Category: luther vandross

On this day in music history: August 12, 1981 …

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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Remembering R&B icon Luther Vandross (born…

Remembering R&B icon Luther Vandross (born Luther Ronzoni Vandross in New York, NY) – April 20, 1951 – July 1, 2005

On this day in music history: June 15, 1991 – …

On this day in music history: June 15, 1991 – “Power Of Love/Love Power” by Luther Vandross hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 2 weeks, also peaking at #4 on the Hot 100 on June 29, 1991. Written by Luther Vandross, Marcus Miller and Teddy Vann, it is the sixth chart topping single for the R&B music icon from New York City. Starting the new decade with the Grammy winning smash “Here And Now”, Luther Vandross returns to the studio in the fall of 1990 to begin recording his first album of all new material in nearly three years. As he has done many times in the past, Luther draws on the music of his youth to inspire him to write new material. On every studio album since his debut “Never Too Much” in 1981, Vandross makes it a point to include a cover version of at least one classic pop or R&B song from his formative years, made over in his own unique and inimitable style. Having scored a hit with the medley “Bad Boy/Having A Party” (#3 R&B, #55 Pop) in 1982, combining his own composition “Bad Boy” with the Sam Cooke classic “Having A Party”, the singer is inspired once again to seamlessly connect the past with the present. Along with long time collaborator and bassist Marcus Miller, Luther writes the positive and uplifting “Power Of Love”, fusing it together with The Sandpebbles’ 1968 hit “Love Power” (#14 R&B, #22 Pop). The track is recorded at A&M Studios in Hollywood, CA and Right Track Recording Studios in New York City in January of 1991. An obvious stand out from the outset, it is chosen to be the title track of Vandross’ seventh studio album, and the first single. Released on April 9, 1991, “Power Of Love/Love Power” is an immediate hit, giving Luther Vandross not only his sixth number one R&B single, but his highest charting solo single on the pop charts. The single wins Luther two Grammy Awards for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song in 1992. Ironically and sadly, “Power Of Love” is the last time that Luther is heard singing by the public. He suffers a debilitating stroke in 2003 following the completion of his final album “Dance With My Father”, seriously impairing his speech and physical movement. Vandross appears on the 46th Annual Grammy Awards on February 8, 2004 in a pre-taped segment, accepting the Song Of The Year award for the title track. In his heartfelt acceptance speech, the singer quotes from “Power Of Love”, speaking and singing the opening lines “when I say goodbye, it’s never for long, because I believe in the power of love…”.

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On this day in music history: April 26, 1991 -…

On this day in music history: April 26, 1991 – “Power Of Love”, the seventh studio album by Luther Vandross is released. Produced by Luther Vandross and Marcus Miller, it is recorded at A&M Studios and The Village in Los Angeles, CA, Right Track Recording and The Hit Factory in New York City from Mid 1990 – March 1991. After taking a year and a half hiatus from recording and touring, R&B superstar Luther Vandross returns to the studio in 1990 to begin work on first full length release of the 90’s. The end result is Vandross’ first new studio album since “Any Love” three years before. It maintains his trademark sound which has earned him a highly loyal R&B fan base over the past decade.It also sees him setting his sights on winning a larger mainstream audience, after his crossover breakthrough with the 1989 single “Here And Now”. At the time of its release, “Power” is one of a handful of albums by high profile artists to be mixed into “Q Sound”, a computer algorithm that creates a three dimensional surround sound effect, from a regular two channel stereo recording. The album spins off three singles including “Power Of Love/Love Power” (#1 R&B, #4 Pop), and “Don’t Want To Be A Fool” (#4 R&B, #9 Pop). “Power Of Love/Love Power” wins him two Grammy Awards for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male and Best R&B Song in 1992. The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 2001. “Power Of Love” spend five weeks (non-consecutive) at number one on the Billboard R&B album chart, peaking at number seven on the Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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Born on this day: April 20, 1951 – Legendary R…

Born on this day: April 20, 1951 – Legendary R&B singer, songwriter and producer Luther Vandross (born Luther Ronzoni Vandross in New York, NY). Happy Birthday to this R&B music icon on what would have been his 68th Birthday.

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On this day in music history: March 8, 1985 – …

On this day in music history: March 8, 1985 – “The Night I Fell In Love”, the fourth studio album by Luther Vandross is released. Produced by Luther Vandross and Marcus Miller, it is recorded at AIR Studios Montserrat, Media Sound Studios, The Power Station in New York City, Minot Sound in White Plains, NY and Westlake Audio in Los Angeles, CA from Late 1984 – Early 1985. After working in New York or Los Angeles recording studios for nearly all of his career, Vandross decides a change of scenery is necessary for his next release. He and his musicians travel to the Caribbean island of Montserrat, working at AIR Studios (owned by producer George Martin) where the bulk of the album is recorded. It spins off four singles including “Til My Baby Comes Home” (#4 R&B), and a cover of the Brenda Russell penned “If Only For One Night” (#59 R&B). Several other cuts on the album including a cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Creepin’” become R&B radio airplay favorites. “The Night I Fell In Love” spends seven weeks 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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On this day in music history: December 2, 1989…

On this day in music history: December 2, 1989 – “Here And Now” by Luther Vandross hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 2 weeks, also peaking at #6 on the Hot 100 on April 21, 1990. Written by Terry Steele and David Elliott, it is the fifth and final R&B chart topper for the New York born R&B singer, songwriter and producer. Vandross is hanging out at long time friend Dionne Warwick’s home one day playing video games, when David Elliott (Warwick’s son) asks him if he would listen to some new song demos he has just recorded. Luther agrees, and the second of the three songs catches his ear. Titled “Here And Now”, Vandross loves the song and tells Elliott that he’ll record it. Luther rearranges the song significantly from the original demo by the time he records it. One of two new songs cut for his first greatest hits album “The Best Of Luther Vandross… The Best Of Love”, it’s released as a single in October of 1989. The song not only becomes Vandross’ first top ten pop single, it also wins him his first Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male in 1991 after nine previous nominations and losses. “Here And Now” becomes an instant wedding staple, with Vandross performing it on an episode (Rose and Warren’s wedding) of the hit sitcom “227” in 1990. The singer also performs the song at the wedding of a couple who win a contest sponsored by Sony Music to promote the single, and Vandross’ album. “Here And Now” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: November 25, 198…

On this day in music history: November 25, 1983 – “Busy Body”, the third album by Luther Vandross is released. Produced by Luther Vandross and Marcus Miller, it is recorded at Media Sound Studios in New York City, Minot Sound Studios in White Plains, NY and Warner Bros Studios in North Hollywood, CA from Mid – Late 1983. Following a whirlwind year when Luther Vandross writes, records and produces his sophomore effort “Forever, For Always, For Love” as well as producing albums for Aretha Franklin and Cheryl Lynn at virtually the same time, the singer manages to keep up his frantic pace into 1983 beginning work on his third release. Collaborating with bassist Marcus Miller once again, the pair write four of the new albums’ seven songs. As he has done on his previous two albums, and becomes customary on all of his studio albums, Vandross includes at least one cover version of one of his favorite songs. For “Busy Body”, he takes the Leon Russell and Bonnie Bramlett penned “Superstar” (originally recorded by Delaney & Bonnie, but soon after covered by The Carpenters), and combining it with the Stevie Wonder co-written classic “Until You Come Back To Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do)”, taking the two songs and creating a medley. In Luther’s skillful hands, he turns the songs into an arresting, show stopping tour de force, running over nine minutes and making it yet another highly memorable part of his live performances. The album also includes a duet with one of Vandross’ singing idols, Dionne Warwick on “How Many Times Can We Say Goodbye” (#7 R&B, #27 Pop). The lead track “I Wanted Your Love” becomes a club hit, and is the unlikely catalyst for Dead Or Alive lead singer Pete Burns to write the 80’s pop smash “You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)”. The album spins off a total of three singles including “I’ll Let You Slide” (#9 R&B, #102 Pop) and “Superstar/Until You Come Back To Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do)” (#5 R&B, #87 Pop). “Busy Body” spends two weeks at number one on the Billboard R&B album chart, peaking at number thirty two on the Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: November 5, 1988…

On this day in music history: November 5, 1988 – “Any Love” by Luther Vandross hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week, also peaking at #44 on the Hot 100 on November 12, 1988. Written and produced by Luther Vandross and Marcus Miller, it is the fourth R&B chart topper for the New York City born singer, songwriter and producer. Taking brief hiatus after recording the album “Give Me The Reason”, followed by an extensive tour in support of it, Luther Vandross begins work on his sixth album in late 1987. The inspiration for what becomes the title track, is written during a period when the singer is feeling depressed about his personal life. Vandross collaborates with long time bassist Marcus Miller on the song, with Miller coming up with the chord changes and the songs distinctive rhythm pattern, to which Luther composes the melody and lyrics. Considered to be one of Vandross’ most personal and autobiographical songs, it reflects on him feeling fortunate at having achieved his dreams of fame and success, yet yearning for someone to share them with, which has proved elusive. “Any Love” quickly becomes a fan favorite and a highlight of his live concert performances. The song earns Vandross and Miller a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Song in 1989. The chart topping success of the title track helps the accompanying album to become Vandross’ first to reach the top 10 on the Billboard Top 200 (peaking at number nine), as well as sending it to the top of the Billboard R&B album chart for two weeks on November 26, 1988.