“Dance with My Father” by Luther Vandross
“Dance with My Father” is a song performed by renowned American singer Luther Vandross. The song is purely autobiographical and talks about nothing but Vandross’ happy childhood memories of growing up with his father and how he wished he could relive those happy moments once again. The song’s lyrics mention a number of some of these happy moments that Vandross had with his father and mother. The most memorable of these memories were the times when his father would carry him high and dance with him and his mother – a memory that inspired the song’s title.
All in all, Vandross wrote this song as a heartfelt tribute to his beloved father who died of diabetes when Vandross was only just a small child.
Facts about “Dance with My Father”
The song was written by Luther Vandross and American rock singer Richard Marx, whom prior to that had worked with Vandross on a number of occasions.
“Dance with My Father” was produced by Vandross and American music arranger and composer Nat Adderley Jr.
The song was released on 30th May, 2003 as a single from Vandross’ thirteenth and last studio album of the same name. This final album of his was his only studio project to make it to the top of the U.S. Albums Chart. Also, it is worth noting that the album went on to become the most successful album released by Vandross throughout his career.
About two weeks after the song was released, Vandross suffered a major stroke that left him in a coma for close to two months. As a result of his illness, Vandross was unable to promote the single; however, it went on to become one of the most successful songs of his career.
According to the song’s co-writer Richard Marx, writing the song was very emotional for Vandross. And this was because it touched on a subject (the death of his father) that he (Vandross) had never written about.
Shortly after the song was released, Vandross’ mother, Mary Ida Vandross said she was amazed how despite being only just 7 years old, Vandross was still able to remember vividly the happy home they used to have.
Vandross once referred to the song as his “career song”.
The song peaked at number 38 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 21 on the UK Singles Chart.
Sadly, on July 1, 2005, about 2 years after the release of the song, Vandross died tragically at the age of 54.
Today, this track is one of the most famous Father’s Day songs.
The music video for “Dance with My Father” features a number of famous celebrities, including Beyoncé and her father Mathew Knowles. The pair actually danced together in the video. Other famous celebrities who appeared in the music video include the following:
- Whitney Houston
- Quincy Jones
- Stevie Wonder
- Wyclef Jean
- Celine Dion
- Johnny Gill
It is noteworthy that not all the celebrities made physical appearances in the video. Some made their appearance in the music video by way of their personal pictures and home videos showing them with their fathers.
Celine Dion performs “Dance with My Father”
In addition to performing the song live with Richard Marx at the Grammy Awards in 2004, singer Celine Dion also recorded a cover version of the song. This version appeared on the 2005 Luther Vandross tribute album So Amazing: An All-Star Tribute to Luther Vandross.
In an interview Richard Marx had with Huffington Post, he said of the song as being one very close to Celine Dion’s heart. This is because she also lost her father and could relate strongly to the lyrics of the song.
Luther Vandross’ and his Father
Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Luther Ronzoni Vandross, Jr. was the fourth child of his parents. He was named after his father, Luther Vandross, Sr. who was an upholsterer and a singer.
Luther Vandross, Sr. died on October 5, 1959 after suffering from diabetes. The young Luther was only 7 or 8 years old when his father passed away. Mary Ida Vandross, his wife took care of Luther Vandross Jr and their three other children, moving them to the Bronx a year after his death.
“Dance with My Father” was written by Vandross Jr, and dedicated to his father. The title was inspired by his childhood memories of his family dancing and singing at home. The singer coincidentally suffered from the same disease (Diabetes) as his father and died of a heart attack in 2005. He was 54 years old when he passed away.