Tuesday, October 29, 2019

"Stop to Love" by Luther Vandross

Rated 10 Alert!
Song#:  2936
Date:  11/15/1986
Debut:  86
Peak:  15
Weeks:  19
Genre:  R&B

Pop Bits:  Vandross' fifth album, Give Me the Reason, started off well with the #3 R&B title-track hit. It was his tenth Top 10 on that chart. Yet like most of his other singles, the track failed to make much of an impression at Pop and it stopped at #57. Still in search of his first significant crossover hit, Vandross released this album opening track. The song would be a major hit at R&B becoming his second #1. It was also a winner at AC reaching #7 while making it to #27 at Dance. The song crossed over to Pop where it became his biggest hit to-date getting inside the Top 20. In turn, the album would do well hitting #1 at R&B and #14 Pop. It was a significant step forward in mainstream acceptance for Vandross, but he was still missing that elusive Pop Top 10.

ReduxReview:  After all these years, I'm still peeved this didn't make the Pop Top 10. I mean, what more could this guy do to secure a major hit? By this point in time this track should have been his fourth Pop Top 10 but for some reason pop radio and listeners didn't give him a fair shake and he was still shut out after this tune. What the hell were they thinking? AC even handed him his second Top 10 there with this song. Everything was lined up perfectly for this song to be a big hit. It had elements of R&B and dance-pop along with an indelible chorus (I love when the background vocals just shout "STOP!"), excellent 80s production, nice guitar solo (by Doc Powell), and the amazing voice of Vandross. It was near perfection. Plus it had a fun, memorable video that featured Vandross and his model crew performing the song on top of a vehicle that was driving around L.A. (which MTV didn't promote). At minimum, this should have been a Top 5 smash. Alas, it was kept down to #15, which wasn't a bad result by any means, but c'mon. Vandross had been virtually ignored at Pop since his 1981 debut and it would still take another three years after this before he would finally crack the Pop Top 10. Unbelievable. Regardless, his albums were still platinum and double-platinum sellers. But imagine if he had pop/MTV support. Those same LPs might have sold 3-4 million and put him on par with other mega stars of the day. He'd still be a revered superstar, but it would take nearly a decade for him to truly find crossover acceptance.


Trivia:  Vandross would struggle with weight his whole life and it was a particularly tough thing to deal with in the 80s thanks to the advent of MTV. With videos becoming so popular, an artist's image became more important than ever before and a husky R&B singer was not what MTV was looking for regardless of album sales or popularity. So for his Give Me the Reason album, Vandross dieted and lost over 85 pounds in hopes that a sleeker chassis would help his image and MTV appeal. It didn't really work. Airplay for "Stop to Love" was minimal at best despite the song climbing the charts. Adding insult to injury, his weigh loss became the subject of speculation after a British magazine, Blues and Soul, printed a story that attributed Vandross' weight loss to AIDS. Vandross successfully sued the magazine for libel. With the dieting not doing much for his career, Vandross gained back the weight back. He would end up dealing with diabetes and hypertension. He would suffer a stroke in 2003 and then die of a heart attack in 2005 at the age of 54.


No comments:

Post a Comment