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Music Review: Luther Vandross – The Ultimate Luther Vandross

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Luther Vandross’ untimely death in 2005 brought to a close one of the most successful careers in R&B history. Beginning in 1981, Vandross had a series of multi-million selling albums, hit singles and sold-out concerts. He has sold over thirty million records worldwide and won numerous awards, including eight Grammys. Along with being a gifted singer, Vandross wrote or co-wrote many of his songs as well as those of other artists, including Aretha Franklin.

J, Epic and Legacy Recordings have joined together to release The Ultimate Luther Vandross an eighteen-track career spanning collection. The album includes two previously unreleased tracks, “Shine,” produced by the legendary team of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, and “Got You Home,” another wonderful ballad from Vandross that is destined to become an Adult Contemporary hit.

Ultimate includes all of Vandross' #1 singles including the Grammy-winning “Dance With My Father,” from 2003, 1989’s Grammy-winning “Here And Now,” and his 1994 duet with Mariah Carey, “Endless Love.” Also on the CD are several other singles that show off Vandross’ tremendous vocal power, such as the mega-hit, “Power Of Love/Love Power."

Vandross' influence on popular music is impossible to ignore. His songs have been covered numerous times by American Idol contestants. The most notable covers include Season one finalist Tamyra Gray's cover of "Dance With My Father" on Boston Public and "A House is Not a Home," which many consider one of the greatest performances in the show's history. Season two winner Ruben Studdard has also covered "A House is Not a Home" and, more infamously, "Superstar." If fans of American Idol want to hear the man that inspired some of the show's greatest performances, listen to the Ultimate compilation.

Ultimate is a bittersweet album. While it’s wonderful to hear the two new tracks, Vandross' extraordinary voice makes you remember he died way too young. That aside, this album retrospective is the perfect single-CD overview of his career. The two previously unreleased tracks make The Ultimate Luther Vandross a must-have for any fan.

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