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The Best of Luther Vandross
Genres: Blues, Pop, R&B, Rock
The classiest of R&B's lover men, Luther Vandross eschews the sweaty soul intensity of his predecessors for a silky-smooth sound that achieves its romantic aims nonetheless. In the hands of a lesser artist, Vandross's narr... more »
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The classiest of R&B's lover men, Luther Vandross eschews the sweaty soul intensity of his predecessors for a silky-smooth sound that achieves its romantic aims nonetheless. In the hands of a lesser artist, Vandross's narrow focus on love songs would seem restrictive, but he somehow finds endlessly entertaining ways of conveying simple messages like "I love you," "I miss you," and "Why did you leave me?" The Best of Love is just that--a 20-song retrospective that clocks Vandross's brilliant career through its first decade, including such gems as his gorgeous reworking of the Bacharach-David chestnut "A House Is Not a Home," Smokey Robinson's "Since I Lost My Baby," and his own early hit "Never Too Much." Vandross was a staple on the R&B charts throughout the '80s, but the set culminates with "Here and Now," his 1989 crossover smash. Since then, Luther has belonged to everyone; this set shows it should have been that way all along. --Daniel Durchholz
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Excellent introduction/summary of Luther's '80's work
Robert Johnson | Richmond, KY USA | 08/02/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Although Luther was really more of an album artist in the eighties (and please note that each of his eighties are worth owning in their own right!), however, he did manage to rack up a very impressive amount of hits on Billboard's R&B chart during this time. Although THE BEST OF LOVE understandably doesn't have the cohesion of Luther's proper eighties discs, it is an excellent introduction/summary of the man at his creative peak.
The hits included are "Never Too Much" (#33 Pop, #1 R&B, #4 Dance), "Bad Boy/Having A Party" (#55 Pop, #3 R&B), "If This World Were Mine" (#4 R&B), "Since I Lost My Baby" (#17 R&B), "Superstar/Until You Come Back To Me" (#4 R&B), "Til My Baby Comes Home" (#29 Pop, #4 R&B), "Give Me The Reason" (#57 Pop, #3 R&B), "Stop To Love" (#15 Pop, #1 R&B, #7 Adult Contemporary), "There's Nothing Better Than Love" (#50 Pop, #1 R&B, #20 Adult Contemporary), "I Really Didn't Mean It" (#6 R&B), and "Any Love" (#44 Pop, #1 R&B, #12 Adult Contemporary).
There are a few great lower-charting singles included, "Promise Me" (#72 R&B), "If Only For One Night/Creepin'" (#59 R&B), and "So Amazing" (#94 R&B). Also of note is the inclusion of the two singles that Luther recorded with the group Change, the anthem "Searching" and the often-sampled "Glow of Love," which is what led to Luther landing his solo recording contract with Columbia. There are also two non-single covers, "A House Is Not A Home" and "Love Won't Let Me Wait," that nonetheless became classics in their own right.
It is worth noting that there are some singles that are missing from the set, and a few of them were actually significant hits. Charting singles that are absent include "Don't You Know That" (#10 R&B), "Sugar and Spice" (#72 R&B), "How Many Times Can We Say Goodbye" (#27 Pop, #7 R&B, #4 Adult Contemporary), "I Let You Slide" (#9 R&B), "It's Over Now" (#4 R&B), "Wait For Love" (#11 R&B), "She Won't Talk To Me" (#30 Pop, #3 R&B, #17 Adult Contemporary), and "For You To Love" (#3 R&B). While all of the missing songs are also very good, the rest of the material is so terrific that their absence will not be noticeable while listening to this album. Although I would like to see this set remastered with a few of the above tracks re-inserted as bonus tracks.
There are also two then-newly recorded tracks as well. As most people know, it was first of these, the gorgeous "Here and Now" (#6 Pop, #1 R&B, #3 Adult Contemporary), that proved to be Luther's first major introduction to mainstream audiences. The other song, "Treat You Right" (#5 R&B), isn't as well known, but is almost as good. The two new hits helped send THE BEST OF LOVE to #26 on the Hot 200, and it reached the impressive Triple-Platinum status in sales.
Luther. The Legend. The Music.
Clarissa Bolding | Austin, TX USA | 07/03/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Luther. He was known by one name. He was known for his voice. He was known as the master balladeer of love. Instantly recognized from the very first note. Silky. Smooth. Sensual. Soulful. Spiritual. Sophisticated. Surreal. Words simply cannot do justice to the voice and presence Luther Vandross possessed. So many people grew up on his music. Lived and loved to his music. First kisses. First slow dances. First heartbreaks. Weddings. Births. Other life transitions. Luther's music served as a constant soundtrack for so many special, life affecting events. It still does and always will.
The music of Luther Vandross has inspired so many. Lyrically, he could express emotions and give illustrations to feelings we've all shared but may not have known how to convey to another. Vocally, his delivery was nothing less than perfection. No one could sing a love song like Luther. He owned a passion and fire that could both scorch and soothe the very heart and soul. His voice, no, his instrument could be soft as a light spring rain or as strong and powerful as gusting winds whipping nature into frenzy. And he did it all seamlessly. Effortlessly. This man we all knew and loved like he was a part of our family. This man we would watch in awe as he glided across world stages impeccably dressed from head to toe, exuding complete class and style. This man who could turn a riff or ad lib into an emotional experience. This man who could bring tears to eyes and make heart's skip beats all from one note.
Live, Luther would send chill on top of chill through his female fans and have them screaming for more. And men weren't too far from doing the same. The things Luther Vandross could do with that instrument of his can never be duplicated. He was one of a kind. And that is an understatement. After all, it was Luther's music often played in house parties and romantic evenings between couples. It was Luther's music that is the reason many of us are on the planet now. Songs like "Since I Lost My Baby" encompassed the emotion felt over a lost love. "Superstar/ Until you Come Back to Me" or "A House Is Not a Home" were tour de forces that cut deep into the hearts of those longing for that true, lasting love. The catalogue of ballads and songs that made us feel everything from joy to pain and want to dance, sit in reflection, or simply in awe, is endless.
We are blessed to still have his music and it will indeed live on for love lives on. This collection is a MUST HAVE. Simply put.
The world lost a voice of gold but heaven truly has gained an angel. Luther, your presence in this world will be missed. You are a part of our hearts and you will always remain. It was "So Amazing" to experience the "Power of Love" through your God-given instrument and "Never too Much" for us. "Here and Now" we all know you are dancing with your father. Again. Rest in peace.
The Essential Luther
Roger A. Sneed | Nashville, TN United States | 07/13/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Simply put, this collection is a must-have. Before Brian McKnight, before Maxwell and Chico and Kenny, and before all these so-called singers who are as subtle as a neon sign, there was Luther. There was That Voice, capable of making people swoon and fall in love simply by singing the phone book. This double-cd set showcases the best Luther Vandross has to offer, with subtle reworkings of some of his hits (listen to the original versions of some of the songs and you'll note that there have been some additional background work done). Unfortunately, there have been a couple of songs that are not included, like "Wait for Love" or "Forever, For Always, For Love," songs that would have strengthened an already classic compilation. Their omission does not detract from the set, though. Ultimately, this is truly the best of Luther, the best of love"