Love The One You`re with
2 Killing Me Softly
3 Endless Love
7 Ain`t No Stoppin` Us Now
8 Always and Forever
9 Going In Circles
10 Since You`ve Been Gone
11 All The Woman I Need
12 What The World Needs Now
13 The Impossible Dream
Something truly magical happens when a creative artist hits their stride. And something even more amazing occurs when that artist is willing to reach beyond that stride.
Luther Vandross hits his stride some time ago; as the contemporary music scene`s pre-eminent black male artist, the multi-talented singer, songwriter and producer has garnered an unprecedented nine consecutive double-platinum albums since 1981.
That kind of feat has been achieved by precious few performers in music history and in Luther`s case, its a testament to his sheer artistry, his peerless skills as a lyrical interpreter and his vocal mastery.
His is the name most often mentioned when music critics and record buyer's alike think of the reigning king of velvet soul. He is the standard by which other male singers have been measured virtually since he began recording. He is the guy who has influenced a whole new generation of vocalists.
He is been packing folks into arenas, stadiums and concert halls across the globe for more than a decade. His live shows are legendary, a dazzling journey into a glamour, style and soul. And even putting aside the entertainment value of an evening in concert with the native New Yorker, you can always count on one thing at a Luther Vandross show; the man will sing !
When he paces the stage, throwing a note into the mike and smiling as it echoes across the auditorium, folks cheer. When he does one of his famous from-the-bottom-all-the-way-to-the-top-vocal runs, folk swoon. And when his voice rises, swelling, soaring, reaching an emotion-paced climax, its over.
His music is love music. His albums the kind that are just right for that special night with the special someone. You know, the perfect kind for that candlelight dinner, with a sip of wine, the after-dinner move to the sofa, dimming the lights, closing the door and taking the phone off the hook ....
One can but speculate how many folks have used a Luther album to entice, seduce, and to plain ol` get over, yes, the man has a lot to answer for in that department. But back to our original question.
Indeed, what happens when an artist of Vandross`s stature goes beyond his stride ?
The answer is, quite simply, in your hands. A milestone, a defining moment in an illustrious career. Songs, Luther Vandross` tenth album is a classic, a masterpiece, a breakthrough to a new level of musical brilliance.
A magnificent album of depth and beauty. Songs further develops a time-honoured Vandross tradition that has been in place since Luther began recording his own albums in 1981; the much-;loved tradition of covering pop and R&B classics.
In the past, Luther has put his personal and highly distinctive stamp on tunes like Stevie Wonder`s "Creepin", The Temptations "Since i lost my baby" and singer-songwriter Brenda Russell`s unforgettable "If only for one night". Quite simply, he`s made each one of those songs his own and no Vandross concert has been complete without his mesmerizing, show stopping interpretations of the Bacharach/David/Dionne Warwick chestnut, "A house is not a home", or The Carpenters "Superstar".
What better then than a whole album of timeless tunes, pop and R&B chestnuts from the 60s, 70s, and 80s, selected as always with tender loving care and given that deluxe Vandross vocal treatment? In a rich musical setting benefits such a breathtaking project. Songs is a soulful tour-de-force, marking the start of a new chapter in the Vandross legacy.
The inspired brainchild of Sony Music President and COO Tommy Mottola. Songs contains 13 tunes that allow Luther Vandross the opportunity to display his unmatched skill as a past master of lyrical interpretation.
The loving way he caresses a word, the sp--so-sublte-you-might-miss`em-vocal nuances, the sudden move from a gentle understatement to an emotion-filled climax, it`s all here and Luther never sounded better.
Working with Grammy-winning producer Walter Afansieff (responsible for hits with Maria Carey, Peabo Bryson, Kenny G, and other) and renowned British arranger Jeremy Lubbock. Luther has crafted an entire album of musical magic.
While it`s traditional for album notes`s writers to draw attention to specific highlights, any such attempt would truly be unfair. Songs demands to be viewed in its entirety, as an outstanding piece of work.
That having been said, one can`t help but comment on the heart-wrenching yet reflective poignancy of "Killing Me Softly"(first popularized by the legendary Roberta Flack or the simplicity and sad beauty of Lionel Richie`s "Hello".
You`d have to be truly rhythmless not to be inspired by the get-up-out-of-your-seat groove of the lyrically uplifting "Ain`t No Stoppin` Us Now" (originally recorded by Philly songwriters McFadden & Whitehead) or the driving stomp down treatment Luther gives to Stephanie Mills "Love The One You`re With".
Most artists would approach the classic 60s recordings of Aretha Franklin, Dionne Warwick, or Dianna Ross & The Supremes with more than a pinch of fear and trepidation. Not Luther, whose admiration for the three unrivalled divas has been well documented (and aided by his impressive work as a producer on all three).
Rather than simply duplicate the original version, "The Queen Of Soul" 67 smash "Since You`ve Been Gone" undergoes a triumphant musical transformation in Luther`s hands, with a new tempo, a whole brand new feel. It`s been forever Luther-ised, as have the lifting "What The World Needs Now" (a Burt Bacharach/Hal David tune that gave Dionne Warwick one of her decade of 60`s hits) and "Reflections", the biting Holland/Dozier/Holland tune that added another notch to The Supremes non-stop run of Motown hits.
Leaving no stone unturned, Luther revisits two great R&B ballads that have remained all-time favourites, easily standing the test of time. He gives a new depth of meaning to both "Going In Circles", first brought to the publics attention by The Friends of Distinction in 1969, and Heatwave`s immortal "Always And Forever", two truly soulful highlights from an album filled with musical standouts. "Standouts", is the only way to describe the stirring treatment Luther gives to three more of this landmark album`s cuts. "All The Woman I Need", a tribute to Whitney Houston and her 1991 chart topper is intense and passionate; Barabara Streisand`s "Evergreen" never sounded so warm and tender; and Luther`s treatment of the Broadway standard "The Impossible Dream" is stunning, certainly one of the most moving performances ever recorded.
The album`s one superstar duet features Luther and Maria Carey reviving the Diana Ross/Lionel Richie hit "Endless Love", in a heart-melting, marvellous music match, emerging as the most likely candidate for a 90`s wedding song if ever there was one.
Typifying Luther`s ever-present desire for top quality musical support, the veritable cream of the vocal crop can be heard in back of him. Singers like Cissy Houston, Lisa Fischer, Barlene Love, Tawatha Agee, Phil Perry, and Fonzi Thornton (among others) provide the perfect vocal backdrop.
The oh-so funky Tower of Power horn section can be heard on selected cuts. And, no less a distinguished musical aggregation that The London Symphony Orchestra works with a powerhouse rhythm section (featuring producer Afansieff, Dann Huff, Gary Cirimella, Dan Shea, and Ren Klyce) to complement Luther`s center stage vocal stylings.
Songs is much more than just another major musical triumph for Luther; it`s
the unfolding of new creative horizons, new pathways, it is Luther Vandross, in
Produced by Walter Afanasieff
Co-Produced by Luther Vandross
Other Luther Vandross Albums
The Night I Fell In Love
Give Me The Reason
Never Too Much
Forever, For Always, For Love
Luther Vandross - Boxset
The Best of Luther Vandross
Power Of Love
Never Let Me Go
19 Feb 83 Never Too Much No
44 6 wks
26 Jul 86 Give Me The Reason No 60 3 wks
21 Feb 87 Give Me The Reason (re-issue) No 71 2 wks
28 Mar 87 See Me No 60 4 wks
11 Jul 87 I Really Didn`t Mean It No 16 10 wks
5 Sept 87 Stop To Love No 24 7 wks
7 Nov 87 So Amazing No 33 6 wks
23 Jan 88 Give Me The Reason No 26 6 wks
16 Apr 88 I Gave It Up No 28 5 wks
9 Jul 88 There`s Nothing Better Than Love No 72 1 wk
8 Oct 88 Any Love No 31 4 wks
4 Feb 89 She Won`t Talk To Me No 34 4 wks
22 Apr 89 Come Back No 53 3 wks
28 Oct 89 Never Too Much (re-mix) No 13 7 wks
6 Jan 90 Here And Now No 43 3 wks
27 Apr 91 Power Of Love - Love Power No 46 5 wks
18 Jan 92 The Rush No 53 3 wks
15 Aug 92 The Best Things In Life Are Free No 2 13wks
22 May 93 Little Miracles (Happen Every Day) No 28 3 wks
18 Sept 93 Heaven Knows No 34 3 wks
4 Dec 93 Love is on the way No 38 2 wks
17 Sept 94 Endless Love No 3 10 wks
26 Nov 94 Love the one you`re with No 31 4 wks
7 Jan 95 Endless Love (re-entry) No 70 2 wks
4 Feb 95 Always and Forever No 20 5 wks
4 Feb 95 Endless Love (2nd re-entry) No 55 4 wks
15 Apr 95 Ain`t no Stoppin us Now No 22 3 wks
11 Nov 95 Powe of Love - Love Power (re-mix) No 31 3 wks
16 Dec 95 The Best Things in Life are Free (re-mix) No 7 7 wks
23 Dec 95 Every Year Every Christmas No 43 2 wks
12 Oct 96 Your Secret Love No 14 5 wks
28 Dec 96 I Can Make it Better No 44 2 wks