Luther Vandross Google Doodle created by Atlanta artist

Caption
The Google doodle for April 20 celebrates the birthday of Luther Vandross and was created by Atlanta artist Sam Bass.A multiplatinum, Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter and producer, Vandross' debut album was used as the doodle's soundtrack.Vandross collaborated with man big-name stars, including Whitney Houston, before going solo.He died in 2005 at the age of 54, two years after suffering a serious stroke.Vandross was posthumously awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Today’s Google Doodle celebrating the 70th birthday of Luther Vandross was illustrated and animated by Atlanta artist Sam Bass.

“Luther Vandross brought happiness and joy into so many people’s lives through his music,” Bass told Google. “His songs are iconic and internationally known. During a time with so many horrible things in the news, it’s great to get to do something like this.”

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Bass continued: “I’m personally inspired by color. I love the things that you can do visually with contrast, saturation, and hue. For this Doodle, I wanted to make color an important part of the visual story. Starting with a nightlife palette, then moving into a sunrise/golden hour palette, a mid-day to early afternoon palette, and then back to the nightlife palette for the grand finale concert.”

Born April 20, 1951, in New York City, Luther Ronzoni Vandross grew up inspired by soul music giants such as Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin and Dionne Warwick.

According to Google, the multiplatinum, Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter and producer “truly knew music was his destiny after a Warwick performance blew him away at 13 — so he began to write his own songs.”

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After years of working with numerous big-name artists, Vandross launched his solo career in 1981. He composed, wrote and produced his debut studio album, “Never Too Much,” which is the soundtrack of today’s Doodle and the first of 14 studio albums that went either platinum or multiplatinum.

Vandross’ career culminated in eight Grammy Awards (out of 33 nominations), a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a 1997 Super Bowl half-time show performance and eight Billboard Top 10 albums.

He died July 1, 2005, two years after suffering a serious stroke. He was 54.

In celebrating Vandross’ birthday, Google wrote, “The joy your music brings to the world is never too much.”

And joy is the message Bass hopes people take away from his doodle.

“While working on this project I had a lot of feelings, but the main one was joy,” he said. “It was so much fun getting to figure out ways to make each moment in the video feel intimate and a part of the overall story. I was creating small vignettes about togetherness, all types of love, nostalgia, and happiness—all while listening to an iconic song on repeat!”

The search engine’s doodle tradition began in 1998 when, according to the company itself, founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin played around with the corporate logo “to indicate their attendance at the Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert.”

Now there is an entire team of illustrators bringing biographies, history and interesting tidbits to life on Google’s homepage.