimited (#1 R&B), "What Am I Gonna Do With You" (#8 Pop/#1 R&B), "Let The Music Play" (#4 R&B), the gold-selling "It's Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next To Me" (#4 Pop/#1 R&B), "Your Sweetness Is My Weakness" (#2 R&B) and the jazzy "Playing Your Game, Baby" (#8 R&B). From his Love Unlimited Orchestra, there was the #1 Disco/Dance combo single "My Sweet Summer Suite" and "Brazilian Love Song."
Number Ones also includes "The Secret Garden (Sweet Seduction Suite)," his 1989 gold-certified No. 1 R&B collaboration with Quincy Jones, Al B. Sure!, James Ingram and El DeBarge. White scored in 1991 with "Put Me In Your Mix" (#2 R&B) and returned to the top of the charts with 1994's gold-seller "Practice What You Preach" (#1 R&B), co-written by second-generation star Gerald Levert. Later in the '90s, Barry won a new audience when his music was used in the hit television series Ally McBeal. An additional bonus track is "Sho' You Right," one of his personal favorites that became a Top 20 R&B hit in 1987.
A rarities collection celebrating Barry's depth as a songwriter and producer, the 4-CD/1-DVD Unlimited box set presents tracks from when he stepped out with his own sound, with Love Unlimited in 1972, through his final studio album, the Grammy(R)-winning Staying Power, released in 1999. Highlighted on the CDs are extended and/or rare versions of his hits, never-compiled personal favorites and LP tracks, and rare BW productions from a dozen different artists, including Gloria Scott, Tom Brock, Love Unlimited, Love Unlimited Orchestra, White Heat and others. The DVD offers every video from his tenure on A&M Records ("Practice What You Preach," "Sho' You Right," "Come On" and eight more) and rare bonus clips, including a live duet with Luciano Pavarotti that has become a YouTube phenomenon; each clip has bonus commentary from Jack Perry, White's longtime friend, co-producer and musical director. Liner notes in the lavish packaging - including an essay and commentary by Barry White himself and by Perry, with additional notes from Quincy Jones - reveal the stories behind the songs and the man who made some of the funkiest, most romantic music of all time.