Her air, her manners, all who saw admired; Courteous though coy, and gentle though retired; The joy of youth and health her eyes displayed, And ease of heart her every look conveyed.
- George Crabbe, English Poet (1754-1832)
A lot of hate is being directed at Bobby Brown today, as if he’s the one to blame for Whitney’s downfall. Listen, Whitney would not have made the choices she did if this former choir girl with the perfect voice wasn’t bored to death with living the perfect life. She was looking for some danger and excitement I’m pretty sure, and Bobby Brown fit the bill. Don’t blame Bobby though, if it wasn’t him introducing Whitney to cocaine and the crack pipe, it would have been some other bad boy of hip hop, guaranteed.
The ending is not what’s worth remembering, however. Sure, the tragic ending will only help to enhance her status as a legendary and immortal singer just the same as it did with Billie Holliday and every tragic character stretching back to Greek mythology, but what’s really worth remembering about Whitney is not her downfall, but her voice.
Go to YouTube or grab your MP3 player and listen to Whitney’s voice from the mid-80s and early 90s and what you are listening to is a voice so clear and a five-octage range so rare that for every one singer that has it, there are a million other singers feeling jealous and imagining what they could do with a voice like that, but do she did, working hard from a young age to become technically proficient, and then working harder still to make it all sound effortless.
That’s the Whitney I’ll remember. No offense to Mariah, but as far as pop music goes, Whitney Houston was truly the greatest voice of her generation.
And now for the truly bizarre, I’d like to offer up A Serial Killer’s Tribute to Whitney Houston.