Craig SeymourDec 21, 2022
The Life and Longing of Luther Vandross
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. Craig Seymour's Luther: The Life and Longing of Luther Vandross (2017) 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.
Cresa Pugh is a PhD Candidate in sociology and social policy at Harvard University. For more information see scholar.harvard.edu/cresa and follow her on Twitter @CresaPugh.