The man with the golden voice.....
Luther Vandross has every reason to be proud of his accomplished career. Born on New York's Lower East Side, Luther began playing piano at age three; during his years at Taft High School, he thrilled to the music of Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, and Dionne Warwick. His first breakthrough in show business came in 1972 when his composition "Everybody Rejoice (A Brand New Day)" was included in the hit Broadway musical The Wiz. Two years later, David Bowie asked Luther to arrange and sing backgrounds on his Young Americans LP (which also included the Vandross song "Fascination") and subsequent tour. Through Bowie, Luther met Bette Midler; he sang on her Songs For The New Depression album and toured with "Miss M" as a backing vocalist.
Within a short time, Luther was one of the industry's most in-demand session vocalists and vocal arrangers. He sang backgrounds for everyone from the Average White Band to Barbra Streisand; he sang lead on a pair of disco classics ("The Glow Of Love" by Change and "Hot Butterfly" by Bionic Boogie) as well as on a host of national advertising jingles for major corporate clients. In 1975, Vandross formed his own progressives R&B vocal group called Luther, which recorded two albums for the Atlantic subsidiary label Cotillion Records.
In 1981, Luther Vandross signed with Epic Records and released his debut solo album Never Too Much--beginning a decade-plus run of chart-topping albums (double platinum and platinum) and hit singles. (See "Luther Vandross: A Discography Of Epic Hits.") Over the past twelve years, Luther has also produced and written hits for Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Dionne Warwick, Cheryl Lynn and Teddy Pendergrass, among others.
Nineteen-ninety was a banner year: The two-disc anthology The Best Of Luther Vandross, The Best Of Love became a double platinum album and spun off the #1 r&b/Top Ten pop single "Here And Now." This landmark ballad earned Luther his first Grammy Award, for Best R&B Male Vocal Performance. The following year, Luther's Power Of Love climbed the chart heights, spawning the r&b chart topper and Top 5 pop smash "Power Of Love/Love Power." The song brought Luther two more Grammy Awards, for Best R&B Song and Best R&B Male Vocal Performance. In September 1991, Luther Vandross began a national tour with Lisa Fischer, Sounds Of Blackness and Sinbad as supporting acts. The tour came to a triumphant end in January 1992 after playing to a combined audience of more than 650,000 for a total box office gross of more than $15 million, including four sold-out nights at New York's Madison Square Garden. Ultimately, all three musical artists on the "Power Of Love" tour were among the year's Grammy winners.
Over the course of the next eighteen months, Luther co-hosted the "Soul Train" Music Awards and saw his duet with Janet Jackson, "The Best Things In Life Are Free," climb into the pop Top Ten and to #1 on the r&b charts as well as earning a 1992 Grammy nomination for Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal.
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