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'The Voice' Is Silenced.
February 11, 2012 5:21 PM   Subscribe

Often referred to as the 'Queen of Pop' or, simply 'The Voice,' singer, actress, producer and a former model, Whitney Houston has died at the age of 48 y.o. Her self-titled debut album, released in 1985, sold 25 million copies worldwide. "In recent years, she struggled with drug abuse. She is survived by daughter Bobbi Kristina and ex-husband Bobby Brown."*
"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." *
Throughout her career "Houston was using drugs. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey ... she said by the time 'The Preacher's Wife' was released, "(doing drugs) was an everyday thing. ... I would do my work, but after I did my work, for a whole year or two, it was every day. ... I wasn't happy by that point in time. I was losing myself.'"*
posted by ericb (399 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by ColdChef at 5:23 PM on February 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


I will always love you.
posted by Sfving at 5:23 PM on February 11, 2012 [9 favorites]


That's a shame. Also, I hope this one stays.
posted by codacorolla at 5:23 PM on February 11, 2012


legendary talent, best version of the national anthem ever, RIP Whitney
posted by nathancaswell at 5:24 PM on February 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Crack is whack.
posted by Blue Meanie at 5:24 PM on February 11, 2012 [9 favorites]


What a terrible waste.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:25 PM on February 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


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posted by bdragon at 5:25 PM on February 11, 2012


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posted by ramix at 5:25 PM on February 11, 2012


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posted by mek at 5:25 PM on February 11, 2012


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posted by oozy rat in a sanitary zoo at 5:26 PM on February 11, 2012


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posted by Samuel Farrow at 5:26 PM on February 11, 2012


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posted by Ink-stained wretch at 5:27 PM on February 11, 2012


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posted by fatbaq at 5:27 PM on February 11, 2012


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posted by Halloween Jack at 5:28 PM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


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Wow. People that young shouldn't be dying.
posted by octothorpe at 5:29 PM on February 11, 2012


Or not.
posted by dirigibleman at 5:29 PM on February 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


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posted by hal9k at 5:29 PM on February 11, 2012


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posted by brevator at 5:29 PM on February 11, 2012


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posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:29 PM on February 11, 2012


Too young.

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posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:29 PM on February 11, 2012


Sadness

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posted by but no cigar at 5:29 PM on February 11, 2012


God dammit.

RIP Whitney.
posted by penduluum at 5:29 PM on February 11, 2012


dirigibleman: that's dated September 13.
posted by Bromius at 5:30 PM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by BrotherCaine at 5:30 PM on February 11, 2012


Oh, shit. I didn't look at the date on that.
posted by dirigibleman at 5:30 PM on February 11, 2012


Music mogul Clive Davis really believed in her from her start.
"He signed her in 1983 and the two began work on her debut album. Initially Davis had a hard time finding songs for her. Even after elaborate showcases in New York and Los Angeles, many producers turned down the chance to work with her. During the time, rock bands and dance oriented acts were popular; many songwriters felt Houston's gospel voice didn't fit in the pop landscape. It took a year and a half for Jerry Griffith, then Arista's A&R chief and had recommended Whitney to Davis, and Davis to amass suitable songs for the album. Finally the songwriter-producer Kashif offered to produce 'You Give Good Love.' Jermaine Jackson, who had emerged from the shadow of Brother Michael, produced three songs. Narada Michael Walden came in to revise and then produce 'How Will I Know.' And Michael Masser covered the pop side of the tracks, producing four of his own compositions, including 'Saving All My Love for You' and 'Greatest Love of All.' After two years of recording, the album was ready for release.'"
The rest is history.
posted by ericb at 5:31 PM on February 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Some more about Whitney:

Some of her hits: I Wanna Dance For Somebody, I Will Always Love You, I Have Nothing, and an iconic rendition of the national anthem, has passed away.

Over the years, she battled personal problems, drug addiction, and a noted deterioration of her singing voice.
posted by reenum at 5:31 PM on February 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


whaaaat
posted by elizardbits at 5:31 PM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dammit Whitney. Why?
posted by Flashman at 5:31 PM on February 11, 2012


DAMN. That's awful.

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I can't believe it.
posted by cashman at 5:31 PM on February 11, 2012


Shit. I really hoped she'd pull it together. (As far as one can hope for good things for a perfect stranger)

Her poor family.
posted by Space Kitty at 5:31 PM on February 11, 2012 [9 favorites]


The only Whitney Houston song I have on hand without going to YouTube isn't even sung by her -- it's a cover of "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" by David Byrne. It's funny when a different voice takes up a song and helps you listen to it again without the weight of being overplayed so much when you were younger. I'll have to go find the original now, and listen to it fresh.
posted by rewil at 5:32 PM on February 11, 2012


What I find depressing is that the profile pieces were obviously written in advance.
posted by mecran01 at 5:32 PM on February 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


I Wanna Dance With Somebody is one of my favorite songs of all time. RIP.
posted by sparkletone at 5:32 PM on February 11, 2012 [7 favorites]


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posted by Busithoth at 5:32 PM on February 11, 2012


She was lead out of a club in LA two nights ago with scratches on her arm and blood on her legs.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:33 PM on February 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, the "Whitney Is Fine" piece is actually from 2001, when she appeared in the first night of a huge Michael Jackson tribute concert looking "skeletally thin" and then dropped out of the second night, which prompted rumors she had died.

Sadly, this time, it seems to be no rumor.
posted by Naberius at 5:34 PM on February 11, 2012


:(!
posted by Xany at 5:34 PM on February 11, 2012


Whitney Houston Megamix.
posted by ColdChef at 5:34 PM on February 11, 2012


Whoah.
posted by jadepearl at 5:34 PM on February 11, 2012


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posted by fuse theorem at 5:34 PM on February 11, 2012


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posted by tristeza at 5:35 PM on February 11, 2012


Addiction is a cruel master.

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posted by kamikazegopher at 5:35 PM on February 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


What I find depressing is that the profile pieces were obviously written in advance.

This is standard mo for celebrities and other worthies. (I recall hearing once that the BBC's canned obit for the Queen stretches for over 30 minutes.)
posted by docgonzo at 5:35 PM on February 11, 2012 [7 favorites]


She was lead out of a club in LA two nights ago with scratches on her arm and blood on her legs.

:(
posted by cashman at 5:35 PM on February 11, 2012


mecran01, all news agencies have pre-prepared obituaries for major celebrities, so that they can put something out immediately.
posted by Joh at 5:36 PM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


mecran01: "What I find depressing is that the profile pieces were obviously written in advance."

That's pretty standard practice, they do that for most famous people.
posted by octothorpe at 5:36 PM on February 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


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"Throughout her career 'Houston was using drugs. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey ... she said by the time "The Preacher's Wife" was released, '(doing drugs) was an everyday thing. ... I would do my work, but after I did my work, for a whole year or two, it was every day. ... I wasn't happy by that point in time. I was losing myself."'"

It's amazing how many high functioning addicts there are out there; I'm not sure I know any high functioning heavy drug addicts but I know many alcoholics who seem to be able to succeed at their professions to a great degree.
posted by Mitheral at 5:37 PM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is horribly sad.

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posted by Wolof at 5:38 PM on February 11, 2012


So sad.
posted by bookwibble at 5:39 PM on February 11, 2012


CNN reporting that Ray J was the one that found her dead, in the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
posted by cashman at 5:39 PM on February 11, 2012


Cocaine: Still a helluva drug.
posted by delfin at 5:39 PM on February 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


What a waste.
posted by deborah at 5:40 PM on February 11, 2012


She was lead out of a club in LA two nights ago with scratches on her arm and blood on her legs.

Oh my. So sad.
posted by ericb at 5:40 PM on February 11, 2012


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posted by helmutdog at 5:40 PM on February 11, 2012


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80s pop Whitney was the soundtrack to many a high-school dance for me. So sad she's gone so young.
posted by hippybear at 5:40 PM on February 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


Good lord, what a terrible shame. One of the great vocal talents of a generation, and such a sad and troubled life. Like others, I was always hoping she'd find a way to pull it together.
posted by scody at 5:41 PM on February 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's amazing how many high functioning addicts there are out there; I'm not sure I know any high functioning heavy drug addicts but I know many alcoholics who seem to be able to succeed at their professions to a great degree.

Every high-intensity drug user is, almost by definition, high-functioning; it's just that for most that function is doing what's required to support their drug use.
posted by docgonzo at 5:41 PM on February 11, 2012 [10 favorites]


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80s pop Whitney was the soundtrack to many a high-school dance for me.

Middle school :) but yep.
posted by gaspode at 5:42 PM on February 11, 2012


Not to speak ill of the dead, but this has been coming for quite some time, and to be honest I'm only surprised it took this long.

She had everything this world could offer, and she squandered it all. It really is about time we stop letting this sort of thing be acceptable behavior, even for people of her stature.

I feel bad for her family, sans the husband who more than likely had a large role in her recent behavior. But I'm not upset about this at all.

/so sue me.
posted by Blue_Villain at 5:42 PM on February 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


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posted by Jughead at 5:42 PM on February 11, 2012


From the Wikipedia link:
Houston is the only artist to chart seven consecutive No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hits ("Saving All My Love for You", "How Will I Know", "Greatest Love of All", "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)", "Didn't We Almost Have It All", "So Emotional", and "Where Do Broken Hearts Go"). Houston is the second artist behind Elton John and the only female artist to have two number-one Top Billboard 200 Album awards (formerly "Top Pop Album") on the Billboard magazine year-end charts. Houston's 1985 debut album, Whitney Houston, became the best-selling debut album by a female act at the time of its release. The album was also named Rolling Stone's best album of 1986, and was ranked at number 254 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.[7] Her second studio album, Whitney (1987), became the first album by a female artist to debut at number one on the Billboard 200 albums chart.[7] Houston's crossover appeal on the popular music charts as well as her prominence on MTV, starting with her video for "How Will I Know",[8] influenced several African-American female artists to follow in her footsteps.[9][10]
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:43 PM on February 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


And just yesterday -- Whitney Houston Approached for Seat on 'X Factor' Judges Panel.
posted by ericb at 5:43 PM on February 11, 2012


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80s pop Whitney was the soundtrack to many a high-school dance for me.

Middle school :) but yep.

posted by Lukenlogs at 5:43 PM on February 11, 2012


She had everything this world could offer, and she squandered it all.

You don't understand how addiction works.
posted by docgonzo at 5:43 PM on February 11, 2012 [123 favorites]


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posted by obeetaybee at 5:43 PM on February 11, 2012


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posted by lazaruslong at 5:45 PM on February 11, 2012


♩shoop
posted by wreckingball at 5:46 PM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by aclevername at 5:46 PM on February 11, 2012


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posted by AloneOssifer at 5:47 PM on February 11, 2012


She was only 28 when she did Bodyguard?
Wow. By that time she seemed Dionne elder-stateswoman level to me.

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posted by Senor Cardgage at 5:47 PM on February 11, 2012 [23 favorites]


I don't think anyone considers being a drug addict acceptable behavior.

And saying your not upset about someone's death is tantamount to saying your gald their dead otherwise why even mention it.

That said, I didn't realize Whitney Houston had a career before or after the Bodyguard. I actually thought she was just an actress who recorded a song for the soundtrack.
posted by PJLandis at 5:47 PM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tragic.

They must be frantically juggling the Grammy schedule to fit in a tribute.
posted by girlhacker at 5:47 PM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


It really is about time we stop letting this sort of thing be acceptable behavior, even for people of her stature.


This is fantasy. Really. There is "acceptable" behavior that we can force on people through our disapproval?

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posted by Ironmouth at 5:47 PM on February 11, 2012 [27 favorites]


You don't understand how addiction works.

No, I just don't understand why it's tolerated. Especially for such a mainstream artist.

I spent over two years of my life working in behavioral health centers focused on drug rehabilitation. I've spent more time leading AA and NA meetings than I have with my own three year old. Which is why when she was born I stopped helping other people out to start focusing on my own family.

But this isn't about me, it's about society in general, and how this is a sad indication of where we are as a whole.
posted by Blue_Villain at 5:48 PM on February 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


I hope death treats you kind, and I hope you have all you dreamed of.

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posted by naju at 5:48 PM on February 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Tonight, every gay club (and many straight ones too) in the world will be blasting this
posted by Senor Cardgage at 5:48 PM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, no. What a terrible shame. I was too young for most of her music and my adult memories mostly consist of her drug problems. Maybe it was just because I connected her music to the generally happy circumstances in which I usually heard it, in the background of Chuck E Cheese or on Pop-Up Video after school, but I always had an odd soft spot for her and really hoped she'd find peace. I hope she did before she died, or at least has now.
posted by lilac girl at 5:48 PM on February 11, 2012


And tonight is Clive Davis's famous pre-Grammy party. "It all kicks off with cocktails at 7 p.m. [Pacific] at the Beverly Hilton. Black tie is encouraged, last-minute guest list requests are not."

I wonder if it will go on.
posted by ericb at 5:48 PM on February 11, 2012


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posted by republican at 5:48 PM on February 11, 2012


Way to young.

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posted by Sailormom at 5:49 PM on February 11, 2012


What a damn shame. I wonder what caused her so much torment in this life.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:49 PM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


There are deaths that are deaths of the fullness of time, such as happen to 85-year-olds, there are deaths are that are the result of frustrating human ignorance or mis-steps, such as those that happen to those who die from diseases we haven't learned to treat or car accidents, and then there are those deaths that are simply stupid, tragic wastes stemming from the life the person led. Whitney's is one of the latter. She should still be alive with a voice that, if it were not quite what it was twenty years ago, would still be better than that of almost anyone else currently on the charts.

The night Obama got elected in 2008, I looked up and watched this video of Whitney's performance of "One Moment in Time" at the 1989 Grammys. She had her glorious moment that she sings about, but tragically it was followed by a long, slow fall.
posted by orange swan at 5:52 PM on February 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


I was tapped to sing "One Moment in Time" at my High School graduation, and I watched the video of her over and over as part of the prep. So it's hard to think of her and not have that feeling of endless possibilities ahead of you that you have at that age. Add to that the 1991 Superbowl National Anthem performance, which is amazing IMO, and it makes me unutterably sad that she is gone.
posted by gemmy at 5:52 PM on February 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Wow. With this, the suicide of Don Cornelius, and the recent death of Etta James, the Grammys are going to be a mass wake tomorrow, aren't they?

<cynical>And probably get the highest ratings they've seen in years.<</cynical>

Houston was a huge part of the pop music scene of my youth. Such a sad story, with a hoped-against but unsurprising ending.


posted by tzikeh at 5:53 PM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


WTF, I was hoping this was some kind of sick joke.

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posted by desjardins at 5:53 PM on February 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


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posted by Oh OK HA HA at 5:54 PM on February 11, 2012


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posted by Navelgazer at 5:54 PM on February 11, 2012


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posted by JoeXIII007 at 5:54 PM on February 11, 2012


TMZ says that Whitney died at the Beverly Hills Hilton this afternoon. Poor thing. Addiction is a bitch and needs to stop taking people from us.
posted by terrierhead at 5:54 PM on February 11, 2012


So, so, sad.

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posted by meinvt at 5:54 PM on February 11, 2012


One of Whitney Houston's greatest contributions to the world of entertainment is Maya Rudolph as Whitney Houston.
posted by ColdChef at 5:55 PM on February 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


No idea if this is true or not but, according to ABC, Houston's rep is denying she's dead. As I write, the story is under a big banner about Houston's death.
posted by immlass at 5:55 PM on February 11, 2012


But I'm not upset about this at all.

I'm so glad you took the time to come into a thread where people are expressing their shock and sadness to let us all you how little you care about this thing we care about.

Sad, sad story. RIP Whitney.
posted by triggerfinger at 5:55 PM on February 11, 2012 [27 favorites]


What a damn shame. I wonder what caused her so much torment in this life.

An ABC news article mentions this bit:
In 2009, talking to Winfrey about why she took a break from show business, Houston said, "It was too much. So much to try to live up to, to try to be, and I wanted out."
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:55 PM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's not right, but it's okay.

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posted by troika at 5:56 PM on February 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


immlass, that story is dated September 13.
posted by jocelmeow at 5:57 PM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


But she was 48! Forty-fucking-eight!

Ugh, how sad.

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posted by Pope Guilty at 5:57 PM on February 11, 2012


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posted by radiocontrolled at 5:57 PM on February 11, 2012


No idea if this is true or not but, according to ABC, Houston's rep is denying she's dead. As I write, the story is under a big banner about Houston's death.

Check the byline, folks. Again, that's from September 13th.
posted by joe lisboa at 5:57 PM on February 11, 2012


Not to speak ill of the dead, but this has been coming for quite some time, and to be honest I'm only surprised it took this long.

yeah, it's interesting, upon seeing this a moment ago on the front page, my first thought was "Wow, didn't see this one coming!"

but, after giving it a bit more thought, it seems the writing was on the wall for a long time, similar to Amy Winehouse last summer.

Whitney's music might not have been my thing personally but I was very much in awe of her raw talent. It makes me very sad to know that that voice has been silenced. Even though I tend to lean towards a general pro-drug stance, I absolutely detest crack and what it does to people.

man ... my thoughts are a bit jumbled on this, so I'll simply stick with

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posted by mannequito at 5:57 PM on February 11, 2012


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posted by tommasz at 5:57 PM on February 11, 2012


I spent over two years of my life working in behavioral health centers focused on drug rehabilitation. I've spent more time leading AA and NA meetings than I have with my own three year old. Which is why when she was born I stopped helping other people out to start focusing on my own family.

With all that experience I would have just assumed you'd have seen the limits of approaches to drug and alcohol use based on abstinence and the toll caused by shaming people with addictions.
posted by docgonzo at 5:57 PM on February 11, 2012 [42 favorites]


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posted by cazoo at 5:57 PM on February 11, 2012


Hers is certainly The Voice for me, the great singer of my childhood. Damn.
posted by palliser at 5:58 PM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


You don't understand how addiction works.

No, I just don't understand why it's tolerated. Especially for such a mainstream artist.


There's rumors going around now that a young recording artist who's been in rehab before and allegedly is back to her old ways keeps being pulled out out of rehab centers by her "people" as soon as it leaks because they don't want it to stand in the way of her career (I'd link to the items, but all the gossip sites are crapping out). If the people around you have a financial interest in making sure you show up and are willing to prop you up when you get there, and everyone in the industry is willing to look the other way, well then, what's the problem? Until you drop dead- but then there's tributes and the album re-releases and an extra flood of cash to wash all the grief away.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:58 PM on February 11, 2012 [30 favorites]


I've spent more time leading AA and NA meetings

There's no 'leader' at these meetings. However the point about celebrity trainwreck gossip rag lulz is indeed a pretty sad reflection of where things are at.
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:58 PM on February 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


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posted by Hypnotic Chick at 5:58 PM on February 11, 2012


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posted by kylej at 5:58 PM on February 11, 2012


I would have thought Bobby Brown would have gone before Whitney.
posted by narcoleptic at 5:59 PM on February 11, 2012


I hated to see what happened to her as the years went on. Her voice that was absolutely stunning when put to full potential. As Christmas songs go, her version of "Do You Hear What I Hear" is my favorite hands down. I remember her singing the national anthem at the Super Bowl, and it was one of those moments you knew you'd seen something special.

America has lost one of its musical treasures.
posted by azpenguin at 5:59 PM on February 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh no, this is way too young to go. So sad.
posted by emmtee at 5:59 PM on February 11, 2012


Say whatever you want about addiction, but we should not speak ill of the dead, especially those who were blameless, and lived a life of pain.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:00 PM on February 11, 2012 [15 favorites]


Bobby B!
posted by ColdChef at 6:00 PM on February 11, 2012


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posted by grrarrgh00 at 6:01 PM on February 11, 2012


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posted by shakespeherian at 6:01 PM on February 11, 2012


I said what the fuck out loud.
posted by 2bucksplus at 6:01 PM on February 11, 2012 [9 favorites]


I never was a fan of her music, yet somehow this news has struck me as very sad indeed. She didn't deserve to go so soon.
posted by orme at 6:01 PM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by gingerbeer at 6:03 PM on February 11, 2012


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posted by brundlefly at 6:04 PM on February 11, 2012


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posted by rtha at 6:07 PM on February 11, 2012


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posted by Dumsnill at 6:07 PM on February 11, 2012


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posted by dbiedny at 6:09 PM on February 11, 2012


Ars longa, vita brevis.

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posted by spitbull at 6:09 PM on February 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


.

It's okay, everybody. We're not here to judge. You can admit that you loved every endless note of Whitney's version of "I Will Always Love You," until your brain kicked in and you remembered how deeply uncool that was. We all did too. Go forth unashamed to karaoke with a glad heart, until your breath gives out in the middle of the second "And IIIIIIIIIIII-IIIIIIIII-IIIIIIIIIIIIII-IIIIIII-IIIIIIIIIIIIII."
posted by nicebookrack at 6:09 PM on February 11, 2012 [27 favorites]


What I find depressing is that the profile pieces were obviously written in advance.

As has already been mentioned: "Many news organisations have pre-written (or pre-edited video) obituaries on file for notable individuals who are still living, allowing detailed, authoritative, and lengthy obituaries to appear very quickly after their death."*
posted by ericb at 6:12 PM on February 11, 2012


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posted by msali at 6:13 PM on February 11, 2012


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posted by Anything at 6:13 PM on February 11, 2012


The Preacher's Wife is still among my favorite Christmas movies.
Who Would Imagine a King
I Believe in You and Me
I Love the Lord

Plus I remember when this was all over MTV (when they played music videos): It's Not Right But It's Okay
posted by nicebookrack at 6:14 PM on February 11, 2012


As a child of the 80's, hers was definitely a voice that surrounded my childhood. If you'll accuse me, I'mma dance with somebody...
posted by sonika at 6:14 PM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by Crabby Appleton at 6:15 PM on February 11, 2012


Whitney Houston’s isolated vocal track on “How Will I Know.” RIP.
posted by gerryblog at 6:15 PM on February 11, 2012 [68 favorites]


Not more than a month ago I snatched up a bargain bin "How Will I Know" 12" and listened to it an alarming number of times. That entire first album is a monster, as is Whitney. So weird and sad.
posted by mintcake! at 6:15 PM on February 11, 2012


She had voluntarily gone into rehab back in May of 2011. Earlier this month, she and Bobbie had gone to dinner with their daughter to celebrate the latter's 18th birthday.

You can admit that you loved every endless note of Whitney's version of "I Will Always Love You,"

Eh, never much cared for her music, but her struggle with addiction and early death is a reminder of how one can seemingly have it al and yet that not be enough. Addiction is a harsh thing to be inflicted with.

Condolences to her people.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:16 PM on February 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


Tragic. :(

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posted by zarq at 6:17 PM on February 11, 2012


I remember being in choir when The Bodyguard came out and all the girls were trying to sing like Whitney.

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posted by pxe2000 at 6:19 PM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


As an illustration of what Whitney Houstone was capable of, you really couldn't find a better example than "I Will Always Love You." It is such a simple, simple song. It's almost barely there. Dolly Parton's original version is quiet, breathy, ethereal, maybe a bit cloying. When Whitney Houston sang it, the sheer force and power of her voice took the song to incredible new heights. It's not the same song anymore. I won't say one's better than the other, but they make very different statements on the same theme. Whitney Houston's voice was a rare and beautiful gift to the world. I wouldn't have ever called myself a fan of hers, but boy I'd take her over a thousand Mariah Careys any day.

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posted by wabbittwax at 6:21 PM on February 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


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posted by NEW Eccentric Girl at 6:21 PM on February 11, 2012


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posted by it's a long way to south america at 6:22 PM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by Anitanola at 6:22 PM on February 11, 2012


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posted by Cosine at 6:23 PM on February 11, 2012


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posted by eunoia at 6:24 PM on February 11, 2012


Also, "Memories" by Material.
posted by pxe2000 at 6:25 PM on February 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


One of the weirder things I ever learned about Whitney Houston is that her first (?) singing on a record was "Memories" by Bill Laswell's mutating avant-garde band Material.
posted by stinkycheese at 6:29 PM on February 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


I just watched the National Anthem again. The control she has of her voice, and the seemingly effortlessness of bringing such power out of her body still gives me chills.

RIP.
posted by ltracey at 6:30 PM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Curse you, pxe2000! Curse you!
posted by stinkycheese at 6:31 PM on February 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


As I expected, by the time I finished my post, it was too late. I'll leave it here.


Fallen Pop Star Whitney Houston has died.


Born to gospel singer Cissy Houston on August 9th, 1963, and goddaughter of the Queen of Soul herself, Aretha Franklin, Whitney held the distinction of being the only artist to chart seven consecutive #1 Billboard Hot 100 hits. In 1987, she became the first female artist to enter the Billboard 200 at #1, with her self-titled album, Whitney, and later became the only artist to achieve seven consecutive multi-platinum albums. She held an astonishing 415 career awards by 2010, including 2 Emmy Awards, 6 Grammy Awards, 30 Billboard Music Awards, and 22 American Music Awards, and is cited by the Guinness Book of World Records as being the most awarded female artist of all time.

In 1992, she married singer Bobby Brown, and gave birth to daughter Bobbi Kristina the following year. By the late 90s, Houston was displaying erratic behavior, and rumors of drug use ran rampant. In 2001, she and Brown were discovered by airport security to have been carrying marijuana, though the charges against them were later dropped. The marriage was turbulent, marked by drug usage and rumors of domestic violence. They divorced in 2007, with Houston winning primary custody of their daughter, citing Brown's "unreliability". In ensuing years, she was in and out of rehab, most recently in 2011.

Whitney is survived by her mother, Cissy; daughter Bobbi Kristina; and ex-husband Bobby Brown.

Whitney's #1 Hot 100 hits:

Saving All My Love For You
How Will I Know
Greatest Love Of All
I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)

Didn't We Almost Have It All
So Emotional
Where Do Broken Hearts Go

Sleep sweet, Whitney.
posted by MissySedai at 6:33 PM on February 11, 2012 [61 favorites]


♫ .
posted by TangerineGurl at 6:34 PM on February 11, 2012


The Bodyguard was an awful flick, but that sequence at the end is amazing and heart breaking every time.
posted by wuwei at 6:34 PM on February 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm wondering if there will be some honesty about her queerness now. Or maybe not while Bobby is alive.
posted by latkes at 6:35 PM on February 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


I was neither a fan or detractor, but Whitney Houston had an undeniable talent. I remember her being omnipresent in the 80s and 90s and then the reports of her drug use and images of her body ravaged by drugs. I remember her attempt at a comeback, but her voice had not escaped those years of abuse unharmed although at the time it seemed that maybe she had beaten her demons, for awhile anyway. Then she faded from the limelight completely. Just a day or two ago as I was flipping through the TV channels, I passed by some Entertainment Tonight type show that was showing images of Whitney emerging from some club looking the worse for wear, the insinuation being that she was using again. Still as expected as it might be, this news is still both sad and shocking.
posted by kaybdc at 6:35 PM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I recall that Elvis Costello was hosting MTV one night in the 80's and in between Tom Waits tracks and Pogues songs, he played something by Whitney Houston. After it was over, he said something like "Whitney, your an amazing singer, a fantastic performer and a gorgeous woman, but please let me write you some decent songs."

That changed my attitude about her since up to that point, I was so disdainful of her songs that I had not stopped to listen to her voice. When I did, it was a revelation. This was a singer who could make our ugly national anthem sound beautiful. This was a singer who could elevate schmaltz to art just by opening her mouth. I still don't care for most of the songs she sang - except that she sang them and makes them impossible to turn off.

Elvis Costello made me a Whitney Houston fan and I thank him for that, and mourn her passing.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:36 PM on February 11, 2012 [37 favorites]


. tragic loss of talent.
posted by arcticseal at 6:37 PM on February 11, 2012


Heartbreaking. I'm pretty sure I still know all of the words to her first two albums by heart. By the time "I Will Always Love You" came out, I was much too cool to admit liking it, but it just blew my mind how powerful and beautiful her voice was. I always hoped she'd be able to overcome her illness. So sad for her daughter. Fuck addiction, so much.
posted by Fui Non Sum at 6:37 PM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


In the mid 80's while watching Houston on TV sing 'The Greatest Love of All' all decked out in a slinky red dress, the nine year old version of myself experienced the first uncomfortable tingling and tugging in the crotch of my short shorts.
posted by item at 6:38 PM on February 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


I feel like a part of my youth has died. Her version of the Star Spangled Banner was the best ever.
posted by fromageball at 6:41 PM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's a shame she couldn't get a handle on her addiction.

She sinned against her own talent.
posted by markkraft at 6:43 PM on February 11, 2012


My Love is Your Love (remix)
posted by gingerbeer at 6:44 PM on February 11, 2012


Brandon Blatcher: "From the Wikipedia link:
Houston is the only artist to chart seven consecutive No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hits ("Saving All My Love for You", "How Will I Know", "Greatest Love of All", "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)", "Didn't We Almost Have It All", "So Emotional", and "Where Do Broken Hearts Go").

I can still sing every one of these. I can barely remember what else was popular around that time, but these songs were the soundtrack to those few years of my life. Damn. It's like an old friend has died. Fucking drugs.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 6:45 PM on February 11, 2012


And of course, there's always Whitney's incredulous reaction to a potted Serge Gainsbourg telling her he wants to fuck her on French television.
posted by item at 6:45 PM on February 11, 2012 [19 favorites]


Blue Villain:

"I spent over two years of my life working in behavioral health centers focused on drug rehabilitation. I've spent more time leading AA and NA meetings than I have with my own three year old. Which is why when she was born I stopped helping other people out to start focusing on my own family."

I think the addicted community would be better served if you went with "stopped helping other people out," because you're clearly either vastly undereducated about how addiction is manifested--or you're just full of bananas. AA/NA meetings are chaired by other addicts/alcoholics. As a proclaimed and supposed "medical professional" you may have acted as a facilitator or moderator, incorporating some of the basic tenets of 12-step programs, but these gatherings by definition could not have been AA/NA meetings.

All that said I fear for whoever you think you're actually trying to "help" given what you've written here. AA works for a number of reasons; excluding some ignorant members of the medical community who misinterpret addiction is one of those reasons.
posted by eggman at 6:47 PM on February 11, 2012 [29 favorites]


She sinned against her own talent.

This is probably well meant, but still a very weird thing to say.
posted by Dumsnill at 6:48 PM on February 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


Another icon from my childhood is gone. Rest in peace, Whitney.

.
posted by SisterHavana at 6:48 PM on February 11, 2012


Whoa.

.
posted by subbes at 6:49 PM on February 11, 2012


Who found Whitney? Was it Ray J? Was it her brother Michael?
Why are there conflicting reports?

Also Whitney talked to her mother and Aunt on the phone 20 minutes before her death.
Found in a bathtub.
posted by TangerineGurl at 6:50 PM on February 11, 2012


I think with Whitney Houston, even if you weren't a fan or didn't particularly like her songs, it's hard not to appreciate how utterly powerful her voice was. I have been trying to think of a single person who even compares and am drawing a blank. She's one of a kind.
posted by fromageball at 6:51 PM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


She sinned against her own talent.

This is probably well meant, but still a very weird thing to say.


I think that statement stems from something Tony Bennett said in reference to Amy Winehouse. He'd heard it said of someone else and when he was working with her recording their duet, he thought of telling her that story.
posted by kaybdc at 6:52 PM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


If Adele sings a Whitney Houston song at the Grammys tomorrow, the heart of the universe will shatter.
posted by ColdChef at 6:53 PM on February 11, 2012 [22 favorites]


I think that statement stems from something Tony Bennett said in reference to Amy Winehouse. He'd heard it said of someone else and when he was working with her recording their duet, he thought of telling her that story.

Ah! It occurred to me a couple of seconds after posting that it was probably a reference I didn't get.
posted by Dumsnill at 6:56 PM on February 11, 2012


.
posted by monkeymike at 6:56 PM on February 11, 2012


She sinned against her own talent.

That's the thing about talent, it's just genetic role of the dice, yet we assign it mythic powers and readily subsume the individual for that talent. There's no doubt that Whitney Houston was blessed with phenomenal gift and that she had a rare talent.

But she was still person and that should be what mattered most.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:58 PM on February 11, 2012 [16 favorites]


.
posted by toerinishuman at 6:58 PM on February 11, 2012


Since obit threads are generally the place for stories like these, I figure I'll write this up here.

I'm not what anyone would reasonably call a 'music person', in the sense that I follow a lot of bands, go to a lot of shows, feel a lot of passion for particular performers and that larger culture that surrounds modern music. Never have been. I've been learning piano over the past year and a half, but it's as much about enjoying the technical side of acquiring the skill as it is about the feeling and the music itself. Hell, if you had asked me earlier today to name a Whitney Houston song I would have struggled to name anything beyond "I Will Always Love You" (which, admittedly, isn't even hers originally). I'm sure I would've been able to come up with the other big hits, but it would've taken me a minute or two.

But one of my earliest memories is when I was a little boy in the mid-80s, probably 3-4 years old, I had one of those Fisher-Price cassette players and a Whitney Houston tape (probably my mom's, in retrospect, but I thought of it as mine), and I totally latched on to it in that often inexplicable way that little kids sometimes latch on to things. I thought she was beautiful, at least in that simple sort of way that a little kid can, and I just adored listening to her voice. I would walk around listening to it without any self-consciousness at all. Eventually that phase passed and I acquired all the gender programming that kids get and I remember feeling embarrassed about it, because I had started to think of listening to something like that as something that "boys don't do" over, I don't know, listening to rock songs or whatever. (My mom, for what it's worth, let me watch or listen to or play with whatever I wanted, whether they were 'boys toys/cartoons' or 'girls toys/cartoons', without any sort of judgment. I watched Voltron and Rainbow Brite in equal measure, because I found them both entertaining and didn't really think of it beyond that.) I never thought about it much as I got older, other than feeling a twinge of embarrassment at the memory whenever her name came up, because that part of me associated it with a transgression of gender norms that I would be rejected for.

I was at the Boston Book Festival in a couple years ago with a friend, and we were sitting on the steps in Copley Square during a break between performances. There was this little boy who could've have been much older than 3-4 himself, who came out in the middle of the area in front of the stage and was just dancing without a care in the world. The friend I was with turned to me and asked "can you remember a time when you were that carefree?" and the answer in my head was no, I've always been afraid, for as long as I can remember. But if I had thought about it a little further, I would've remembered the Whitney Houston tape and that embrace of something I liked without any shame or awareness of what other people might think of me for it. So now, a couple decades+ later, after all sorts of struggle with mental illness, anxiety, closing myself off from the world... I'm finally reaching a point where I'm starting to be able to own myself, 'weird' as he may be sometimes, and project that person to the world with confidence as someone who is strong and happy and doesn't have a problem with being a man who has the occasional interest that doesn't fit the rubric of 'traditionally masculine'.

So, hearing about her passing makes me a lot sadder than I thought I would have been, I think in part because it reconnects me with the best qualities of the little boy that I was and the joy of having a genuine response to any sort of artistic expression, whether it's high art or pop music, gender normative or not, and hoping I can bring that back into my life for the rest of it.

I never really followed her career after that brief phase with the tape passed, other than watching her slow descent into a tabloid headline. I'm sorry that she's gone, and for the pain she must have endured and that her family must be enduring now. But I'm thankful to her for being there for that little kid version of me to connect with, because the memory of that connection, in its own small way, serves as a positive influence on my life now, as an anchor for sorting out one of the biggest problems anyone can face: how to be yourself.
posted by Kosh at 7:03 PM on February 11, 2012 [100 favorites]


The best expression I've heard of the sentiments one feels when a loved one or someone important dies is from the song "Smile" by Scarface:

And now a moment of silence
Let us pray
And as you journey into outer space
May the angels help to lead the way
May the prayers that our families made
Shine up on your soul to keep you safe
And all the homies that have passed away
Be there to greet you as you pass the gates
And as you head to the tunnel's light
I hope it leads to eternal life

RIP Whitney.
posted by reenum at 7:03 PM on February 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


.
posted by spinifex23 at 7:03 PM on February 11, 2012


I'd hate to be at a karaoke bar tonight
posted by Greener Backyards at 7:03 PM on February 11, 2012 [13 favorites]


We booked the studio for five days. I went around to the record shop near the studio to get hold of 'Shaft' & in the window was a big cut-out of Whitney Houston. I love that track, and I loved Whitney Houston then, and I just said 'Wow', and bought the album. We just played that track over and over again, and we just thought: "no point us making records when such fantastic records as this have been made". And that's how that track grew into a celebration of Whitney Houston.
 — Bill Drummond, on Whitney Joins The Jams
posted by scruss at 7:05 PM on February 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


it's a sad, sad story - and i've got to admit that much of her music didn't really turn me on, even though i knew she had a great voice - but this was my favorite from her my name is not susan
posted by pyramid termite at 7:05 PM on February 11, 2012


Grammy Party Now Memorial
posted by ColdChef at 7:07 PM on February 11, 2012


I actually was half-expecting this, and I mean that with great sorrow. Simon Cowell just said on TV, "she fell in with the wrong crowd, and God, I wish it hadn't happened."

.
posted by evilcolonel at 7:08 PM on February 11, 2012


I think with Whitney Houston, even if you weren't a fan or didn't particularly like her songs, it's hard not to appreciate how utterly powerful her voice was.
I agree, but I think her weakness as a singer was that she never really reined in the power. She was always at 100%, which made her songs less effective than if she'd exercised some restraint. But it's sort of not the point right now. She had an amazing voice, and she died much too soon.
posted by craichead at 7:08 PM on February 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


I never claimed to be a fan, but this line always struck me as genuine (and now somewhat sadly prophetic) and not nearly as maudlin as it reads in print or has any right to be, which says an awful lot about her talent:

If I lose my fame and fortune / and I'm homeless on the streets / and I'm sleeping in Grand Central Station / it's okay, if you're sleeping with me
posted by joe lisboa at 7:08 PM on February 11, 2012


Late 1984, I was a night time disc jockey on Cape Cod, and digging through some piles of promo records that had come in, I found a .45 of “Saving All My Love For You.” I gave it a quick spin off the air, just to see what was up.

It was an incredibly bad time in my life, getting divorced, could count every friend I had within 2000 miles on zero fingers. My car was broke, I was broke. I was driving my feet, eating take-out, sleeping on a co-worker’s couch, and I needed a hug from anyone so bad I ached.

I remember sticking that record on the air, saying something like “Wow, this girl has some pipes. Keep an eye out for her. I think she’s going places.” And as it played, I cried like a baby.

Silly as it seems, I’m old now, but that song just fucking kills me everytime I hear it. I mean pull the car over and wait it out kills me. It’s a bit like that scene with the opera from “The Shawshank Redemption.” Stops me dead in the water.

It just sounded like hope, and love, and faith in the notion that the sun might shine brighter tomorrow.

I never actually told anyone that before.
posted by timsteil at 7:10 PM on February 11, 2012 [90 favorites]


Ah! It occurred to me a couple of seconds after posting that it was probably a reference I didn't get.

I just looked it up to see if I'd remembered it correctly. Apparently when Bennett was in the midst of his own struggle with drugs in the 70s, a friend, who happened to have been Lenny Bruce's former manager, stated "he sinned against his talent" both to describe Bruce and as a cautionary tale to Bennett. Bennett states that after hearing that story, he stopped using immediately. This came out in a 20/20 interview conducted prior to the release of Duets II and after Amy Winehouse's death.

But I agree, that behind that well-meaning statement there's a certain assumption about how addicts can or should be able to control their addictions.
posted by kaybdc at 7:10 PM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was a toddler when "I Will Always Love You" was big and popular and everywhere, which means that most of what I can personally remember of Whitney Houston is as a punchline. The reality show, the whole bit.

Anyway, I apparently (I can't quite remember), loved "I Will Always Love You". I'd sing along to it, in terrible, off-pitch, slurred toddler speech, usually skipping consonants or whole words (usually "always"). There's a home video, somewhere, I think, maybe in storage at my aunt's house. I wouldn't need to see it; it was a source of a lot of fond amusement and recollection by my parents, my whole life. It was one of those silly little in-jokes that parents have with and about their kids.

My parents never really wanted the same things out of life or marriage, and they separated when I was 9, which coincidentally would've been around the same time that the first whispers about Whitney's problems with drugs started to surface. I don't really have any lasting trauma from it--they're two people who shouldn't have been married--but there's a nostalgic, little-kid part of me that still clings to any evidence that the two of them were ever happy together, or capable of agreeing about anything, and my rendition "I Will Always Love You" is the gold standard for that.

I can't remember the last time I heard "I Will Always Love You". I never had any other real interest in Whitney Houston's other music. Most of what I remember about her, actually, is the entertainment press's deeply creepy fascination with watching this talented and glamorous woman spiral down into a shell of herself. But there's still part of me that carries around that song and can't let go of the place it holds in my emotional life.

.
posted by kagredon at 7:12 PM on February 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


If Adele sings a Whitney Houston song at the Grammys tomorrow, the heart of the universe will shatter.

It'd be a lot of pressure to put on her given that the Grammys will be her first "official" public performance after her vocal surgery and she's probably concerned about being able to sing her own songs not to mention one of Whitney's. However, I think Adele would be one of the best people to do it. Just please let them keep Christina Aguilera far away, and I think Beyonce's probably not up to it right now either, assuming she's even going to the Grammys this year. Celine Dion might be another good choice if she could keep her ego out it.
posted by fuse theorem at 7:17 PM on February 11, 2012


ColdChef

I would be pleasantly surprised if Adele possessed the pipes to do Whitney justice. If I'm interpreting the tonal quality correctly, Someone Like You has Adele brushing against the top of her effective singing range... albeit to great effect; it totally fits the desperation of the song. Adele's voice also seems less melodically elastic than Whitney's most accomplished performances (I Will Always Love You), although this may be due to their focus on different styles or genres.
posted by The Confessor at 7:18 PM on February 11, 2012


., but I do know one Dolly Parton fan that may just find this proper.
posted by NortonDC at 7:18 PM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Simon Cowell just said on TV, "she fell in with the wrong crowd, and God, I wish it hadn't happened."

At the same time that she was apparently being approached to be an X-Factor judge probably for the sole reason that she was a trainwreck that he wanted to exploit. Simon Cowell is human garbage.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 7:18 PM on February 11, 2012 [11 favorites]


Upon further reflection, the lyric I quoted above could be seen as more depressing then anything tonight, especially if one assumes she was addressing her husband and/or one of her enablers. The fact that it's still a potentially maudlin sentiment expressed in a moving way still says loads about her (now wasted) talent, in my opinion.
posted by joe lisboa at 7:20 PM on February 11, 2012


* THAN
goddamit
posted by joe lisboa at 7:21 PM on February 11, 2012


If anyone is interested / has access, Waiting to Exhale is on Netflix Instant Watch. Not The Bodyguard, though.


By the way, that "." thing everyone keeps doing when people die... is that supposed to be a teardrop?
posted by bxyldy at 7:22 PM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's a symbolic depiction of a moment of silence, bxyldy.
posted by joe lisboa at 7:24 PM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just rang my mum, who sings whitney's songs as gospel songs even now, and she had no idea. She's devastated.

.
posted by goo at 7:25 PM on February 11, 2012


.
posted by New England Cultist at 7:25 PM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


What the fuck, man. I love Whitney Houston. I had the I Didn't We Almost Have it All cassingle in My First Sony. The Greatest Love has been my karaoke song for years, and just generally a song I get stuck inside my head. I can remember watching her sing at the 1991 Superbowl, and just having my mind blown. I was too young to think critically about the war. What pipes she had. She's now in heaven singing with Amy.
posted by shushufindi at 7:25 PM on February 11, 2012


(I finally get it. Thanks, Joe)
posted by bxyldy at 7:27 PM on February 11, 2012


.

Whitney, thank you for sharing your beautiful voice with the world.
posted by emd3737 at 7:29 PM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Forgive me, but there's a whole lot of jumping to conclusions going on here. What, she was working the crack pipe leading up to Clive's party? Possibly, but maybe she just had a good old heart attack or something. Let's wait for the toxicology reports before we proclaim it a cocaine death. Unless I missed something somewhere.

Whitney brought me & my gay brothers & sisters a lotta joy in the '80's. She's just a couple years younger than me. I hate that she went through her addictions, just like I hate my own. She's died way too young and that just sucks.

.
posted by wallabear at 7:29 PM on February 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


.
posted by spitefulcrow at 7:30 PM on February 11, 2012


She had everything this world could offer, and she squandered it all.

You don't understand how addiction works.


Playing devil's advocate here, but with all the addicts I know (and a few I love) absolutely NONE of them ever had a tenth of the money this woman had and could have used to get help for her addictions. I'm with Blue_Villain, it angers me that it is acceptable that society thinks that drug use is par for the course when people are living the lifestyles of the rich and famous. A lot of Some folks here on Metafilter have done hard drugs and gotten lucky, or have tee-heed about hard drug use. I wish our society would just lighten up on marijuana, and come down hard with plenty of public disapproval on the addictive (hard) drugs. (Eric Clapton should have been slapped for glorifying cocaine with sleazy lyrics on a great tune.)

The other thing that angers me is that she wasted that wonderful talent and beauty. If I could only sing half as well as she did for my own enjoyment, and were half as beautiful as she was. To me she was a truly striking woman. And so young. I'm a decade older, and I feel there's so much life left ahead for me.

I'm not gloating on her grave. (No man is an island, etc.) But I really can't get torn up because she wasted so much.
posted by BlueHorse at 7:32 PM on February 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


.
posted by bru at 7:37 PM on February 11, 2012


If it was a heart attack, it was probably related to her cocaine use. Cocaine kills heart muscle, mechanism is uncertain but the damage shows up. Even after people stop using, they can still have the damage. If it's bad enough ,its the same as having had a major heart attack-- you won't be coming back unscathed and it makes another one more likely.
posted by wuwei at 7:38 PM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Addiction doesn't give a shit how much money you have.
posted by rtha at 7:38 PM on February 11, 2012 [24 favorites]


fromageball: "it's hard not to appreciate how utterly powerful her voice was. I have been trying to think of a single person who even compares and am drawing a blank"


Streisand?
posted by Bonzai at 7:41 PM on February 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


BlueHorse & Blue_Villain: See, the thing is, you seem unable to comprehend or internalize the concept of addiction as a disease. Very, very few disillusioned individuals overtly believe that "it is acceptable that society thinks that drug use is par for the course.

You've mentioned that society should just "come down hard with public disapproval on the . . . drugs" which insinuates that you feel there's a moral component to drug use.

I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but drug addiction is not, at its core, a moral issue.
posted by eggman at 7:41 PM on February 11, 2012 [19 favorites]


A lot of Some folks here on Metafilter have done hard drugs and gotten lucky, or have tee-heed about hard drug use

The vast majority of people that use "hard" drugs do not get addicted, and do not have problems from it. You've got a sampling bias because it's not your thing, so the only time you know about it is when there's a problem.

Stop judging.
posted by flaterik at 7:42 PM on February 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


I wish rich people could buy their way out of addiction! Many of my heroes would still be here.
posted by girlmightlive at 7:44 PM on February 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


Addiction doesn't give a shit how much money you have.

Well, sometimes I can afford shit I can't normally afford.
posted by Dumsnill at 7:44 PM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


(Eric Clapton should have been slapped for glorifying cocaine with sleazy lyrics on a great tune.)

j j cale wrote that song - and it's not as positive a song about the drug as you think
posted by pyramid termite at 7:44 PM on February 11, 2012 [14 favorites]


"Cocaine" was a JJ Cale song, covered by Clapton. Back to your Whitney Houston discussion.
posted by raysmj at 7:46 PM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but drug addiction is not, at its core, a moral issue.


Quoted for truth. She may as well have died from liver disease, or brain cancer. It's a damn shame that the disease she did have ruined her mind, her voice, and her reputation.

.
posted by facetious at 7:46 PM on February 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


Playing devil's advocate here, but with all the addicts I know (and a few I love) absolutely NONE of them ever had a tenth of the money this woman had and could have used to get help for her addictions.

As I mentioned upthread, she voluntarily checked herself into rehab back in May of 2011. The problem is that all her money wasn't enough, IMO. I'm not expert, but you can't just thrown money at an addiction problem.

Here are photos of her, from last night. Warning, they and the story with them aren't very flattering.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:48 PM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Yes Jesus Loves Me"

She sings this song the way the old black women in my church did during my youth ... in a way that says "even when no one else does, Jesus loves me." This song is the one that let's me know something was missing for her.


.
posted by nubianinthedesert at 7:52 PM on February 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


I think that the assumption that her death was drug related stems from the fact that she was recently photographed coming out of a club looking the worse for wear, the assumption being that she was using again. I remember passing by a snippet reporting this story on Entertainment Tonight or some other show of that ilk when I was channel surfing one night in the last week or two. It registered because I hadn't seen or heard anything about Whitney in what seemed like a long while, and while the source may have not been the most trustworthy, it was still sad to think that her drug problems had resurfaced (if indeed she'd ever successfully beat them for any length of time - and I hope that she had had some moments of peace and was able to enjoy time with her daughter and her family in between her bouts of drug abuse and rehab). Then I quickly changed the channel and forgot about it until I read about her death here.
posted by kaybdc at 7:53 PM on February 11, 2012


Whitney Houston vs Theophilus London - I Will Always Love You (video clip; full song from This Charming Mixtape)

.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:54 PM on February 11, 2012


A terrible loss of a beautiful voice. However she died, the years she was under the influence didn't look like any fun at all for her. Addiction is a terrible thing, and even had she died of injuries sustained in a freak ballooning accident, the fact that this talented, gracious woman spent such a long time as the punchline of a national joke is a terrible shame.
posted by xingcat at 7:55 PM on February 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


and a noted deterioration of her singing voice

That second link (behind 'deterioration') is actually pretty interesting, thanks.
posted by gimonca at 7:56 PM on February 11, 2012


You can't say her cause of death is drug abuse until the toxicology results come back. Hypertension particularly affects Black women at earlier ages than their White counterparts. I'd withhold judgment until a final ruling is made.


.
posted by Renoroc at 7:56 PM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


You can't say her cause of death is drug abuse until the toxicology results come back. Hypertension particularly affects Black women at earlier ages than their White counterparts. I'd withhold judgment until a final ruling is made.


.
posted by Renoroc at 7:56 PM on February 11 [+] [!]


Laciretsynope

I'm sorry
posted by kagredon at 8:00 PM on February 11, 2012 [13 favorites]


.
posted by defenestration at 8:05 PM on February 11, 2012


.
posted by Chichibio at 8:22 PM on February 11, 2012


I wish our society would just lighten up on marijuana, and come down hard with plenty of public disapproval on the addictive (hard) drugs.

Whitney was regularly mocked for her drug use. She was paraded around like an animal because of her alleged addiction to crack/cocaine.

I wish our society would recognize that everyone has addictions, whether it's workaholics, alcoholics, shopaholics, or people addicted to drugs that aren't alcohol, money, or things. Attaching stigma to just one prevents people from seeking help. It's wrong, and you shouldn't do it.

While Whitney was "wasting her life away," she sold a couple hundred million records. I haven't had the courage to publish or even show a single piece of my creative work, but since I'm not on hard drugs would you categorize my life as "not wasted?" For most of her life, she put herself out in front of the entire world and and sang. It's perhaps one of the most terrifying things I can imagine, and she did it all the time. Her drug use really has nothing to do with what her life meant. Maybe it cut her life short, and made it more difficult that it had to be, but it doesn't change the meaning.

She was a brave soul who deserved more chances at redemption, and I hope she's at peace.

.
posted by deanklear at 8:24 PM on February 11, 2012 [39 favorites]


The anguish on the couple of dude's faces in that dailymail piece is chilling.
posted by gjc at 8:26 PM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by UseyurBrain at 8:36 PM on February 11, 2012


Playing devil's advocate here, but with all the addicts I know (and a few I love) absolutely NONE of them ever had a tenth of the money this woman had and could have used to get help for her addictions.

Really, you look at Whitney and think, she had everything and she wasted it? I think she had everything and it wasn't enough.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 8:37 PM on February 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


I grew up listening to her.

.
posted by halonine at 8:38 PM on February 11, 2012


Well, the part that feels like a "waste" is that she killed herself. Anyone's early and preventable death feels like a waste to me. In my view there are social problems that create these early deaths - so I don't think she wasted her life - only that it's a waste that she's dead before she needed to be.
posted by latkes at 8:38 PM on February 11, 2012


Well, the part that feels like a "waste" is that she killed herself.

Is that what you say about cigarette smokers and people who have bad diets and don't exercise when they die young? Seriously, stop treating addiction like it's a choice. It's not a choice. That's why it's called addiction.
posted by deanklear at 8:45 PM on February 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


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posted by scottymac at 8:52 PM on February 11, 2012


[This is the point in the obit thread where we tell you to take your jokes to MetaTalk.]
posted by jessamyn at 8:54 PM on February 11, 2012


I love a bunch of her songs, but somehow I never realised how beautiful Whitney Houston was before tonight. I mean, I knew Serge Gainsbourg wanted to fuck her, but by the time I had the opportunity to take a good look at her, she was in her late thirties and it was the late nineties (a very unfortunate time for my fellow black people hair- and fashion-wise - couldn't see past the frosty brown lipstick and church wig). She didn't need to be particularly pretty, anyway, being first on the short list of pop singers whose talent justified their fame on its own. But I've just been looking at her video for Where Do Broken Hearts Go, and oh my god. She was utterly PERFECT-looking. It's actually visually thrilling, and almost a little disgusting, to watch her sing that first chorus. Jesus. Why couldn't she have a happy life? So heartbreaking.

.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 8:55 PM on February 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


I fully admit laughing at what Whitney had become, but I have to say her passing the day before the Grammys has caused my heart to sink into my stomach and I feel terrible that she passed away. In fact, I was at the Staples Center earlier today and it looks like everyone is overhauling the program last minute to pay tribute to her.

I never thought of Whitney Houston as a big deal, but to me this is a much bigger deal than the passing of Amy Winehouse or Etta James. I think it has to do with the fact that her music was so popular when I was in high school. Her contemporary music symbolized pure love to my generation.

You know, this is when everyone comes out and twitters about what a wonderful influence she was and how great of a person she was and how she's going to a better place. I didn't know her personally, but her decline from greatness was really steady and lasted my entire adult life, and she died with bupkis. I would have never thought as a kid that this would have happened to a person like her. Her death is a huge punctuation mark to a musical career that ended a long time ago. She was indeed timeless.

I don't want to get into the semantics of addiction, but if what happened to her wasn't a choice, I'm sorry that she had to endure such a fate and that nobody - not her family, her friends, or colleagues, literally nobody - was able to help her. I wish people took drugs more seriously. The grip is unbelievable.
posted by phaedon at 9:10 PM on February 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


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posted by me3dia at 9:13 PM on February 11, 2012


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posted by Lynsey at 9:18 PM on February 11, 2012


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posted by limeonaire at 9:19 PM on February 11, 2012


Well, the part that feels like a "waste" is that she killed herself.

Is that what you say about cigarette smokers and people who have bad diets and don't exercise when they die young? Seriously, stop treating addiction like it's a choice. It's not a choice. That's why it's called addiction.


It's more...it's this sense of how random the whole thing is- it's a coin flip, who gets that voice, and it's another coin flip, who gets whatever gene or chromosome makes them an addict. It's almost capricious that you would get both, the voice and the addiction, and it sort of hammers at you how capricious everything else is- that your father got the addiction gene and the gene that made him check on you while you slept, that your sister didn't get the addiction gene but got all of the meanness. Who wouldn't think that was a waste? That you can be a decent person, forget about her talent, but just that you can be a decent person and still end up holding a shit hand?
posted by Snarl Furillo at 9:24 PM on February 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


In Junior High School in the mid-80s, I had a huge crush on Whitney Houston. She was so goddamn good-looking, and as a young musician I found her singing irresistible. From the 90s onward, she totally lost me and I tuned her out pretty much completely.

Tonight made me really, really sad about the decline of someone who didn't need to decline. Rest in peace, Miss Houston.

.
posted by pianoboy at 9:25 PM on February 11, 2012


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posted by koucha at 9:30 PM on February 11, 2012


I remember seeing her in one those dancing reality shows a few years ago, hoping she still had enough to make a comeback. But the damage had been done, and, well, here we are.

.
posted by zix at 9:30 PM on February 11, 2012


NY Times obit
In Los Angeles on Saturday night, a number of other people were drawn to the hotel where Ms. Houston died to mourn. “I want to show support because she inspired a lot of people, and nobody’s perfect,” said Lavetris Singleton. “But if we’re not out here then she’ll be forgotten. We are her legacy.”
.
posted by FlyingMonkey at 9:35 PM on February 11, 2012


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posted by Kevin Street at 9:35 PM on February 11, 2012


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posted by killy willy at 9:36 PM on February 11, 2012


zix, you're thinking of Toni Braxton.
posted by ltracey at 9:36 PM on February 11, 2012


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posted by liza at 9:41 PM on February 11, 2012


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posted by Lyn Never at 9:43 PM on February 11, 2012


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posted by ZeusHumms at 9:44 PM on February 11, 2012


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posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:48 PM on February 11, 2012


i wonder if karmin knows
posted by camdan at 9:51 PM on February 11, 2012


Is that what you say about cigarette smokers and people who have bad diets and don't exercise when they die young? Seriously, stop treating addiction like it's a choice. It's not a choice. That's why it's called addiction.

Well, I tried to make clear in the second half of my comment that I believe social conditions set people up for deadly addictions. But I actually do think people have agency. I can both feel that someone killed herself and also recognize that there are physical and social reasons why that happened.
posted by latkes at 9:52 PM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


dirigibleman: "Or not."

And on the same page, sidebarred...

Whitney Houston, Superstar of Records, Films, Dies
Reports of Whitney Houston's Death Denied

A little cognitive dissonance in the Samizcranium tonight.

Or ABC sucks.
posted by Samizdata at 9:53 PM on February 11, 2012


Also, it is so sad when people with talent let other people and fame eat their souls.

Although, sometimes I wish I had talent.
posted by Samizdata at 9:54 PM on February 11, 2012


You can count on one hand the number of people who ever nailed the Star Spangled Banner. She could have knocked you on your ass singing Row Row Row Your Boat.

I don't ever cry when a celebrity dies. I didn't know them. They wouldn't have given me the time of the day. But Whitney going at 48 is pretty damn sad. Goodness that woman could sing.
posted by bukvich at 9:55 PM on February 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


I think the problem with announcing Whitney Houston's death is that there have been enough recent false announcements that there are a decent number of false death reports going around too.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:56 PM on February 11, 2012


Whitney Houston, "How Will I Know", on Soul Train
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:58 PM on February 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh damn.

I was just thinking of her today while reading that Adele thread, and how Adele is amazing but certainly hasn't given us an "I Will Always Love You" yet.

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posted by lunasol at 10:01 PM on February 11, 2012


Godspeed, Ms. Winston, and thank you.
posted by Capt. Renault at 10:02 PM on February 11, 2012


(Winston? God, am i drunk.)
posted by Capt. Renault at 10:04 PM on February 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


This is rotten and sad. She was so talented, and so blessed.

I'm not willing to put the typical period here for her, because she deserves more than silence. She deserves attempts at putting to music the feelings being felt.

This is a mournful, joyous howl, punctuated by an exclamation point rather than a period.

So,

!
posted by Graygorey at 10:12 PM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by ants at 10:18 PM on February 11, 2012


Her poor, poor daughter. Eighteen is far too young to lose your mother.

(Actually, my heart goes out to any child who loses a parent too soon. But what's particularly odious about this is that Bobbi Kristina is going have to endure her grief while listening to lots of people pass judgment on her mother's past behavior and whether or not she had death coming. It's a burden I wouldn't wish on the world's most together adult.)
posted by sobell at 10:18 PM on February 11, 2012 [9 favorites]


I'm with Blue_Villain, it angers me that it is acceptable that society thinks that drug use is par for the course when people are living the lifestyles of the rich and famous.

I don't think they are acceptable at all. I know a hell of a lot of rich people who have spent hundreds and thousands of dollars on re-hab programs for their children, often to no avail. They know that their family wealth will wither on the vine if they don't get them under control. But the reality is that there is no program out there with consistently good results. The best results for particular programs are often in the single digits, even expensive programs (though they will often lie to prospective clients). My family poured a lot of money into trying to cure a relative and he died anyway last year. He had absolutely the best treatment, but the type of addiction he had was like an aggressive form of pancreatic cancer in its absolute power to destroy a person.
posted by melissam at 10:20 PM on February 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


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posted by Meatafoecure at 10:30 PM on February 11, 2012


Yeah, and none of the 'best' programs work by solemnly assuring addicts that society disapproves of their actions. It's useless information to someone with a problem, and even more useless to someone with a disease. I can hardly believe it's the 21st century and people still think that moral disapproval changes anything at all.

When I was 10, my best friend and I used to make up dances and lip sync to Whitney Houston's first two records. We loved her so much. It's not my type of music these days, but damn, she brought us a lot of fun and joy. I wish she'd been able to get beyond the addiction, or whatever caused her to start abusing drugs in the first place. What a crying shame.
posted by harriet vane at 10:31 PM on February 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


BlueHorse: "She had everything this world could offer, and she squandered it all.

You don't understand how addiction works.


Playing devil's advocate here, but with all the addicts I know (and a few I love) absolutely NONE of them ever had a tenth of the money this woman had and could have used to get help for her addictions. I'm with Blue_Villain, it angers me that it is acceptable that society thinks that drug use is par for the course when people are living the lifestyles of the rich and famous. A lot of Some folks here on Metafilter have done hard drugs and gotten lucky, or have tee-heed about hard drug use. I wish our society would just lighten up on marijuana, and come down hard with plenty of public disapproval on the addictive (hard) drugs. (Eric Clapton should have been slapped for glorifying cocaine with sleazy lyrics on a great tune.)

The other thing that angers me is that she wasted that wonderful talent and beauty. If I could only sing half as well as she did for my own enjoyment, and were half as beautiful as she was. To me she was a truly striking woman. And so young. I'm a decade older, and I feel there's so much life left ahead for me.

I'm not gloating on her grave. (No man is an island, etc.) But I really can't get torn up because she wasted so much.
"

Well, for some of us poor folk, it took almost dying in a bad deal to snap us around, despite our lack of bank.

Maybe she never had a chance to have such a moment.
posted by Samizdata at 10:34 PM on February 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


a cover of "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" by David Byrne

"I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)" was written by George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam of the band Boy Meets Girl, who had previously written the number-one Whitney Houston hit "How Will I Know".

Where did her talent come from? It's almost supernatural. She owned every note and planted it like it was in a bulls-eye on a dart board.
posted by StickyCarpet at 10:36 PM on February 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Here in Hell's Kitchen, in a neighbor's apartment there is a group spontaneous in memoriam, singing Whitney's I Will Always Love You, at the top of their lungs, sounding a bit like howling wolves, which makes me feel sadder than I expected and good also, because it was a shock to hear the news. And then, like Michael Jackson and Amy Winehouse, it made terrible sense too.

Just last night I was listening to a kitsch but surprisingly likable YouTube vid of "Ukraine's Whitney Houston" and I thought, whatever happened to Whitney Houston? Why didn't she find her way? She didn't seem to have the hell-bent-on-self-destruction thing that Amy Winehouse had. But then maybe being built up as The Voice and having it come grinding down into that gravely mess of a voice, a ruined voice. How hard it must have been for her.

Whitney was so brilliant, quite spectacular, her voice once so sublime, glorious really. It had that astounding liquidity that Aretha's does, able to soar. In the old days it had a sort of clarity and purity too. My favorite of hers, which had none of that amazing soaring, but was a great song, The Greatest Love of All.

She epitomized the 80's. That big hair, her whippet thin figure, so gracefully lean, tall, elegant and utterly beautiful in a classic diva kind of way.

And today Whitney Houston is dead. So sad. At 48! Can't help thinking perhaps she was deeply wounded in childhood and that's what prompted her inability to get beyond the addiction, beyond the abjectly codependent enmeshment with raging narcissist, co-addict, Bobby Brown, unable to get back on her feet. Maybe she was pushed too early onto the stage as a kid?

Here with her young daughter singing My Love Is Your Love. The lyrics:

If I should die this very day
Don't cry, 'cause on Earth we weren't meant to stay


My tender thoughts for her daughter, Bobbi Kristina Houston Brown, who endured and endures being the adult child of two addicts. My heart goes out to her.
posted by nickyskye at 10:37 PM on February 11, 2012 [16 favorites]


Reading that Jennifer Hudson will be leading the Grammy tribute. That's . . . not someone we guessed.
posted by pineappleheart at 10:41 PM on February 11, 2012


I was at an antique store today with my aunt. I had not been there in a year, and for the first time they had put on display a crate of vinyl albums. Whitney's album Whitney was right there at the front. I pointed to it and asked my aunt, "What does it mean when the albums of your youth are on sale at an antique shop?" And we had a laugh.

40 minutes later, I heard the news.

Hope Michael Jackson is right there at the gates to welcome her in. One amazing duet.

.
posted by luminarias at 10:41 PM on February 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


AA works

Does it?
posted by Malice at 10:44 PM on February 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


jennifer hudson has sung "i will always love you" for whitney (and whitney seemed to love it)

i far prefer that to something ridiculous like christina aguilera's wailing.
posted by nadawi at 10:49 PM on February 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


If Adele sings a Whitney Houston song at the Grammys tomorrow, the heart of the universe will shatter.

As mentioned upthread, Adele is just coming off surgery, so I doubt she'll do more than come out at the end to do "Rolling In The Deep" right before they hand her Best Album and call it a night.

But I'd stay the hell away if I were Adele. This is her coronation night, and doing Whitney will just show how limited her abilities are. She's all power, just as Mariah Carey is all range. Whitney, though, had both, maybe not to the same extent as Adele and Mariah, but she was a more complete package.

That tribute is going to be a pain to put together. But some part of me would love Bon Iver doing "Didn't We Almost Have It All" and Nicki Minaj tearing up "I Wanna Dance With Somebody Who Loves Me." And then close with Beyonce nailing "I Will Always Love You." It wouldn't be "appropriate," but that's why I don't direct the Grammy Awards.
posted by dw at 10:50 PM on February 11, 2012 [11 favorites]


"She sinned against her own talent.

This is probably well meant, but still a very weird thing to say."


I think it's an appropriate expression for it.

The quote is from Tony Bennett, who almost died of a cocaine overdose back in the '70s, and mentioned this story shortly after the death of Amy Winehouse, as he wanted to talk to her about drugs, but never found the right opportunity.

Apparently, Tony was quite a fan of Lenny Bruce, which led to an important conversation for him:

"Woody Allen's manager at the time said he knew Lenny Bruce. He said one sentence that changed my life: He said, 'He sinned against his talent.'"

Bennett completely cleaned up after that.
posted by markkraft at 10:51 PM on February 11, 2012 [7 favorites]


Her eponymous album was all over the radio around the time when I really started listening to top 40 stuff and not just the music my parents liked. When I listen to her 1980s songs it brings me right back to listening to the radio in my bedroom, my awkward 12 year old self dressing up and singing along, pretending to be beautiful and talented like Whitney Houston. That isolated vocal track from "How Will I Know" that gerryblog posted....my God! What a voice.

When I heard the news I said "WHAT?!?" out loud--she had seemed like a sad, deteriorating soul for so long but I was still shocked. Very sad.

.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:54 PM on February 11, 2012


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posted by slmorri at 11:06 PM on February 11, 2012


I am so grateful for my re-tooled old amplifier for today's Houston rotation... Wasn't teary until I heard the Jennifer Hudson cover that nadawi linked above. That Whitney got so much out of another strong-voiced black woman singing out love to her did me in. [Thanks nadawi]
posted by honey-barbara at 11:07 PM on February 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


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posted by gkhan at 11:36 PM on February 11, 2012


It's a sad evening. any time the world loses someone with that amount of innate natural talent, it's a terrible loss, regardless of whatever circumstances brought the loss to pass.

I wish that I could share with each and every one of you the smell of that lacquered gym floor, the DJ up on the stage behind the home backboard, spinning vinyl and playing tapes, the awkward way that we danced when we were young. When those first notes of 'I Will Always Love You' echoed across the gym, the pairing off of timid bodies, the tentative hands on backs and shoulders not wanting (but really wanting) to brush too close to your partner's butt. The flop sweat. The copious amounts of Brut cologne and whatever fragrance girls of the time wore, so beguiling even now, if only in memory. This was my first slow dance. My first slow dance that actually MEANT SOMETHING.

You see, she was moving to another school friends. She was leaving. We had circled around this issue, as much as two kids can when they're just getting they're braces off, lanky and tan and unsure of themselves as young kids can be. It was late May, and we both knew we wouldn't see each other again, save for some strange twist of fate. So when the DJ played 'I Will Always Love You', we walked right to one another across the crowed gym, eyes meeting, knowing this was our dance.

We held one another close, through the opening acapella, the verses and first chorus. Our hands drifted slightly, holding each other, but still tentative. I worried about being too forward, if my palms were sweaty, if she could tell I was nervous. I concentrated to keep my feet, too large for my still not-yet-grown frame, away from hers. The song seemed to stretch out forever, blissful, my every hope coming true. Then the bridge, or what I know now is 'the bridge', the key change... the moment.

You see, she kissed me. I kissed her. We kissed. We didn't worry about who saw us. Our lips, mine, hers, together. The amazing, time-stopping moment happened with Whitney, and it always will remain in my heart. There's a woman with a husband, a beautiful baby and fantastic life in Oregon. Right now, she's thinking of that moment too. Not so much about me, or our kiss, but about that beautiful moment and how 'I Will Always Love You' may be one of the greatest covers of all time, a torch song for the ages.

May you rest in peace Whitney.
posted by Bohemia Mountain at 11:43 PM on February 11, 2012 [33 favorites]


Yeah, and none of the 'best' programs work by solemnly assuring addicts that society disapproves of their actions. It's useless information to someone with a problem, and even more useless to someone with a disease. I can hardly believe it's the 21st century and people still think that moral disapproval changes anything at all.

I love this comment.
posted by timsneezed at 11:45 PM on February 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Simon Cowell just said on TV, "she fell in with the wrong crowd".

That's her prerogative.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:45 PM on February 11, 2012


Found on tumblr:
'My uncle was a recording engineer in the 1970s and 80s and he worked on Whitney. Obviously lady had a gorgeous voice but she didn’t always enunciate well enough, precisely enough to record. So when she recorded “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” she cut off all the “ssss” sounds at the end of “dance” so my uncle, this quaker dude from Maine, had to record the “ssss” because once she left, she wouldn’t come back to the studio. So that’s my uncle Lincoln hissing at the end of “dance” in that song. When the record came out, my uncle was courting my aunt so he came back from New York one weekend with a signed copy that just said “To Melissa. PEACE. Whitney.” Which, I must have been about 10? And my mother and my aunt and I just sat around and played it and stared at “To Melissa. PEACE. Whitney.” And we would try to say it over and over in her voice, because what an incredibly cool autograph.'
posted by casarkos at 11:57 PM on February 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


I feel like a part of my youth has died.
posted by infini at 12:09 AM on February 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


.

I just had a dance party at my housewarming party. I said to a friend who was helping with the playlists, "no '80's" music.

Then this happened,

I gave in. My girlfriend cried when the first songs played (thanks to a recent membership in a certain music streaming service, just for historical notation--I didn't have any Whitney Houston songs of my own).

I came in to say--we often write here on the blue "cancer sucks."


Drugs suck too. Fuck you, drugs.


Rest in peace, Whitney. Rest finally.



.
posted by oneironaut at 12:23 AM on February 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


DailyMail: Bobby Brown makes tearful tribute onstage.
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:36 AM on February 12, 2012


I dunno. Whitney was just a pop music singing head to me, until it came out that she was into drugs and gittin crazy with bobby brown. She would have been more interesting had she survived.
posted by Afroblanco at 1:00 AM on February 12, 2012


Reading her IMDB entry, I'm not sure what to make of the statement that Whitney Houston was up for the role of Sondra Huxtable in The Cosby Show.
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:03 AM on February 12, 2012


.

Poor bloody woman.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:20 AM on February 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thank you, Whitney. I'm so sorry.

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posted by trip and a half at 1:59 AM on February 12, 2012


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posted by NordyneDefenceDynamics at 2:18 AM on February 12, 2012


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posted by Mister Bijou at 2:18 AM on February 12, 2012


Greener Backyards: I'd hate to be at a karaoke bar tonight

Unless Shara Worden is there. Which would make the whole thing just a tiny bit less sad.
posted by dmit at 2:21 AM on February 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm always surprised when people are surprised that the rich and famous succumb to addiction. To me, it's far more amazing when stars manage to live relatively normal lives with happy relationships and little or no notoriety. But then, I'm also surprised at how many people want to be famous like that, because to me, it would be hell on earth: no privacy, ever, unless you barricade yourself in your home, and even then you'd need "staff" to achieve that; everything you do under a microscope – everything you eat or wear or say reported on; every misstep, mistake or embarrassing moment crowed about and endlessly commented on; every pound, every wrinkle, zit, or stretchmark, every unflattering outfit, imperfect eyeliner application or bad lipstick choice becomes juicy grist for the tabloid mill, blown up into oversized photos so that the public can soak up every awful detail.

How wonderful to be a star, granted no margin or forgiveness for any sign of aging, imperfection, weakness or self-doubt, ever, with the only escape from constant public flayings being to die at the height of your skill and beauty.

There's no amount of money that would make that okay for me. They have everything, yet they turn to alcohol, drugs or sex addiction, cults, mysticism, bizarre health fads or codependent relationships? Quelle surprise!

Whitney Houston had been in the limelight for two decades before the cracks1 started showing up. I think I would have crumbled long before than that. In the meantime, she added a not-insignificant amount of joy to the far-too-impoverished global fund of all-joy and touched people's lives just by sharing her talent. But, as the Serge Gainsbourg moment linked above seems to amply symbolize, this is not enough. The constant indefatigable groping, grasping hands trying to touch and invade would be a nightmare that I would also want to escape somehow, and I doubt my methods would be prettier.

Requiescat In Pace, Whitney.

1 awful unintended pun that I'm nevertheless leaving
posted by taz at 2:26 AM on February 12, 2012 [35 favorites]


Fuck, 48, that's young. In lieu of a panegyric, here's a brilliant bootleg/mashup: I Wanna Dance With Numbers, which puts Whitney up against Kraftwerk and in so doing exposes how great her vocals are. Also, someone linked it upthread, but It's Not Right But It's Okay is a fucking amazing song – her voice, coupled with Rodney Jerkins' stripped-bare production, is pretty much a blueprint for anything interesting in R&B in the 10 years that followed.
posted by Len at 3:00 AM on February 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by iviken at 5:36 AM on February 12, 2012


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posted by camyram at 5:57 AM on February 12, 2012


Put on her cover of "I Will Always Love You". Listen......then listen again.....
posted by pearlybob at 5:59 AM on February 12, 2012


Lady sings the blues.
posted by stormpooper at 6:06 AM on February 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by lester's sock puppet at 6:22 AM on February 12, 2012


Elvis Costello was hosting MTV one night in the 80's and in between Tom Waits tracks and Pogues songs, he played something by Whitney Houston. After it was over, he said something like "Whitney, you're an amazing singer, a fantastic performer and a gorgeous woman, but please let me write you some decent songs."

And that pretty much sums it up for her career, and all her inevitable imitators. They can't write their own material, their management is only interested in frothy pop hits that bring in $$$, and ultimately they have little to say as an artist. Great cash machines but no soul, no art.
posted by Ber at 6:29 AM on February 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't think they are acceptable at all.

This thread is a perfect example of how "acceptable" it has become. Everybody who has put their "." has come just shy of outright stating it.

The Whitney Houston everybody on here has come to acknowledge and mourn, she died the instant she became an addict. Her talent disappeared and she became a shell of the person she once was.

That Whitney Houston has been dead for many years, and nobody seemed to offer their condolences then, when it became a problem. But now that it's in their face, now that it's permanent and irrevocable, they're here to say how sorry they are. Now that it's too late, they've added their single character moments of silence without realizing that they've been silent the whole time.

If that's not the definition of socially acceptable, I don't know what is.

But let's turn this around and do something beneficial with it. It does no good to mourn and mourn alone. If you have a friend, family member, coworker, even an acquaintance who is going through something like this... why don't you give them a call. Right now. Screw the time of day, just call them or bring over some chicken soup, leftovers, a friggen potted plant. There's a good chance that this little thing is enough to get them over an obstacle that you're not even aware of.

Let them know that you love them, care for them, or even acknowledge their existence. Because ignoring their plight and just waiting for them to die...? Well we've all seen exactly how that turns out.

If you're lucky enough to not know anybody going through this, how about dropping a couple dollars off here. Heck, if you're that lucky, and you don't have a couple of dollars to spare, just call anybody you haven't talked to in a while. Go knock on your neighbors door, smile at a stranger, do... anything to make the world a slightly better place than it is right now.
posted by Blue_Villain at 6:32 AM on February 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


One of those Soul Train dancers is wearing a moon suit. That's the wackness.
posted by tizzie at 6:43 AM on February 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is not the time or place to discuss medical marijuana, but it should be noted that in the above-linked interview with Bobby and Whitney, Brown--almost apologetically--notes that cannabis alleviates the symptoms of his bipolar disorder, which refuses to respond to treatment with lithium.

The interview with Diane Sawyer was recorded in 2002, before medical marijuana appeared on the national radar. Somehow, through trial and error, Bobby stumbled on treating bipolar disorder with cannabis. The fact that cannabis gets lumped in with the other drugs he abused, leading to grief and guilt, is disturbing.

Of course, cannabis is subject to abuse as well. But its medical secrets were largely hidden in '02, and what may have been a legitimate use of cannabis became interwoven into the narrative of drug abuse by Bobby, and possibly Whitney, culminating in the long, convoluted story of the couple that ended with the recent tragedy.
posted by Gordion Knott at 6:47 AM on February 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


After hearing the news, my girlfriend and I are trying to construct a timeline of Whitney's tragic descent. One of the bigger red flags for me was an awards show (a big one like the Grammies or AMAs), at least ten years ago, where Whitney presented a major award to a female vocalist.

Whitney must have really been rooting for whomever it was who won (can't remember for the life of me), because after the envelope was opened, she went berserk, jumping up and down, screaming her head off. Her enthusiasm seemed really disproportionate to that of the other people onstage, and it seemed to be the product of a hard-drug high more than genuine happiness.

Anybody remember this incident, and which awards show it was? I can't find it anywhere online.
posted by Rykey at 6:54 AM on February 12, 2012


Here's 'I Was Made to Love Him' (yeah, it's a Stevie Wonder cover) from 1998's My Love Is Your Love.

(The legend is that Whitney and Lauryn Hill were just messing around in the studio, and Clive Davis decided to put it on the album as a hidden track.)
posted by box at 6:55 AM on February 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


.
posted by Lina Lamont at 7:01 AM on February 12, 2012


.

Well, for some of us poor folk, it took almost dying in a bad deal to snap us around, despite our lack of bank.

Maybe she never had a chance to have such a moment.


It's much more difficult for a rich person to have such a moment than for a poor person. When the addiction monster comes calling the rich person can easily get the money and connections and other people will take the risks doing deals in sketchy neighborhoods. For a rich person it takes something like the "sinned against his talent" comment that inspired Tony Bennett to clean up. It has to be personal, because the external forces just aren't there when you have the wealth to bulldoze through them.

The Whitney Houston everybody on here has come to acknowledge and mourn, she died the instant she became an addict. Her talent disappeared and she became a shell of the person she once was.

This is bullshit of the purest ray serene. Houston was using heavily during the most productive years of her career. Some people do crash hard (Britney Spears anyone?) but some people manage to be very high functioning addicts for years, or even for an entire normal lifespan.

Dying at 48 is tragic whatever the reason. I will turn 48 myself in a few days so this hits quite close to home. Whitney Houston lived large and left us an incredible legacy of amazing music. If the Devil had shown up when I was 18 and presented me with an offer to have such a career, I would probably have signed the contract without reading the fine print about it only being for 30 years.
posted by localroger at 7:01 AM on February 12, 2012 [11 favorites]


The first time I ever heard Whitney Houston was when I saw her 1986 Grammy performance of Saving All My Love For You.

In 1986, Pakistani television was pretty much limited to the state-run PTV (Pakistan Television). If you were lucky enough to live in Lahore, you were close enough to the Indian border to also be able to get Doordarshan (Indian equivalent of PTV), if you were willing to put up two antennae or spend a lot of time twiddling with the antenna on your roof.

PTV transmission would begin about 4PM every day. Programming would begin with a recitation from the Quran (1986 was firmly within the period of Gen. Zia-ul-Haq's Islamization campaign), followed by a program geared towards teaching kids to read the Quran, followed by state sponsored news in the local language. Then there would be some boring (to a pre/early teenager, anyway) talk shows in the local language (Punjabi, for us Lahoris). Then there would be agriculture programs. Needless to say, we didn't usually turn on the TV until around 7pm, when you got the news in English, and then some English language programming, which would be a sitcom or a TV drama, depending on the day of the week. Fortunately, there was relatively little advertising, this being state sponsored television, so a US prime-time length drama/cop show could be fit into that 40 minute slot before the 8PM Urdu drama slot.

The only other English programming was a heavily censored movie late night on a Saturday (Sunday being the first working day of the week), and the occasional live telecast of the Oscars, the Grammys, or...wait for it...the Miss World pageant. Incidentally, Doordarshan was very exciting because it would broadcast Bollywood musical numbers and old films, but was very similar in its lack of teenager-targeted programming.

There was very little music on TV, ever, and what there was certainly didn't appeal to most Pakistani teenagers, let alone a Pakistani-American teenager who was still hankering after an American pop culture that she remembered foggily from when she was 6. Also, we didn't have a TV at home. So watching TV was something we did when we were visiting my mother's uncle, or over at friends' houses. This made it a minor miracle that I was in the vicinity of a TV screen when the Grammys came on TV that year.

Whenever I think of Whitney Houston, it's that performance that I remember. Her gorgeous, soaring voice. Then, in 1988, a cousin sent us a set of four cassettes, a recording from the radio of Casey Kasem counting down the top 100 hits of 1987. That's when I heard I Wanna Dance With Somebody. Never really got it out of my head, in that it takes just a mention for the whole song to start playing again, and in my mind, I'm back on the road trip where we wore those four cassettes out.

By the time The Bodyguard came out, we had a television, but still no VCR. So I was almost offended that my friends treated I Will Always Love You as the definitive Whitney Houston song. I don't think I actually saw the movie until I came back to the US for college in the second half of the 90s. I watched a lot of movies during my time at college, but heard very little pop music, having immersed myself in a pretty serious course of musical study, and being as snotty about pop music as only someone newly immersed in classical music can be.

Also, I had never really been acclimatized to a celebrity watching culture, so was totally unaware of the personal lives of performers, pop or otherwise, that I was interested in.

The thing is, I had NO clue that she had any kind of substance abuse problem until, it must have been about a year ago, when I was channel surfing, and saw her on the Oprah Winfrey Show. She was the reason I stopped surfing and watched Oprah that day. Hearing her sing that day made me sad, because the vocal damage was so obvious, and greater than just what age does. But it seemed like she was maybe getting a handle on things.

And that's the last I had heard of her, until the news today. And I have to say, I am heart-sore, for the loss of this woman who gave me a new understanding what the human voice is capable of.

.

(And on preview, no, Blue_Villain, even if I agreed with the rest of your comments, which I don't, for the most part, my mourning is by no means an endorsement of substance abuse.)
posted by bardophile at 7:12 AM on February 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


(I must admit, though, that I prefer the 'call your loved ones' bit to the 'I'm not upset about this' one.)
posted by box at 7:21 AM on February 12, 2012


Because ignoring their plight and just waiting for them to die...? Well we've all seen exactly how that turns out.

I can't speak for other people, but for me personally one of the reasons this celebrity death [and Amy Winehouse's and some others'] hits harder than usual is because I watched the addicted loved one die over the past few years too. Many people have probably done this. It sucks. And sure you can call them and tell them you love them and you can come over with a potted plant and you can clean their blood off the walls when they've cut themselves adn you can donate to NA and you can take yourself to Al-Anon and you can treat their injuries yourself because they won't go to the hospital and you can just continue to shovel as much love as you possibly can into a black hole of need that doesn't reciprocate and that person is going to die anyhow. And that is, to me, the super pitiful part of this. Some addicts manage to turn it around but many many of them don't. Even the ones with active support networks and every opportunity. And sometimes they manage to take down a lot of the people with them either directly, or indirectly by giving them a totally skewed idea of what it should mean to love another person, or be in a relationship or just to be human. And that's upsetting to people.

So yeah this is totally my own baggage, but I don't know what other people in this thread are struggling with and you don't either. It's really easy to point fingers.
posted by jessamyn at 7:48 AM on February 12, 2012 [68 favorites]


The isolated vocal track from How Will I Know?
posted by vacapinta at 7:53 AM on February 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Seeing more reports today that Jennifer Hudson will be doing the tribute at the Grammys tonight. That's actually a perfect choice. Hudson can sing the shit out of anything, and if there's any heir apparent to the title of "The Voice" I'd nominate her.

If only she could get producers to stop doing crappy modern pop stuff with her and let her actually just fucking SING. I saw her on Jimmy Fallon not terribly long ago talking about her early days working in a funeral home, and she did an impromptu rendition of one of the songs she used to sing there. No preparation, no accompaniment, not even a performance, just sitting on the couch singing.. And the hair on my neck is standing up just from the memory of it.

Oh, here's that clip on hulu.
posted by hippybear at 7:55 AM on February 12, 2012 [14 favorites]


What jessamyn said. There is only so much (or really, so little) that any loved one of an addict can do to stop them. In the end, the addict themselves has to decide that they want to stop and that they'll do anything to stop. Sometimes someone makes that decision and wins. Frequently, they don't.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:02 AM on February 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Anyone else around here who wanted to sock Serge Gainsbourg in the jaw after watching that clip? God, I hate that huh-huh-huh attitude. He was another sick person in the midst of his disease like Whitney has been lately, and he probably sensed a kindred soul (although at that time she certainly did not look the part) and acted in a predictable manner. So I probably should calm down, but really, all someone has to do is mention that clip and I get mad.

Beautiful, talented woman. RIP.

.
posted by Currer Belfry at 8:03 AM on February 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


In an interesting side note, Tony Bennett used his time on the state at Clive Davis' party last night to call for the legalization of drugs, seemingly so the stigma could be dropped and people might receive the help they need, specifically naming Winehouse and Houston as examples.
posted by hippybear at 8:07 AM on February 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


At best, I am a casual fan of Top-40 pop and Top-40 R&B made after the 1970s. A song here or there, but mainly I've been an avid indie rock listener since I first heard R.E.M. at 11. I don't own any of Ms. Houston's music, but it was so ubiquitous, I never had to.

When I was a girl, I recall seeing her in Seventeen Magazine and being proud as a black girl to see her on the cover. She was so pretty. Then I saw her on Soul Train (for whatever reason, that show sometimes passed muster in the fundy household I lived in) and was awed by that voice. Not enough to sneak a cassette of Whitney Houston the way I did The Smiths, but there was just no denying that voice. She had total control of her instrument.

Some years later, after uni, I got a job as a PA on a scripted narrative TV drama in NYC. As productions were in the same Meatpacking/West Chelsea vicinity of NYC at the time, if a set ran out of pink or blue paper, they'd dispatch a PA to borrow someone of yours and vice versa. And the stories I heard from the PAs on The Preacher's Wife made me sad: That Whitney showed up almost daily at 4PM (when the call time for make-up was 8AM), "royally fucked up". That Robyn was causing trouble and the two of them were always arguing and causing stress on the set. That Cissy had to come down to get Whitney to do her job. That Whitney had always been wild like this. That Denzel was super pissed off (which only shows me what a consummate actor he is), and coke, coke, coke. We wanted to keep working, though, so we knew not to say anything outside of our sets.

She did have the best publicists in the business, until that awful, exploitative show. And she exploited herself on that show, which was horrible. I felt ashamed for her. I thought she was getting better, though, and forgot about it. Then I saw those pictures the other day, and I literally shook my head. No one can save you from yourself.

And now she's dead. I'll bet she had a heart attack or some sort of aortic rupture in the bath. I hope Bobbi is in a safe place, that someone shows her that her mother started at her age with a little something something (just like I've heard Bobbi's been doing) and it descended into this. What a tragedy.
posted by droplet at 8:10 AM on February 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


As Christmas songs go, her version of "Do You Hear What I Hear" is my favorite hands down.

Yes! I’m rather an agnostic and this still gives me chills.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5PMdV3ImqI

This, and “I Have Nothing,” and that national anthem … What a beautiful, troubled soul. I rue the day she met Bobby Brown, but perhaps she would’ve been destined to decline without his “help.”

So many talents are taken far too young, by drugs, accidents, illness, violence. Just this weekend alone, between this and Jeff Zaslow, my web intereactions seem to be mostly RIPs.
posted by NorthernLite at 8:18 AM on February 12, 2012


Evan Dando's version of How Will I Know got me to reconsider how great some of her songs were. (Not that she wrote it, of course.) Anyhow, it's sad she died so young.
posted by snofoam at 8:37 AM on February 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you have a friend, family member, coworker, even an acquaintance who is going through something like this... why don't you give them a call. . . .

Let them know that you love them, care for them, or even acknowledge their existence. Because ignoring their plight and just waiting for them to die...? Well we've all seen exactly how that turns out.


Wow, thanks! I sure wish it had occurred to me during the 20-odd years my sister struggled with addiction before she committed suicide to, you know, call her, or perhaps send a Hallmark card. If only we had shared a nice cup of General Foods International Coffee together while I lectured her about her moral turpitude, I'm sure she'd be alive right now.

There is a certain very dismissive phrase MeFites are encouraged not to say to each other because it tends to shut down the respectful exchange of viewpoints, and I am not typing it, but I'm thinking it really, really loudly right now.

Meanwhile, my heart goes out to everyone in Whitney Houston's life who loved her and offered support and help with her health problems. She lived as we all do -- trying our best with what we have for as long as we can. I hope her dying was peaceful and less painful than much of her life.
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:05 AM on February 12, 2012 [32 favorites]


.
posted by luckynerd at 9:10 AM on February 12, 2012


they've added their single character moments of silence without realizing that they've been silent the whole time.

If that's not the definition of socially acceptable, I don't know what is.


Not showing derision and disrespect to a grieving family, millions of grieving fans, and the idea that an artist of enormous talent is gone, I guess. Seems socially acceptable to me, prima facie.

The idea that memorializing her respectfully is somehow condoning her disease is pretty damn appalling, actually. And remarkably clueless about the biology of the disease, not to mention that on balance, Whitney Houston made a major contribution to our culture as an artist, and actually, she didn't really die -- and thus lose all hope of redemption or healing -- until last night, and it's creepy to suggest she was "dead" 20 years ago. No she wasn't. She was struggling with a disease. By some indications, at least at times, she fought it hard. When asked in one of the interviews they are showing on loop right now on TV which of the drugs she abused was her greatest demon, she unhesitatingly responded "myself."


Many of the greatest artists, most especially musical artists, of the modern era have struggled with addiction, and many have had their lives shortened by it. Perhaps there's a conversation to be had about the romanticization of that history. But it doesn't reduce their lives to moral parables.
posted by spitbull at 9:17 AM on February 12, 2012 [12 favorites]


Every single period in my prior comment is in memory of one of the most technically proficient and emotionally powerful vocalists of the modern era.
posted by spitbull at 9:20 AM on February 12, 2012





.
posted by txmon at 9:36 AM on February 12, 2012


.
posted by phoebus at 9:52 AM on February 12, 2012


Thanks for singing this song for me, Whitney. Your talent was immense. You'll be missed.
posted by phoebus at 9:53 AM on February 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


She was my role model in 1988 and 1989 in high school. I am so unbelievably sad about this, and can't help thinking that it just...shouldn't have happened.
posted by honey badger at 10:05 AM on February 12, 2012


Holly Gleason - Whitney Houston After the Glitter Fades

Well said ....
posted by cdalight at 10:26 AM on February 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Whitney Houston everybody on here has come to acknowledge and mourn, she died the instant she became an addict.

you mean like keith richards and eric clapton died?

Go knock on your neighbors door, smile at a stranger, do... anything to make the world a slightly better place than it is right now.

or make disparaging, sanctimonious posts on metafilter that make the world worse
posted by pyramid termite at 10:26 AM on February 12, 2012 [14 favorites]


If that's not the definition of socially acceptable, I don't know what is.

Evidence suggests that the latter part of this statement is the true part.
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:34 AM on February 12, 2012


Go knock on your neighbors door, smile at a stranger, do... anything to make the world a slightly better place than it is right now.

The fact that you evidently think that compassion is a zero-sum game -- i.e., that expressing it here for Whitney Houston necessarily reduces someone's inclination or ability to express it elsewhere in the world -- doesn't really say anything about the nature of compassion, in my experience, nor does it say anything meaningful about the people here who have something to say about Whitney Houston. It does strike me as inadvertently revealing something about yourself, however.
posted by scody at 10:53 AM on February 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


The Whitney Houston everybody on here has come to acknowledge and mourn, she died the instant she became an addict.

Then Ray Charles, by his own admission, died before he ever started recording.
posted by The Confessor at 11:02 AM on February 12, 2012 [10 favorites]


.
posted by asciident at 11:56 AM on February 12, 2012


This thread is a perfect example of how "acceptable" it has become. Everybody who has put their "." has come just shy of outright stating it.

If you think that so little as a simple demonstration of regret or sadness at the death of a talented addict is tantamount to "acceptance" then, I don't know, you might as well just shoot them down like a dog at the moment their addiction takes control. Anything else could be construed as "acceptance."

(Not that I think you really believe your own nonsense; more likely it's just internet posturing.)

Back in the '80s, Houston would've been the last I would've tagged with the "too fast to live, too young to die" label. Despite her troubles over the years, it was with a real WTF that I heard the news last night. Houston, like Jackson, always seemed like the eternal vibrant youth. My mourning for them is also a mourning for the ease and quickness with which youth, talent, and success is devoured.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:57 AM on February 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bill Flanagan | MTV (on CBS Sunday Morning): Let Whitney Houston Rest In Peace
"Whitney Houston died yesterday. She was scheduled to appear at Clive Davis's annual pre-Grammy party last night.

When I heard that I thought, well, she must have been putting on her public face and summoning the strength to go out there again and live up to all the expectations.

She'd been doing that pretty much her whole life.

Whitney was still a teenager when the buzz in New York music circles became, 'Have you heard Cissy Houston's daughter? She's an incredible singer - she's the most beautiful woman you ever saw! She's going to be huge!'.

And this was BEFORE she ever made a record.

From the time Whitney was a kid, she was the object of enormous expectations. And you know what? She lived up to them all.

Her voice contained gospel, soul, rock and pop. It was a young voice, an old voice - it was timeless.

Like Elvis, like Sinatra, she could elevate a mediocre song by her taste, her virtuosity, and by the conviction she brought to each performance.

And when she got her chops around a GOOD song? The heavens opened.

Whitney Houston was a public figure her whole adult life. She battled her demons in the public eye. Today, everyone will praise her. Tonight at the Grammys, she will be paid tribute. In the next few days she will be eulogized. That's as it should be, she deserves it.

But wouldn't it be great if all of us could then leave it at that? Let's ignore the gossip press and scandal media that will try to exploit her memory now that she can't defend herself.

Whitney Houston touched millions of us, but she does not belong to us. She was someone's daughter. She was someone's mother. Her memory, like her love, belongs to them.

The rest of us will always have her music.

When the eulogies have ended, let's let Whitney Houston rest in peace." [emphasis mine]
posted by ericb at 12:05 PM on February 12, 2012 [10 favorites]


Whitney Houston And Crack Cocaine: Why This Addiction Is So Desperately Hard To Break
"Whether Whitney Houston died as a direct result of taking crack cocaine isn't clear; but no one – least of all, herself – was in any doubt that her self-confessed crack addiction destroyed her career. Over the years her fans have desperately wanted her to clean up her act for good. Perhaps if they knew more about crack they would understand why that was unlikely to happen.

... A crack-addicted brain has been physically changed: it sends out a screamingly loud message to its owner that it needs a hit. Bear that in mind before you rush to judgment about Whitney Houston."
posted by ericb at 12:14 PM on February 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Breaking: Bobbi Kristina, Whitney Houston's Daughter, Rushed to Hospital.
posted by ericb at 12:17 PM on February 12, 2012


"New reports indicate that Houston was prone to taking Xanax prior to shows or major public appearance. She may have overdosed on that drug yesterday and fallen asleep in the bathtub, drowning."*
posted by ericb at 12:20 PM on February 12, 2012


For fuck's sake. Bobbi Kristina Brown is 18 years old. Her mother just died suddenly. She is not famous for any reason other than having famous parents. That article makes it clear that whatever is wrong with her is not life threatening. Leave her the fuck alone.
posted by craichead at 12:23 PM on February 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


Actually, Bobbi is on the way of forging her own way as a talented singer. Having inherited Mom and Dad's vocal skill, as well as Clive David being her godfather, I suspect that she has her own musical career ahead of her.
posted by ericb at 12:31 PM on February 12, 2012


*Clive Davis*
posted by ericb at 12:31 PM on February 12, 2012


I'd be really surprised if, with such parents, Bobbi didn't possess a truly remarkable level of talent. But again, with such parents, she hasn't had much of a start in life. Here's hoping she has the fortitude and the support network necessary to deal.
posted by orange swan at 12:42 PM on February 12, 2012


That's great. But right now, she's a very young woman who just had something monumentally shitty happen to her, and I think we should respect her privacy.
posted by craichead at 12:43 PM on February 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


craichead -- I agree, but unfortunately that's not gonna happen. The gossip purveyors, paparazzi and others will be hounding her for weeks ahead. Sad.
posted by ericb at 12:48 PM on February 12, 2012


"New reports indicate that Houston was prone to taking Xanax prior to shows or major public appearance. She may have overdosed on that drug yesterday and fallen asleep in the bathtub, drowning."*

Seriously? Wow, that could happen to anyone, history of addictions or not. Damn.
posted by sweetkid at 12:49 PM on February 12, 2012


Merv Griffin Show- Whitney Houston and Cissy Houston sings Sweet Baby/You Send Me/Aint No Way 1983

Fascinating black American history reading about Whitney's mother, Cissy Houston. I'd never heard of the Second Great Migration before this moment. Three years ago, drug addiction also felled Cissy's niece and Whitney's cousin, Dee Dee Warwick.

she died the instant she became an addict

There is terrible dismay to discover a person one knows - or knows about- has become an addict. It may feel like they died. Observing an addict can be a horrible pendulum of despair and hopefulness, double bind cursed if one writes them off, because that feels so inhuman, and cursed if one keeps reaching out to support the addict, as that can be a type of enabling them in their self-destruction.

Frankly, I thought Whitney had 'died' when I heard she was enmeshed with Bobby Brown, stuck in an abusive relationship, as I thought Mariah had 'died' when she was enmeshed with Tommy Mottola.

But people can and do find their way out of addiction and addictive enmeshments with abusers. It's often surprising who finds their way out and who does not. Googling people who were able to manage surviving/thriving in spite of their addiction, I was surprised to read that Benjamin Franklin had been an opium addict. I'll never see a 100 dollar bill the same.
posted by nickyskye at 12:50 PM on February 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'll never see a 100 dollar bill the same.

Or, look at U.S. currency the same: 90 Percent of U.S. Bills Carry Traces of Cocaine.
posted by ericb at 12:56 PM on February 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Whitney Houston as a kid gospel singer.
posted by nickyskye at 1:06 PM on February 12, 2012


And that pretty much sums it up for her career, and all her inevitable imitators. They can't write their own material, their management is only interested in frothy pop hits that bring in $$$, and ultimately they have little to say as an artist. Great cash machines but no soul, no art.

You know who else couldn't write their own material? Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Perry Como, Rosemary Clooney, much of Motown....

Not everyone can manage to be a great singer AND songwriter AND not have to make money off pop music.

I think you're pointing the finger in the wrong place. The problem isn't the lack of vocal talent (though auto-tuning sure is starting to put the lie to that); it's a lack of good songwriting.
posted by dw at 1:10 PM on February 12, 2012 [8 favorites]


You're comparing Whitney Houston to Frank Sinatra? Really?
posted by entropicamericana at 1:39 PM on February 12, 2012


Damn

♪‿♫
posted by Minus215Cee at 1:45 PM on February 12, 2012


You're comparing Whitney Houston to Frank Sinatra? Really?

No, the point I'm making is that no one looks down on Sinatra for not being able to write his own material, so to pile on Whitney Houston or Jennifer Hudson in the name of some false sense of "artistic integrity" is foolishness.

That said, I think had Whitney Houston not been weighed down by addiction, the idea of me comparing her to Sinatra wouldn't get a "Really?" in response. She certainly had the talent, and she certainly displayed the talent. If only she had Sinatra's ability to choose good material.
posted by dw at 1:49 PM on February 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'll take that bet. Absolutely I would compare Whitney Houston to Frank Sinatra at the level of vocal talent, and frankly, Houston wins that one going away. As an interpreter of material contemporary in their times and suited to their styles, I think they're equals, roughly. Sinatra has a way with rhythm and declamation that delivered a song very personally and originally. Whitney had a Stradivarius voice that turned even a pop confection into an exercise in vocal brilliance.

Whitney also sold a hell of a lot more records, I'm willing to bet. And give it 40 or 50 years and she will still be remembered for her talent and her influence on generations of singers just like Sinatra. I don't think you can say one is better than the other, but Whitney Houston was certainly Frank Sinatra's equal from the perspective of this singer and devotee of American vernacular music.
posted by spitbull at 2:23 PM on February 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


Well, since this is the "sweeping statements without any evidence" thread, I'll join in.

She chose to be addicted, she had a great voice, she enjoyed herself immensely and now she is dead.

.
posted by telstar at 2:28 PM on February 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why the need to compare Whitney Houston to Frank Sinatra, or all people? Why not bring Frank's biggest vocal influence, Louis Armstrong, into the mix? Seriously. Or just another other random singer, whose technique and style bore little resemblance to Houston's?
posted by raysmj at 2:40 PM on February 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Great cash machines but no soul, no art.

Guitars have no soul.

Seriously, it amazes me that anyone thinks that "can't write their own x" is any kind of criticism of musical performers. Hint: that's why they're called performers. They perform. It's as if Callas, say, was regarded as a lesser artist because she never wrote her own operas; or as if George Clooney's acting was suspect because he didn't write every line he delivered. It's an immensely near-sighted view of the arts.
posted by octobersurprise at 2:47 PM on February 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


Seriously. He was of a different era in re to how *much* he recorded, the sort of recording technology available, the culture he belonged to or which launched him to stardom, the stress on Tin Pan Alley, Great American Songbook (Cold Porter, etc.) and Broadway tunes at the height of his career, etc. Then Sinatra straddled and stayed at the top in wildly different eras, shifted in style himself.

"My Way" is the only thing that comes close to, or maybe is the progenitor of, the power ballad type of thing that Houston specialized in, and he'd been around long enough by then that it was talked about as being his swan song. He also hated the song!
posted by raysmj at 2:50 PM on February 12, 2012


Is there any evidence that her drug use began with Bobby Brown? I've always wondered if it might have started with the shoot for the "How Will I Know" video. I remember press about it at the time that she was horribly ill with the flu. But there was too much money sunk into the production to delay until she got better. If you pay attention to her eyes while you watch the video you can tell she's not her usual self. It's not hard to imagine someone suggesting a little narcotic to help her get through it and thus an addict was born. And that lifestyle led to Bobby Brown in which their troubled relationship is a symptom of her problem and not the cause. Pure speculation of course.
posted by double bubble at 2:50 PM on February 12, 2012


.
posted by runincircles at 3:03 PM on February 12, 2012


Comparing any of the really great masters is an exercise in futility. Who's "better," Hank Williams or James Brown, amirite? You can like one or the other more, but there's no denying the case for either of them as geniuses and innovators and great performers. Of course, Whitney and Frank have nothing in common but the blues. I don't listen to either one of them on a regular basis. Since yesterday, I've listened to more Whitney Houston music than I've heard in 20 years.

Doesn't change the fact that other than Aretha Franklin, Etta James, and Natalie Cole, Whitney was the finest pure singer (female), in terms of mastery of the instrument and her idiom, of the modern period in R&B. I don't think any knowledgeable expert would disagree.
posted by spitbull at 3:07 PM on February 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


(And yes, I did say Natalie Cole. Underrated, masterful.)
posted by spitbull at 3:11 PM on February 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't hear much blues in Whitney Houston, sorry, and I mean that as no insult. It's not who she was. She was more of a pop R&B singer in the vein of cousin Dionne Warwick, more pop than R&B, and her roots were more in the pop gospel of the '70s and '80s anyway.
posted by raysmj at 3:19 PM on February 12, 2012


We'll have to disagree. "Pop gospel of the 70s and 80s" is as much a branch of the blues tradition as any major black music genre. She didn't choose blues material, but she had the blues burned into her vocal chops.
posted by spitbull at 3:26 PM on February 12, 2012


We'll disagree. Except for "Saving All My Loving for You," I think she veers more into a pop direction, with the power ballads and whatnot, even with "I Will Always Love You," originally a country soul song if there ever was one.

Case in point: Listen to her version of "The Star-Spangled Banner," vs. Marvin Gaye's. Gaye does more blues, gospel and jazz-ed out version. It's not a competition, but Marvin's is definitely more on the blues side. (On the other hand, Marvin's wouldn't have worked in a big stadium, much less at a Super Bowl.)

I think this WSJ article on a journalist's experiences with Houston in the mid-1990s hits on what I'm getting at here. Whitney Houston's music sounded less dangerous than her life was, even before the downfall, apparently. It was mainstreamed R&B pop.
posted by raysmj at 3:39 PM on February 12, 2012


.



Love tore her apart.
posted by philip-random at 4:01 PM on February 12, 2012


Maya Rudolph is hosting SNL next week. I'm guessing there won't be any lampooning of Whitney.

I was thinking of the song "How Will I know?" on Friday at work, for no apparent reason. It was stuck in my head for a couple of hours. I was thinking of the video and how I had a tiny celebrity crush on her when I was fifteen.

.
posted by not_on_display at 4:18 PM on February 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Doesn't change the fact that other than Aretha Franklin, Etta James, and Natalie Cole, Whitney was the finest pure singer (female), in terms of mastery of the instrument and her idiom, of the modern period in R&B.

Well, speaking of artists writing their own songs, I don't feel Aretha Franklin gets nearly enough credit for writing great songs like Call Me, Dr Feelgood, and Think - or for her sweet piano playing, for that matter.

Merv Griffin Show- Whitney Houston and Cissy Houston sings Sweet Baby/You Send Me/Aint No Way 1983

I had always heard that Cissy Houston was the backup singer trucking on absurdly, just like a goddamn pro, as Elvis dissolved into a hopeless two-minute giggle-fit after singing, "Do you gaze at your bald head and wish you had hair?" during this famous performance of Are You Lonesome Tonight - but that makes it totally obvious that she was. She's great. Her singing is utterly sweet and pretty, very much the way Whitney's was (I'm finding out) when she was very young. She was the first to record Midnight Train to Georgia, and in retrospect it almost sounds inevitable that a less darling-sounding artist would snatch it away (and honestly, do it better) and be the one to get a hit out of it. Her I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself, though, is just awesome, and really unlike any of the many other great versions recorded by other artists.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 4:23 PM on February 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


The Whitney Houston everybody on here has come to acknowledge and mourn, she died the instant she became an addict. Her talent disappeared and she became a shell of the person she once was.

Yanno, I'm not here to leave my precious dot for a shell. I'm here because

a. A person who really touched my life died, and
b. I really did hope that she would have been able to fight off her demons and find some peace and happiness in this life. It truly crushes me that she wasn't able to do that.

So here's my DOT for what she was and what she could have been.

.
posted by Elly Vortex at 4:25 PM on February 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you have a friend, family member, coworker, even an acquaintance who is going through something like this... why don't you give them a call. Right now. Screw the time of day, just call them or bring over some chicken soup, leftovers, a friggen potted plant. There's a good chance that this little thing is enough to get them over an obstacle that you're not even aware of.

Yes, that certainly snapped my addict parents out of their stupor and paranoia. They stopped beating us kids, and everything was magically better! Except the part where it wasn't, and the phone calls and chicken soup didn't get them over anything.

You spent two whole years of your life working with addicts? Whoopie-doo. I spent 12 years living with a pair of them, and it took them nearly killing me to get the State to intervene to get me the fuck out of there. All the love and care in the world did not straighten my parents out - the gods know, my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and family friends sure tried. Stints in rehab didn't do it, either. Not because they didn't want to get better. They couldn't. Their disease was stronger than the meager help that was available to them.

Chicken soup and phone calls to drag someone out of the throes of addiction. Brilliant.
posted by MissySedai at 5:05 PM on February 12, 2012 [19 favorites]


Grammies are leading with the Whitney Houston memorial tribute.
posted by ZeusHumms at 5:08 PM on February 12, 2012


Or just part one?
posted by ZeusHumms at 5:09 PM on February 12, 2012


Chicken soup and phone calls to drag someone out of the throes of addiction. Brilliant.

every little bit hurts
posted by philip-random at 5:11 PM on February 12, 2012


two or three cars parked under the stars: " during this yt famous performance"

Holy crap that's great. Thanks for that.
posted by notsnot at 5:40 PM on February 12, 2012


.
posted by 4ster at 6:36 PM on February 12, 2012


Why the need to compare Whitney Houston to Frank Sinatra, or all people? Why not bring Frank's biggest vocal influence, Louis Armstrong, into the mix?

Well, that certainly wouldn't be fair, given that Louis Armstrong wrote much of his own material, was one of the greatest trumpeters of all time, and was one of the essential figures in the creation and evolution of jazz. Next to him, Sinatra looks like that Maroon 5 guy who's on my TV all the damn time.

But the point is that Whitney Houston had major cultural impact, and that fact still holds up once you look past the immense post-mortem fawning over her right now. Maybe she was more a syncretism of her godmother Aretha's churchy R&B and her cousin Dionne's smooth Bacharach R&B pop than a classical R&B female singer (like, oh, Gladys Knight). But you hear her in just about every female pop singer of the last 20 years. She altered an entire genre, for good or ill.
posted by dw at 6:58 PM on February 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Quite beautifully done: LL Cool J Opens the Grammys With a Prayer for, and a Memory of, Whitney Houston
posted by nickyskye at 9:05 PM on February 12, 2012


But you hear her in just about every female pop singer of the last 20 years.

If the point was that she had major cultural impact, fine, but the *stated* idea was that she was on par in quality and feeling and artistry with Sinatra, that she had a career equal to his, and that all "experts" will agree on this.
posted by raysmj at 9:49 PM on February 12, 2012


"I’m grieving, like many.

Whitney was thrilled to be alive and didn’t want to go this soon.

People talk about how much pleasure her music gave them; but really, she got the most out of it. That glow you saw inside Whitney when she sang was unadulterated passion.

Imagine feeling like that every time you opened your mouth.

I don’t know anything about Whitney’s cause of death. We may never know. Unlike the media, however, I wouldn’t presume to festoon a "drug-addict-tragedy" to her memory. I find this treament sexist, disrespectful— and medically, clueless. Easy prejudices are driving this story.

Statistically, the number one reason that a woman like Whitney, of her age and background, would die at this age is: heart disease. Plain, old fashioned, anyone-coulda-been-affected, HEART DISEASE.

Cause of death is certainly NOT “heavy marijuana use” which I’ve read repeatedly. Absurd.

But what about the cocaine, you ask? Isn’t that the culprit?

Well, sure, there’s a statistically-unlikely chance that Whitney OD’ed on the spot with a needle in her arm. But that is a far less likely scenario than a middle-aged woman simply having a heart attack.

"But it was the cumulative use!" you say, stressing your National Enquirer disapproval.

Okay, cocaine, like any speedy substance, is a strain on the heart. But SO MANY people have done way more coke than Whitney Houston, and yet did NOT drop dead at 48.

So, back to your drawing board. Why is it important for Whitney to die young because she wasn’t a "good girl"? Because we want prima donnas to bleed?"

-- Susie Bright, "Whitney Houston's Death Is Probably Not What You Think It Is"
posted by gingerbeer at 9:51 PM on February 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


If the point was that she had major cultural impact, fine, but the *stated* idea was that she was on par in quality and feeling and artistry with Sinatra, that she had a career equal to his, and that all "experts" will agree on this.

That is not at all what was said.
posted by kagredon at 10:38 PM on February 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Well, for some of us poor folk, it took almost dying in a bad deal to snap us around, despite our lack of bank.

Maybe she never had a chance to have such a moment.
...

It's much more difficult for a rich person to have such a moment than for a poor person. When the addiction monster comes calling the rich person can easily get the money and connections and other people will take the risks doing deals in sketchy neighborhoods. For a rich person it takes something like the "sinned against his talent" comment that inspired Tony Bennett to clean up. It has to be personal, because the external forces just aren't there when you have the wealth to bulldoze through them.


Yeah, those poor rich folk hardly have a chance compared to the addicts that wind up in the gutter homeless or turning tricks to support their habit. It has to be personal for anyone, rich or poor, but by goddamn, if you're poor, you can't afford any help, and it's a real bitch then.

I strongly believe that our society glorifies celebrity drug use and only think it's a horrible thing when one of the glitterati die from their fun. Ericb's link to 90% of US currency having traces of cocaine is interesting--drug use is definitely linked with money and power. If it's a rush to snort off a twenty, it's five times the rush to do it off a hundred. Damn, if you can snort off a thousand dollar bill, then you know you're at the top.

I don't say shame the addict for being addicted. Addiction is real, and it's ugly. But Whitney didn't give up all autonomy on her very first try. I don't believe people become addicted the first go 'round. You deliberately and repeatedly have to put yourself in a position to become addicted, and there should be some shame from society for continuing to put yourself in harm's way.

IMO, the large downturn in smoking is a direct result of societal shaming as well as education regarding the harm tobacco does. Tobacco companies sold smoking as a glamorous thing to do. I'll bet I know 20 older people who are addicted to smoking and tell me they wish they'd never started, but they did because everyone was doing it, it was the cool thing, and no one told them the risks. Now we let Hollywood sell the idea of drugs as being glamorous and part of that lifestyle, along with the cars, the clothes, and the parties, and everyone is doing it, it's the cool thing, and taking risks is what it's all about. Live fast, die young, and leave a good lookin' corpse.
posted by BlueHorse at 11:36 PM on February 12, 2012


Nickyskye, thanks for making me care, great comment.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:53 PM on February 12, 2012


Unlike the media, however, I wouldn’t presume to festoon a "drug-addict-tragedy" to her memory. I find this treament sexist, disrespectful— and medically, clueless. [...] Why is it important for Whitney to die young because she wasn’t a "good girl"? Because we want prima donnas to bleed?

What a self-righteous jackass. The first few lines of that article made me think she might actually know something about Whitney Houston, the next few made me think she might actually know something about medicine, but the rest convinced me she doesn't know anything about anything apart from sex. Yes, Susie Bright, only you really feel for Whitney Houston. There is a particular kind of ludicrous person who sees all major events as opportunities to stake out their morally superior position. Usually, at a time like this, you find them on Facebook scolding their friends for caring about some pop singer they never even met, when there are children starving in Africa, etc. But those are failing 40-watt bulbs next to the crackling sun of an article like this.

The idea that because there are people who did "way more" coke than Whitney (citation needed btw) without dying at her age, she must not have died for that reason. Baseless speculation about her possible eating disorders in an article that seeks out feminist cred! Shifting right over from an anti-drug-scare angle, which would have been off-base but still sort of respectable, into more speculation about what drugs besides cocaine might have been responsible - so long as it's not what everybody else is thinking. Claims about what Artists (she knows them, you see) monolithically think of the media reaction. Comparing people's sadness over Whitney's long, public decline and its obvious impact on her actual life, career, and voice to the lack of same over people like George Harrison, who a) after a lifetime of unflagging achievement ultimately died of cancer which b) he himself in any case blamed on cigarettes, and Keith Richards, who is a) more or less thriving, but b) certainly the male artist (celebrity, even) most frequently mocked for his semi-shambolic state. In fact, her comparisons between female and male artists are all so utterly desperate you'd almost think these were the only musicians she was aware of. Madonna vs Justin Bieber? God help us.

While I do think we might as well wait for the autopsy before assuming we know what finally ended Whitney Houston's life, it's really almost irrelevant, when her addiction had already made her so suffer so much, and made such progress in its work of destroying both what she been blessed with and what she had built. The length of her life is much less sad than the story of it, and you can't possibly disentangle that from the drugs - nor should you, I think.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 4:10 AM on February 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


You deliberately and repeatedly have to put yourself in a position to become addicted, and there should be some shame from society for continuing to put yourself in harm's way.

Photos of you looking all fucked up splashed across the tabloids and the internet don't count as shaming? Story #350 about you in and out of rehab, along with a full accounting of how you got there (again) don't count as shaming?

What, exactly, would you suggest is a good shaming technique if these are inadequate?
posted by rtha at 6:10 AM on February 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


I don't understand how Tony Bennet can call for the legalization of drugs, attributing Houston, Jackson, Winehouse's deaths. Um...they all died from LEGAL drugs--prescriptions and booze (and some a mix thereof).

Seeing Whitney died of drug/alcohol mixture instead of unconsciousness and drowning (early reports being released), what about the awareness of mixing let alone mixing w/ alcohol. Sure she was an admitted crackhead but she died of legal prescriptions, whether by her own hand or a docs own hand.

How many of us are on antidepressants and mix with alcohol. I know I do and it's not because I want an extra high, etc. I just want to live my life. However it does make me think twice about taking my Prozac and having some drinks. Even the bottle says not to. But what is acceptable?
posted by stormpooper at 6:32 AM on February 13, 2012


Whitney Houston - Head Butler

Jesse Kornbluth offers his take - as well as two essays that are worth the read.

The first is a repeat of the Holly Gleason piece I linked here yesterday, but the second is excellent also - by Amelia Smith titled "Fame doesn’t entitle celebrities to better treatment than the rest of us. But it shouldn’t damn them to shoddier support systems either."
posted by cdalight at 8:45 AM on February 13, 2012


People with money can get as much cocaine, crack or otherwise, as they want. And for anybody in music, drugs are probably omni-present.

I love her music, and her phrasing is often fantastic, much better than any other rock diva I can think of. I'm sad for the loss of that amazing talent, and also for what seems to have been a sad life that required so much drug use.

.
posted by theora55 at 9:01 AM on February 13, 2012


Coroner: I didn't discuss meds, drowning with Whitney Houston's family.
posted by ericb at 9:01 AM on February 13, 2012


Sony hikes Whitney Houston album prices online.
posted by ericb at 9:03 AM on February 13, 2012


stormpooper - i think the idea is that most people (including winehouse and houston) started as illegal drug takers. through "recovery" they were given legal prescription medicines that they supplemented with alcohol. if their original drug hadn't been illegal and if drug addicts weren't stigmatized like they are, they might have found help sooner. at the very least, they might have been put on a manageable level of their preferred drug instead of trying to cobble together the effects with a combination far more lethal. the other idea is that gateway drugs are gateway drugs because you have to buy them from drug dealers. if whitney and amy could have walked down to the corner store and bought their weed with their smokes, would they have ever started hanging out with crackheads? for me personally, i only ever did acid and xanax because my weed dealer sold them and kept suggesting i try them.
posted by nadawi at 11:33 AM on February 13, 2012


Ericb's link to 90% of US currency having traces of cocaine is interesting--drug use is definitely linked with money and power. If it's a rush to snort off a twenty, it's five times the rush to do it off a hundred. Damn, if you can snort off a thousand dollar bill, then you know you're at the top.

One of my best friends went through a big cocaine phase when we were in our early twenties. At the time he was working as a minimum wage line cook and didn't even have a bank account, cashing all his cheques directly at a Money Mart. Yet he always made sure to have a 50$ rolled up in his sock for doing lines at parties. Seeing him pull that out always confused me, in the sense that I didn't know whether to laugh or slap him repeatedly. (Happy to say he moved on from that era and has his shit together now).
posted by mannequito at 12:29 PM on February 13, 2012


IMO, the large downturn in smoking is a direct result of societal shaming as well as education regarding the harm tobacco does.

The large downturn in smoking is due to the price of cigarettes and the fact that it is illegal to smoke inside, or at all, in a lot of places. DUI is down because a DUI would be a bankruptcy-inducing event for many people. Illegal drugs are already illegal though; as I wrote before, rich people have ways around that which aren't available to the rest of us.

It's kind of hard to see the problems rich people have when you're poor, but rich people are human too and wealth doesn't make you strong. Fame is itself a stress-inducing addiction. Some people would be better off if they weren't famous, but not many take say Cyndi Lauper's approach and drop out of the limelight deliberately. And some aren't afforded the opportunity to do that even if they want to.

Anyway, it's quite possible that Whitney pulled an Amy Winehouse and drank herself to death because she was also taking entirely legal uppers and didn't pass out before poisoning herself. I see no way to remove that possibility without making an entire medically useful class of drugs illegal, or returning to alcohol prohibition and we all remember how well that went.
posted by localroger at 2:44 PM on February 13, 2012


.
posted by Sissinghurst at 5:18 PM on February 13, 2012


But now that it's in their face, now that it's permanent and irrevocable, they're here to say how sorry they are. Now that it's too late, they've added their single character moments of silence without realizing that they've been silent the whole time.

I'm someone who recently lost someone to suicide because of meth.

You cannot force someone to quit doing drugs. You just can't. If I could have, I would have.
posted by Malice at 5:55 PM on February 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Sony hikes Whitney Houston album prices online.


Industry rule #4080.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 6:20 PM on February 13, 2012


worth more dead than alive
posted by philip-random at 6:47 PM on February 13, 2012


spitbull: "Comparing any of the really great masters is an exercise in futility. Who's "better," Hank Williams or James Brown, amirite? You can like one or the other more, but there's no denying the case for either of them as geniuses and innovators and great performers. Of course, Whitney and Frank have nothing in common but the blues. I don't listen to either one of them on a regular basis. Since yesterday, I've listened to more Whitney Houston music than I've heard in 20 years.

Doesn't change the fact that other than Aretha Franklin, Etta James, and Natalie Cole, Whitney was the finest pure singer (female), in terms of mastery of the instrument and her idiom, of the modern period in R&B. I don't think any knowledgeable expert would disagree.
"

Duh.

James Brown, because he is, you know, The Hardest Working Man in Rock and Roll.
posted by Samizdata at 7:45 PM on February 13, 2012


This thread is now probably too old for anyone to be reading this, but I just wanted to announce that, on Sunday afternoon in Panorama Bar here in Berlin, DJ and producer Mano Le Tough finished his set with an a Capella of "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" combined with an instrumental version of Kraftwerk's Tour De France. It was the highlight on the day.

And sometime early monday morning, Nick Höppner opened his set with an a Capella of "Love Will Save The Day."
posted by LMGM at 12:33 AM on February 14, 2012


For years Whitney was rumored to be a lesbian and in a relationship with Robyn Crawford who shared her (not tell-all) story with Esquire yesterday.
posted by latkes at 10:30 AM on February 14, 2012


Osama loved Whitney too.
posted by latkes at 1:26 PM on February 14, 2012


Should flags fly at half-staff for Whitney Houston?
posted by ericb at 12:00 PM on February 15, 2012


That flag article is so depressing. She was enormously popular and loved. Why not fly flags at half mast? She never hurt anyone but herself (and probably her daughter but we have no way to know one way or another on that).

Why shouldn't artists get this kind of recognition? Do you have to die in war to have meaning to the community?
posted by latkes at 12:52 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


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