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For Rock Hall’s Consideration: Luther Vandross

The music world has always had their share of romantic balladeers. One of the top ones in the 1980s was Luther Vandross, whose was known as “The Velvet Voice”, and deemed as one of the greatest of all time.

Vandross career started in the 1970s, singing backup for countless artists including Chaka Khan, Roberta Flack, and Chic. His breakthrough came in 1980, as the lead singer for the group Change. The gold-selling debut album The Glow of Love, featured two hit classics “The Glow of Love” (later sampled by Janet Jackson) and “Searching”.
But things really took off in 1981, when he released his landmark debut Never Too Much, which went double platinum, and among the hits from that album included the title track and the classic remake of the Bacharach/David tune “A House Is Not a Home”.

Six more albums followed during the 1980s including 1988’s Any Love (Vandross’ first top ten pop album), as well as classic hits including “Stop to Love”, “Bad Boy/Having a Party”, “Here and Now” and a cover of the Leon Russell-penned “Superstar”. Also at that time, Vandross produced Aretha Franklin’s 1982 comeback album Jump To It.

In the 1990’s and beyond, the hits continued. Notable albums included 1991’s Power of Love and 2003’s Dance With My Father (his first number one album), as well as tunes including “Power of Love/Love Power” and a cover of the Diana Ross and Lionel Richie duet “Endless Love”. Sadly, Vandross passed on in 2005, but his legacy has remained strong. His music continues to be staples on radio, artists including Elton John, Beyoncé, and Keyshia Cole have covered his songs, and sources including National Public Radio and Rolling Stone Magazine have voted Vandross as one of the top 100 voices of all time. To date, he has sold over thirty million copies worldwide.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Luther Vandross, eligible since 2006.