Luther: The Life and Longing of Luther Vandross

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Harper Collins, Jul 1, 2004 - Biography & Autobiography - 349 pages
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On April 16, 2003, Luther Vandross suffered a near-fatal stroke, and the world held its breath. Inside sources said he might never sing again. He was too weak to receive visitors, but cards and good wishes came from Aretha Franklin, David Bowie, Anita Baker, Halle Berry, Patti LaBelle, Jesse Jackson, Burt Bacharach, Bette Midler, Star Jones, Gladys Knight, and Dionne Warwick, among others. With a will to live matched only by the enormous strength and power of his heart, soul, and singing talent, Luther survived and is regaining his voice. This biography is a loving tribute to the man who has entertained millions.

Luther remains one of the music industry's most private celebrities. In Luther, the first biography of the hugely popular and beloved singer, Craig Seymour investigates and illuminates Luther's life, from his early obsession with soulful girl groups to the day he was discovered by glam rocker David Bowie to his devastating stroke and inspiring recovery. Seymour explores Luther's elusive sexuality, the taboo question that has plagued him for his entire career. He talks about Luther's yo-yo dieting, and the pain his weight has caused him and those around him. He tells the whole story behind the widely publicized feuds between Luther and R&B icons Aretha Franklin and Anita Baker as well as the group En Vogue. And he frankly and honestly explores the tragedies of Luther's life: the 1986 car crash that killed his best friend and nearly destroyed his career, and the 2003 stroke that almost ended his life.

An authentic R&B legend, Luther Vandross is one of the most popular and talented vocalists in the world. His life has been full of pain and love, tragedy and redemption. And now, for the first time ever, Luther gives you a backstage pass into his life and longing.


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Give Me the Reason
Any Love
y Power of Love
Take You Out

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Page 29 - Come See about Me," "Stop! in the Name of Love...
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Page 86 - Ironically, I was freed from fear by people who, at the time, were ruled by fear.
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Page 169 - Listening to it, I wonder whether Vandross's ascendance from background singer to jingle singer to featured vocalist in Change to solo act to producer-writer in the space of three years doesn't contain the seeds, not of disaster, but of a missed opportunity for Vandross to establish himself as the foremost singer of his generation.
Page 197 - My whole adult life I have had gay friends. I've had gay collaborators, I've had gay mentors. And if I live to be a thousand, I could never repay the debt I owe to them. They gave me my vision and they gave me my career.
Page 62 - ... he told Q magazine in 1990. "At the time I still had an element of being the artist who just throws things out unemotionally. But it was quite definitely one of the best bands I ever had . . . And I was like most English who come over to America for the first time, totally blown away by the fact that the blacks in America had their own culture, and it was positive and they were proud of it ... and to be right there in the middle of it was just intoxicating, to go into the same studios as all...
Page 86 - Magic that removes the violence of the cold, dark streets. The insecurities, the hates, the fears, the prejudices outside vanish in a haze of camp. . . . And the Jewish Tinker Bell is right there in front of you. Twinkling, glittering and making soft musical chimes of peace.

About the author (2004)

Craig Seymour is a professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. A well-regarded writer and photographer, he is the author of "Luther: The Life and Longing of Luther Vandross" and has contributed numerous articles to "The Washington Post, Entertainment Weekly, Vibe, " and other publications. He holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park. To learn more, visit

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