Today is what would have been Luther Vandross’ 65th birthday. Possessing a voice unmatched and a vault of hits that range from the early 1980s up until his passing in 2005, Vandross has exceeded anyone’s requirements for the status of icon or legend. Through his incredible career he has become one of the go to inspirations for vocalists and a persona so intertwined with personal emotions and memories that many fans consider him family.
This familial relationship with Vandross makes it almost impossible to have just one or even 5 favorite songs and after asking family members (like my Grandma and Nana who absolutely adore him) and coworkers/bosses, I realized it would be more advantageous to create a playlist honoring the life and work of Luther Vandross rather than a short top 5. In the end, the playlist rounds out to 21 hits that are in no way a definitive list, but a surface scratcher of the one of the most amazing discographies in R&B/Soul. The hope is that by venturing into this birthday playlist you’ll be moved to dive into the wondrous world of Luther Vandross; to push this agenda along I implore you to watch this 1988 live NAACP Awards performance of crowd favorite (and one of the songs featured on the playlist) “A House is Not a Home” where Vandross captivates an audience including a young Janet Jackson and a mesmerized Dionne Warwick.