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Thread: Whitney Houston

  1. #1
    Vilest of the vile Homogenik's Avatar
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    Whitney Houston

    Apparently, Whitney Houston died today:

    Whitney Houston, who ruled as pop music's queen until her majestic voice and regal image were ravaged by drug use, has died at the age of 48.

    Houston's publicist, Kristen Foster, said Saturday that the singer had died, but the cause and the location of her death were unknown.

    News of Houston's death came on the eve of music's biggest night — the Grammy Awards. It's a showcase where she once reigned, and her death was sure to case a heavy pall on Sunday's ceremony. Houston's longtime mentor Clive Davis was to hold his annual concert and dinner Saturday. It was unclear if it was going to go forward.

    At her peak, Houston the golden girl of the music industry. From the middle 1980s to the late 1990s, she was one of the world's bestselling artists. She wowed audiences with effortless, powerful, and peerless vocals that were rooted in the black church but made palatable to the masses with a pop sheen.

    Her success carried her beyond music to movies, where she starred in hits like The Bodyguard and Waiting to Exhale.

    She had the perfect voice, and the perfect image: a gorgeous singer who had sex appeal but was never overtly sexual, who maintained perfect poise.

    She influenced a generation of younger singers, from Christina Aguilera to Mariah Carey, who when she first came out sounded so much like Houston that many thought it was Houston.

    Addiction woes
    But by the end of her career, Houston became a stunning cautionary tale of the toll of drug use. Her album sales plummeted and the hits stopped coming; her once serene image was shattered by a wild demeanour and bizarre public appearances. She confessed to abusing cocaine, marijuana and pills, and her once pristine voice became raspy and hoarse, unable to hit the high notes as she had during her prime.

    In this Oct. 13, 1997 file photo, Whitney Houston looks over her shoulder as her then husband Bobby Brown looks to her at the premiere of the movie Cinderella in Los Angeles. (Rene Macura, File/Associated Press)
    "The biggest devil is me. I'm either my best friend or my worst enemy," Houston told ABC's Diane Sawyer in an infamous 2002 interview with then-husband Bobby Brown by her side.

    It was a tragic fall for a superstar who was one of the top-selling artists in pop music history, with more than 55 million records sold in the United States alone.

    She seemed to be born into greatness. She was the daughter of gospel singer Cissy Houston, the cousin of 1960s pop diva Dionne Warwick and the goddaughter of Aretha Franklin.

    Houston first started singing in the church as a child. In her teens, she sang backup for Chaka Khan, Jermaine Jackson and others, in addition to modeling. It was around that time when music mogul Clive Davis first heard Houston perform.

    "The time that I first saw her singing in her mother's act in a club … it was such a stunning impact," Davis told Good Morning America.

    "To hear this young girl breathe such fire into this song. I mean, it really sent the proverbial tingles up my spine," he added.

    Before long, the rest of the country would feel it, too. Houston made her album debut in 1985 with Whitney Houston, which sold millions and spawned hit after hit. Saving All My Love for You brought her her first Grammy, for best female pop vocal. How Will I Know, You Give Good Love and The Greatest Love of All also became hit singles.

    Another multiplatinum album, Whitney, came out in 1987 and included hits like Where Do Broken Hearts Go and I Wanna Dance With Somebody.

    Early critical praise
    The New York Times wrote that Houston "possesses one of her generation's most powerful gospel-trained voices, but she eschews many of the churchier mannerisms of her forerunners. She uses ornamental gospel phrasing only sparingly, and instead of projecting an earthy, tearful vulnerability, communicates cool self-assurance and strength, building pop ballads to majestic, sustained peaks of intensity."

    Houston's decision not to follow the more soulful inflections of singers like Franklin drew criticism by some who saw her as playing down her black roots to go pop and reach white audiences. The criticism would become a constant refrain through much of her career. She was even booed during the Soul Train Awards in 1989.

    "Sometimes it gets down to that, you know?" she told Katie Couric in 1996. "You're not black enough for them. I don't know. You're not R&B enough. You're very pop. The white audience has taken you away from them."

    Some saw her 1992 marriage to former New Edition member and soul crooner Bobby Brown as an attempt to refute those critics. It seemed to be an odd union; she was seen as pop's pure princess while he had a bad-boy image, and already had children of his own. (The couple had a daughter, Bobbi Kristina, in 1993.) Over the years, he would be arrested several times, on charges ranging from DUI to failure to pay child support.

    But Houston said their true personalities were not as far apart as people may have believed.

    "When you love, you love. I mean, do you stop loving somebody because you have different images? You know, Bobby and I basically come from the same place," she told Rolling Stone in 1993.

    "You see somebody, and you deal with their image, that's their image. It's part of them, it's not the whole picture. I am not always in a sequined gown. I am nobody's angel."
    http://www.rollingstone.com/music/ne...-died-20120211
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2...ston-dies.html

  2. #2
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    So profoundly sad. She had so much success in her life, and so much of her work really connected with people. She's had a huge influence. I was never a big fan, really, but her talent was undeniable. That voice! Every year I've watched the Super Bowl someone ALWAYS makes a comment comparing whoever is singing the National Anthem to Whitney's (over 20 year-old) version. It just hasn't been topped. All of these pop and R&B singers have clearly tried to model themselves after Whitney, but no one has possessed quite as remarkable a voice. I felt like her music was FINALLY starting to get interesting in the late 90's, right before she started to go seriously downhill. "Heartbreak Hotel" and "It's Not Right but It's OK" hinted at a bit more grit, sass, and real feeling than she showed us during her goody-goody 80's/early 90's heyday.

    It's been really depressing to watch her downward spiral this last decade. I was really pulling for a comeback for her ... not for her to be "topping the charts" again or any on that--that seemed really unlikely. More like a comeback ... back to the human race. Finding some happiness for herself, some grace. I remember watching part of one of those Youtube videos a few years ago, where she was stumbling around onstage, forgetting lyrics, looking like she didn't know where she was. It actually brought tears to my eyes, and I couldn't watch the whole thing. Remembering her at her peak--so gorgeous, so gifted, so seemingly confident--and then seeing what her life came to. Ugh. I really hope she's at peace. It's heartbreaking that her story ended like this.

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    Unhappy

    I wouldn't call myself an active fan, but there are at least 10 Whitney songs I could say I love, right down to her last single, "Million Dollar Bill". And I do own My Love Is Your Love and her Greatest Hits collection. She's probably one of the scariest divas to deal with in real life, which is also one of her most memorable attributes coupled with her massive catalogue of hits. I too appreciated her later 90s stuff but it's sad how the last 12 years have been a struggle for her.

    In spite of her battles, I had faith she would still be around for another 20-30 years, hopefully wiser and more self-reflective, while retraining her now-limited vocals again in a Marianne Faithful-style of reinvention that would still be endearing to the ears. Sadly I was wrong.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Jezebelle's Avatar
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    I loved her as a child and am definitely a fan. The Bodyguard soundtrack was on frequent repeat in college. I'm really sad she's gone.

    Its so tragic/pathetic too - she fell asleep in the bathtub after taking a Xanax. What a sad ending.
    chillin in kyoto grand with my man Skrill

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    HUH! HUP! HYAAAAT! Joey's Avatar
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  6. #6
    I wish that they had Dolly Parton sing the song with just an acoustic guitar accompanying her.

    Though that would have undoubtedly led to a 24-hour Internet explosion of "Who was that drag queen on the Grammys?"
    "See everything as an illusion, and enjoy it even though you are not of it."
    ~Alanis Morissette, paraphrased

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    That tribute was perfect. Jennifer Hudson did a sensational job, and I imagine that must have been VERY difficult for her. They definitely picked the right singer for that.

  8. #8
    megaphone to my chest MikeEP's Avatar
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    i'm so genuinely sad about this. i've been a huge fan all my life. a couple of amazing performances of hers:






  9. #9
    Administrator Ryan's Avatar
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    Guys, we are discussing her death and things related to it in this thread. I'll leave the OMA thread for people who want to talk about her music, but let's keep everything else in the other thread.

  10. #10
    I forgot how many great hits she had...

    Didn't We Almost Have It All
    Where Do Broken Hearts Go
    One Moment in Time
    So Emotional
    Run to You

    You don't hear them on the radio that much anymore. So despite the circumstances, I'm all about this Whitney revival.

  11. #11
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    I was never a huge fan, but I love:

    Exhale (Shoop, Shoop)
    Heartbreak Hotel
    I'm Every Woman
    It's Not Right (But It's OK)
    Step By Step
    Call You Tonight
    Million Dollar Bill

    And on the cheesier end of things, I have a soft spot for "One Moment in Time." And now that I haven't heard "I Will Always Love You" in a while, it's easier to appreciate how astonishing that vocal is.

  12. #12
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    It wasn't a huge hit, so I'm posting the video for "Step By Step" for those that may not have heard it:



    And "Call You Tonight" is from her last album. I actually think it's a great song.


  13. #13
    Senior Member Andyland's Avatar
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    I love Step by Step! It's a cover of an Annie Lennox b-side, but Whitney altered some of the lyrics.

  14. #14
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    ^

    I have that B-side. I'm a huge Annie Lennox fan ... but I actually heard the Whitney version first, before hearing the Annie version.

    It's funny, because you can just TELL it's an Annie song. Just the way Whitney sings "Mile by mile ... YEAH." Her vocal inflection reminds me so much of Annie.

  15. #15
    HUH! HUP! HYAAAAT! Joey's Avatar
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    This is awesome.

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