Ailing singer Luther Vandross' new album DANCE WITH MY FATHER looks set to overcome Metallica's latest and claim the top slot on the Billboard charts this week (ends22JUN03).

The album is geared up to sell 300,000 copies this week, which will more than double Vandross' previous best start.

Metallica's ST. ANGER rules the current charts after selling 418,000 copies in its first week.

Vandross, felled by a stroke on 16 April (03), has been unable to promote the album's release. But his mother, 80-year-old MARY VANDROSS, has filled in on the media circuit.

On a posting on her son's website, she says, "He is going to recover and when he does, I want him to be greeted with a big success story."

The 14-track collection features duets with Beyonce Knowles, Queen LATIFAH, Busta Rhymes and Foxy Brown.

Mrs Vandross is also hoping the album succeeds for more personal reasons - because its title song is a beautiful ode to her family.

She says, "Luther told me that he thought that was the best song he ever wrote.

"In fact, right after he wrote Dance With My Father, he called me and he said, 'Mama, I wrote a song for you and Daddy. I'm going to bring it and see what you think.' When I heard it, I felt like I was going to, well, scream. I played it over and over and I cried and cried.

"I was amazed how well Luther remembered his father, how we used to dance and sing in the house. I was so surprised that at 7 1/2 years of age, he could remember what a happy household we had. It was always filled with a lot of music. Luther's father, who was also named Luther, had a beautiful voice and he would sing and sing. That is where Luther got his gift."

17/06/2003 17:14