LUTHER VANDROSS, April 20, 1951-

Vandross enjoyed a very successful career as a session singer and recording commercials prior to becoming one of the preeminent R&B stylists of his generation, widely known for his impeccable phrasing and vocal control/ Born in New York City, he began playing piano at age three. One of his compositions, "Everybody Rejoice (A Brand New Day)," was included in the Broadway musical, The Wiz, in 1972. He became a fixture on ad jingles, from U.S. Army to Burger King spots.

His entrée to the pop music industry came when a friend, guitarist Carlos Alomar, introduced him to David Bowie. He would contribute a song, "Fascination," and sing on Bowie’s highly successful LP, Young Americans (RCA ; 1975), later touring with him as well. While continuing to sing jingles and cutting two obscure albums under the name Luther, he quickly became one of the busiest backing vocalists and arrangers around, recording with Bette Midler, Ringo Starr, Carly Simon, Donna Summer, Barbra Streisand, Chaka Khan, Chic, and Change.

With several labels expressing an interest in Vandross as a solo artist, he produced two demos, "Never Too Much" and "A House Is Not a Home." As a result, Epic Records signed him in 1981, granting him full creative control. Beginning with Never Too Much (Epic 37451; 1981; #1 R&B), he released a long string of platinum-selling albums, including Forever, For Always, For Love (Epic 38235; 1982), Busy Body (Epic 39196; 1983), The Night I Fell In Love (Epic 39882; 1985), Give Me the Reason (Epic 40415; 1986), Any Love (Epic 44308; 1988), The Best of Luther Vandross…The Best of Love (Epic 45320; 1989), and Power of Love (Epic 46789; 1991). Although his singles have had limited crossover appeal, they have consistently reached the R&B Top Ten. Despite the demands ensuing from pop stardom, he has continued to write and produce for other artists, most notably Aretha Franklin, Cheryl Lynn, Dionne Warwick, Teddy Pendergrass, and Whitney Houston. Furthermore, he made his acting debut in Robert Townsend’s 1993 film, Meteor Man.

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