There’s no shortage of good R&B performers today. But stellar, pure singers in the mainstream? That’s not easy to find. Luther Vandross was arguably one of the last truly great R&B singers. He would’ve turned 66 today (April 20).
Vandross started his career with various background contributions and songwriting credits. They included Chaka Khan, David Bowie, Ben E. King, Diana Ross and Donna Summer. After two failed albums as the leader of the soul group Luther in the late ’70s, Vandross wrote commercial jingles for Mountain Dew, Juicy Fruit and others. He also landed hits with the producer-driven group Change.
But someone as talented as Vandross was destined for more. Vandross finally found success with Epic Records when he signed as a solo artist in 1981. His solo debut, Never Too Much, was released that year. Written and produced almost entirely by Vandross, it was a success; the title track hit No. 33 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the album eventually went double platinum despite low initial sales. “Never Too Much” also managed to reach No. 1 on the Billboard R&B chart.
SOURCE: The Boom Box – Brian Josephs