Why Luther Vandross Is One of the Greatest Vocalists of All-Time

Luther Vandross would have turned 65 years old on April 20, 2016

Born on April 20, 1951 in New York City, Luther Vandross was one of the greatest male vocalists of all-time, winning eight Grammys, nine American Music Awards, and six NAACP Image Awards. He was also inducted into the BET Walk of Fame, and received the Soul Train Quincy Jones Award for Outstanding Career Achievement.  Vandross was a consummate composer, producer, and arranger who sold over 30 million singles and albums, including 13 platinum or double platinum albums and seven number one singles.

Following a very successful career as a studio and background vocalist working with Quincy Jones, Roberta Flack, David Bowie, Diana Ross, Chaka Khan, Bette Midler, Donna Summer, and Barbara Streisand, Vandross became one of the most admired and influential solo artists. After suffering a stroke on April 16, 2003, he passed away July 1, 2005 at the age of 54.

Here are "20 Reasons Why Luther Vandross Set the Standard for Male Vocalists."

01
of 20
August 12, 1981 - "Never Too Much" debut album

LutherRickJamesQuincyJones.jpg
Luther Vandross with Rick James (left) and Quincy Jones (right). Vinnie Zuffante/Getty Images
On August 12, 1981, Luther Vandross' debut album Never Too Much was released. It hit number one and was certified double platinum featuring the title tune, "Don't You Know That," and one of his signature songs, "A House Is Not A Home."

02
of 20
July 1982 - Produced Aretha Franklin "Jump to It" album

ArethaLuther.jpg
Luther Vandross performing with Aretha Franklin. Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images

Luther Vandross admired Aretha Franklin, and he produced her number one comeback album Jump To It which was released in July 1982, and her Get It Right album which was released in July 1983.

03
of 20
September 29, 1983 - Produced Dionne Warwick album

LutherDionne.jpg
Luther Vandross and Dionne Warwick with Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager. Ebet Roberts/Redferns
Luther Vandross admired Dionne Warwick, and he produced her How Many Times Can We Say Goodbye album which was released September 29, 1983 featuring their duet as the tittle song.

04
of 20
March 8, 1985 - "The Night I Fell In Love" album

LutherVandross1985.jpg
Luther Vandross. Michel Linssen/Redferns
On March 8, 1985, Luther Vandross released his number one double platinum The Night I Fell In Love album featuring "Til My Baby Comes Home." It's Over Now," and "Wait For Love."

05
of 20
September 19, 1986 - "Give Me The Reason" album

LutherVandross1986-.jpg
Luther Vandross. GAB Archive/Redferns

On September 19, 1986, Luther Vandross released his Give Me The Reason album which earned him an American Music Award for Favorite RandB Male Artist. The double platinum album hit number one featuring the title tune (also included on the Ruthless People soundtrack), "Stop to Love," "I Really Didn't Mean It," and his duet with Gregory Hines, "There's Nothing Better Than Love." 

06
of 20
March 23, 1987 - Soul Train Album of the Year

LutherVandross1987.jpg
Luther Vandross. teve Grayson/WireImage

On March 23, 1987, Luther Vandross hosted the first Soul Train Music Awards with Dionne Warwick at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in Los Angeles, California. His Give Me The Reason won Male Album of the Year.

07
of 20
January 25, 1988 - First American Music Award

LutherChakaGladys.jpg
Luther Vandross with Chaka Khan (left) and Gladys Knight (right). KMazur/WireImage

On January 25, 1988, Luther Vandross won his first of nine American Music Awards. He was honored for Favorite RandB Male Artist.

08
of 20
1989 - Sold Out Ten Shows At Wembley Arena

LutherPattiLaBelle.jpg
Luther Vandross and Patti LaBelle. Steve W Grayson/Online USA

Luther Vandross consistently sold out arenas all over the world, and In 1989, he performed ten consecutive sellouts at Wembley Arena in London, England. In 1988, he performed 65 concerts, grossing over $12 million and solidifying his reputation as one of the most popular live entertainers. 

09
of 20
1990 - American Music Award and Soul Train Music Award

LutherMaryJBlige.jpg
Luther Vandross and Mary J. Blige. Gregg DeGuire/WireImage

On January 22, 1990, Luther Vandross won an American Music Award for Favorite RadB Male Artist. That same year, he also won a Soul Train Music Award for Best RandB/Urban Contemporary Single - Male for "Here and Now."

10
of 20
February 20, 1991 - First Grammy Award

LutherRonaldIsley.jpg
Luther Vandross and Ronald Isley. Steve Grayson/WireImage

On February 20, 1991, Luther Vandross won his first Grammy, Best RandB Vocal Performance, Male for "Here and Now" at the 33rd Annual Grammy Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York. Also in 1991, his double platinum Power of Love album was released, and June 1 was declared "Luther Vandross Day" in Los Angeles.

11
of 20
February 25, 1992 - Two Grammy Awards

LutherVandrosslavendersuit.jpg
Luther Vandross. L. Cohen/WireImage

On February 25, 1992, Luther Vandross won two trophies at the 34th Annual Grammy Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York. "Power of Love/Love Power" was honored for Best RandB Vocal Performance, Male and Best RandB Song.

Also in 1992, Vandross won American Music Awards for Favorite RandB Male Artist and Favorite RandB Album for Power of Love. At the Soul Train Music Awards, Power of Love was also chosen Best RandB Male Album.

12
of 20
January 26, 1997- Performed at Super Bowl 31

LutherVandross-4SuperBowl31.jpg
Luther Vandross performs the National Anthem at Super Bowl 31 at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana on January 26, 1997. Stephen Dunn Getty Images Sports

On January 26, 1997, Luther Vandross performed the National Anthem at Super Bowl 31 between the New England Patriots and the Green Bay Packers at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.

13
of 20
February 26, 1997 - Fourth Grammy Award

13_08_07_luther_ve_mariah.jpg
Luther Vandross and Mariah Carey. Waring Abbott/Getty Images

On February 26, 1997, Luther Vandross won Best RandB Vocal Performance,  Male for "Your Secret Love" at the 39th Annual Grammy Awards at Madison Square Garden  in New York City. 

14
of 20
March 25, 1999 - Quincy Jones Award for Career Achievement

LutherQuincyJonesAward.jpg
Luther Vandross holding his Quincy Jones Award for Outstanding Career Achievement with Whitney Houston at the Soul Train Music Awards on March 26, 1999 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California. SGranitz/WireImage)

On March 25, 1999, Luther Vandross received the Quincy Jones Award for Outstanding Career Achievement at the Soul Train Music Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California.

15
of 20
October 24, 2000 - BET Walk of Fame

LutherDianaRoss.jpg
Luther Vandross and Diana Ross. KMazur/WireImage)

On October 24, 2000, Luther Vandross was inducted into the BET Walk of Fame in Washington, D.C.

16
of 20
September 10, 2001 - Michael Jackson 30th Anniversary Concert

LutherMichaelJackson30thanniversary.jpg
Luther Vandross performing with Usher and 98 Degrees at Michael Jackson's 30th Anniversary celebration special on September 10th, 2001 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Dave Hogan/Getty Images

On September 10, 2001, Luther Vandross performed "Man In The Mirror" with Usher and 98 Degrees at the Michael Jackson  30th Anniversary Celebration at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

17
of 20
2002 - American Music Award and NAACP Image Award

LutherAMA2002.jpg
Luther Vandross holding his American Music Award for Favorite R&B Male on Jaunayr 9, 2002 at the 29th Annual American Music Awards at The Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California. SGranitz/WireImage

On January 9, 2002, Luther Vandross won Favorite Male RandB Artist at the 29th Annual American Music Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. That same year, he also won an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Male Artist.

18
of 20
June 10, 2003 - "Dance Wth My Father" album

LutherOprahTina.jpg
Luther Vandross with (left to right) Diana Ross, Rosie O'Donnell, Tina Turner, and Oprah Winfrey. KMazur/WireImage

On June 10, 2003, Luther Vandross' Dance With My Father album was released. That same year, on November 16, he won American Music Awards for Outstanding RandB Album and Outstanding Male RandB Artist.

19
of 20
February 8, 2004 - 4 Grammys including Song of the Year

LutherAliciaKeys.jpg
Luther Vandross, Alicia Keys, Clive Davis, & Melissa Etheridge. L. Cohen/WireImage

On February 8, 2004, Luther Vandross was the big winner at the 46th Annual Grammy Awards held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. He won Song of the Year, Best Male RandB Male Vocal Performance, and Best RandB Album for Dance With My Father. Vandross was also honored for Best RandB Performance By A Duo Or Group with Vocal for "The Closer I Get To You" featuring Beyonce.

20
of 20
June 3, 2014 - Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

LutherVandrossHollywoodStar.jpg
Luther Vandross is honored posthumously with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame with flowers from Aretha Franklin on June 3, 2014 in Hollywood, California. David Livingston/Getty Image

On June 3, 2014. Luther Vandross was posthumously honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.