Luther Vandross Birthday and NCAA Theme Song

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Luther Vandross would have been 60 years old today.  At the age of 54, Vandross reportedly died in New Jersey of a heart attack.  This music icon sold over 25 millions albums throughout his career and won eight Grammy Awards, including Best Male R&B Vocal Performance four times.  He was also ranked #54 on Rolling Stone Magazine’s List of 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.

Vandross was born April 20, 1951 in New York and grew up in the Bronx.  He started singing back-up for the likes of Diana Ross, Carly Simon, Chaka Khan, Donna Summer, Bette Midler and Barbara Streisand and it wasn’t until 1980, when Vandross was 29 years old that he would take center stage while singing with the band, “Change.”

Vandross’ career was affected as early as 2003 when he suffered  stroke.  He had just completed his album, “Dance With My Father” which became his only album to make #1 and in 2004, he hit it big winning four Grammy Awards including Song of the Year for the same track “Dance with My Father”, co-written by Richard Marx.

Whether in observance of Vandross’ 60th or not, CBS is said to have reinstated Vandross’ version of NCAA tournament anthem, “One Shining Moment” in exchange for Jennifer Hudson’s debut last year.

On March 30th, USA Today reports, “Harold Bryant, CBS Sports’ vice president for production, said Tuesday that network executives elected to go back to the Vandross version, which was used for seven years before CBS rolled out a new version by Jennifer Hudson in 2010. ‘Both versions are great. She (Hudson) did a great job,’ Bryant said. ‘We just felt like we wanted to go back to Luther.'”

David Barrett wrote “One Shining Moment”  after watching Larry Bird play in the 1979 tournament for Indiana State and over the years CBS used Barrett’s version before including other renditions by Teddy Pendergrass, Vandross and then last year, Hudson.

Looks like Vandross is here to stay for a bit longer.  Listen to his rendition of “One Shining Moment” here:

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