Luther Vandross

Luther Vandross
Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

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Luther Vandross
Music: West side of the 1700 block of Vine Street
Singer
Born Luther Ronzoni Vandross on April 20, 1951 in New York, NY
Died July 1, 2005 of complications from a stroke in Edison, N.J.

Luther Vandross, the velvety-voiced soul singer, rose to national prominence on the strength of his collaborations.

Vandross first began his career as a backup singer for artists such as David Bowie, Diana Ross and Barbra Streisand. He proved his mettle in a variety of genres and settings, both in studio and onstage. He earned a gold record for his debut with the group Change in 1980.

As he went solo, Vandross topped the charts with his dulcet harmonies and resonant leads. He earned a reputation as a duet partner, providing a deep-voiced foil to R&B divas and pop sopranos. His verse-trading turns with the likes of Mariah Carey, Beyonce and Janet Jackson all turned into major hits, with his Carey duet “Endless Love” (a tune Lionel Ritchie and Diana Ross originally made famous) becoming a staple of pop radio.

The duet helped make his 1994 album “Songs” a major hit, alongside interpretations of tracks by Stephen Stills and Burt Bacharach. The album proved he was a commercially successful interpreter of modern pop .

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