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Elton John among
stars appearing on Vandross tribute CD

Elton John among
stars appearing on Vandross tribute CD

Alicia Keys, Celine Dion, Elton John, and Usher are among the artists paying tribute to one of contemporary R&B's most celebrated balladeers on So Amazing: An All-Star Tribute to Luther Vandross. The album will be released September 20 by J Records; the gay artist died in July in the wake of a stroke suffered two years earlier. "No one had ever heard of anyone that sounded like Luther," says Mary J. Blige, who covers the Vandross classic "Never Too Much." "No one heard anyone that brought that much soul."

In a posthumous duet, John sings the Burt Bacharach-Hal David song "Anyone Who Had a Heart" alongside the original vocals Vandross recorded for his 1986 album Give Me the Reason (Epic). The R&B standard "Always and Forever," which Vandross covered, is delivered here by Wyclef Jean. Keys is joined by Jermaine Paul on "If This World Was Mine," while Dion adds a cover of Vandross's "Dance With My Father," the title track of the album released shortly after he suffered the stroke. That J set debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200 and has sold 2.3 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

The set also features the contributions of such storied artists as Aretha Franklin, who takes on "A House Is Not a Home"; Patti LaBelle on "Here and Now"; and Beyonce, who covers the title track. Others featured on the tribute include Jamie Foxx ("Creepin"), Donna Summer ("Power of Love"), Fantasia ("Till My Baby Comes Home"), John Legend ("Love Won't Let Me Wait"), and Babyface ("If Only for One Night"). "Luther Vandross's music influences generations of past, present, and future by helping us understand the language of love," says Usher, who covers "Superstar." "His legacy will live on forever, and I'm happy that I could contribute to his legacy." (Barry A. Jeckell, via Reuters)

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