Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Didn't She Almost Have It All

Whitney Houston, dead at age 48.  Wow. 

I remember her first album and its immediate and spectacular success.  I was a young soldier in Berlin, Germany at the time.  She was the same age as me.  Without television, (in english) it was a time when I listened to/bought more music than any other time in my life.  She appealed to so many demographics, young and old, Pop and R&B, black and white.  She had a sweet and powerful voice.

Cousin to Dionne Warwick, her Mom a professional singer...and she, blessed with a beautiful voice that matured through her singing at church.  She was a very attractive lady with a captivating smile, and actually modeled a bit.  She quite literally "had it all".

Some years later she met Bobby Brown and everything started to unravel.

At the time, I remember thinking what this Christian raised, Gospel singing vocalist saw in Bobby Brown?!  Perhaps it is the "bad boy" allure that I see young women falling for time and time again.  Whatever it was, it appears to have been the beginning of the end for Whitney Houston.  She started fading a bit.

Some years later, I would see her distorted pictures on the tabloids as I checked out at a grocery store.  Stories of her tumultous marriage and drug use would be pasted on the National Enquirer.  I thought it was sad.

About a year ago, I came across a song she did as part of a "comeback" album.  I remember listening to the song and hearing just a bit of what I remember her sounding like.  The voice was older, lower in tone and sounded tired.  I really liked the song and I downloaded it and told my wife how much I liked it.  It was as if I were hoping Whitney Houston would really "come back".  The song was "I look to you".  I half thought it was a reference to God or maybe her Mom. (Though she did not write it)

I can't help but think had she picked a different man...a different influence, she might have lived a different, longer and more rewarding life.  I wondered what she felt when she looked back on her life.  I cant help but wonder about the words from one of her hit songs that she had sung more than 20 years ago, "The ride with you was worth the fall, my friend...didn't we almost have it all".

Almost Whitney....almost.

(photos courtesy of Bing Search)