#49: Luther Vandross ‘A House is Not a Home’

We've covered this before. Whenever Luther Vandross blesses a remake, it becomes his ("Always and Forever" notwithstanding). However, when Luther chose to remake "A House is Not a Home" in 1981 for his debut album, Never Too Much, it was more personal than any cover he'd ever do. Why? Because it was a tribute to his idol and the reason he pursued music as a career, Dionne Warwick, who was the originator. Her version of "House," composed in 1964 by the award-winning writing team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David, was a moderate hit stateside, peaking at #71 on the Billboard pop singles chart as the B-side to the track "You'll Never Get to Heaven (If You Break My Heart)." It did better in Canada, where it was a Top 40 hit, rising to #37. In all, the song has been covered at least seven times, by artists as diverse as Dusty Springfield and Barbra Streisand. It's Luther's that we'll always remember, however, with his version becoming a soul anthem of sorts. And yes, we know that it could've (maybe even should've) ranked higher on the countdown, but I ask you to look at it this way: if it were, you wouldn't be able to enjoy it on this hot, hazy not-yet-summer evening. Agreed? So sit back, kick off your shoes, and peep the video below. Yup, it's the one with Luther bringing his idol to tears as he serenades her at the 1988 NAACP Image Awards. It doesn't get much better than this. Enjoy. And stay cool.

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7 Responses

  1. Luther turned this song out...Listening to Luther's version makes you totally forget about Dionne's version.

  2. A very close friend of mine committed suicide last month and at his funeral his Godfather got up to speak. He quoted these exact song lyrics and at first I thought the poor man was drunk. Then it hit me: This shit is real and they apply in many situations, especially in his. Without my friend, 'A House is Not a Home', for real.

  3. I see you agreed with my point. But this is a great song. I didn't know Dusty Springfield covered it. I'd love to hear that.

  4. I love this site...
    Good to see everyone enJOYing themselves, we should try to get that back into music, it's all a little joyless at the moment.

  5. I re-discovered this video back in December '07 on YouTube & (along with Take 6's "Quiet Place") I watch it at least once a day. I remember seeing this the night it aired & even as a 6yr. old kid, I was mezmerized by how Luther's passionate energy demanded the attention of all the biggest stars in the audience that night. His voice was like witnessing a miracle. He is truly missed! By the way, one of my mom's friends use to wear one of those hair pom-poms the lady sitting next to Dionne Warwick was wearing. She had a silver one...with the dress to match! *sigh* the 80's. R.I.P Luther & Paul Winfield.

  6. As my mother would say "Luther you better sang that song!" And boy he know he did.I miss me some Luther though.

  7. Most singer simply choose a profession and they work hard on thier craft,study and achieve. Now in all walks of life there comes a time when God modes a person to measter a craft.
    He did this in boxing and named his master piece-Sugar Ray Robinson. He did it in singing for the females and named her Mahalia Jackson. But he knew the fellas need a representative and his name is-
    Mr. Luther Vandross.