Google+ Beathearts: Beathearts Rewind #49: Luther Vandross & Aretha Franklin - Jump to it (1981)


Beathearts Rewind #49: Luther Vandross & Aretha Franklin - Jump to it (1981)

Was listening to this old interview with the late Luther Vandross yesterday and found out that he actually produced Aretha Franklin's classic albums Jump to it (1982) and Get it right (1983). Maybe you already knew but Luther's productions skills was at least news to me.

Apparently the story was this:

Luther was discovered by accident during David Bowie's recording session of Young Americans at Sigma Sound studios in Philadelphia. Luther felt the song needed a better hook and started humming along. Bowie overheard it and hired him on the spot.

A few years later, Vandross was established background singer for Roberta Flack and others. He had been saving up money for a studio demo. He convinced producers, background singers and musicians to help him for free. On a Sunday early 1981 he got in the Media Sound Studio and recorded his first demo Never too much/Sugar & spice. The day after he asked Roberta if she wanted a first listen. She was amazed, lovingly fired him (!) and helped him get a record deal.

In a Rolling Stone interview later that year he was asked about his future plans and answered that he "would wrestle [wrestling champion] Bruno Sammartino for a chance to produce Aretha Franklin". During a Saturday Night Live session Vandross and bass player Marcus Miller wrote Jump to it on a piano standing in a hallway. They sent her the demo and the rest is history.

Many thanks to legend Mats Nileskär for the great story.

Aretha Franklin - Jump to it (1982) - Prince Klassed re-edit

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