In Memoriam: Luther Vandross
Luther Vandross, singer and songwriter extraordinaire, passed away on Friday, July 1, 2005. He was only 54. Through his beautiful songwriting and versatile, soulful, seemingly effortless, sweet, sweet singing, he has bequeathed our generation and generations to come a treasure trove of unmatched romantic love songs and ballads. Though his life was shorter than we would have wished, his achievements are far-reaching. He sold more than 30 million records and won eight Grammy Awards, numerous other musical awards such as BET and American Music Awards and an NAACP Image Award.
A native New Yorker, he was born in 1951, in the projects on the Lower East Side, the youngest of four children. His mother is a nurse and his father, an upholstery salesman, died when Luther was only eight.
Vandross's early big break came when he was chosen to work as a backup singer for David Bowie, after which he was sought as a backup vocalist and arranger by many major singers including Barbara Streisand, Roberta Flack and Bette Midler. A popular singer of commercial jingles, he also wrote Everybody Rejoice for the Broadway production of The Wiz. In 1981, he came from behind the scenes with his debut album, Never Too Much, which soared to the top of the R &B charts and sold over 1 million copies. …