Photos

 

Gone But Not Forgotten: Luther Vandross

Remembering Luther Vandross, April 20, 1951 - July 1, 2005
More Gone But Not Forgotten

  •  
    Luther Vandross, 4/20/1951 - 7/1/2005
    Luther Vandross was undeniably one of the most significant vocalists of our time. This ultimate singer of songs had a groove that could not be copied. Possessed of a smooth, versatile tenor voice, Luther Vandross charmed millions with his romantic music. Photo: WireImage
  •  
    Luther Vandross began playing the piano at three. He grew up in a musical family. His sister Patricia sang with the vocal group The Crests, who had a #2 hit in 1958 with "16 Candles". Photo: Getty Images
  •  
    High school friend Carlos Alomar, who had become David Bowie's guitarist, scored Vandross one of his earliest gigs - providing backing vocals, serving as a vocal arranger and even co-writing a track with Bowie on his 1975 classic Young Americans. Vandross continued to work with Bowie through the 80s, providing background vocals on the soundtrack to Labyrinth.
  •  
    Luther Vandross's tour de force debut Never Too Much (1981) with the title track and "Don't You Know That?". Vandross wrote six of the album's seven songs, the exception being an epic cover of Burt Bacharach and Hal David's Dionne Warwick hit "A House Is Not a Home".
  •  
    Luther Vandross - Forever, for Always, for Love (1982) with "Since I Lost My Baby". Fun fact: Luther Vandross' middle name is Ronzoni - yes, after the brand of pasta.
  •  
    Luther Vandross - Any Love (1988) with "I Wonder" and "She Won't Talk to Me". Fun fact: Early in Vandross' career he appeared with a theater workshop in two 1969 episodes of "Sesame Street".
  •  
    Luther Vandross crossed over to the Billboard Pop Charts Top 10 with the ballad "Here and Now", which peaked at #6 in 1989. The song won him his first Grammy for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance. Photo: Getty Images
  •  
    Luther Vandross shown singing the National Anthem before the start of Super Bowl XXXI in 1997. Even after enormous success in his own right, Vandross continued to do a lot of session work, as well as regular work as a composer, producer, and vocal arranger for artists such as Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, James Ingram, Whitney Houston, Chaka Khan, his idol Dionne Warwick, and many others. Photo: Getty Images
  •  
    Luther Vandross poses backstage with his award for Favorite Soul/R&B Male Artist during the American Music Awards in 2002. In 2003, after the televised NCAA Men's Basketball championship, CBS Sports gave "One Shining Moment" a new rendition. Vandross, who had been to only one basketball game in his life, was the new singer. This version is still in use today. It is believed to be the last song Vandross recorded before his subsequent death. Photo: Getty Images
  •  
    Luther Vandross' Dance with My Father (2003) includes the Grammy winning title track and a cover with Beyonce of Donny Hathaway and Roberta Flack's "The Closer I Get To You". The album was dedicated to his father who, like Luther, also suffered from diabetes and died when Luther was eight.
  •  
    Monica presents Luther Vandross' award for Favorite Soul/R&B Male Artist to his mother, Mary Ida, during the 31st Annual American Music Awards on November 16, 2003. Vandross had recently suffered a severe stroke from which he never fully recovered, just as he was winning more awards for Dance with My Father. Photo: Getty Images
  •  
    Aretha Franklin performing "Amazing Grace" during Luther Vandross's funeral service on July 8, 2005. Luther's final public appearance was on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in 2004. Photo: Getty Images