Love Unlimited is the vocal trio who contributed cooing background vocals on Barry White's million-selling hits and sold-out concerts, as well as having their own gold single, "Walkin' in the Rain With the One I Love," and a number one R&B smash, "I Belong to You." The trio consisted of sisters Glodean and Linda James and Diane Taylor. Glodean first met White, her future husband, through a mutual friend. She was a fan of White's before she even knew it, having bought Viola Wills' single "Lost Without the Love of My Guy," a song White co-wrote and arranged while he was an A&R director and producer with Bob Keene's Bronco Records.
White started working with the group, who hadn't done any professional singing. They rehearsed for almost a year. White wrote "Walkin' in the Rain With the One I Love" with lyrics that were inspired by conversations with Glodean. White christened the group Love Unlimited. A friend of White's, Larry Nunes, took the record to Russ Regan, who was the head of the Uni label owned by MCA. "Walkin' in the Rain With the One I Love," with White "phoning" in his part, went gold, peaking at number six R&B, number 14 pop on Billboard's charts. Love Unlimited's From a Girl's Point of View We Give You... album became a million-seller. Soon after, Regan left Uni for 20th Century Records. Without Regan, White's relationship with Uni soured.
With his relationship with Uni in chaos and Love Unlimited contract-bound with the label, White decided he needed to work with another act. He wanted to work with a male artist. White made three song demos of himself singing and playing the piano. Nunes heard them and insisted that he re-record and release them as a recording artist. They argued for days about it. Then, Nunes somehow convinced White to do it and White signed with 20th Century Records where Regan was president. This decision led to White having a gold and platinum-laced recording career.
White got a contractual release from Uni for Love Unlimited and they joined him at 20th Century. Their first singles for the label were "Oh Love, Well We Finally Made It" (a Top 40 R&B hit), "It May Be Winter Outside (But in My Heart It's Spring)," and "Under the Influence of Love" -- all from the LP Under the Influence, issued in summer 1973. White originally recorded the latter two songs with singer Felice Taylor.
While working on material for the next Love Unlimited album, Glodean James suggested that White use the piano introduction from "Lost Without the Love of My Guy" on a new song. At first resistant to the idea, White relented and re-used the piano chord progression on "I Belong to You."
The majestic ballad, arranged by Gene Page, went to number one R&B in late 1974. It was included on the album In Heat, issued in fall 1974. It was Love Unlimited's most exciting album, featuring the same studio band heard on White's hits: guitarists Ray Parker, Jr. (Raydio, "Ghostbusters," co-writer with White on "You See the Trouble With Me"), Wah Wah Watson, Lee Ritenour, David T. Walker, Dean Parks, and Don Peake, bassists Nathan East and Wilton Felder of the Crusaders, drummer Ed Greene, and percussionist Gary Coleman. In Heat included the follow-up single "Share a Little Love in Your Heart" (number 21 R&B, spring 1975), and standout tracks "Move Me No Mountain," "I Needed Love - You Were There," a long version of "I Belong to You," and "Love's Theme" -- with lyrics!
After White left 20th Century, Love Unlimited recorded for White's CBS-distributed label Unlimited Gold, charting most notably with the steppers' favorite "High Steppin' Hip Dressin' Fella (You Got It Together)," number 45 R&B, fall 1979, from the LP Love Is Back. The married couple charted as Barry White and Glodean White with "Didn't We Make It Happen Baby" and "I Want You" in 1981, and recorded a full LP, Barry & Glodean. After eight Barry White albums, four Love Unlimited albums, four Love Unlimited Orchestra albums, constant touring, and dealing with the rigors of the music industry, White decided to take a break.
Returning to recording, White had his biggest success since his '70s heyday with the platinum single "Practice What You Preach" and the multi-platinum album Icon Is Love on A&M.
Glodean White's background vocals can be heard on Barry White's 1999 Private Music/Windham Hill/BMG album Staying Power. Love Unlimited can be heard on the soundtrack of the 20th Century Fox movie The Together Brothers, originally released on 20th Century Records during the summer of 1974 and reissued on CD in June 1999, and 1997's Best of Love Unlimited, both from PGD/Polygram Pop. ~ Ed Hogan