BMM Spotlight: The Story Behind Luther Vandross’ ‘Dance With My Father’

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Blog > Black Music Month > BMM Spotlight: The Story Behind Luther Vandross’ ‘Dance With My Father’

BMM Spotlight: The Story Behind Luther Vandross’ ‘Dance With My Father’

Photo credit - Steve Eichner/WireImage/GettyImages

In celebration of Father’s Day and Black Music Month, we’re highlighting the late legend Luther Vandross and the story behind “Dance With My Father.”

Lither Vandross was born on April 20, 1951, in NYC. He was raised with loving parents until his father passed from diabetes when he was seven.

Growing up, Vandross wasn’t interested in school as much as he was with music. His friend, Alomar, had become a guitarist for rock star David Bowie, and introduced them. Bowie was impressed with Vandross' voice and compositions and this is what led Vandross into the music industry. He sang backup and was in a group, but those were short-lived since he was destined to have a solo career.

In 2003, he released “Dance With My Father,” which was featured on his 13th album. Luther Vandross co-wrote this song with singer-songwriter Richard Marx. Marx and Vandross both lost their dads but Marx has lost his more recently, in 1997. Marx thought Vandross would be perfect for the record since they could relate to the same experience. 

Vandross also dedicated the song to his dad. His favorite memory of his father was him dancing in the house with his kids, which is how the concept of the song came about.

The video features a few artists, singers, actors, sports stars, as well as childhood photos of Vandross. Beyoncé appears alongside her father, Mathew Knowles. 

“At the time of 'Dance with My Father's release, Vandross had been hospitalized after suffering from a stroke. This timely release of the song gained further attention from critics and the public.” He passed away in 2005. 

Take a listen:

 

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