LUTHER: The Life and Longing of Luther Vandross

Craig Seymour, Author . Harper Entertainment $24.95 (368p) ISBN 978-0-06-059418-3

In April 2003, Vandross suffered a devastating stroke. When he opened his eyes from his comatose state almost one month later, Vandross added yet one more page to the many chapters in his life: later in the year, his song "Dance with My Father" won a Grammy. Seymour, a music critic for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution , chronicles the mercurial ups and downs of the golden-throated singer in this superficial biography. Seymour recounts Vandross's lifelong love of music and the singer's early infatuations with girl groups, particularly Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles and Dionne Warwick. Vandross enrolled in Western Michigan University, but eventually dropped out to pursue a career as a composer. His first big break came when he met David Bowie and composed the chorus for Bowie's "Young American." Vandross's fame as a composer and backup singer, which he preferred to the spotlight of a soloist, steadily grew until he was producing such acts as Aretha Franklin, Anita Baker and En Vogue. In spite of his success, the singer struggled with his insecurities, which often led him to seek solace in overeating, and he battled obesity and its attendant health problems throughout his career. Vandross's life and career, however, often get lost in Seymour's mini-profiles of the many musicians who helped him along his way. (July)

Reviewed on: 06/14/2004
Release date: 07/01/2004
Paperback - 349 pages - 978-0-06-077923-8
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