Friday, July 1, 2005

Luther Vandross

(We realized Friday evening that discussing dead rock stars is a silly and sometimes counter-productive pursuit, but then Luther died. And around our household this is nearly cause for tears. For a lot of reasons we won't get into here. Even though we acknowledge that getting into such reasons is why exactly 92.5% of all blogs exist.

In any event, we will say this: At some point in the next 18 months, someone or something will make-up one of those '50 Most Important Artists Of The Last 60 Years' lists and Luther Vandross, perhaps even rightly, will not be on it. Even though he was probably three times more relevant than exactly 20% of the people who will appear on said list.

Not simply because he made Young Americans one of David Bowie's best singles. Or, according to a four-year-old special we just watched on BET, appears on Chic's Le Freak.

He also contributed to The Wiz. And wrote jingles for Coke and NBC. He produced, backed up or did session work for Bette Midler, Ringo Starr, Stevie Wonder, J. Geils Band, Quincy Jones, Cat Stevens, Cher, Sister Sledge, Roxy Music, Aretha Franklin and Richard Marx. Performed duets with Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, Frank Sinatra, Beyonce, Gregory Hines, Busta Rhymes and Dionne Warwick. Sold 25-million records of his own. Sang approximately 87 songs that included the word "love" in the title, including: Power of Love, Endless Love, Crazy Love, Love the One You're With, Love Forgot, Love Don't Love You Anymore, Nobody To Love, Stop To Love and There's Nothing Better Than Love. Is featured on the soundtrack to, we're guessing here, about 1 in 15 weddings. And pretty much defines his own genre of well-loved music.

Maybe only if he'd written Happy Birthday would more broader a spectrum of people been exposed to at least some part of his repertoire. And even then the difference would be marginal.

Bonus points: He created his own burger. May or may not have been gay. And was otherwise complicated enough to inspire this.

Anyway. We argue all of this without having heard much of said musical output. But, like we said, there were nearly tears round here. And we can almost guarantee you that won't be the case when, like, Dylan dies.)

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