Eight Grammys, fifteen albums ( fourteen of them platinum ) , dozens of awards, millions of fans, and only fifty-four short years on this earth. With a fond farewell, the world is mourning the passing of Luther Ronzoni Vandross, whose romantic portfolio of hit R&B songs will live on forever.
From music that spoke of enjoying the love of the moment to songs that lamented relationships of the past, romance was Luther's favorite subject, and his ballads stand out as shining examples of how powerful his voice was.
In 1981, his debut solo album 'Never Too Much' would put him at the forefront of male R&B vocals for almost the next twenty years. In 1989, he had a double-disc 'Best Of Luther Vandross' album, a testament to his wildly popular impact. The apex of that album was a track called 'Here and Now' which skyrocketed into the charts. After that, everyone knew who Luther Vandross was.
He would have more compilation albums follow that one, each time reinventing songs that he loved and that loved him back, with the public clamoring for more Luther.
His last album 'Dance With My Father' won four Grammy awards. He had a stroke just two weeks before it made its debut. Never fully recovering from the stroke, Luther passed away July 1, 2005.
Calling Luther Vandross influential doesn't fully describe his impact on music. Anyone who is over the age of 23 can remember the music that Luther made, including nearly every male vocalist today. The newspapers and television are full of people describing him as influential, both today and ten years ago. He was magic and will remain so in our minds for years to come.
In other news, the music has ended at Live 8. The streets of London, Paris, Berlin, Rome, Philadelphia, Tokyo, Johannesburg, Moscow, and Edinburg lit up with music intended to inform the G8 Summit leaders of the world that we, the people of the world, are watching what they do and how they act. Let's hope they all make the right choices.
Speaking of music ending, I was sad that the music ended at the House of Blues the night Frankie Knuckles was playing. As always, the crowd was a true rainbow of people, from old to young, dancing up a storm in one of the best venues in Chicago. Frankie was on fire, blending his unique mix of crowd-pleasers and new tracks to keep the dance floor alive and the energy high. It was good to see so many people, including the fabulous Jason from Boi. I can't wait until Frankie spins again.
With you in 4/4,