Luther Ronzoni Vandross was one of America’s most credible R&B vocalists and song-writer.
Luther Vandross was born on April 20, 1951 in Manhattan, New York. He passed away at a not so ripe age of 54 on July 1, 2005 after suffering a stroke John F. Kennedy Medical Center in Edison, New Jersey. He was buried at George Washington Memorial Park in Paramus, New Jersey. He was diabetic and hypertensive.
Having a strong family background in music, he began piano lessons at three. As he was about to enter his teens, his family moved to the Bronx. In high-school he was a part of a musical group called “Shades of Jade” and even performed at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem. He joined the Western Michigan University but quit after the first year for a musical career.
Luther Vandross joined a theater workshop, "Listen My Brother" who released the singles, "Only Love Can Make a Better World" and "Listen My Brother". In 1969, he also featured on two episodes of Sesame Street. In 1972, he sang for an album by Roberta Flak. In 1973, he wrote and co-sang "Who's Gonna Make It Easier for Me" and "In This Lonely Hour" with Delores Hall.
In 1974, he co-wrote “Fascination” for David Bowie’s “Young Americans” and also toured as a back-up vocalist. In 1975, he wrote “Everybody Rejoice” for “The Wiz”, a Broadway musical in which he also sung in the choir. he formed a singing band of four along with his Shades of Jade partners Anthony Hinton, Diane Sumler, Theresa V. Reed, and Christine Wiltshire he also delivered hit singles like "It's good for the Soul", "Funky Music (Is a Part of Me)", and "The Second Time Around". He also dabbled with jingles and session singing.
Throughout his musical career, Luther Vandross released 25 million albums. His singing career got a much needed lift with “Change”, in which he was the feature singer. "The Glow of Love" and "Searching" were two songs which he won a lot of accolades. In 1981, Luther Vandross went solo with his debut album “Never Too Much”. The self-written title song of “Never Too Much” topped the R&B charts.
Luther Vandross eventually teamed up with Marcus Miller for a song-writing and producing venture. Owing to the continuous successes of his albums, he earned himself the title of “The Black Phil Collins”. In the 1980s, he delivered two chart toppers- a hit single "Stop to Love" and a duet "There's Nothing Better than Love". He gained more popularity for Aretha Franklin's albums “Jump to it” and “Get It Right”
He sang, wrote and produced “How Many Times Can We Say Goodbye” which made it to the R&B and Hot 100 Charts. In 1989, his releases “The Best of Luther Vandross …The Best of Love”. In 1992, “Power of Love” won a Grammy Award and a duet with Janet Jackson “The Best Things in Life Are Free” was a chartbuster. He also essayed a silent role in Robert Townsend’s “The Meteor Man” in 1993.In 1994, he sang “Endless Love” with Mariah Carey which shot him up on the top-ten list.
Luther Vandross released a self-titled album “Luther Luther Vandross ” containing chart-topping hits like “Take You Out” and “I’d rather”. He sang the National Anthem during the 1997 NFL Super Bowl in Lousiana. He won his last Grammy for “Dance with My Father”- co-written by Richard Marx. In one of the songs,he paid a tribute to Alicia Keys. His last public appearance was on Oprah Winfrey Show in 2004.
Luther Vadross has won eight Grammy Awards out of which four were for the “Best Male R&B Vocal Performance”. In 2004, he won the “Grammy Award for the Song of the Year” for the hit track “Dance with My Father”.