Luther Ronzoni Vandross|
(April 20, 1951 - July 1, 2005) U.S.A.
R&B/Soul singer, songwriter and producer
Born in New York City, and growing up in a family steeped in gospel and soul music, Luther took to music early on. While still in school, he started his own group, and then moved on to join the musical theater workshop, "Listen My Brother". He performed at Harlem's Apollo Theater, and went on to contribute to the Broadway show The Wiz.
Luther was already an in-demand session vocalist by the time he was in his early 20s. Through his session connections he would up singing on David Bowie's Young Americans, as well as going on tour with him.
It wasn't until 1981, though, that Luther became a star in his own right; Never Too Much, his debut, spawned a No. 1 R&B hit (the title track), and Luther was on his way. While recording such early-'80s slow-jam classics as Forever, For Always, For Love, Busy Body and The Night I Fell In Love, he also found time to produce records by Aretha Franklin and Dionne Warwick.
Over the course of more than a dozen records, Luther would rack up an impressive 22 singles on the R&B top 10, six of which hit number one, while seven albums hit number one. To date, he has won five Grammy Awards: three for Best R&B Male Vocal Performance and one for Best R&B Song.
I Know was released in the Fall of 1998. It was followed by Smooth Love in 2000, and a critically acclaimed self-titled debut for Clive Davis's J Records in 2001.
On April 16th, 2003, just three months prior to the release of his 15th album, Dance With My Father, Luther suffered a stroke, and remained unconscious and in critical condition in a New York hospital. He came out of the coma in June and, while Luther underwent physical rehabilitation, Dance With My Father climbed the charts, and another album, Luther Vandross Live at Radio City Music Hall 2003 - recorded shortly before his stroke - was released in October 2003.