Remembering when Luther Vandross' sang 'A House is not a Home' and brought Dionne Warwick to tears

Luther Vandross, a very talented singer who rose to fame in the 70s and 80s, sang “A House Is Not a Home” during the 1986 NAACP Image Awards and brought Dionne Warwick to tears.

As Rolling Stone reported, Luther had the challenging task to perform the previously mentioned song in front of several important celebrities, including Janet Jackson, Anita Baker, and, of course, Dionne Warwick.

Dionne received the Entertainer of the Year Award during the night, and Luther was about to sing a song that she had released in the early-60s, more than two decades before.

Thankfully, Luther’s rendition was terrific, and it wowed everybody that night, including Dionne, who was so excited that she couldn’t stop shedding tears.


The man was an outspoken fan of Dionne’s vocal skills, and they even collaborated in the 80s. He released his own cover of “A House Is Not a Home” in 1981, but gave it his personal touch and made it considerably longer.

Source: Getty Images

Source: Getty Images

His seven-minute version added it some space that maximized its drama, a significant change compared to Dionne’s version that felt somehow rushed from time to time, but it was just the way the tune became popular.

Source: Getty Images

Source: Getty Images


“His voice is flexible enough to splinter a single “no” into six or eight parts and transform “love” into a colorful spray of falsetto,” were just a couple of words that Rolling Stone used to describe Luther’s version of the song.

Source: Getty Images

Source: Getty Images


Every time Luther varied the original melody or added some other words, the audience would cheer and applaud. At the end of the almost-seven-minute performance, he got a well-deserved standing ovation.


On July 1, 2005, the entertainment world lost a talented singer. Luther passed away at the age of 54 at the JFK Medical Center in Edison, New Jersey, after suffering a heart attack.

The man suffered from diabetes and hypertension and survived a severe stroke that left him in a coma for almost two months in 2003. His legacy will live on for many years to come.

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