Luther Vandross: Why is Google Doodle honouring the late singer?

Guest-artist Sam Bass created animation to celebrate late-singer’s 70th birthday

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Tuesday 20 April 2021 10:17
Luther Vandross: Why is Google Doodle honouring the late singer?

Google is replacing its homepage logo with a Doodle honoring the late Grammy Award-winning singer Luther Vandross.

The search giant celebrated the life of the New York-born crooner on what would have been his 70th birthday with an illustration and animated Doodle by Atlanta-based guest artist Sam Bass.

Vandross was born in 1951 and began performing and writing songs while in high school, singing at the 1969 pilot of Sesame Street with the Apollo Theater’s performing arts group.

His first big break came when his song Everybody Rejoice featured in the 1974 Broadway musical The Wiz.

After that he collaborated with artists like David Bowie, Ringo Starr, Whitney Houston and Ben E King, while also singing in commercials for the likes of Juicy Fruit.

In 1981, he launched his solo career and composed, wrote and produced his debut album Never Too Much, which is the soundtrack for the 20 April Doodle.

Vandross went on to record 14 studio albums that went either platinum or multi-platinum, and he was nominated for 33 Grammy Awards, of which he won eight.

He also performed the half-time show at the 1997 Super Bowl and had eight Billboard Top Ten albums.

Vandross suffered from diabetes and hypertension and had a severe stroke in 2003 that left him in a wheelchair. He died of a heart attack on 1 July 2005 at the age of 54.

The singer’s family said they were delighted Google had given him a “wonderful showcase”.

“It is a true reflection of Luther Vandross’s musical legacy around the world to be honoured 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,” they said in a statement.

“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.”

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