Monday, February 24, 2020

"There's Nothing Better Than Love" by Luther Vandross with Gregory Hines

Song#:  3053
Date:  03/14/1987
Debut:  96
Peak:  50
Weeks:  14
Genre:  R&B

Pop Bits:  Vandross got his highest entry to-date on the Pop chart with "Stop to Love," the second single from his fifth album Give Me the Reason. It was also his second #1 at R&B. To follow it up, this third single from the LP was released. It was another big winner at R&B topping the chart. It also did pretty well at AC reaching #20. Yet like several of Vandross' other singles, it couldn't make much headway on the Pop chart and it stopped at the halfway point. A fourth single, "I Really Didn't Mean It," was pushed out and it got to #6 at R&B, but it failed to chart at Pop. Despite the lack of support at Pop, the album was a major success becoming his third to reach double-platinum status.

ReduxReview:  In general, this was a pleasant ballad nicely performed by Vandross and Hines. Would I list it among Vandross' best works? Nope, but I certainly don't mind listening to it. I realize that Vandross was giving a kickstart to Hines' recording career and it certainly worked with the song hitting #1 at R&B, but I'm not sure the tune was a good candidate for a duet. It just seemed kind of split up (you sing these lines, I'll sing these and we meet at the chorus). Because of that, there was little interaction between the vocalists, which is what makes duets interesting. Hines was a capable vocalist, but his voice didn't have that special something to make it memorable, like Vandross'.  All-in-all, a good effort, but not among my faves from Luther.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Vandross shared the spotlight with entertainer Gregory Hines on this song. Hines' popularity was soaring at the time. The influential tap dancer had already been nominated for three Tony awards and two Emmys, and had co-starred in two successful films, White Nights and Running Scared. It seemed he could do it all so the natural next step was to take a stab at a recording career. Apparently, Hines had previously tried to get a recording deal, but he was rejected by labels who saw him as a tap dancer/Broadway showman rather than a modern, commercial recording artist. That changed when Vandross happened to catch a TV appearance Hines had done. Vandross saw something the labels hadn't and reached out to see if Hines wanted to work with him. The two got together and this single became Hines' introduction as a recording artist. This would later be followed by a self-titled 1988 debut solo LP that was all produced and co-written by Vandross. The album's first single, "That Girl Wants to Dance with Me," became a #6 hit at R&B, but it didn't reach the Pop chart. A second single was a very minor entry at R&B. Despite the hit, it seemed like it was a one-n-done for Hines and he moved on to other work including his Tony-winning performance in 1992's Jelly's Last Jam. It should be noted that this was not Hines' first foray into singing or recording music. In 1968, he recorded an album titled Pandemonium with his brother and his dad for Columbia Records. It was credited to Hines, Hines & Dad. The trio had been together for a few years working the clubs. Later in the 70s, Hines became the lead singer of a rock/funk band named Severance. They recorded a self-titled debut LP in 1976.


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