Luther Vandross leads the internet with tribute from Google on his 70th birthday

20 April 2021, 11:06

Talented R&B singer, songwriter and producer, Luther Vandross, who won eight Grammy Awards has been honoured by Google 16 years after his death.
Talented R&B singer, songwriter and producer, Luther Vandross, who won eight Grammy Awards has been honoured by Google 16 years after his death. Picture: Google/Getty

By Giorgina Hamilton

Google pay tribute to Grammy Award-winning 'velvet voice' Luther Vandross with an animated musical doodle on what would have been the anniversary of his 70th birthday.

Luther Vandross has been given an animated musical doodle of his hit by Google on his 70th birthday today (April 20).

The talented R&B singer, songwriter and producer who won eight Grammy Awards has been honoured by the search engine 16 years after his death.

See more: Luther Vandross facts: Soul singer's age, partner, songs and death explained

When clicking on the main Google homepage, users are taken to a special animated music video of Luther's hit song 'Never Too Much' made by the tech giant, below.

After leaving the group Change, Luther Vandross released his debut album Never Too Much in 1981, and went on to have a string of hits.
After leaving the group Change, Luther Vandross released his debut album Never Too Much in 1981, and went on to have a string of hits. Picture: Getty

Born on April 20, 1951 in Manhattan, New York City, Luther Vandross taught himself to play the piano by ear at the age of three.

At high school, Luther performed in a group called Shades of Jade and as well as performing at amateur nights, he also in several episodes of the first season of Sesame Street in 1969-1970.

See more: The 10 greatest Luther Vandross songs ever

The singer became a backing vocalist and co-wrote 'Fascination' for David Bowie, going on tour with him as a backing singer.

Luther Vandross started as a backing vocalist and co-wrote 'Fascination' for David Bowie, going on tour with him as a backing singer. Pictured winning American Music Awards for Favorite Soul/R&B Male Artist and Favorite Soul R&B Album in 1992.
Luther Vandross started as a backing vocalist and co-wrote 'Fascination' for David Bowie, going on tour with him as a backing singer. Pictured winning American Music Awards for Favorite Soul/R&B Male Artist and Favorite Soul R&B Album in 1992. Picture: Getty
Luther Vandross was great friends with other recording artists including Diana Ross. Pictured, the pair performing together at New York's Madison Square Garden in 2000.
Luther Vandross was great friends with other recording artists including Diana Ross. Pictured, the pair performing together at New York's Madison Square Garden in 2000. Picture: Getty

As the 1970s went on, Luther wrote commercial jingles and continued singing backing vocals for artists such as Chaka Khan, Bette Midler, Diana Ross, Carly Simon, Barbra Streisand, Ringo Starr, Sister Sledge, and Donna Summer.

See more: When Luther Vandross flawlessly sang 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas' on 1995 TV special

Luther's career breakthrough came in the 1980's as a singer with the pop-dance act Change, who scored hits with 'The Glow of Love' and 'Searching'.

After leaving the group, Luther released his debut album Never Too Much in 1981, and went on to have a string of hits.

See more: Relive Luther Vandross, Whitney Houston, Stevie Wonder and Dionne Warwick's spellbinding 1987 performance

With songs such as 'Dance With My Father' and 'Never Too Much', Luther Vandross' powerful and soothing voice earned him millions of fans around the world and seven consecutive number one albums in his lifetime.

Hitmaker Luther Vandross won eight Grammy Awards in his lifetime. Pictured at the 33rd Awards in New York City in 1991.
Hitmaker Luther Vandross won eight Grammy Awards in his lifetime. Pictured at the 33rd Awards in New York City in 1991. Picture: Getty

In April 2003, Luther had a severe stroke at his home in New York City, and was in a coma for almost two months.

At the 2004 Grammy Awards, Luther appeared in a pre-recorded video to accept his Song of the Year Award for 'Dance with My Father', where he said: "When I say goodbye it's never for long, because I believe in the power of love", with him singing the last six words..

See more: The Story of... 'Dance With My Father' by Luther Vandross

Luther Vandross died on July 1, 2005, at the age of 54, after a heart attack.

His funeral was held at Riverside Church in New York City on July 8, 2005. Cissy Houston, mother of Whitney Houston, sang at the service.