Lost but not least! Luther Vandross – I Wanted Your Love (Epic)
I stumbled upon Luther Vandross‘s voice from the very first time I got to hear his crystal clear voice. That was back in 1980 when I managed to get my hands on Change‘s memorable ‘Glow Of Love’. “The most beautiful song I’ve happened to sing in my life…”, he said to me during an interview we had prior to the release of his ‘Power Of Love’ album 11 years later. From then on, I would become an unconditional fan of his from a release to another.
I suppose it’s fair to say Luther has built his repertoire upon love matters of all sorts. And this, in a rare emotional way. With ‘I Wanted Your Love’ exploring the theme of the absence of the beloved that nothing could ever replace. Be it the glory, the financial health or whatsoever. With the man singing his heart out on this infectious bass-driven jam courtesy of Marcus Miller. And the backing singers, from Fonzi Thornton to Tawatha Agee and Phillip Ballou (Revelation) echoing in an outstanding way…
‘I Wanted Your Love’ obviously didn’t manage to engender the same impact as ‘Never Too Much’, ‘Give Me The Reason’ or ‘Power Of Love’ to name but a very few. It nevertheless stands to me as one of the most beautiful episodes of his impressive legacy.
Gifted with a velvet tenor voice, NYC native Luther Vandross appeared in the first series of ‘Sesame Street’ back in 1969. A performer, but also a songwriter, he collaborated with countless artists and bands. From David Bowie to Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway, Chic, Chaka Khan or Diana Ross. But also Charme with whom he did a cover version of Toto‘s ‘Georgy Porgy’. Not to mention Jocelyn Brown and Sharon Redd. And I’m not even talkin’ about his activities as producer along with bassist Marcus Miller and sound engineer Ray Bardani. The latter leading him to craft Cheryl Lynn‘s ‘Instant Love’ then Aretha Franklin‘s ‘Jump To It’ and ‘Get It Right’ albums in 1982 and 1983.
Despite a couple of album releases as simply Luther, Vandross would get his breakthrough as the lead singer of various tracks on Change‘s ‘The Glow Of Love’ debut-album back in 1980. He refused contributing to its follow-up though because of a financial disagreement with its executive producer, Jacques Fred Petrus. Although he would sing backing vocals on The BB&Q Band‘s eponymous debut album from the same management team. From then on, he signed a solo record deal with Epic. Going straight to the position #1 in the charts with the title cut from his ‘Never Too Much’ debut-album the year after.
‘Never Too Much’ opened an impressive list of successes which established Vandross as the #1 R&B singer for two decades. The man varying the pleasures upon different moods. From ballads to R&B grooves and eventually hybrids such as ‘Give Me The Reason’ back in 1986.
Among his masterpieces, ‘The Night I Fell In Love’, ‘My Sensitivity (Gets In The Way)’, ‘I Wanted Your Love’, ‘It’s Over Now’ and ‘Power Of Love’. Not to mention ‘The Rush’ which David Morales remixed it an outstanding way and ‘Always And Forever’ to name a few. Vandross also happened to share the duties back in 1992 with Janet Jackson, Bell, Biv, DeVoe and Ralph Tresvant. Delivering the boiling ‘The Best Things in Life Are Free’. A cut which got extra exposure as a part of the ‘Mo’ Money OST’ with production work courtesy of Jam & Lewis. Meanwhile, some of you might also remember his collaboration with Masters At Work on ‘Are You Using Me’ back in 1998. A track which, for some reason, only saw the light as a Promo 12″ on Virgin.
Luther Vandross has sold more than 35 million records worldwide and received 8 Grammy Awards.
He sadly died from diabetes and hypertension at the JFK Medical Center in Edison, NJ on Ju. 01, 2005, at the age of 54.