Friday, July 08, 2005

Remembering Luther: A Voice Like Silk

Born in New York City in 1951, Mr. Vandross was the youngest of four children. His father, an upholsterer, died when Mr. Vandross was still a boy, leaving his mother, a nurse, to support the family.

While in high school, Mr. Vandross developed an affinity for the legendary Motown label's all-female acts, and for the gospel-soul sounds of artists like Aretha Franklin and Cissy Houston. Dreaming of a career in music, he briefly attended Western Michigan University.

In 1972, a song Mr. Vandross wrote, Everybody Rejoice, was included in the Broadway musical The Wiz. But his biggest early break came when he landed a job as a backup singer for the British glam-rock artist David Bowie, who later hired him to work on vocal arrangements for the album Young Americans.

Mr. Vandross soon became a sought-after backup singer and arranger, working for artists from Bette Midler to Barbra Streisand, and he helped pay the bills as an anonymous performer of commercial jingles. In the late 1970's, he recorded under different names and with a variety of groups, including Bionic Boogie and Change, and sang on the Chic hit Dance, Dance, Dance.

He finally signed a contract with Epic Records, which released his 1981 debut, Never Too Much, which reached the top of the R&B charts and sold more than one million copies, effectively sparking his career as a star. Through the 1980's, he released a string of hit albums, including Forever, For Always, For Love, Busy Body and Any Love.

He did broaden his audience further with the 1991 album Power of Love, and through the 1990's he performed hit duets with the pop stars Janet Jackson and Mariah Carey.

Mr. Vandross won a Grammy for best R&B male vocal performance in 1991 for Here and Now, two in 1992 for co-writing the song Power of Love/Love Power and performing on the album of the same name, and another in 1997 for his performance of Your Secret Love.

(from NY TIMES)


  • RIP Luther! You are missed and loved!!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:51 PM  

  • Luther had a unique voice. He was able to crossover into all genres of music from house, pop and R&B. He was a class act and will be deeply missed.
    The last of the great balladeers..

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:15 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home