The ‘Pavarotti of Pop’ had an illustrious career in which not only cemented his legacy but also worked with some of the greatest names in music

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Google replaced its homepage logo on Monday with a doodle honoring the late Grammy Award winner R&B, soul and disco singer Luther Vandross.

Vandross, a sought-after background singer for various musical greats , including Cat Stevens, Judy Collins, Chaka Khan, Carly Simon, Diana Ross, David Bowie, Ben E. King, Ringo Starr and Donna Summer, was honored for what would have been his 70th birthday via the search giant’s legendary Doodle. Vandross started writing his own music at the age of 13 and released 14 legendary albums, each of which went either platinum or multi-platinum.

Happy 70th birthday, Luther Vandross! Today’s music video #GoogleDoodle celebrates the award-winning singer, songwriter and & producer, whose “Velvet Voice” generations of guest artists and animators @artbysambass → https://t.co/ki6f440ED7 pic.twitter.com/ GYEMiUMnq9

And he wasn’t just a singer! From designing the sparkling robes of the background singers to the stage lights that set the mood, he contributed to almost every part of his live performances. Here’s everything you need to know about the singer who was nicknamed “The Velvet Voice”. “Kanye West! I think the man is a genius!”: Luke Burr on his new single Light’s On and this man Yeezy

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Luther Ronzoni Vandross Jr. was born on April 20, 1951 in Kips Bay, Manhattan, New York City, at Bellevue Hospital. He was born into a musical family as the youngest of four children. His mother, Mary Ida, was a nurse and his father, Luther Vandross Sr., was an upholsterer and singer who died of diabetes at the age of eight. Vandross was raised by his mother in the Alfred E. Smith Houses public housing complex in NYCHA on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. When he was three years old and had his own phonograph, he taught himself to play the piano by ear.

He graduated from William Howard Taft High School in 1969, where he started singing informally and the first Patti LaBelle fan club founded, of which he was president. He also appeared in a group called Shades of Jade that once played at the Apollo Theater. Vandross performed several times on Apollo’s famous amateur night. He then studied electrical engineering for a year at Western Michigan University, but pursued a musical career.

His first break was when he was asked to sing the alphabet on the first episode of Sesame Street and his hit “Everyone Rejoice.” “was released in 1975 in” The Wiz “, a black musical based on” The Wizard Of Oz “. . The song was used in a Kodak commercial in the mid-1970s.

Previously, he added Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway backing vocals in 1972 and co-wrote ‘Fascination’ on David Bowie’s ninth studio album, Young Americans. In 1974, Vandross’ friend, guitarist Carlos Alomar, invited him to see the recording of Young Americans, which Alomar was working on at the time. When Bowie heard Vandross sing, he immediately hired him to sing and arrange background vocals for the album. He later wrote the hit ‘Fame’ with Bowie and John Lennon and toured with Bowie as a backing singer in September 1974.

Vandross has worked on sessions with Bette Midler, Ringo Starr, Cat Stevens, Sister Sledge and Gary Glitter and among others quickly became one of the most sought-after background singers. He was the lead singer of Chic’s ‘Dance, Dance, Dance’ in 1979 and he was also featured in the Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer hit hit ‘No More Tears’. Before embarking on his solo career, he made a fortune writing commercial jingles for companies like Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pepsi Cola, and the U.S. military.

Vandross formed the group Luther in 1976 and released two albums that were not well received were. He returned to backing vocals and jingle singing while looking for a record deal to create his own material. No one seemed ready to take a chance on Vandross, but his lead vocals on Change studio group’s two British hits “Searching” and “Glow Of Love” convinced Epic to sign him. Vandross’ debut “Never Too Much”, which he sang, arranged and recorded, reached number one on the US R&B charts in 1981.

From then on, there seemed to be no going back, as Vandross considered himself would prove to be one of the most prolific and consistent hitmakers of the 1980s. He restarted Aretha Franklin’s career by writing and recording her ‘Jump To It’ album in 1982. The following year he released an album for Dionne Warwick that included the hit duet How Many Times Can We Say Goodbye.

“Red Hot Rhythm & Blues,” an album he produced in 1987 for Diana Ross less successful. Ross played a song from the album It’s Hard For Me To Say, which was written and produced by Vandross as an a cappella tribute to Oprah Winfrey on her final season of The Oprah Winfrey Show. “The female voice is just something special to me, and the interpretive values ​​of women seem to be broader and less restricted,” he once said, as the Guardian reports.

With a tenor range, Vandross was recognized for his outstanding vocal abilities referred to as “The Velvet Voice” and occasionally even as “The Best Voice of a Generation”. Many reviewers referred to him as the “Pavarotti of Pop”.

In 2008 Rolling Stone magazine ranked Vandross 54th among the 100 greatest singers of all time. Mariah Carey has claimed in interviews that the recording of the duet “Endless Love” with Luther Vandross was overwhelming. In December 2012, Vandross was inducted into the SoulMusic Hall of Fame at SoulMusic.com by popular vote.

His voice embodied distant grace and beauty, an endless impotence in the role of “Beloved” formerly owned by Marvin Gaye and Al Green was played, although they gave their performances a seductive sexual finesse. “People tend to see me as platonic and fraternal. They don’t feel like it,” he said, admitting this.

Vandross was never married and had no children. In fact, his mother survived all of her children, and his older siblings died before him. Patti LaBelle confirmed in a 2017 interview that the R&B pop singer was a gay man. “He didn’t want his mother to be [upset] – although she might have known – that he wouldn’t come out and tell the world this,” she revealed in a report from the Grio. “And he had a lot of women fans. He told me he just didn’t want to upset the world, “she said, adding,” It was hard for him. “

LaBelle’s foray into Vandross’ sexuality received mixed responses as many felt it was not their business to say so. However, it doesn’t seem that the singer ever really cared what they were People thought about his sexuality. He just wasn’t ready to confirm or deny it. “What do you want to know?” He asked in a 2001 interview with Vibe, while jokingly responding to years of rumors about his sexuality. “I am Yes, I have houses in Beverly Hills and New York. “” I know I pay a price for being so private … and I wonder if it’s worth it, “he added.

But not being frank about his sexuality ran into gossip that he had contracted AIDS. In December 1985, Vandross filed a defamation lawsuit against a British magazine after it attributed his 85 pound weight loss to AIDS weighed 325 pfu nd when he started a diet in May this year.

In the same Vibe interview, Vandross shared that he had never been in love. “I’m still waiting,” he said. “The time I spent being in love was never returned. That’s just the circumstances.” Pop’s Pavarotti said his first experience of unrequited love was when he was 16. “The answer was,” Thank you , but I’m not interested, “he recalled in the interview. “It was very painful, unrequited and alienating – very alienating.”

How ironic that the man who made a living singing about love and making a soundtrack of love for generations should feel for himself never really knew myself. “I want to play house,” he added. “I want someone – not on the payroll – to care about where I am.”

Vandross sales remained high in the early 1990s, but his Ice Age pop / soul style became increasingly predictable and he was quickly eclipsed by a younger, more hip-hop race of R&B male singers. “Endless Love”, a duet with Mariah Carey, was his last British hit in 1994. Vandross battled obesity and diabetes all his life, claiming to have lost more than 120 pounds 14 times. He has never fully recovered since he suffered a severe stroke on April 16, 2003. It affected his ability to speak or sing and he was put in a wheelchair. At the 2004 Grammy Awards, the singer appeared on a pre-recorded video segment to receive his Song of the Year award for “Dance with My Father”. He said, “When I say goodbye, it never takes long because I believe in the power of love.” Vandross sang the last six words. His mother accepted the award on his behalf.

His last public appearance was on May 6, 2004 on “The Oprah Winfrey Show”. A year later, 54-year-old Vandross died of a heart attack on July 1 at JFK Medical Center in Edison, New Jersey. As a deeply private man, he channeled his emotions into music. In a 1989 interview he said, “These are not small, easy songs. These are songs that draw on things that happened to you.” And so lives his shameful legacy.

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