I’m back again with another edtion of World of Slick Music and today’s artist doesn’t really need any presentation i guess but gonna mention some anyway. She was one of the biggest stars of the second half 80:s and throughout the entire 90:s more or less. Offcourse it’s Whitney Houston i’m talking about.
She was born as Whitney Elisabeth Houston August 9 1963 in Newark, New Jersey. Her father was a Army serviceman and entertainment executive. Her mother was a gospel soul singer called Emily Houston thou she’s more famous under her stage name(?) Cissy Houston. Her cousin was songtress Dionne Warwick, godmother was Darlene Love and her so called honorary aunt was a certain Queen of Soul a/k/a Aretha Franklin whom she met at the age of 8 or 9 when her mom had brought her to a recording studio. Considering this she got the music within her dna from the very beginning. Offcourse there was no other way to go but pursue a musical career.
Whitney was no exception meaning that a majority of all black/colored artists/musicians began their career in the local church. For Whitney it was New Hope Baptist Church in Newark and she also learned to play the piano here but singing she was tought by her mother offcourse. Her first appearance in the church came when she was 11 and she sang “Guide Me, Oh Great Jehovah”. Whitney got exposed to singers like Chaka Khan, on whoms first solo albums along with mother Cissy she’s providing background vocals. Other singers were Gladys Knight and Roberta Flack whom had the biggest influence on Whitney as a singer and performer.
In the 70:s she performed with her mother on jazzclubs and before she got her major breakthrough in the mid 80:s she did some sessions as a model and appeared on pages in Glamour as well as Cosmopolitan. Her looks and so called girl next door charm made her one of the most sought after teen models at that time. No wonder, she was absolutely super gorgeous when she was young. My oldest brother went to a concert with her in our town in the late 80:s and i’ve heard stories that he told our father that “he was in love” when he came home from the concert and offcourse he was standing in the front… Anyway her first recording as a featured vocalist was NOT one of her moms but somewhat bizarrely with Bill Laswell’s jazz-funk ensemble Material on the ballad “Memories” from the 1982 album One Down, see pic below. This placed Whitney alongside to Archie Shepp.
In 1983 when she was singing at a nightclub one of the guests was legendary Arista Records president Clive Davis who signed a contract with her. The single appearance was a duet with soulsinger Teddy Pendergrasss “Hold Me” it was not a major success but did get some attention. Then her debut album was released in February 1985, picture below, but the first single was a flop but the next ones made it big time and made Whitney a superstar.
This album eventually sold 13 million copies in the U.S. which made it the best selling debut album ever for a female artist. The next album also sold very well and the singles all was very succesful on the charts. From a artistic point of view things very going very well and smooth with the Bodyguard peek and especially her cover version of the Dolly Parton song “I Will Always Love You” as featured in the movie. The single sold nearly 5 million copies and stayed at #1 for 14 this made it a new record for a single thou it was later broken by Elton John and “Candle In The Wind”. We all new that from here on things began to demise as an artist but most of all privately unfortunately.
I know you’re not supposed to judge people or tell tem how to live their life but clearly it was not a good idea marrying Bobby Brown, a junkie who dragged her down to his level. Thou showbiz is one of the most rotten buisnesses there are cause everybody loved and worshipped Whitney when she was at the height of her career then no one gave a shit about her. She was just a “milk cow” for the presidents/ceo’s of the record companies and when she couldn’t provide any more “milk” she was no longer intresting. Listen to/check out the bonus clip below in which soul singer Sam Moore tells us about the night Whitney died and it’s so sad.
I’m aware that they had/have a daughter together Bobbi Kristina Houston Brown. I guess you all know/heard that she was found in her bath tub earlier this year thou the doctors said there were no trace of either alcohol or drugs. On the other hand it’s very uncertain if she ever will get back to a “normal life”. Doctors said Brown has “global and irreversible brain damage”.
Bobby Brown are not the only one responsible for her death, there are many and they were all pretending they “cared so much” for her, yeah sure offcourse they did! Not! On the 11th of February the day before the Grammy’s 2012 Whitney was found dead in the bath tub at the Beverly Hills Hilton. The cause of death was found to be accidental drowning caused by heart disease and cocaine use.
Well let’s remember the good old beautiful Whitney before all the drugs destroyed her like the picture above. She has a huge legacy and is one of the most succesful female artists ever and in 2009 the Guiness World Records cited her as the most rewarded female artist of all time. During her life she won Emmys, 6 Grammys, 30 Billboard Awards, 22 American Music Awards. She became the first artist ever to have seven consecutive singles hit number one. Her timing was perfect cause she came in the era when MTV became the coolest thing there was and no hit single if your video didn’t get much views on MTV and vice versa. I bet Beyoncé, Rihanna and everyone else checked out Whitney on MTV and started to dream that one day they’re also gonna make it. Below are a bonus video when Whitney sings another cover this time by Earth, Wind & Fire live from South Africa in 1994 and her mother Cissy appears as a choirmaster and this is the Whitney we shall remember.
So finally about the song and maybe you’re like me thinking that Whitney Houston is not the first name that pops up when talking about so called slick music. Honestly i’ve never been that big fan of her thou she did indeed had an amazing voice. Anyway the song was first recored by a group called The Manhattans in 1983 and 4 years later Whitney picked it up on her second album Whitney, see picture below. It’s title is “Just The Lonely Talking” and it features my favorite alto sax player Marc Russo!
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