AP: Whitney Houston has died

The top-selling pop star and actress was 48 years old.

AP has more details here.

I saw Whitney Houston sing in Boston in probably September of October of 1985 at the Berklee Performing Arts Center. I was on the sixth row and it was my very first real secular concert (A weekend at Jesus Northwest doesn’t exactly qualify…)

She had such a glorious voice, and she hadn’t yet become a Superstar when I saw her. I think “You Give Good Love”, her debut single, had peaked at #3 and “Saving All My Love for You” had just been released. That song went on to hit #1, the first of something like 7 straight #1 singles.

Her debut album, “Whitney Houston” spawned 3 #1 songs in all, including “How Will I Know.”

Her sophomore effort, “Whitney”, included 4 #1 songs.

Yes, she had a glorious voice. And she was beautiful. Her biggest hit came on “The Bodyguard” soundtrack, a re-recording of a Dolly Parton song — “I Will Always Love You.” But she also hit the Top 40 simply by singing the National Anthem. She was that good.

After her marriage to Bobby Brown, her life seemingly spiraled out of control. I think she had a concert on HBO in the fall of 1997 and it was a disaster, and gospel great Shirley Caesar was there singing with her, looking chagrined and embarrassed and concerned. That’s my memory of it anyhow.

She starred in “The Bishop’s Wife” with Denzel Washington and produced a soundtrack that was half good and half great. The half-great part was the gospel part. She recorded “Joy, joy” with the Georgia Mass Choir and that’ll always be my favorite Whitney Houston gospel song. But she sounded awfully good singing Dottie Rambo’s “I Go to the Rock” and “I Love the Lord, He Heard My Cry.”

I always hoped that she’d put together an album that was 100 percent gospel. I would’ve played it til the disc wore out.

Back in 2009, Houston had her first new album in ages. Her voice was no longer perfect. The years and life had taken their toll. But she had a single, “I Look to You” that was truly a gospel anthem. The song wasn’t slick and shiny. It had grit and gumption, mixed with what sounded to me like pain and unconquered faith. And it looked possible, at that moment, that her life might be headed for a happy ending.

Now, it’s hard to see any happy endings at the end of this story. Whitney Houston was just 48.

Updated: February 11, 2012 — 7:34 pm

1 Comment

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  1. Such a loss for all of us. Lets hope other talent will veiw this as a wake up call. One that comes to mind is Lindsay Lohan.

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