A mini tribute to one of the greatest singers of all time… RIP Whitney Houston

My heart is heavy today… I just heard about Whitney’s death this morning as I didn’t tune in to the news all day yesterday. I know that BAFTA is going on tonight and I was thinking of blogging about that but I felt like paying tribute to one of my all time favorite singers. Another reason her death hit me hard is that she died on my birthday… just like my late mother 21 years ago just two years younger than Whitney at the time of her death. At the age of 48, Whitney is gone far too soon…

As a kid of the 80s, I was a huge fan of her music… and THAT voice. Even as new singers came and went through the years, I felt like nobody could really match her majestic voice, her mezzo-soprano with ridiculous vocal range spanning three octaves that came out so seemingly effortless. I grew up watching her memorable music videos and humming her chart-topping songs all the way to my early college years. I owned most of her CDs and used to know a lot of the lyrics to her wonderful ballads. Seems like for a while everything she touched turned gold. According to Wiki, she was actually in the Guinness Book of Records as the most-awarded female act of all time (415 career awards as of 2010) and also one of the best-selling artists of all time with over 170 million albums, singles and videos sold worldwide. But unlike a lot of pop-stars whose rise to fame leave me scratching my head, Whitney had incredible talent. Her goosebumps-inducing voice alone is nothing short of magnificent, but she’s also beautiful and an amazing performer.

I even liked her presence on screen as an actress, whilst I can’t say the same thing about other singers who venture into films like J.Lo or Madonna. I think I had both the DVDs AND soundtrack albums of The Bodyguard and Waiting to Exhale at one time. Of course, it’s her musical contributions to both those films that are more celebrated, and rightly so. In fact, I Will Always Love You is so iconic and so synonymous with her glorious vocal than that of the original singer Dolly Parton. I always get goosebumps and even teary-eyed whenever that song came on. Another one of hers that will remain my favorite songs of all time is the 1998’s Summer Olympic theme One Moment in Time. I don’t think anyone could sing that amazingly inspiring song better than she ever could… nobody could performed The Star Spangled Banner more flawlessly and she made it look oh so easy!!

Jordin Sparks & Whitney Houston

Surely I was dismayed to hear about her constant personal problems of drug addiction and marital abuse, but I won’t comment further on that other than the fact that the higher one’s ascent is in life the further the fall. Still there is always hope for a comeback and even back in 2009 her album I Look to You received moderate success. She also has a movie coming out later this August, Sparkle, which is a remake of the 1976 movie about a successful singing group of three sisters who must deal with the fallout of fame and drugs, in which she starred as well as executive-produced. Whitney played the mother of the three daughters, co-starring Jordin Sparks and Omar Epps, and this would’ve marked her comeback to the big screen since The Preacher’s Wife 16 years ago.

In the pre-Grammy party earlier today, Tony Bennett dedicated the Frank Sinatra’s The Music Never Ends to Whitney, calling her “… the greatest singer I ever heard in my life.” (per MTV News)

So with that, let me close my tribute with five of my all time favorite Whitney Houston songs… but really, I could easily make a top twenty list as there are so many of her songs I LOVE.

Thank you for your songs and inspiring us with your amazing voice, Ms. Houston. You will be sorely missed but your timeless music shall forever live on.

Please join me in paying tribute to this music legend by sharing YOUR favorite song from Whitney Houston.

35 thoughts on “A mini tribute to one of the greatest singers of all time… RIP Whitney Houston

  1. Fine tribute to an extraordinary talent, Ruth. It’s devastating news to so many music fans. There’s a point in time that immediately came to me when I heard of her unexpected passage. Even with Kelly Clarkson’s good anthem recital at the recent Super Bowl, nothing will come close to what Whitney did in ’91, I think:

    It is a moment I want to remember her by with this news. May she rest in peace.

    1. Thanks Michael. Yeah I linked to that clip of Whitney singing the National Anthem, it’s just incredible how she did it with such ease yet she never missed a single note or word, and when it came to the highest note, she practically brought the house down. No one has been able to beat her performance to this day.

      1. I agree, the first thing I thought of wasn’t her huge hits or movies but her version of the National Anthem.

        Ruth, you’ve written a lovely, eloquent tribute to a great talent. I wasn’t a huge fan or anything but i can’t help but be sad.

  2. She was one of the great voice of our era. It’s too bad drug addiction derailed her career so early on. She was one of the few who was successful both as a singer and actress. RIP Whitney Houston

    1. It’s just too bad that so much talent are wasted because of substance abuse… especially when it comes to someone as big as Whitney. Thanks Castor.

  3. PrairieGirl

    Whitney was on the fringes of music for me, but I was keenly aware of what an extraordinary singer she was and loved her music whenever I cam across it. And who would ever think the unlikely pair of her and Kevin Costner would create such a stirring film as The Bodyguard, one of my favorite song-themed movies. I was really cheering for a comeback from her, but now it’s not to be, but I will be looking forward to seeing Sparkle.

    1. I think Sparkle might end up becoming a hit as people want to see Whitney’s last performance. I really like The Bodyguard, I know she got a Razzie for that performance but I actually didn’t think she was bad, I mean her character is basically based on her superstar status so it’s not like she had to stretch too much for the role. Plus I think she had a good chemistry w/ Kevin. It’s really uncanny that we just saw him as an extra that night in Night Shift and then this news happened 😦

  4. Lovely post Ruth.
    she is one of the best singers the world ever produced.
    Too bad with the addiction.
    I like her old songs when she hasn’t turned fully R n B. My most fav is I want to dance with somebody

  5. Ted S.

    Sad news indeed yet I’m not surprised that she died in such a young age. Seems she can’t get rid of her demons. I love pretty most of her songs but this was probably my favorite hers:

  6. Though I consider myself more of a rock/alternative/electronic music fan that often thinks outside of the box. Being someone who was born in the 1980s, Whitney Houston was one of those artists I grew up listening to as a kid. While there was a period in the early 90s as a teen where I was more into Nirvana and Nine Inch Nails and thought was Whitney was uncool. I started to appreciate her more by the time I entered my 20s and was sad by how far she was falling.

    I felt her attempt to make a come back seemed a bit forced and rushed. I don’t really remember any of the new songs from her last album but I was hoping that she would have the time to come back strong. That’s not going to happen anymore unfortunately and it’s sad to.

    My favorite songs of her growing up were the ballads like “Saving All My Love for You”, “The Greatest Love of All”, “You Give Good Love”, and “Run to You”. The last of which I just sort of re-discovered as the video played on BET. I was hearing that voice where there was a lot to that than just singing. If one was to get rid of the backing instrumental tracks, that voice alone would’ve been far more devastating yet enriching to hear.

    It’s a void that won’t be filled. What makes me much sadder about the whole thing is the fact that she was one of the last pure vocalists out there. She didn’t need studio trickery or trendy productions. She just used her voice and knew what to do with it. I really doubt that today’s young singers really understand those attributes. They think if they just belt it out with a long vocal note, they think they can sing. No, there’s a whole lot more to that. It’s also about the smaller moments and everything else in between.

    The Whitney I want to remember is the same woman who can go out there and show everyone how it’s done. Right now, I think she is somewhere singing with Freddie Mercury. Imagine that pairing.

    1. Hi Steven, oh I love all those ballads you mentioned… she really had one of those voice that can make ANY song sound fantastic, but her strength is in ballads I think. You are so right that she doesn’t need any special arrangement to enhance the song as her voice is already the most powerful tool and she knows how to use it. Not many people possess the gift that she had in music, and it’s perfect that you mention Freddie Mercury as both of them are incomparable even today. Oh yeah, it’d have been nice to see a duet from both of those singing legend!

  7. Matt Stewart

    Whitney is just a bit before my time so I was not quite as affected as the rest of the world, but I can say when I told my mom about it this morning she began to cry. Whitney certainly had a gift that few have.

    1. I really think her music is timeless Matt. I think that one for the Olympics can still be played today and would no doubt move people to tears.

  8. Such a talented and gifted singer/actress. Sorry to hear she passed away on your birthday. I thought her voice was so powerful, beautiful. Before I knew she passed away, I thought it’s time for her to rise again (not hearing her new songs for a long time). Such a sad ending. Hope she’s happier now. And now, I have an urge to watch The Bodyguard.

    1. Have you seen The Bodyguard before? I bet it’s got a long wait on Netflix now as people want to rent it after her death. Well, her music shall forever live on, Andina. I was listening to her music all day as I wrote this.

      1. Yes, I’ve seen Bodyguard but way back when I was little. But sure, I think it should be on many people’s watch list now after her death. I just listened to ‘Greatest Love of All’ and got the chills, it’s ironic in a way (the lyrics and her life)

  9. She was a great singer and it’s always sad to see people leave before their time. The Bodyguard always has a special place in my heart since that was the movie where I met my first girlfriend.

  10. Just a beautiful post, Ruth.

    Indeed a mighty talent and a tragic loss.

    I think that the hardest part about her passing is that fact that a lot of people were truly hoping for a return to form eventually. I know I was.

    1. Thanks Russ, it came from the heart 🙂 I didn’t know about her upcoming film until last night, so it made it even sadder that she sort of was on the brink of a comeback…

  11. “I even liked her presence on screen as an actress, whilst I can’t say the same thing about other singers who venture into films like J.Lo”

    Never saw ‘Out of Sight’ I take it?

  12. Nice tribute Ruth; sad business indeed. Here is my fave:

    “Didn’t We Almost Have it All”

    My mom was crying about it over the weekend if that is a measure and a friend of mine said that her mom was lost for words.

  13. Great words, Ruth. It’s always sad to see somebody truly unique go too soon (are you listening to me AMy Winehouse?… oh, probably not…) and regardless of her personal issues, there’s no denying the power of Whitney’s voice. She will be missed.

  14. What a lovely tribute, Ruth. Whitney certainly had a beautiful voice. My local radio station played I Wanna Dance With Somebody in honour of her on Monday, and I’d probably say that was my favourite song of hers. It’s so catchy and uplifting!

    Happy belated birthday as well 🙂

  15. What a nice tribute, Ruth. I would wholeheartedly agree that she was an understandable chart topper given her incredible talent, unlike many of the “chart toppers” of today. I was listening on the radio the day after she passed, and they mentioned that the sales of one of Whitney’s albums doubled the entirety of sales of all the records of both Lady Gaga and Rihanna put together. It goes to show that real talent does sell, not only gimmicks.

    I haven’t seen her films, but it doesn’t surprise me that you find her acting more worthwhile than that of JLo, Madonna, and other singers who have tried their hand at acting.

    Hope you had a happy birthday, Ruth.

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