http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/f0f1ac514563209d848b6d94b8a1274e8c796f82.jpg Busy Body

Luther Vandross

Busy Body

Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 4 0
February 16, 1984

As a soul man, Luther Vandross has a unique image. Forsaking the role of Demanding Lover or Five-Star Stud played by the likes of Teddy Pendergrass and Marvin Gaye, Vandross is usually pursuing a woman who is elusive, independent or stepping out on him. He doesn't get angry or play the clown, but responds by expressing his undying love. It's the kind of stance that could make one seem like a patsy, but Vandross is able to pull it off because of his magnificently androgynous voice, which sounds like a sonic battle of the sexes, velvety smoothness reinforced with supreme confidence.

On Busy Body, Vandross' third and best solo album, the singer brings a few changes to his favorite role. The silky, Boz Scaggs-like title cut spells out every aspect of his woman's unfaithfulness; then, on the jaunty "I'll Let You Slide," he becomes testy in a jovial way. "If we do it twice in the mornin'," he bargains, "I'll let you slide tonight." He shows an unlimited patience in the extended, daring (for a man) and brilliant rendition of Leon Russell and Bonnie Bramlett's "Superstar," which closes the album. The I'll wait-forever passion of that song is topped only by the exuberance of "For the Sweetness of Your Love," in which Vandross vows, "I'll even wrestle Mr. T!" What more could a lover ask?

Throughout the album, Vandross is the vocal maestro, enlisting as backup singers such first-rate talent as Darlene Love, Cissy Houston, Patti Austin, David Lasley and Chic's Alfa Anderson. And he coaxes a superb performance out of Dionne Warwick on their torrid duet "How Many Times Can We Say Goodbye." Musically, Vandross relies on a crack crew of musicians, including the fine keyboardist arranger Nathaniel Adderley Jr. and his all-purpose right-hand man, Marcus Miller, whose popping bass and synthesizer wizardry are as crucial to Vandross' sound as his own irrepressible scat singing. Among pop-soul ensembles at the moment, they're my idea of the A-Team.

Album Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Long Walk Home”

    Bruce Springsteen | 2007

    When the subject of this mournful song returns home, he hardly recognizes his town. Springsteen told Rolling Stone the alienation the man feels is a metaphor for life in a politically altered post-9/11 America. “Who would have ever thought we’d live in a country without habeas corpus?” he said. “That’s Orwellian. That’s what political hysteria is about and how effective it is. I felt it in myself. You get frightened for your family, for your home. And you realize how countries can move way off course, very far from democratic ideals.”

    More Song Stories entries »