In the words of her 1987 hit ‘Didn’t We Almost Have It All’. Whitney Houston did have it all and blew it. At 48, she is dead.
Whitney Houston had the makings of one of the greatest singers of a generation. In a parallel life she could have been as big as her Godmother Aretha Franklin and cousin Dionne Warwick. Instead she flushed her life down the toilet with drugs.
Her recorded output was only six original albums, one Christmas record and contributions to three soundtracks since 1985.
Her most recent effort was as producer and actor in the movie ‘Sparkle’ due for release in August, 2012.
Whitney Elizabeth Houston was born on August 9, 1963. She is the most awarded female artist of all time with 415 awards including 22 American Music Awards, 30 Billboard Music Awards, 6 Grammy Awards and 2 Emmy Awards to her name.
Her mother is American soul and gospel singer Cissy Houston. Whitney began singing at the age of 11 in a New Jersey church gospel choir.
She drew the attention of music guru Clive Davis who signed her to his Arista Records label. She became the first and still only artist to have seven consecutive number one singles in the USA from ‘Saving All My Life For You’ through to ‘Where Do Broken Hearts Go.
Her second album ‘Whitney’ was the first album by a female artist to debut at number one.
In 2000 it started to become apparent that Whitney was using drugs more and more. She began missing gigs, interviews and was visibly looking unhealthy with weight-loss. In 2000, she and her husband Bobby Brown were arrested when they tried to board a plane carrying marijuana. Those charges were later dropped.
Two months later Whitney was meant to perform for the induction of Clive Davis into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She failed to show up for the event. Soon after she was scheduled to perform at the Grammy Awards but was fired from the performance.
Her rapid weight loss was explained away by her publicist at the time as “stress due to family matters and when she is under stress she doesn’t eat”.
In a bizarre 2002 interview with Diane Sawyer when asked about drugs she responded “First of all, let’s get one thing straight. Crack is cheap. I make too much money to ever smoke crack. Let’s get that straight. Okay? We don’t do crack. We don’t do that. Crack is wack.”
In 2005, Whtney’s husband Bobby Brown had his own reality show. Whitney was seen often on the show in a most unflattering way. The Hollywood Reporter wrote at the time that the show was “undoubtedly the most disgusting and execrable series ever to ooze its way onto television”.
In 2009 Whitney attempted her comeback with the album ‘I Look To You’. It did reasonably well, debuting at number one in the USA with first week sales of 350,000. To promote the record she was interviewed by Oprah where she admitted to using marijuana laced with crack cocaine with Bobby Brown.
In 2010, Whitney started a world tour in Australia. It was her first time in Australia since 1988 and first time as a headliner. On the 1998 tour she was John Farnham’s support act. The 2010 Australian shows were a disaster plagued with bad reviews. Whitney was often reported as ‘croaky’ and ‘disorientated’. She also failed to hit the notes for her signature tune ‘I Will Always Love You’.
After Australia the World Tour progressed for a few dates into Europe and then evaporated.
Today, Whitney Houston is dead at age 48. I don’t think anyone in the world is surprised by the news.
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