Whitney Houston died yesterday. Saturday Feburary 11, 2012. She was 48 years old. In 1987, my Mom took my to my first concert. It was Whitney Houston at Madison Square Garden. I was 8 years old. This would be the beginning of a lifelong love of female vocalists (Aretha Franklin, Mary J. Blige, Nicole Atkins, Adele) whose raw emotion takes me to places where I just have to sing along or else my heart will explode. Whitney could do this all in one breath. With one lyric she is the light, a bright shining star, and with the next word she is falling, yearning, begging, or best yet, persevering. It’s a sad metaphor for her personal struggles, especially poignant in the wake of her tragic death, but ultimately, it didn’t matter what the song was about because every sentiment was communicated in her voice. So, in celebration of an amazing artist, a stellar career and a pop legacy, here are my top 5 “Whitney” moments.
5. I Believe in You and Me (The Preacher’s Wife soundtrack, 1996) – Whitney’s third starring role was opposite Denzel Washington as the titular character in this easily forgettable film. Not so easy to forget? Whitney’s remake of the 1983 ballad originally recorded by The Four Tops. I love this song because of this moment. 2:29 – I would play the fool forever just to be with you forever. I believe in miracles and love’s a miracle…
4. I Have Nothing (The Bodyguard soundtrack, 1992) Another soundtrack cut. Uh, the best selling soundtrack of all time – still. Whitney recieved harsh feedback from critics for her portrayal of Rachel Maron in the 1992 film. Whatever – I love this movie. The soundtrack was full of great tracks, most of which were overshadowded by Houston’s recording of Dolly Parton’s “I will Always Love you” which Rolling Stone called her “Tour de Force.” My boyfriend gave me the CD single in 9th grade which also included this gem. All one breath! Really from this point the song just rides out. 3:00 – I can’t run from myself, there’s nowhere to hide – your love I remember forvever…
3. I’m Your Baby Tonight (I’m Your Baby Tonight, 1990) I was super psyched when I found this album on vinyl a few years ago. Got home and realized it was just the single. Probably the only song worth paying $5 for. Between the electric guitar and Whitney’s hip-hop like repitition its one of my all time favorites. Around 2:35 is where she hits it but honestly this entire song pulses with emotion.
2. The Greatest Love of All (Whitney Houston, 1985) The lyrics to this song have hung framed in my Dad’s office for as long as I can remember. This lyric repeats a few times but in this particular moment Whitney puts so much blood, sweat, and tears into one line I get chills every time. 3:00 – I decided long ago never to walk in anyone’s shadow. If I fail. If I succceed. At least I did as I believe no matter what they take from me thay can’t take away my dig. ni. ty.
1. The Star Spangled Banner (Super Bowl XXV, 1991). Easily on of Whitney’s most iconic performances and maybe one of the best renditions of the National Anthem…EVER. Proving she was just an around the way girl in her USA track suit, Whitney personified “bombs bursting in air.” Does anyone even remember who played in that game?
We love you and thank you, Whitney. You will be missed.
This tribute leaves me breathless. I’m with you on each moment. It’s true. She touched many with that gold standard of a voice.
Thank you for celebrating her contributions to music. She was such a powerful and alive voice for young women in music. I am sad that she is gone and wish her life could have been easier for her. May her spirit feel peace and her children be okay.