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Late, Late Night FDL: Superstar

Luther Vandross – Superstar

Luther was a Superstar…

…Chic legend Fonzi Thornton remembers his best friend Luther Vandross and tells us how some of the greatest recordings of all time were created.

Few vocalists could ever touch people the way that Luther Vandross did.

Although the legendary singer passed away in 2005, his legacy lives on in in his countless classic recordings.

Sadly we will never get the chance to sit down with the great man to discuss his music and inspirations, but to celebrate the release of Luther Vandross The Greatest Hits, we sat down with his long term collaborator (and Chic legend in his own right) Fonzi Thornton, to talk through some of Vandross’ iconic moments in the studio.

Over his incredible career Fonzi has sung backing vocals for all the greats from Mariah Carey, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Bette Midler and Bruce Springsteen to modern stars like Leona Lewis and R.Kelly, as well as providing the male vocals on six Chic albums.

But his closest music relationship stemmed from his lifelong friendship with Luther Vandross, who he met when they were young teenage boys in East Harlem, one of New York’s poorest neighbourhoods. It would be difficult to find anyone who knew Vandross better.

“Luther and I grew up as best friends,” Fonzi remembers.

“I met him when I was 13 years old, he was 14. I was in his first vocal group called The Shades of Jade. His sister Anne lived across the street from me in the Projects (low income public housing) and a girl I went to church with introduced me to him.

“We did talent shows; we came in second at the Apollo Theatre amateur night!

“I sang on all of his albums, we wrote songs together, we knew each very well for a long time. I knew him his entire life.”

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