Thu. Dec. 05, 2019

Luther Vandross – Give Me The Reason

This Beat Is Mine: Luther Vandross – Give Me The Reason (Epic)

Just the way you’ve entitled your interview with Luther Vandross, how could we ever feel we had too much of him. It’s the exact contrary, I would say. As his incredible voice allowed him to naturally come along in so many different environments. With this being how I came to appreciate other artists like Robert Brookins. But also Keith Washington, who obviously had a parental link with him in their way of singing.

As a matter of fact, Luther Vandross has never needed to give me the reason to love him more. With this from the very first time I got to hear him performing. Meanwhile just turning whatever he happened to sing into some one of a kind thing. And, in the meantime, transcending the existing formats. Just the way he did for instance on ‘Give Me The Reason’ and its video clip. The latter built over spoilers from the memorable ‘Ruthless People’. A comedy film which starred Danny DeVito and Bette Midler back in 1986.

‘Give Me The Reason…’ If ever there was an extra one needed to love him more, then we have it here…

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With warm thanks to Washington, DC-based correspondent, Penny Knowlt, for this week’s suggestion…

Overview
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 Quincy Jones to Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway (‘Back Together Again’), Chic (‘Dance, Dance, Dance’), 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 Sharon Redd and David Bowie. 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. This resulting in gems such as ‘Instant Love’ for Lynn. And ‘Jump To It’, ‘(It’s Just) Your Love’ and ‘Get It Right’ for Franklin.

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. Not to mention his (unofficial) flirt with House vibes as Big L on ‘Heaven’. This with remixing work courtesy of Tommy Musto in 2002.

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 in 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.

An unreleased cut of his – ‘Love It Love It’ – which he co-wrote with Hubert Eaves III eventually saw the light as a part of a posthumous Greatest Hits package by the end of 2014.

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 Jul. 01, 2005, at the age of 54.

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