The thing about “Never Too Much,” perhaps the best-known track by the iconic crooner and romantic singer Luther Vandross, is that it’s a rare and elusive example of a perfect song. The escalating and de-escalating chords of the first verse beckon the audience as Vandross details just how besotted he is; next, the singer recalls how anxious he was before his love was recognized. Then, the chorus’s repeated “never too much, never too much, never too much” captures perfectly the ecstasy of abundance. It’s only right that today’s Google Doodle honors Vandross’s birthday, which happens to come at the onset of Taurus season, the most lavish sign of the Zodiac.
Vandross, who was born in 1951 in New York City, was captivated as a child by the voices of talents like Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, and Dionne Warwick, and resolved to join theatrical performing arts groups to hone his talent. Vandross also composed “Everybody Rejoice” for the 1974 Broadway musical The Wiz, which also helped to put him on the map and launch him into collaborations with other iconic musicians.
Vandross, of course, went on to produce 14 platinum or multi-platinum studio albums, and also became the first male artist to sell out 10 shows consecutively at London’s massive Wembley Arena. His discography is exhaustive, and filled with plenty of heart-melting ballads, but “Never Too Much” tells you everything you need to know: this was a performer defined by abundance, joy and romance.
The Doodle of Vandross was made by guest artist Sam Bass. “Luther Vandross brought happiness and joy into so many people’s lives through his music,” Bass told Google in an interview. “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.”