Saturday, February 11, 2012

RIP Whitney Houston

In the discussion of her career many will forget her version of the National Anthem at the Superbowl. It is the most moving version I can recall.


Always On Watch said...

I went to bed early last night and had no idea about this until this morning.

So sad.

Ducky's here said...

A very, very sad life.

I wouldn't wish drug addiction and Bobby Brown on anyone.

That said, Billie Holiday did more on a single song with less than an octave than Houston did in here entire catalog while diminishing American popular song by popularizing the shallow "belter".

beakerkin said...


Pop music is for the masses and has its place in our culture.

Ducky's here said...

Would you call vocalists like Holiday, Blossom Dearie, Irene Kral,and others with limited range elitist?

Even singers with tremendous range such as Sarah Vaughn or Ella Fitzgerald eschewed the cheap histrionics. Or were Sassy and Ella elitist?

beakerkin said...

An artist is a product of her time
and Houston was a pop artist who had her roots elsewhere. Many criticized her for not being Black enough or too goody too shoes.

There was a similar complaint about the Cosby show not being Black enough. Oddly, I do not recall a similar complaint with the Jeffersons perhaps because we were frequently reminded by Norman Lear the George may have had his warts but he didn't forget where he came from.

In reality maybe she will be the last artist to suffer from that BS and we will move to a more enlightened era where artists appeal to everyone.

Houston was main street loved by all as the woman up the block. She had talent like many others but worried about others defining her.

Lesson for all define yourself and the hell with criticism live in your own shoes.

Pop music and Jazz era are differnt worlds.

Ducky's here said...

What's this got to do with being black enough?

beakerkin said...

Jazz singers were never considered
sell outs when they performed for white audiences. Jazz was considered to be an authentically Black art form.

There were other musicians that played that type of music. We really did not have authenticity as an issue.

Flash foward to Motown and not all of the people who purchased those records were Black. It was authentic Black artists marketed to a wide audeince.

There were still Blaxploitation films and yes I have seen Superfly
but I can never find Blackula. In our era there was even a prety funny film called Undercover Brother that spoofed that trend. We can argue how much films like Big Momma's House owe to the Blaxpoitation era but they have mainstream appeal.


beakerkin said...

The Whitney Houston story is part of the American story of race. She was beautiful had the voice of an angel and was loved by all. Unfortunately, some people claimed she forgot her community in her rise to the top.

There is something odd about this as Neil Diamond is Jewish and nobody questions his authenticity as he performed for America. Does anyone care what ethnicity Merlin Olsen or David Bowie are.

The lesson of this is just be comfortable with yourself. The joy of watching a Tim Tebow or a Jeremy Lin is they seem comfortable with themselves. The older Terry Bradshaw talks of the misery and depression he had fighting the stupid tag. Years later he embraced it and had fun with it. Of course he was never stupid but we laugh with him not at him.

Always be comfortable in your own skin and never let anyone tell you what is authentic. Being yourself is as American as it gets.

Ducky's here said...

What does all that nonsense have to do with the superficial quality of her vocals.

Again, Billy Holiday or Blossom Dearie(white) could do more with an octave than Houston could do with four.

Ducky's here said...

Maybe more up your alley.

Houston simply couldn't be this romantic and she couldn't handle a slow temple.

beakerkin said...


I think you are mistaking the format for substance. Pop Music is something that is meant to convey joy or intimacy.

For the most part a wider dept of emotion is expressed in Jazz or Country Music. Striesand singing prison songs or songs about being dumped wouldn't fly in that time period of the late eighties and early nineties. It was an upbeat era and everyone loved her.

Anyone who says she couldn't sing with emotion needs to listen to her version of the national anthem that even the players who were there still talk about 20 years later.

Oddly if you went back in time and asked what performer would still be famous Madonna would not get picked. Time is funny and Mariah Carey stole much of her thunder.
Mariah is a genuine talent in her own right.

I don't know why but part of me wonders what type of career Laura Branigan would have ended up with
but she died way too young. She wasn't as talented as the others but I found her intersting as she wasn't bubly.

Patrick Kelley said...

I'm sorry that she's dead, but I didn't care for the vocal gymnastics either.

Ducky's here said...

Whitney Houston expressed intimacy? Please stop.

Eliminating subtlety, nuance and emotion is not good for any style.

She could only sing in one tempo, she absolutely couldn't swing and she needed auto tune.

Mariah Carey is as big a stiff as Celine Dion or Martina McBride. Music for people who don't listen.

Pretty much the same thing has happened to film. It's finished as a transformative medium.

Ducky's here said...

Did you mean Laura Brannigan or Laura Nyro?

beakerkin said...


We get into a similar argument about people who can act and what the script calls for. Critics of John Wayne have claimed he couldn't act. He didn't need to act because he was Wayne and could carry a film by being himself.

In the time period they worked they did well with their material.

Laura Brannigan had a very interesting sound and look. She died way too young and never compiled a large body of work. I found her interesting in a upbeat decade of pop she was singing a tad differently.

The music I currently listen to is surf instrumentals ala the Ventures. It is amazing driving music and when I went to Guyana the locals were fascinated by it.

Anonymous said...

DEAD IS DEAD and she died due to whatever issues of her own design. Yes is I the shadow or beak while the lunacy of OTHERS seems to shouting for attention. GO GMEN and yep I hate tom Brady or just stop by to say SHALOM

Ducky's here said...

Fact is Beak that she had been in the discount bin for years.

Her legacy is a very self indulgent vocal style and no truly great songs.

The fact that people are led by the nose by the entertainment media is all the more sad.

Patrick Kelley said...

It's your fault, Ducky.