The Voice

I don't remember exactly how old I was at the time, but I do remember where I was: in the grocery store with my mom, in the mall next to the dance studio where I spent my entire childhood and teenage years dancing in.

It was a memorable day for me because I had just purchased the new Whitney Houston cassette tape. (Yes, tape. God, I'm old.) I listened to that tape over and over and over again. For our generation, kids of 80's and 90's, she was the voice.

Whitney's music was a big part of the soundtrack of my life. I have many memories that are attached to a Whitney Houston song. Like my grade eight graduation, for example, where my entire graduating class sang One Moment In Time to a gym full of parents and siblings. That event still remains one of the most embarrassing moment of my life, probably because I was wearing a black dress with green satin sleeves so puffy it would put Alexis Carrington Colby's dresses to shame.

Whitney was a superstar, a diva, a pop-star sensation. Whitney, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Debbie Gibson and Tiffany were always on musical rotation when I was young, before I discovered New Kids On The Block and a world of music other than pop. My life was about cassette tapes, mis-matched earrings, blue eye shadow and shimmer lip gloss. Yes, I danced in my room, hair brush as a microphone, to How Will I Know If He Really Loves Me? a million times. Volume turned up full blast, of course.

Whitney Houston was simply gorgeous. She was a true star. Stunning. Incredibly talented. Increbibly troubled. And like other great stars before her, her light went out far too soon. I get emotional over the death of anyone, famous or not, who passes away before they should. But it's personal with celebrities, isn't it? Especially with the ones who were such an important part of our lives, of our past. I think the first celebrity death that really shook me was the death of River Phoenix. I loved him, and to hear he had died of a drug overdose at the age of 23 was shocking and scary. And it was, temporarily at least, a reminder to everyone that drugs were evil.

With the recent passing of Whitney Houston, I feel like I lost a piece of the puzzle that makes up my childhood. She was most definitely one of the great voices of our time, a singer who still gives me chills every time I hear I Will Always Love You. Man, that song. How many of us have cried to that song? Just, chills.

If I had a scrapbook of famous people I love gone too soon, her picture would probably be on one of the first pages.
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Alicia xoxxo said...

Thank you for writing this. I was truly shocked and devastated when I heard Saturday night (while watching Breaking Dawn) that Whitney had passed away. I made my husband stop the movie because I HAD to know it if was just a hoax. Unfortunately it wasn't. Whitney was the soundtrack to my childhood as well. She was the first concert I EVER went to. I remember my moms friend chasing her limo after the concert was over so that we could catch a glimpse of her. We finally racked her down at the airport boarding a private plane and she waved to me from her window. I was only 8 years old, but I will never forget that moment. I am truly saddened that she is no longer here on earth with us.
Thanks for writing this so that we could all express our shock and sadness. (I follow you on Twitter as ShakenNotBlurd)

Anonymous said...

I, as well, am so saddened by Whitney's death. She was such a big part of my life when I was younger and I, also, have connected many of my childhood memories to her songs. I was so upset about this, that on Sunday I "introduced" my 12 year old daughter to Whitney. We watched many of her videos on YouTube, and I showed her how to this day (in my opinion) Whitney sang the best version of the Star Spangled Banner at the 1991 Superbowl. Her rendition still gives me chills and put a tear in my eye while watching it with my daughter.
As you said, another wonderful person gone all too soon! RIP Whitney.

Melanie M.

Avitable said...

I've never had that connection with her and the fact that she let herself go so terribly is one reason that I can't really find myself caring about her death.

Kat said...

Anyone's death is something to care about. As is anyone's life. It matters when someone's life takes a detour down the path of destruction. Her music touched millions, but as an individual she was someone's daughter, mother and friend and that contact is now gone. If any of us are mothers, daughters and friends; imagine the hole we would leave.

Regardless of wether or not we were fans of her music, and I recall singing into my hairbrush, her death is sad. She fought a battle and lost. Compassion and not judgement is called for.

writewrds said...

It's hard to believe she's gone.
You express what a lot of people are feeling. She shone so brightly and had such an iconic impact.
I'm sure a lot of us are walking around singing her songs -- or with her songs in our heads.

Thanks for sharing.

Jill said...

I'm totally with you Loukia. Her music really touched me and represents various time periods of my being 10-years old and wondering how I was going to get my hair like Whitney's and when I moved to Manhattan in 1999 and "It's Not Right", "Your Love is My Love," and "Heartbreak Hotel" where playing in every bar and nightclub. It's also tough because she was so young and prominent deaths always make me question my own mortality. SIGH. So sad but we will always have the music and those wonderful (or horrifyingly awkward) memories.

Sara @ Domestically Challenged said...

Sad, isn't it? A great voice is gone.

Mama Kat said...

I am right there with you Loukia! TOTALLY bummed about this. I think it speaks volumes that so many people were routing for her!

Lady Mama said...

So very sad and such a loss.

Andrew said...

I am too saddened by Whitney's passing. It kind of questions my own mortality in a sense. I have a lot of memories when I was growing up as a kid in the 80's and 90's with my parents playing Whitney Houston. I even remember the next track that would play after specific songs when I hear them on the radio or on youtube. I'm not going to get over this for a long long time.