Much like our ‘Retro Rewind’ and ‘From the Vault’ segments, readers of That Grape Juice know what avid music lovers we are – especially of hits past. So in a quest to re-spin the gems and jams of yesterday we introduced a new retrospective segment – ‘TGJ Replay’.
Unlike its ‘Rewind’ and ‘Vault’ predecessors, ‘Replay’ looks to dust off and showcase albums (and eras) from a library of pop music hits. While many look forward to celebrate 4/20 for reasons that shan’t be mentioned, we music lovers marked it as what would’ve been the 62nd birthday of R&B legend Luther Vandross. Join us as we reflect on his greatest hits…
Just the mere mention of the name Luther Vandross evokes fond memories from many of our childhoods. From parents and grandparents who wore out tunes ‘Never Too Much’ and ‘Stop To Love’ in our minds, to the number of youthful crooners who cited the singer/songwriter as their idol, the stamp that this Grammy winning icon has left on music cannot be equaled or surpassed.
Indeed, the early part of the New York born balladeer’s career saw him play songwriter or background singer to some of music’s top divas including Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Bette Midler, Chaka Khan, Roberta Flack, Donna Summer, and many more. The singer was becoming such a force in the industry it was no surprise that by the time his 1981 debut solo album ‘Never Too Much’ came, it quickly shot to the top of R&B charts.
On the hems of two of his most memorable singles ‘Never Too Much’ and the Dionne Warwick remake ‘A House Is Not A Home’:
‘House Is Not A Home’ (live) *look at Janet lol*
The next ten years would see Vandross decorate charts with a slew of hits – the likes of ‘There’s Nothing Better Than Love’, ‘Give Me The Reason’, and many more. By 1991, Vandross had become a sex symbol of sorts – the epitome of male romance singers. His smooth stylings led that year’s single ‘Here and Now’ to not only become a wedding classic, but lend the balladeer his first ever Grammy win and first pop chart top 10.
And, while cranking out the hits for and/or collaborating with music top divas, Vandross still managed to keep his name atop R&B tallies. Some twenty years after the beginning of his illustrious career, and the singer was still introducing his velvety tones to new audiences with hits ‘Take You Out (Excuse Me Miss)’ and ‘Dance With My Father’.
Today we salute you Luther – the man whose tales of love, romance, and even heartbreak may be part of the reason some of us are here today (*wink wink*). More importantly, we salute Luther for being in the forefront of a movement that celebrate love without the explicits that litter today’s radio. While we do hope for more crooners to follow his trailblazing path, we know there will never be another you.