I also jointly dedicate today's song to my great-niece, Charley, whose 17th birthday it is today. Charley is the 17-year-old daughter of Janie and Chris Foster who live in Fareham, Hampshire.
Today’s song is ‘Dance with My Father Again’. This song is the RIAA Gold-certified title track to singer and songwriter Luther Vandross’ thirteenth studio album. With co-writer Richard Marx, Vandross wrote the song based on his personal experience. The lyrics recall childhood memories with Vandross' father, who used to dance with him and his mother.
Despite the lack of promotion due in part to Vandross' hospitalization, ‘Dance with My Father’ became one of the most requested songs at the time. During the 2004 Grammy Awards, ‘Dance with My Father’ earned Vandross the ‘Song of the Year’ and ‘Best Male R&B Vocal Performance’ accolades.
Vandross wrote ‘Dance with My Father’ with Marx, based on his personal experience. Considered by Vandross as his career song, ‘Dance with my Father’ is a tribute to his father, Luther Vandross, Sr., who died due to complications of diabetes. Vandross was seven when his father died. According to Marx, writing the song was emotional for Vandross because it is "a subject matter [Vandross] hadn't written about before."
On April 28, 2003. ‘Dance with My Father’ became one of the most requested songs at the time, spawning ‘a number of weepy phone calls and requests. With his death in 2005, ‘Dance with My Father’ was the last top 40 hit for Luther Vandross in the United States, peaking at Number 38. The song also peaked at Number 21 in the ‘UK Singles Chart’. On August 29, 2009, the song re-entered the UK top 40 after a performance of the song on ‘The X Factor’ by Joe McElderry.
This song instantly resonated with me the very first time I heard it. When my daughter, Rebecca, my fourth child was born, the whole dynamics of the household was to change. Being my only daughter, Rebecca (or Becky as we call her) got away with more things than her brothers James, Adam, Matthew or William ever did. All she had to do was to put on that butter-wouldn’t-melt-in-her-mouth angel-face smile of hers and I was like putty in her hands.
When Becky was aged around three years of age, we had a week’s break in a caravan/camping complex in Great Yarmouth that a family friend recommended. The evenings were spent in one large entertainment room where adult drinking, different competitions and dances took place nightly. During one dance competition, I held Becky up in my arms as she partnered me around the floor. I don’t know whether it was my own proficient performance as a dancer or ‘a sympathy vote’ that led to me and Becky becoming the winning duo.
One of the hardest things I ever had to do was to tell my children the bad news after I was first informed that I had developed a terminal blood cancer that was incurable during early 2013. I knew that this task would be extremely difficult, but I also felt that to say nothing would be the wrong thing to do in the long term. I now know I was right in this decision, as my passing will be less of a shock when it does happen. I will never forget hearing Becky cry down the phone as she realised that my life span would be shorter than what she had previously imagined.
I jointly dedicate my song today to my daughter, Becky. Have a nice day, Becky, and don’t you worry about your old dad dying off yet, I’m so happy with my life and I am sure that I will know when my time is approaching. So, fear not, as I have no intention of going anywhere in the immediate future, except to Ireland next spring. I love you, Becky, and am proud of you. Dad. X
I also jointly dedicate this song to my great-niece, Charley, who celebrates her 17th birthday today. Charley lives down in Fareham, Hampshire with her parents, Janie and Chris. Charley is the granddaughter of my brother Peter and his wife, Linda. Have a super 17th birthday, Charley and may your special day be filled with lots of love, happiness, presents, birthday cake and suitable refreshments. And, while you are celebrating today, Charley, have a dance with your father. Love from Great Uncle Billy and Sheila x
Love and peace Bill xxx