Top Ten Songs by Luther Vandross

The world lost one of its most talented singers and songwriters when Luther Vandross passed away in 2005. He never fully recovered from being stricken by a stroke in 2003 and his death closed the chapter on one of the most dynamic performers that the world had known. However, the legacy he left behind will resonate for generations to come. The vocal stylings that he displayed on numerous hit songs allowed him to display his smooth tenor voice and demonstrate his ability to take any song and apply his distinctive signature to it. His songs were also known for their romantic themes and were popular as the ideal tunes to set a romantic mood.

His early career began with performances doing commercials jingles and backup work for other singers. He made his mark on the musical scene with the duties as lead singer of the studio group, Change, in the early 80’s. Two of his top hits while a member of the group were “The Glow of Love” and “Searching.” On both of these songs, he gave the listening audience an early taste of things to come.

It was the success of his work with the group Change that he signed a record deal and produced his debut solo album, “Never Too Much” in 1981. The album spawned another hit, the up-tempo and beautifully orchestrated song of the same name as the album, “Never Too Much.” But it was on the Burt Bacharach penned “A House Is Not A Home,” from the debut album that Vandross really displayed his vocal range and talents at riffing and toying with the notes of the song. His version of this song is now a classic and was one of the most demanded songs at his live concert performances. In 1982, his second album spawned the catchy “Bad Boy/Having A Party.”

Luther continued to show his mastery of remaking past hits and putting his own touches on them with the song, “Superstar/Until You Come Back To Me,” in 1983, which had been a hit for the Carpenters. He continued to follow-up with hit albums and he had number one R&B chart toppers with the songs “Give Me the Reason” in 1986 and “Any Love” in 1988.

Although many of his other songs were very popular on the R&B charts and did reach the pop charts, it wasn’t until he released “Here and Now” in 1989 did he have his first Top Ten pop hit. This song also secured Vandross his first Grammy award. By now, Luther was becoming a nationwide household name even though most in the black community had recognized his talents years before. During this period, Vandross was lending his talent as a songwriter and backup singer to such stars as Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle, Whitney Houston, and BeBe & CeCe Winans.

Vandross spent much of the 90’s touring successfully and thrilling audiences with his multitude of hits and concert favorites. He continued to have several songs that made the charts and kept him in the public consciousness. “Power of Love/Love Power” was another R&B number one hit and it won a Grammy in 1991 for Best R&B song. It was also during this period that Vandross became infamous for his periods of weight loss and subsequent weight gains that made him the subject of comedians and tabloids.

As he moved into the new millennium, Vandross’ hits didn’t come as consistently as they had in the past but he continued to remain a favorite on many urban contemporary and adult format radio stations. His final album produced the similarly titled hit “Dance With My Father” that went on to win the Grammy Award for Song of the Year in 2004. This song, released about the same time that Vandross suffered his stroke, seemed to foreshadow the culminating events of his life and serves as a touching epilogue to an extraordinary career.

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