Like so many of her other fans around the world, I was shocked and saddened upon learning last evening of the untimely passing of Whitney Houston. Never mind that her body had been ravaged by drugs and alcohol for so long and these excesses were bound to take their toll eventually, we speculated, it was still a jarring shock. When learning of the passing of artists whose work I’ve enjoyed and appreciated, I am usually briefly saddened and think, “Oh, that’s too bad,” but this hit me harder than usual. I don’t know if it’s because of the stresses I’m under currently or the fact that her voice, back in the day, had the power to reach in and grab one’s very being (probably both), but I am particularly moved to sadness by her unexpected death.
What I wanted to do today, then, is post three of my favorites of her songs, and why they’ve been important to me:
The first is “I’m Every Woman” — I love this song and this video because it reaffirms all of us; we’re all beautiful and powerful and strong, just the way we are:
The second is “Run to You” from the movie, The Bodyguard. I love this song because of her beauty and purity of tone here. This is where Kevin Costner’s character first discovers what’s so special about her and how spellbinding her performances can be:
And finally, my favorite of all her performances; her stirring rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner. Although I’ve never flown a flag in my front yard or been particularly overtly patriotic, I have never heard our national anthem performed in public without feeling a tingle of pride and gratitude for being a part of this country. Whitney’s performance, along with the stellar arrangement performed by the Florida Orchestra, goes above and beyond. I remember watching this when she originally performed it, and have seen it several times since, and have never gotten through watching this video without getting misty:
Rest in peace, dear Whitney. What a legacy of vocal excellence you’ve left us…