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Luther: The Life and Longing of Luther Vandross Hardcover – July 6, 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: HarperEntertainment (July 6, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060594187
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060594183
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #640,260 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In April 2003, Vandross suffered a devastating stroke. When he opened his eyes from his comatose state almost one month later, Vandross added yet one more page to the many chapters in his life: later in the year, his song "Dance with My Father" won a Grammy. Seymour, a music critic for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, chronicles the mercurial ups and downs of the golden-throated singer in this superficial biography. Seymour recounts Vandross's lifelong love of music and the singer's early infatuations with girl groups, particularly Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles and Dionne Warwick. Vandross enrolled in Western Michigan University, but eventually dropped out to pursue a career as a composer. His first big break came when he met David Bowie and composed the chorus for Bowie's "Young American." Vandross's fame as a composer and backup singer, which he preferred to the spotlight of a soloist, steadily grew until he was producing such acts as Aretha Franklin, Anita Baker and En Vogue. In spite of his success, the singer struggled with his insecurities, which often led him to seek solace in overeating, and he battled obesity and its attendant health problems throughout his career. Vandross's life and career, however, often get lost in Seymour's mini-profiles of the many musicians who helped him along his way.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"Seymour's keen, often empathetic insights .reveal a man facing the dichotomy of public fame and private pain." (David Nathan, the "British Ambassador of Soul," author of The Soulful Divas: Personal Portraits of over a dozen divine divas from Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin, & Diana Ross, to Patti LaBelle, Whitney Houston, & Janet Jackson)

"Full of juicy anecdotes, fast-paced writing and interesting analysis, the book .paints an intimate portrait of the beloved balladeer." (E. Lynn Harris, author of What Becomes of the Brokenhearted)

"Craig Seymour gives this great artist his rightful due." (Christopher John Farley, author of Aaliyah: More Than a Woman)

"Seymour's brilliant book is like a great Luther song: elegantly written, effortlessly executed and eloquently delivered. A majestic tribute." (Michael Eric Dyson, author of Mercy, Mercy Me: The Art, Loves, and Demons of Marvin Gaye)

More About the Author

Craig Seymour is an accomplished writer, photographer, and writing coach. He is the author of two books, the memoir All I Could Bare: My Life in the Strip Clubs of Gay Washington, D.C. (Atria/Simon & Schuster) and the biography, Luther: The Life & Longing of Luther Vandross. He has also written for The Washington Post, Entertainment Weekly, Vibe, and Spin magazine, among others. He has taught writing at Northern Illinois University and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. He holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Maryland at College Park.

Customer Reviews

I loved and still love Luther and he is truly missed.
Nancy J. Walden
Reading the biography of Luther Vandross' book, written by Craig Seymour, was exciting, compelling and informative regarding his rise to fame.
Francis Hall
We all know that LV was gay, and the author seemed to let us know this clearly-- without really coming right out and saying it.
Lemas Mitchell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Cydney Rax on July 9, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This Luther Vandross biography unexpected arrived in the mail and I begin reading immediately. An easy, quick and fascinating read, I enjoyed learning about Luther's background, his struggles to become a recording artist, and his careers successes and challenges. Although this really isn't a book filled with personal comments by Luther to the biographer, Craig Seymour, you can tell that the author did a great job seamlessly piecing together Luther's history so that it reads logically and thoughtfully. There are sad and poignant moments (the stroke), and many funny moments too (Luther's quick wit and great sense of humor). The squabbles he's had with fellow singers will make you laugh too and shake your head at what goes on behind closed doors within the industry. Even if you aren't a Luther Vandross fan, if you enjoy reading about a slice of R&B music history, you may enjoy reading this book. The book provides a fascinating and dramatic look at the music industry, and it simultaneously honors Luther Vandross with grace and honesty. It's highly recommended and may give you a greater appreciation for Luther, as well as entertainment in general.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Leon Petrossian on October 22, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed the book and there were some topics in Luther's life I had no idea about. I would have loved to read more detail on some of Luther's earlier recordings. I have the LUTHER albums from 1976 and 1977 plus the Bionic Boogie albums. The book left out his 1979 Bionic Boogie album TIGER TIGER where he sings lead on two songs. He also was in a studio group titled SOIREE where he sings "You Keep Me Hanging On" and "You Are The Sunshine Of My Life." The Charme, Mascara, and New York City Band albums are great as well. They show a side of Luther not to many fans have heard. Also in 1987 his song "There's Only You" was included on the movie soundtrack MADE IN HEAVEN. This seems like a personal song for Luther as you feel his emotion singing the haunting arrangement. I wonder if it was written after his tragic accident involving his friend Larry Salvemini. Overall the book is excellent and is the first written about the life of one of the greatest vocalist of all time.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By SisterDivas.org on August 1, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Craig Seymour did a fabulous job of taking the fans of Luther Vandross behind the scenes, giving a very detailed look inside of his singing career and life. The book was very tastefully written as Craig showed the ups and downs of Luther's career, struggles, triumphs and more, as well as paying tribute to his successes. This is a must read and a true page turner.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Karen Michell on July 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book is a truly inspiring story of hope, determination, and victory. The story is told with an ease of language and fluidity that is compelling and refreshing. The narrative is also substantive in research and history. I recommend this for anyone who wants to look behind the curtain and discover the pain and joy of some of our most beloved African American artists and most especially, Mr. Luther Vandross.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Toni on July 28, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I love Luther and loved the book, couldn't put it down. It was an easy and exciting read, revealing much about the very private Luther as well as the behind the scene, backstage music industry. If you love Luther as I do, you'll love this book. Hint: listen to his music while reading the book. I did and loved every minute of it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bobby on July 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover
My son gave me the book as a birthday present. While I like Luther I don't think I would have purchased the book. I thought Luther had lived a charmed, glittering, and successful life and who cared. Was I wrong! Mr. Seymour does a magnificent job in weaving together the complexities and ironies of Luther's life...singing of love, longing for love, and rarely, if ever, finding love. I feel both sympathy and admiration for Mr. Vandross and I wish him a speedy recovery. After reading the book I believe he will recovery because he has overcome most of the obstacles he's encountered. I'm glad I've been exposed to another dimension of Luther...his life and longings.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Boop on August 13, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I thoroughly enjoyed Luther's biography. After reading it I had a lot more respect for him as an entertainer. I am impressed at how he didn't sell hisself out just to have stardom.

I liked the way the author portrayed Luther's personality as if he was someone to be cool to be around but just don't get on his bad side or catch him on a bad day. I had heard rumors that Luther was hard to work with and the book has lead me to believe that that is true.

Luther is just a man that is frustrated by not having someone to love in his life that loves him for him and not for his money.

I felt sorry that he lost his whole immediate family except his mother and that is why they are so close. Luther and his mother makes me want to strive to have an even closer relationship with my sons.

I wish Luther a healthy recovery for the sake of his mother and his adoring fans; yes, I am one of them. I was blessed to see Luther in concert three times.

Later!!!!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Francis Hall on July 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Reading the biography of Luther Vandross' book, written by Craig Seymour, was exciting, compelling and informative regarding his rise to fame. Luther Vandross endured many obstacles in the pursuit of gaining recognition as a singer, yet his drive and perseverance prevailed. Luther taught me a valuable lesson in believing in one's self. Falling down is no disgrace but remaining down is. Craig Seymour, I anxiously await your next book-you are a prolific writer. Good Luck!
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