This website use cookies and similar technologies to improve the site and to provide customised content and advertising. By using this site, you agree to this use. To learn more, including how to change your cookie settings, please view our Cookie Policy
Xmas Legs Small Present Present
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
GB
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
   You are currently viewing the United Kingdom version of the site.
Would you like to switch to your local site?
Digital Subscriptions > Classic Pop > Sep-18 > LUTHER VANDROSS

LUTHER VANDROSS

LUTHER VANDROSS WAS AN IN-DEMAND BACKING SINGER WHO WENT ON TO SELL MORE THAN 35 MILLION RECORDS WORLDWIDE AND WIN EIGHT GRAMMY AWARDS, INCLUDING BEST R&B VOCAL PERFORMANCE FOUR TIMES. NO WONDER HE WAS HAILED THE “BLACK PAVAROTTI” BY CONTEMPORARY ALEXANDER O’NEAL.

THE LOW DOWN

© Harry Langdon/Getty Images

By the time Luther Vandross emerged as a solo artist in the 1980s, he had already spent the previous decade paying his dues. The Manhattan native was an early star on Sesame Street with Listen My Brother, before becoming a mainstay on the New York session scene, catching his first big break on David Bowie’s Young Americans. The story goes that Bowie took Vandross’ Funky Music and rewrote it as Fascination. When the Brit legend asked his permission, Vandross apparently replied: “You’re David Bowie. I live with my mother. Of course you can change the lyrics!” He would go on to feature on releases by Chaka Khan, Diana Ross, Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler and Ben E. King – but, perhaps most famously, on Chic blockbusters Le Freak and We Are Family.

Vandross was part of Change, a studio concept created by French-Italian businessman Jacques Fred Petrus to rival Chic. They enjoyed a brace of hit singles in The Glow Of Love and Searching, before Vandross struck out on his own in 1981. He went to No.1 on the American R&B chart with Never Too Much, the title track of his first album, and thus began a remarkable run of success that continued until his death in 2005.

Yet even in his pomp, Vandross immersed himself in extracurricular activities, mainly as a producer. He was at the helm for Aretha Franklin’s Jump To It, and also worked with Dionne Warwick, duetting on How Many Times Can We Say Goodbye.

In the 90s, Vandross and Mariah Carey breached the Top 10 on both sides of the Atlantic with their cover of the Lionel Richie/ Diana Ross two-hander, Endless Love, and he shared the mic with Frank Sinatra on a reworking of The Lady Is A Tramp for Ol’ Blue Eyes’ Duets album.

In 2003, after suffering a stroke, Vandross spent nearly two months in a coma, but the following year, he claimed another Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and a Song Of The Year Grammy, this time for Dance With My Father. Vandross died in 2005, at the age of just 54, of a heart attack.

THE MUST-HAVE ALBUMS

READ MORE
Purchase options below
Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Classic Pop - Sep-18
If you own the issue, Login to read the full article now.
Single Issue - Sep-18
£3.99
Or 399 points
Annual Digital Subscription
Only £ 3.00 per issue
SAVE
25%
£35.99
Or 3599 points

View Issues

About Classic Pop

Issue 44 of Classic Pop magazine is on sale now! In the latest issue we speak to Soft Cell's Marc Almond and Dave Ball as they prepare for their farewell gig at the O2 in London and release a career-spanning boxset, Keychains & Snowstorms. We also take a look at their Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret LP in our Classic Album feature. Elsewhere, we have an exclusive interview with the world's biggest record producer, Mark Ronson, catch up with The Proclaimers who return with their politicised new album Angry Cyclist and talk to Level 42's Mark King about his life in pop's funkiest band. This month, we look back on the glory days of house music and Toyah tells us how she brought the punk aesthetic to the pop world. For boombox fans, we take an in-depth look at why cassettes are making a return and we also serve up a buyer's guide to the wonderful Luther Vandross. Our packed reviews section features new albums from Prince, Paul Weller, Lenny Kravitz, Paul Simon and many more while the reissues section includes Pet Shop Boys, the latest David Bowie boxset and Curiosity Killed The Cat. On the gig front, we head to Hyde Park for The Cure's only European show of the year, delve into the latest Let's Rock festival in Shrewsbury and check out gigs by Nick Heyward, Del Amitri and others. Enjoy the issue!