361. ‘You’re the First, the Last, My Everything’, by Barry White

We got it together didn’t we…? Lord, that voice. Nobody but you, and me… Thick as gravy and deep as a canyon: Mr Barry White. Add some dramatic strings and you’ve got one hell of an intro. Was this on the original single version…? I hope so.

You’re the First, the Last, My Everything, by Barry White (his 1st and only #1)

2 weeks, from 1st – 15th December 1974

After a bit of a break we’re back on a disco vibe – the sound of late-1974 – with one of the genre’s defining hits. My first, my last, my everything… And the answer to, All my dreams… A record can be as cheesy as you like, and this is a disc dripping in the stuff, but when a singer sells the vocals like Barry White sells them here… well, you can’t argue with it.

The way he belts out the Girl you’re my reality, But I’m lost in a-a-a-a dream… line, and the way he drops several octaves for the my everything… in the chorus is superb. But it’s not just the vocals that make this a classic. There are the pause-clicks between lines – perfect for drunk dancing – and the simple but effective chord progression. ‘You’re the First…’ was originally written as a slightly less sincere, country and western song: ‘You’re my First, My Last, My In-Between’. And you realise, during the interlude, with its soaring strings and backing singers, that that’s why this song is so damn catchy: it’s a simple country song, a vaudeville ditty even, dressed up as disco.

Any wedding DJ worth their salt will launch this record onto the turntable at some point in the evening. It matters not when: this is a song to dance to with wild, drunken abandon, making all the trademark ‘disco’ hand gestures. You know, the flicks and the pointing. The earnestness in White’s voice almost commands you: My first! My last! MY EVERYTHING!

I’d say that for people of my age, Barry White’s image precedes his music. Maybe it’s because most of us met him through his cameo on The Simpsons. His size, his voice, his curls… ‘The Walrus of Love’ is one hell of a nickname – though I’m not sure it’s the most complimentary – and well-earned as, according to his Wikipedia entry, White fathered ‘at least’ nine children.

He was more than just this hit and a Simpsons cameo, though. There’s ‘Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe’, a US #1 to which ‘You’re My First…’ was the follow-up, and ‘You See the Trouble With Me’ (which will be remixed and taken to #1 many years from now) among others.

In the end, the thing we all know Barry White for was the thing that sadly killed him. The Walrus suffered from exhaustion, kidney failure, diabetes and high blood pressure. He passed away at the very young age of fifty-eight, in 2003. His biggest hit, however, will live on for as long as people keep getting married (and drunk, and dancing…)


14 thoughts on “361. ‘You’re the First, the Last, My Everything’, by Barry White

  1. Barry was fab. In the end his singles started to sound a bit samey and he became out of fashion bar the odd comeback, but the early days were pure S.E.X. I’m Gonna Love You Just A Little More Baby is just the right side of erotic soul, Never Never Gonna Give You Up so good that his 80’s/90’s musical child, Lisa Stansfield, covered it, Let The Music Play is Bazza at his best.

    And then there’s the US number 1 Love’s Theme (Barry White minus the vocals, in one of the greatest string-drenched melodic disco-instrumentals of all-time), his wife’s band Love Unlimited and their fabulous Walking In The Rain With The One I Love (featuring and produced.written by Barry) and It May Be Winter Outside. The there’s his 60’s work with Felice Taylor (I Fell Love Comin’ On) and his little-known guesting on a kids show that those of us of a certain age loved: The Banana Splits had a bunch of tracks written by names like Barry White on the show. Funky!

  2. Maybe my memory is playing tricks on me, but I’m sure your opening paragraph is right. I never bought the single, but when Radio 1 played it at the time, it had a few ‘We got it together’, etc. seconds at the start. For the last few years, when Radio 2 has aired it as an oldie, that portion has been missing. Also in my record reviewing days, about 15-20 years ago, I was sent at least one various artists compilation CD that likewise omitted it. I can’t think of any reason why it might have been censored – unless someone thinks it’s too steamy for the 21st century, heaven forbid!

    • There are a few different edits around. Apparently, the 7″ version has a few lines of that intro, running to 3:30, while the video I attached might be the album version as it goes on much longer, but hey… I’ll keep it there cos it’s super sexy

  3. This managed to peak at #2 on the Hot 100 in January 1975 behind Elton John’s cover of “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” which is funny now since I’m sure most people don’t realize that was a thing that happened as “You’re The First, My Last, My Everything” is recognized as one of Barry White’s signature songs. Just a fun soul/disco dance track of love and devotion with Barry White’s velvety deep voice being the main standout. The fun thing about his delivery to me is that a lot of what he says don’t mean much but he has a way of making them mean something. Aside from the Simpsons, he also made an appearance on the Ally McBeal show singing this song as a gift to one of the characters who was obsessed with the song. https://youtu.be/eKT9JJ57Gok

  4. This song managed to peak at #2 on the Hot 100 in January 1975 behind Elton John’s cover of “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” which is a funny thing to think about since I’m sure most people don’t even know that Elton John did a cover of “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” but still hear “You’re The First, My Last, My Everything” being played. Very fun soul/disco dance song with Barry White’s velvety voice being the highlight as always. Aside from the Simpsons, Barry White also sang this song on an Ally McBeal episode since it’s one of the characters’ favorite songs https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFkzYCdXU6c

      • Let’s just say it sounds exactly like what you’d imagine an Elton John cover of “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” to sound like with its cheesy heavily produced Vegas quality that goes on twice as long as the Beatles original with lots of vamping and an awkward reggae section all with John Lennon himself singing backup and playing guitar. You can credit the success of Elton’s version to both his imperial fame in the mid 70s and the immediate rush of Beatles nostalgia in the wake of their 1970 breakup.

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