David Eldon Lasley (August 20, 1947 – December 9, 2021) was an American recording artist, singer and songwriter. He was known for his contributions as a background singer for such artists as Bonnie Raitt, James Taylor, Luther Vandross, Chic, Aretha Franklin, Dionne Warwick, Dusty Springfield and Boz Scaggs; as a songwriter for artists including Bonnie Raitt, Whitney Houston, Anita Baker,Maxine Nightingale, Rita Coolidge, Crystal Gayle, and Luther Vandross; and his solo albums and albums with his 1970s vocal group Rosie.
In 1980, David Lasley was signed by David Geffen to Geffen Records. At the time he was one of the chief staff writers at Irving Almo Music.
Lasley was born in Michigan, the son of Bernice and Roy Lasley. He grew up on a farm north of Grand Rapids. Lasley sang with his family in church and in his teens, put together an a cappella singing group called The Utopias with his sister Julie and Joan Hughes, and achieving some success in the Detroit area. As reported by Roger Bass in Billboard, The Utopias released their first recording, “Girls Are Against Me” on the LaSalle label, distributed by Solid Hitbounds Productions.
Performers with whom Lasley worked include Todd Rundgren, Melissa Manchester and Bonnie Raitt, who recorded a number of Lasley’s compositions.
Darlene Love related in an interview with HiFi Magazine how she met Luther Vandross through Lasley.
In Lenny Kravitz’ book Let Love Rule, Kravitz describes meeting Lasley, his generosity offering him a couch to sleep on, being mentored by Lasley with invaluable songwriting advice, and an introduction to Almo/Irving Music which led to a publishing deal. Kravitz was privy to late-night phone calls between Luther Vandross and Lasley, made from Vandross’s hotel room after shows.
Lasley’s debut solo album Missin’ Twenty Grand was named after the club Twenty Grand miles north of Detroit where he and his sister used to sing for free. Lasley described the album: “it’s a lot about my teeenage years. I’ve often wanted to go back to Detroit”.
The single “If I Had My Wish Tonight” spent 10 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at No. 36 in May 1982.It was co-written by Dave Loggins, who had originally recorded the song in 1979, and Randy Goodrum.
Billboard ‘s First Time Around section stated about “Missin’ Twenty Grand”: “Lasley, a session singer and writer, moves into the pop forefront with this collection of personal and sensitive songs. Lasley’s unique falsetto vocal style works well on both pop and R&B accented tunes giving this LP broad appeal.”
Billboard Reviews & Previews, wrote of his 2000 album Back to Blue-Eyed Soul: “Lasley delves through his vast catalog, breathing new life into 21 of his finest tunes. (…) Lasley neither mimics the original versions of his hits nor succumbs to the temptation to recast his material with trendy rhythms.”
Glenn Hoskins and Barry Towler, Record Corner, wrote of Lasley’s 2001 album Expectations of Love: “David’s passionate and soaring falsetto is as good as ever and his ability to pen gorgeous songs founded in the best traditions of soul, jazz and Adult Pop has not deserted him. Lovers of quality soul / jazz vocals will be welcoming this with open arms.”
Expand and click on the album for more information: