It was terribly sad waking up to hear that Whitney Houston had passed away.
I still can’t truly believe she’s gone, even though it’s often seemed inevitable given her decline over the years. But still, there was always hope that she would pull herself together, though sadly it wasn’t meant to be.
I will always think of Whitney and her music with fondness. As a teenager I was enthralled by her talent, and almost every song prompts some kind of memory:
I first heard Saving All My Love For You during a stock take when I was a Saturday girl at my local shoe shop; Where Do Broken Hearts Go became an anthem when I had my heart broken for the first time; and I boogied to I Wanna Dance With Somebody at many friends’ 18th birthday parties.
I bought all her albums and a video compilation, which I played so much that my parents started to complain.
Then I remember my gran visiting just as Whitney was performing at the Nelson Mandela concert and asking in all seriousness, when she’d be singing some Shirley Bassey songs.
The highlight of my time as a Whitney fan came when my friend Helen and I went to see her in concert at the NEC in 1988. She was fabulous and sang all her hits from a stage in the middle of the arena, ensuring we had an excellent view of her. I took hundreds of photographs – none of which came out thanks to my cheap camera – and still have the ticket and programme to this very day.
I don’t know a single person my age who doesn’t have some kind of memory attached to a Whitney song, and whether you loved her or hated her, it was very hard to ignore her beautiful voice. She made everything look so easy.
Unfortunately demons caught up with Whitney and her voice just wasn’t the same in recent years. No matter how much she denied it, she surely must have known that she’d never hit the high notes on I Will Always Love You ever again.
It could be easy to remember Whitney as the drug-ravished girl, trying painfully to sing while being booed on stage in 2010. Instead, I hope we can all look deeper and remember her for the beautiful songs she gave us. It takes a strong person to fight their demons and sadly in the end Whitney’s were just too over-powering.
Her passing was a tragedy, but thankfully her music will live on forever.