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Rest In Peace Luther
Old 2nd July 2005
Lives for gear
84K's Avatar
Rest In Peace Luther

I put this in high end, because Luther is the highest level of talent and contribution to music, as well as being a great humanitarian. May he rest in peace.

R&B Crooner Luther Vandross Dies at 54

NEW YORK (AP) - Grammy award winner Luther Vandross, whose deep, lush voice on such hits as ``Here and Now'' and ``Any Love'' sold more than 25 million albums while providing the romantic backdrop for millions of couples worldwide, died Friday. He was 54.

Vandross died at John F. Kennedy Medical Center in Edison, N.J., said hospital spokesman Rob Cavanaugh. He did not release the cause of death but said in a statement that Vandross ``never really recovered from'' a stroke two years ago.

Since the stroke in his Manhattan home on April 16, 2003, the R&B crooner stopped making public appearances - but amazingly managed to continue his recording career. In 2004, he captured four Grammys as a sentimental favorite, including best song for the bittersweet ``Dance With My Father.''

Vandross, who was still in a wheelchair at the time, delivered a videotaped thank you.

``Remember, when I say goodbye it's never for long,'' said a weak-looking Vandross. ``Because'' - he broke into his familiar hit - ``I believe in the power of love.''

Vandross also battled weight problems for years while suffering from diabetes and hypertension.

He was arguably the most celebrated R&B balladeer of his generation. He made women swoon with his silky yet forceful tenor, which he often revved up like a motor engine before reaching his beautiful crescendos.

Jeff O'Conner, Vandross' publicist, called his death ``a huge loss in the R&B industry. He was a close friend of mine and right now it's shocking.''

O'Conner said he received condolence calls Friday from music luminaries such as Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle, Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones.

Vandross was a four-time Grammy winner in the best male R&B performance category, taking home the trophy in 1990 for the single ``Here and Now,'' in 1991 for his album ``Power of Love,'' in 1996 for the track ``Your Secret Love'' and a last time for ``Dance With My Father.''

The album, with its single of the same name, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts while Vandross remained hospitalized from his stroke. It was the first time a Vandross album had topped the charts in its first week of release.

In 2005, he was nominated for a Soul Train Music Award for a duet with Beyonce on ``The Closer I Get To You.''

Vandross' sound was so unusual few tried to copy it; even fewer could.

``I'm proud of that - it's one of the things that I'm most proud of,'' he told The Associated Press in a 2001 interview. ``I was never compared to anyone in terms of sound.''

Vandross' style harkened back to a more genteel era of crooning. While many of his contemporaries and successors belted out tunes that were sexually charged and explicit, Vandross preferred soft pillow talk and songs that spoke to heartfelt emotions.

``I'm more into poetry and metaphor, and I would much rather imply something rather than to blatantly state it,'' he said. ``You blatantly state stuff sometimes when you can't think of a a poetic way to say it.''

A career in music seemed predestined for the New York native; both his parents were singers, and his sister, Patricia, was part of a 1950s group called the Crests.

But he happily toiled in the musical background for years before he would have his first hit. He wrote songs for projects as varied as a David Bowie album (``Fascination'') and the Broadway musical ``The Wiz'' (``Everybody Rejoice (Brand New Day)''), sang backup for acts such as Donna Summer and Barbra Streisand, and even became a leading commercial jingle singer.

Vandross credited singer Roberta Flack for prodding him to move into the spotlight after listening to one of his future hits, ``Never Too Much.''

``She started crying,'' he recalled. ``She said, `No, you're getting too comfortable (in the background). ... I'm going to introduce you to some people and get your career started.'''

Vandross' first big hit came as the lead vocalist for the group Change, with their 1980 hit, ``The Glow of Love.'' That led to a recording contract with Epic Records, and in 1981, he made his solo recording debut with the disc ``Never Too Much.'' The album, which contained his aching rendition of ``A House is Not a Home,'' became an instant classic.

Over the years, Vandross would emerge as the leading romantic singer of his generation, racking up one platinum album after another and charting several R&B hits, such as ``Superstar,'' ``Give Me The Reason'' and ``Love Won't Let Me Wait.''

Yet, while Vandross was a household name in the black community, he was frustrated by his failure to become a mainstream pop star. Indeed, it took Vandross until 1990 to score his first top 10 hit - the wedding staple ``Here & Now.''

``I just wanted more success. I didn't want to suddenly start wearing blond wigs to appeal to anyone,'' he told the AP.

``This is the same voice that sang Pepsi-Cola, Coca-Cola, NBC 'proud as a peacock,' ... America, the world, has heard the voice, so there's no reason that that music shouldn't have gone the complete distance, I mean, to number one.''

Another frustration for Vandross was his lifelong battle with obesity. Health problems ran in his family, and Vandross struggled for years to control his waistline. When he first became a star, he was a hefty size; a few years later, he was almost skinny. His weight fluctuated so much that rumors swirled that he had more serious health problems than the hypertension and diabetes caused by his large frame.

Vandross' two sisters and a brother died before him. The lifelong bachelor never had any children, but doted on his nieces and nephews. The entertainer said his busy lifestyle made marriage difficult; besides, it wasn't what he wanted.

Associated Press Writer Sam Dolnick contributed to this story.
Old 2nd July 2005
Gear Maniac

He surely will be missed. It seems as we keep losing the great ones, the whole quality of great musicians is at a rapid decline. For example, I'm sure you didn't have to punch him in every two bars or cut and paste him all day long. Between the lost of artists of such high caliber, the crappy songs being flooded throughout the airwaves and drug dealers taking over the music industry, it seems like such a dismal place to be as a TRUE artist/musician.
Old 2nd July 2005
Gear Head
arrakian's Avatar

This is depressing. Seems like every time you turn around, a music great is gone. WTF!!!
Old 2nd July 2005
Lives for gear

I will go as far as saying Luther was THE voice in modern rnb ever since Marvin died over twenty years ago.. my second favourite vocalist through all time.

Wow do I love them old records..

RIP Lufer
Old 2nd July 2005
Lives for gear

WTF what kind of moderator moves a thread like this from the high end?
Old 2nd July 2005
Gear Maniac

To all my GS, please reply if think this thread should stay in the "HIGH END" category, so all moderators can see how we feel about the passing of our great artists.
Its great musicians/artists who have made songs that touched our hearts and in some way had an influence on how we see and love music the way we do today. When we hear our favorite songs we try to mimic that sound by purchasing as much "HIGH END" gear as we can afford or take 'HIGH END" singing lessons, learn how to play an "HIGH END" instrument or want to record music with that "HIGH END" quality etc . Artists of such "HiGH END" caliber make us want to be "HIGH END" singers, producers and musicians ourselves (moderators included)!

Great musicians sparked us all to become the"HIGH END" Gearslutz we are today!
Now tell me, how "HIGH END" is that!
Old 2nd July 2005
Gear Head
arrakian's Avatar

I understand why they moved it; I don't agree. It's not everyday a GREAT artist dies.
Old 2nd July 2005
Lives for gear
De chromium cob's Avatar

Why do you care so much where the thread is? This topic is not about High End gear- simple as that. Yeah, its a drag that he died, but get off the moderators back already.
Old 3rd July 2005
Gear Maniac

Originally Posted by De chromium cob
Why do you care so much where the thread is? This topic is not about High End gear- simple as that. Yeah, its a drag that he died, but get off the moderators back already.

I'll get off as soon as you get off mine!
"The only thing constant in life is change"
François de la Rochefoucauld
Old 4th July 2005
Lives for gear
mac black's Avatar
Guys .... no point getting angry . Its a sad sad thing .
RIP Luther
Old 4th July 2005
Lives for gear
Thermionic's Avatar

A truly unique voice... RIP Luther.

I caught a tribute to Luther yesterday on Norman Jay's radio show... Sadly Renaldo Benson (who co-wrote "What's going on") has also passed away in the last few days...

Old 12th July 2005
Gear Addict
lane thaw's Avatar

With Luther, it's like the end of the line for the great Soul Crooners, Luther was class, true talent and a voice that will always remind us that there was quality music in the late 80's and 90's. Here and now was our wedding song - a bit bittersweet right now.
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