The possessor of one of the richest and most uplifting voices in R&B since the early '70s, Jeffrey Osborne helped power L.T.D. through several Top Ten Billboard Hot Soul Singles on his way to sustained solo success. Born in Providence, Rhode Island, Osborne was the youngest of 12 children and was surrounded by music as he was growing up. He had five brothers and six sisters, some of whom went on to have music careers. His father, Clarence "Legs" Osborne, was a trumpeter who played with Lionel Hampton, Count Basie, and Duke Ellington. At the age of 15, two years after his father died, Jeffrey began his career in earnest when he played drums for the O'Jays during a two-week stint. A group called Love Men Ltd. had a similar need when they later played Providence. Osborne obliged for the gig and subsequently joined the lineup full-time with a move to Los Angeles. Love Men Ltd. eventually changed their name to L.T.D., short for Love, Togetherness & Devotion, and Osborne eventually moved from behind the drum kit to center stage, where he has remained for well over four decades.
L.T.D., which eventually added Jeffrey's multi-instrumentalist brother Billy to the fold, didn't gain much commercial footing with their first two albums for A&M. They reached full stride in 1976 with their third album, Love to the World, produced by Larry and Fonce Mizell. Its "Love Ballad," written by Skip Scarborough, put the band on top of Billboard's Hot Soul Singles chart and made Osborne a star. In 1980, after he had fronted additional L.T.D. classics such as "(Every Time I Turn Around) Back in Love Again" and "(Holding On) When Love Is Gone," Osborne departed for a solo career. Remaining with A&M, he recorded five albums of sophisticated R&B for the label throughout the 1980s. The first four of these full-lengths, Jeffrey Osborne, Stay with Me Tonight, Don't Stop, and Emotional, all peaked within the Top Ten of the soul chart, promoted with similarly successful singles including "I Really Don't Need No Light," "On the Wings of Love," "Stay with Me Tonight," "You Should Be Mine (The Woo Woo Song)," and "She's on the Left." During this period, Osborne earned three gold album certifications from the RIAA and was nominated for as many Grammy Awards.
Throughout the three following decades, Osborne regularly performed but did not record with as much frequency as he had during the '70s and '80s. After he released Only Human on Arista in 1990, he switched to a series of independent labels to release titles such as That's for Sure and Music Is Life, the former of which resulted in another Grammy nomination, and the covers albums From the Soul and A Time for Love. He returned in 2018 on the Artistry label with Worth It All, which featured a collaboration with son Jeffrey Osborne, Jr. and was inspired by late creative partner George Duke. ~ Andy Kellman & Kim Summers
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