Google Creates Google Doodle for Luther Vandross’s 70th Birthday

Posted April 20, 2021 by J Matthew Cobb in Features

Google gets velvety with recent doodle celebrating R&B crooner 

luthervandross-google-01It’s “never too much, never too much, never too much” to celebrate Luther Vandross.

But on today, it’s “more than amazing” because the popular search engine Google featured Vandross on their main page with a Google Doodle honoring his 70th birthday.

Born on April 20, 1951, Luther broke into the music industry providing background vocals in New York for a host of producers and artists ranging from Quincy Jones, David Bowie, Change and Chic while also doing demand work for TV commercial jingles in the ’70’s. With a velvety, smooth voice and the ability to swoop notes with a glorious tenor and powerful range, along with his impeccable attention to detail, Vandross earned credits as a vocal arranger in the late ’70s and even powered a number of hit records for the Italian-American disco act Change with “Searching” and “The Glow of Love,” even earning lead vocal credit. By 1981, Larkin Arnold, senior vice president at CBS, believed in him immensely and signed him to a solo contract with Epic Records. His debut LP, Never Too Much, came out the gate as one of the best R&B albums released in 1981. He quickly morphed into a Quiet Storm favorite with his sumptuous love ballads like “A House Is Not a Home,” “Superstar/Until You Come Back to Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do” and “Since I Lost My Baby.” As a solid producer, arranger and songwriter, in collaboration with his musical friends Nat Adderley, Jr. and Marcus Miller, Vandross became an in-demand producer for other artists, working with the likes of Cheryl Lynn, Dionne Warwick and Aretha Franklin.

Throughout his illustrious career, with 35 million records sold worldwide, multiple gold and platinum albums and winning eight Grammy Awards, Vandross remained a signature presence in R&B, powering hits songs like “Never Too Much”, “Here and Now”, “Any Love”, “Power of Love/Love Power”, “Don’t Wanna Be a Fool,” “I Can Make It Better,” “Stop to Love,” “So Amazing,” “Heaven Knows,” “Take You Out,” and “For You to Love”. He’s also dueted with a number of music icons including Beyoncé (“The Closer I Get to You”), Mariah Carey (“Endless Love”) and Janet Jackson (“The Best Things in Life Are Free”), which all landed on multiple Billboard charts. For his final album, Dance With My Father, Vandross was posthumously awarded four Grammys in 2004, including Song of the Year for the title track.

Vandross passed away on July 1, 2005, while recovering from a massive stroke two years prior.

GIF of a scene from the Luther Vandross tribute Google Doodle

GIF of a scene from the Luther Vandross tribute Google Doodle

At noon, the YouTube-linked music video created by Atlanta-based artist Sam Bass was #6 on YouTube’s Trending category page. The gorgeously crafted animated video, done with bold colors and hues, comes with a minute of “Never Too Much” airplay in the background. Throughout the joyful presentation, iconic scenes from Vandross’s career are carefully revisited, including the Apollo Theatre, his tenure on Sesame Street, and, of course, his legendary touring and shiny, sparkly costumes.

In describing the project, Bass focused on the meaning of love and joy, an important emotion in Vandross’s work.”While working on this project I had a lot of feelings, but the main one was joy. It was so much fun getting to figure out ways to make each moment in the video feel intimate and a part of the overall story. I was creating small vignettes about togetherness, all types of love, nostalgia, and happiness—all while listening to an iconic song on repeat!”

He added:

“Luther Vandross brought happiness and joy into so many people’s lives through his music. His songs are iconic and internationally known. During a time with so many horrible things in the news, it’s great to get to do something like this.”

Ironically, his birthday also falls on 4/20, the unofficial official holiday celebrating marijuana recreation use and National Cold Brew Coffee Day.

To learn more about today’s Google Doodle on Luther Vandross, click here.

At the time of publication, the Google Doodle video was #6 on YouTube's Trending page.

At the time of publication, the Google Doodle video was #6 on YouTube’s Trending page.

About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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