EDITOR’S NOTE: I originally published this post on October 1, 2009, to celebrate the release of Whitney Houston’s long-awaited comeback album
I Look to You, and in light of yesterday’s tragic news, I can think of no more appropriate eulogy or tribute — particularly from and on a website that was designed for just such a purpose — than to revel one more time, with all the gratitude my soul can hold, in some truly great music. Need proof positive that the simple act of opening your mouth and belting out a magnificent melody (with perfect pitch, natch) is enough to transform, to CHANGE, the whole damn world? Keep reading.
Sherry Ann and I have this thing between us that we lovingly call “The Whitney Houston Rule,” which came to exist in the winter of 1998 when Miss Whitney became positively livid with the Recording Academy — not because they failed to nominate her soundtrack for The Preacher’s Wife for any major Grammys, but because they nominated her in what she perceived to be the wrong categories. See, Whitney considered Wife to be the gospel album she had long dreamed of making, and while it was indeed top-heavy with selections from the God-is-love songbook, it also contained a handful of viable radio singles, enough to keep the boys at Hot 97 happy, and so the Academy deemed that the album was only eligible for the R&B categories, a decision which so enraged Whitney that she proceeded to embark on a nationwide press tour announcing her immense dissatisfaction over the news and proclaiming that she would not be showing up to that year’s ceremony to accept any awards she might win. (The single funniest moment of this madness was when she appeared on Entertainment Tonight and slapped a deluxe diva diatribe — “I’m sick of work bein’ done and people not recognizin’ it!!” — upside poor Bob Goen’s head. To this day, over a decade later, whenever either Sherry Ann or myself wish to give voice to something which frustrates or annoys us, we always preface it by cooing, Whitney-style, “No, Bob…”; and, to this day, the audio of Whitney’s hilarious hissyfit can be found on my iPod, where it continues to stay in pretty heavy rotation.)