A 17-year-old gang member in South Central Los Angeles named Barry Eugene Carter was arrested in 1960 and sentenced to four months in prison for stealing car tires. While serving time, Carter heard Presley's song on the radio. He was so moved by the music and lyrics that he resolved to change his life and pursue a career in music, rather than crime. Carter kept his life-changing promise to himself, making a meagre living for the next few years as a songwriter and arranger.
In 1972, Carter had a break, discovering a Motown-style girl group and earning the role as their record producer. Within a year, Carter found himself recording some of his own songs, as demos. A good friend of his was impressed with Carter's singing voice and urged him to record more songs, but Carter was initially reluctant to do so. Eventually he acquiesced, and put together enough songs to release an album. Carter planned to release it under the name "White Heat", but was once again talked into changing his mind, this time to put his real name on the record.
Or at least his real first name. Barry Carter adopted the "White" part of his original plan and released the groundbreaking album "I've Got So Much To Give" under the name Barry White.
And so, in this way, that traditional Italian song gave rise to much of the late 20th century canon of soul, funk, and disco music.