On April 20, Google launched a video Doodle to celebrate the 70th birthday of multi-platinum, Grammy Award winning singer, songwriter, and producer Luther Vandross.
The Doodle was created in collaboration with Atlanta-based guest artist and animator, Sam Bass. The music video Doodle is set to “Never Too Much,” the award-winning soundtrack originally written, produced and performed by Luther Vandross.
The video takes a journey through a joyful day in Luther Vandross’ hometown of New York City during the ’80s, while weaving in important moments throughout the singer’s life.
Luther’s family commented on the doodle:
“It is a true reflection of Luther Vandross’s musical legacy around the world to be honored by Google with an animated video Doodle that fittingly captures the joy Luther has brought the world. Luther made each of his songs about one simple, universal subject-love; an emotion and feeling common to the human experience no matter who you are, where you’re from or what you look like. No one else has expressed this emotion, in song, at the level Luther did for over 35 years. To have Google broadcast that around the world is a wonderful showcase of his immeasurable talent.”
After battling diabetes and obesity for most of his adult life, Luther suffered a debilitating stroke on April 16, 2003 that left him confined to a wheelchair.
In an interview with Ebony magazine the following year, Luther said he was on the road to recovery and he hoped to sing again.
That same year, he won four Grammy awards to go along with the four he won in the 1990s. He picked up Grammys for R&B album of the Year, Song of the Year and Male R&B vocal performance for “Dance with My Father.” He also won a Grammy for R&B performance by a duo or group for his duet with Beyonce on the remake of “The Closer I Get to You.”
In a pre-recorded message for the 2004 Grammys audience, Luther said, “I want to thank everyone for your love and support. And remember, when I say goodbye, it’s never for long, because I believe in the power of love.”
He died from natural causes on July 1, 2005 at age 54.
Luther’s successful music career culminated in eight Grammy Awards (out of 33 nominations), a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a 1997 Super Bowl half-time show performance, and eight Billboard Top 10 albums.
Happy Birthday, Luther Vandross! The joy your music brings to the world is “never too much!”