Luther Vandross

Raised in a musical family in New York, Vandross dropped out of college at Western Michigan University to pursue his music dreams. He'd already released a couple of singles with his High School group Shades Of Jade; sang back-up vocals for Diana Ross, Roberta Flack and Chaka Khan; had a cameo role and a song in the 1975 movie The Wiz; and co-wrote Fascination, recorded by David Bowie. But his powerful soul voice only really came to the fore when he was front man for pop-dance act Change, who struck it big in 1980. It launched Vandross as probably the best soul singer of his generation with a series of hits like Stop To Love and There's Nothing Better Than Love (with Gregory Hines). He also produced an Aretha Franklin album and duetted with Mariah Carey, but a stroke brought his career to an abrupt halt and he died in 2005.

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