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Luther Vandross Biography


Home > Music > V > Vandross, Luther > Biography


Birth Name: Luther Ronzoni Vandross
Born: 1951/04/20
Birth Place: Manhattan, New York, United States
Died: 2005/07/01
Years Active: 1968–2005
Genres: R&B, Soul, Quiet Storm, Smooth Jazz, Soft Rock


Luther Ronzoni Vandross (April 20, 1951 – July 1, 2005) was an American R&B and soul singer-songwriter, and record producer. During his career, Vandross sold over twenty-five million albums and won eight Grammy Awards including Best Male R&B Vocal Performance four times.

In 1981 he released his debut solo album "Never Too Much" which peaked at #19 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart and at #1 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. The title track, hit #1 on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and peaked at #33 on the Hot 100 Singles chart.

“Forever, For Always, For Love” was released in 1982 and again topped the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart while reaching #20 on the Billboard 200. It was certified platinum by the RIAA, and earned Vandross a nomination for the 1983 Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male. The hit "Since I Lost My Baby" was originally recorded by The Temptations in 1965, while the "Having a Party" part of the opening track was originally recorded by Sam Cooke in 1962.

His third album, “Busy Body” was released in 1983 and again peaked at #1 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. It peaked at #32 on the Billboard 200 and was certified platinum in 1985.

1985 saw the release of “The Night I Fell in Love” which was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male. It peaked at #1 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart while reaching #19 on the Billboard 200 and was later certified 2× platinum.

“Give Me the Reason” was released in 1986 and reached #14 on the Billboard 200 while again peaking at #1 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. The RIAA later certified the album 2× platinum. The single, “Til My Baby Comes Home” was a Top 30 hit on the Hot 100 and peaked at #4 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The title track "Give Me the Reason" was nominated for two Grammy Awards for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male and Best R&B Song in 1987.

Vandross released “Any Love” in 1988 which was his first Top 10 album on the Billboard 200, peaking at #9. It also peaked at #1 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, his sixth consecutive album to reach the top spot on the chart, and was certified platinum. At the 1989 Grammy Awards, the album was nominated for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male and its title track was nominated for Best R&B Song. "She Won't Talk to Me," a Top 30 hit on the Hot 100, received a nomination for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male in 1990.

The 1989 3× platinum certified compilation, "The Best of Luther Vandross... The Best of Love," included the ballad "Here and Now," his first single to chart on the Hot 100 Top 10, peaking at #6 and at #1 one on the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The song won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male in 1991 which was his seventh time being nominated and first win.

1991's "Power of Love" which spawned two Top 10 Hot 100 hits with "Power of Love/Love Power" and "Don't Want to Be a Fool." The album was certified 2× platinum and peaked at #7 on the Billboard 200 and again at #1 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. He won his second Best Male R&B Vocal Performance at the 1992 Grammy Awards with "Power of Love/Love Power" also winning the Grammy Award for Best R&B Song in the same year.

“Never Let Me Go” was released in 1993 and was Vandross's first studio album not to chart at #1 on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, peaking at #3. The platinum certified album also reached #6 on the Billboard 200. "Little Miracles (Happen Every Day)" went to #10 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. “How Deep Is Your Love" earned Vandross another Best R&B Vocal Performance Grammy nomination in 1994.

Vandross hit the Hot 100 Top 10 again in 1994 with Mariah Carey, doing a cover version of Lionel Richie and Diana Ross's duet "Endless Love" which was featured on his album, “Songs.” The 2× platinum certified “Songs” earned Vandross four nominations at the 1995 Grammy Awards for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for "Love the One You're With," Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals for "Endless Love," Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for "Always and Forever" and Best R&B Album. The album peaked at #2 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, while reaching #5 on the Billboard 200.

He released “Your Secret Love” in 1986 which again peaked at #2 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and #9 on the Billboard 200. The platinum certified album's title track went to #5 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart and won the Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance while being nominated for Best R&B Song in 1997.

“I Know” was released in 1998 and peaked at #9 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and #26 on the Billboard 200. It was certified gold by the RIAA. It was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance and the song "I Know" was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance in 1999.

His self-titled 2001 album again peaked at #2 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and #6 on the Billboard 200. The song "Any Day Now" received a nomination for "Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance" at the 2003 Grammy Awards.

In 2003, Vandross released the album "Dance With My Father." The title track, which was dedicated to Vandross' memory childhood dances with his father, won Luther and his co-writer, Richard Marx, the 2004 Grammy Award for Song of the Year. The song also won Vandross his fourth and final award in the Best Male R&B Vocal Performance category. The album also won in the Best R&B Album category and "The Closer I Get to You" brought Vandross and Beyoncé the award for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group. The album was his first and only to reach #1 on the Billboard 200. It was also his biggest selling studio album ever, selling nearly three million copies in the United States alone and being certified 2× platinum.

In 2003, after the televised NCAA Men's Basketball championship, CBS Sports gave "One Shining Moment" a new look. Luther, who had been to only one basketball game in his life, was the new singer, and the video didn't have any special effects like glowing basketballs and star trails like it did in previous years.

Vandross died on July 1, 2005 at John F. Kennedy Medical Center in Edison, New Jersey at the age of 54. The apparent cause of his death was a heart attack.