Luther Vandross was considered the King of Romance. He had a smooth and velvety voice that melted women’s hearts. He was also able to get people into a romantic mood because of the romantic lyrics in his songs. A lot of children were probably conceived on his music. He had a very successful career in r&b music. Here is a look back on his road to success. Luther Vandross was born Luther Ronzoni Vandross on April 20, 1951. He died on July 1, 2005. He started his career as a background singer for different artists. He sang background for Todd Rundgren, Chaka Khan, Bette Midler, Diana Ross, Ben E. King, David Bowie and Donna Summer just to name some of the people he worked with as a background singer. He was the lead singer of the group Change in 1979. The group released their debut album called The Glow of Love in 1980. The CD went gold. Vandross didn’t stay in the group long because he became a solo artist.
He released his debut album Never Too Much in 1981. Vandross wrote and produced the majority of the songs on this album. The only song he didn’t write was “A House Is Not a Home.” This is a cover of Dionne Warwick’s song. “Never Too Much” was a number one song off this album. “Don’t You Know That” was a top 10 r&b song. The album also features the hit singles “Sugar and Spice (I Found Me a Girl)” and “A House Is Not a Home.” This album sold over two million copies. It was an r&b hit, but it wasn’t considered a pop hit at the time. Even though he did his first album, he worked with other artists. He worked with Cheryl Lynn on her hit album Instant Love in 1982. He wrote the title track and it was an r&b hit. He also sang “If This World Were Mine” with her. This song reached the top five on the r&b charts. After working with Cheryl Lynn, he worked with one of his idols Aretha Franklin in 1982. He produced her album Jump To It. The title track was a number one r&b hit single for her. It was her first album to reach gold status since 1976.
Vandross continued to work with other artists while continuing to record his own music. He released his second album Forever, For Always, For Love in 1982. He wrote every song on this album except two remakes that were featured on the album. This album features the hit singles “Bad Boy/Having a Party,” “Since I Lost My Baby” and “Promise Me.” The album sold over one million copies. In 1983, he produced another album for Aretha Franklin. The album was called Get It Right. He wrote the title track. It was a number one hit. He also wrote the song “Every Girl (Wants My Guy)” which was a top 10 hit. He got the chance to work with one of his biggest idols. He produced Dionne Warwick’s album How Many Times Can We Say Goodbye in 1983. He sang the title track with her. This was her first top 10 hit single since 1975. He released his third album in 1983 called Busy Body. This album features the singles “I’ll Let It Slide,” “Superstar/Until You Come Back to Me That’s What I’m Gonna Do” and “Make Me a Believer.” This album did well on the r&b charts. It was another number one hit album. It sold over a million copies.
He took a break from recording music in 1984 because he was touring. He also went back to writing, producing and singing background for Teddy Pendergrass. He wrote the r&b hit “You’re My Choice Tonight (Choose Me).” The break gave Vandross a chance to focus more on his fourth album called The Night I Fell in Love in 1985. This is one of his biggest hit albums. This album did better on the pop charts than his previous albums. This album features the hit singles “’Til My Baby Comes Home,” “It’s Over Now,” “Wait For Love,” “If Only For One Night” and “Creepin’.” This album went double platinum. In 1986, Vandross released his fifth album Give Me the Reason. It was his fifth consecutive r&b hit album. It features the title track as well as “Stop to Love,” “There’s Nothing Better Than Love,” “I Really Didn’t Mean It” and “So Amazing.” This album went double platinum.
He took another break because he was doing concerts again. He was also working on his sixth album. He released Any Love in 1988. It was number one on the r&b charts and was his first top 10 album on the pop charts. The title song was on the r&b and pop charts. He released a compilation album in 1989. It was a double disc. It was called The Best Of Luther Vandross: The Best of Love. The CD included two new songs called “Here And Now” and “Treat You Right.” He won his first Grammy Award with this greatest hits album. He also scored his biggest pop hit with “Here And Now.” He released his seventh album in 1991 called Power of Love. He wanted to continue having success on the pop charts and he got what he wanted. ”Power of Love/Love Power” was a hit on the pop and r&b charts. The album won him another Grammy. Throughout his career, he recorded a total of 16 albums. The majority of them went to number one on the r&b charts.
Luther Vandross had an impressive body of work. He has created hits for himself as well as other artists. He was able to put veteran artists back on the charts. He has a plethora of hit songs so this list was nearly impossible to create. Any of his songs could have made this list. This top 10 Luther Vandross Songs list is a small portion of the hits he has created over the years.
# 10 – So Amazing
The first song on our Top 10 Luther Vandross Songs list is “So Amazing” from the hugely successful album Give Me the Reason. This is an r&b ballad about love. This is a remake of Dionne Warwick’s song. He originally wrote this song for her and it was on the album he produced for her. This beautiful song is perfect for anyone falling in love for the first time. The music is melodic and soothing. His velvety vocals shine in the song. He doesn’t do any vocal tricks, but he does show that he can do runs as well as hold little notes. The background vocals are also impressive. It’s hard to picture someone else singing this song other than Luther Vandross. Even though he wrote the song for Warwick, it was tailor made for him.
# 9 – A House Is Not a Home
The next song on our Top 10 Luther Vandross Songs list is the remake “A House Is Not a Home.” This touching song is off the hit album Never Too Much. This is an r&b and soul track. This is another great Burt Bacharach song. This song is about what life is like if you’re living in your house alone without love. Luther Vandross’ version of the song is more well known than Dionne Warwick’s. The deep and meaningful lyrics teach you how to appreciate love while you still have it. This song is a great fit for quiet storm radio. His smooth and velvety voice makes the song sound like a love song instead of a song about heartbreak. The only complaint is the song is over seven minutes. It could have ended sooner. The bright side is you get to hear the song a little longer.
# 8 – If Only For One Night
This remarkable Luther Vandross song is the second single off of the highly impressive album The Night I Fell in Love. This r&b and soul song is baby-making music. This is a very romantic song about how to treat the person you love for one night. The song will pull you in the second the piano bars begin. This is another remake. Singer Brenda Russell performed the song first. He sings the song as if he wrote it. His vocals are passionate and heartfelt. His tone is impeccable with the soft music. He is singing in time with the different changes in the beat. He doesn’t do any vocal tricks, but the song doesn’t need it. His background singers also do an amazing job supporting him in the bridge. It was a perfect combination. Everything about this song screams perfection.
# 7 – Stop to Love
This upbeat song is the lead single off of the enormously popular album Give Me the Reason. This has an r&b and soul beat. It was created in the 80s but is still relevant. It doesn’t sound like bubblegum r&b. This song could have easily been a pop hit because it has a pop appeal. It sounds like a pop beat mixed with his soulful vocals. The music is extravagant. He even includes a guitar solo that is out of this world. It gives the music a little rock edge. He was able to vocally keep up with the music when it got louder. He usually sings songs with soft beats so it was a nice change to hear him sing a song with a loud beat. He is known for his ballads and this song proved that he could sing a song with tempo.
# 6 – Endless Love ft. Mariah Carey
Continuing with our Top 10 Luther Vandross songs we turn to the second single off the Songs album. This is a cover of Lionel Richie and Diana Ross’ song. He took a big risk covering this song when it was a huge success for Richie and Ross, but Vandross and Mariah Carey did the impossible. They managed to make this song just as good as the original. They didn’t stray from the original version too much. Mariah Carey arguably sings her part better than Ross. Mariah Carey’s vocals are much stronger than Ross’. Luther Vandross sings his part just as good as Richie. Luther Vandross includes runs that Richie didn’t. Luther Vandross and Mariah Carey’s voices matched better than Richie and Ross’. They belt in the song towards the bridge. There aren’t many people who can sing well with Mariah Carey , but Luther Vandross showed that he was able to keep up with the powerhouse diva.
# 5 – Never Too Much
As we enter the second half of our top 10 Luther Vandross songs list we turn to the Luther Vandross songs “Never Too Much.” This incredible song is the debut single off of the explosive album Never Too Much. This has a post disco, r&b and soul beat. This song has been sampled several times and it’s easy to see why. The music is top notch. It will hook you as soon as the guitar and piano begin. There is no way to sit still through this magnificent beat. The music and Vandross’ vocals blend well together. He wanted the world to know that he was here to stay in the music business. He received a Grammy nomination for this song. He was robbed of the trophy because he should have won it for this song. He showed versatility because he sang in a falsetto towards the end of the song. He usually has baritone vocals, but showed that he can utilize his upper register.
# 4 – Give Me the Reason
The next song to make our Top 10 Luther Vandross Songs List is this smash hit “Give Me the Reason.” This song is the second single off of the phenomenal album Give Me the Reason. This song could have easily been the first single to introduce the world to this album. This song has an r&b and pop sound. The music sounds similar to the Jacksons’ song “Torture.” The guitar riffs and drum beat/percussions in this song are similar to the Jacksons’ song. Here is some trivia on the background singers. Cissy Houston, Lisa Fischer, Darlene Love, Patti Austin, Cheryl Lynn and Phil Perry are singing in the background. They do a tremendous job supporting him in the background. Vandross sounds fascinating in the lead vocals. He sings in his baritone pitch. He also sings in falsetto near the end of the song. His runs at the end of the song are impeccable and unmatched.
# 3 – There’s Nothing Better Than Love ft. Gregory Hines
This priceless ballad is the fourth single from the uber successful album Give Me the Reason. This is an r&b, soul and pop song. This could have been a sappy love song, but they make it sound pure and romantic. Hines wasn’t known for singing so his vocals are impressive. Some actors can have trouble proving they can sing, but he wasn’t one of them. He had the challenge of singing with the soulful giant and he was able to meet the challenge. Luther Vandross was generous and didn’t take over the song. He allowed Hines to shine right along with him. Luther Vandross uses a deeper pitch in the hook that is captivating. It’s too bad they didn’t get a chance to sing another song together because they made musical magic with this wonderful song.
# 2 – Here And Now
This beautiful ballad is on his greatest hits album The Best Of Luther Vandross: The Best of Love. This romantic song has a mixture of sounds. It has an r&b, soul and contemporary sound. It is a dreamy and sensual ballad that is sure to please r&b fans. This is a love song that has been used as wedding anthems. It is easy to picture brides walking down the aisle to this romantic music. Who wouldn’t want to walk down the aisle to lyrics this touching? Surprisingly, he didn’t write this song. You would never know he didn’t write it because he pours his heart out in the song as if he wrote it. His vocals are on point. He projects his voice in a way that commands attention. He was determined to get his pop hit and he got it with this track. This song could have easily been number one on this list, but there was another track stopping it from reaching number one.
# 1 – Dance With My Father
The number one song on our Top 10 Luther Vandross Songs list is the heartfelt “Dance With My Father.” This song is the second single off of Vandross’ last album Dance With My Father. This ballad has an r&b sound. This song is dedicated to his late father. This song is unique because there aren’t too many good songs about fathers. Most of the songs released paint fathers in a bad way. He wanted to honor his father. Luther Vandross wasn’t able to promote this single because he was sick at the time. He suffered from a stroke and was in a coma. He didn’t get the chance to enjoy the fact that he finally got what he wanted and scored a number one pop hit. This was the most requested song at the time of its release. Luther Vandross’ vocals are emotional and showed that he didn’t have to sing a song about romance in order to be vulnerable.
Top 10 Luther Vandross Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2020
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