SEPT. 12, 1944-JULY 4, 2003

Farewell: Ronald Isley pays tribute to Barry White

As so-called love men, Barry and I were always competitive with each other, but it was a friendly competition. Our styles were different: I would sing it, he would talk it. I met Barry right after he started out. Isaac Hayes was on the scene then, and at first everybody was comparing them. It was like a contest: Who had the sexier voice? Who had the lower register? Who was cooler? People liked them both, but then Barry just took over. That voice grabbed your attention. His kind of music, love music, is all about feeling, and Barry could set the mood right away — Come here, baby… Nobody compared to Barry as far as slow songs. He was really like a rapper when you think about it. He was among the first who could just talk on a record and make it a hit. Those beautiful string arrangements, his voice, the lyrics, all made his records so unique. He was just one of a kind, man. (White died of kidney failure in Los Angeles.)