On this day in music history: August 12, 1981 – “Never Too Much”, the debut album by Luther Vandross is released. Produced by Luther Vandross, it is recorded at Media Sound Studios in New York City from Late 1980 – Early 1981. Following his recent success singing lead on the hits “The Glow Of Love” and “Searching” by Change, the highly successful commercial jingle and background singer once again pursues his dream of solo stardom, which has eluded him for years. After trying and failing numerous times to secure a solo recording contract, Vandross takes another approach. He self finances and produces his solo debut album, overseeing all aspects of its production himself. The singer assembles a group of top notch New York studio musicians and vocalists (all having worked with Vandross previously) that include Marcus Miller, Anthony Jackson, Nat Adderley, Jr., Bashiri Johnson, Cissy Houston, Tawatha Agee, Michelle Cobbs, Fonzi Thornton and Norma Jean Wright. Epic Records executive Jerome Gasper (who has known Vandross since the early 70’s) brings him to the attention of his boss, CBS Records R&B exec Larkin Arnold who immediately signs the singer upon hearing the finished recording. The album spins off three singles including “Don’t You Know That” (#10 R&B), “Sugar and Spice (I Found Me a Girl)” (#72 R&B) the title track (#1 R&B, #33 Pop). Though not released as a single, Vandross cover of the Burt Bacharach/Hal David penned classic (originally recorded by Dionne Warwick in 1964), “A House Is Not A Home” is one of the albums’ centerpieces, becoming an airplay staple on R&B, Quiet Storm radio, as well as one of the dramatic highlights of his live concerts. The album also earns Vandross two Grammy nominations including Best New Artist in 1982. Originally released on CD in the late 80’s, is remastered and reissued in 2001, restoring the original album packaging and printed lyric sheet. Out of print on vinyl since the late 80’s, it is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram LP by Sony/Legacy in January of 2018. “Never Too Much” spends one week at number one on the Billboard R&B album chart, peaking at number nineteen on the Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
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