LUTHER VANDROSS

Luther Vandross: The Soulful Voice of R&B


Luther Vandross: The Soulful Voice of R&B

Luther Vandross was one of the most successful and influential singers of his generation. Known for his smooth and emotive vocals, he sold over 40 million records worldwide and won eight Grammy Awards. He also wrote and produced songs for many other artists, such as Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, and Mariah Carey.

Vandross was born in Manhattan, New York City, on April 20, 1951. He grew up in a musical family and taught himself to play the piano by ear. He started his career as a backing vocalist in the 1970s, working with legends like Roberta Flack, David Bowie, and Donna Summer. He later became the lead singer of the group Change, which had a hit with “The Glow of Love” in 1980.

In 1981, Vandross signed with Epic Records as a solo artist and released his debut album, Never Too Much, which went Platinum and spawned the classic title track. He followed it with a string of successful albums throughout the 1980s and 1990s, such as Forever, For Always, For Love (1982), Busy Body (1983), The Night I Fell in Love (1985), Give Me the Reason (1986), Any Love (1988), Power of Love (1991), Never Let Me Go (1993), and Songs (1994).

Some of his most popular songs include “Here and Now”, “Any Love”, “Power of Love/Love Power”, “I Can Make It Better”, “For You to Love”, “So Amazing”, “Always and Forever”, and “Endless Love” (a duet with Mariah Carey). He also recorded many covers of songs by other artists, such as “If This World Were Mine” (with Cheryl Lynn), “Since I Lost My Baby”, “Superstar”, “I (Who Have Nothing)”, and “Always and Forever”.

In 2003, Vandross released his final album, Dance with My Father, which won four Grammy Awards, including Song of the Year for the title track. The song was a tribute to his father, who died when Vandross was eight years old. The album also featured collaborations with Beyoncé, Busta Rhymes, Queen Latifah, and Foxy Brown.

Vandross suffered from diabetes and hypertension and had several strokes in his later years. He died on July 1, 2005, at the age of 54. He was widely mourned by his fans and peers and was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2014. His legacy lives on through his music and his influence on many contemporary artists.

Vandross was not only a singer, but also a songwriter and a producer who helped shape the sound of R&B in the 1980s and 1990s. He wrote songs for himself and for other artists, such as “Jump to It” and “Get It Right” for Aretha Franklin, “So Amazing” and “Give Me the Reason” for Dionne Warwick, and “Miss You Like Crazy” for Natalie Cole. He also produced albums for artists such as Whitney Houston, Teddy Pendergrass, and Luther Ingram.

Vandross was known for his versatility and his ability to adapt to different genres and styles. He sang pop, soul, disco, gospel, jazz, and even classical music. He collaborated with artists from various musical backgrounds, such as David Bowie, Stevie Wonder, Janet Jackson, Beyoncé, Mariah Carey, and Elton John. He also performed at prestigious venues and events, such as the White House, the Super Bowl, the Grammy Awards, and the Nobel Peace Prize Concert.

Vandross left a lasting legacy in the music industry and in the hearts of his fans. He influenced many singers who came after him, such as Usher, John Legend, Alicia Keys, Ne-Yo, and Sam Smith. He was honored with numerous awards and accolades, such as a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a BET Lifetime Achievement Award, an NAACP Image Award, and a Soul Train Legend Award. He was also inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame.

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