Luther Vandross Biography
Luther Ronzoni Vandross, Jr. (April 20, 1951 – July 1, 2005) was a American R&B singer. During his career, Vandross sold 40 million albums and won eight Grammy awards including Best Male R&B Vocal Performance four times. He won four Grammy awards in 2004 including the Grammy Award for Song of the Year for the track "Dance With My Father," co-written with Richard Marx.
Vandross was inspired by the soul divas of the 1960s: Dionne Warwick, Patti LaBelle & the Bluebelles, Diana Ross & The Supremes, and Aretha Franklin, for whom he eventually produced a few albums.
Vandross' songs have also been covered numerous times by American Idol contestants. Most notable covers include Season 1 Finalist Tamyra Gray's cover of "Dance With My Father" on Boston Public and "A House is Not a Home," which many consider one of the greatest performances in the show's history. Season 2 Winner Ruben Studdard has also covered "A House is Not a Home" and more infamously "Superstar." R&B artist Keyshia Cole covered Vandross' 1981 hit "Never too much" for her 2005 debut album The Way It Is.
Vandross did many covers of older songs, such as "Since I Lost My Baby" (originally recorded by The Temptations), "Superstar/Until You Come Back To Me" ("Superstar" was a hit for The Carpenters and "Until You Come Back To Me" was a 1974 hit for Aretha Franklin), "Love Won't Let Me Wait" (originally recorded by Major Harris), "Always and Forever" (originally recorded by Heatwave), "If This World Were Mine" (originally recorded by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell), "Creepin'" and "Knocks Me Off My Feet" (both originally recorded by Stevie Wonder), "Hello" (the 1984 #1 hit by Lionel Richie), "Lovely Day" (originally recorded by Bill Withers), "Killing Me Softly" (originally recorded by Roberta Flack) and "A House is Not A Home", a Burt Bacharach standard. His hit "Love Power" included snippets of the soul classic "The Power of Love." Another hit, "Bad Boy (Having a Party)," contained a passage from Sam Cooke's "Having a Party."
Vandross inspired his J Records labelmate, Ruben Studdard, the American Idol of 2003. Besides Studdard, Vandross also inspired countless other artists, both male and female, such as Boyz II Men, Usher, Beyoncé, Alicia Keys and Brandy. It was with Beyoncé that he recorded yet another cover of a well-known song, "The Closer I Get To You", originally recorded by Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway.