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February 16, 2012

A tribute to Whitney Houston, RIP We will always love you

Whitney Elizabeth Houston (August 9, 1963 – February 11, 2012) was an American recording artist, actress, producer, and model. In 2009, the Guinness World Records cited her as the most-awarded female act of all time. Her awards include two Emmy Awards, six Grammy Awards, 30 Billboard Music Awards, and 22 American Music Awards, among a total of 415 career awards in her lifetime. Houston was also one of the world's best-selling music artists, having sold over 170 million albums, singles and videos worldwide.Houston began singing with her New Jersey church's junior gospel choir at age 11. After she began performing alongside her mother in night clubs in the New York City area, she was discovered by Arista Records label head Clive Davis. Houston released seven studio albums and three movie soundtrack albums, all of which have diamond, multi-platinum, platinum or gold certification.
Houston is the only artist to chart seven consecutive No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hits ("Saving All My Love for You"; "How Will I Know"; "Greatest Love of All"; "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)"; "Didn't We Almost Have It All"; "So Emotional" and "Where Do Broken Hearts Go"). She is the second artist behind Elton John and the only female artist to have two number-one Billboard 200 Album awards (formerly "Top Pop Album") on the Billboard magazine year-end charts (Whitney Houston and The Bodyguard: Original Soundtrack Album). Houston's 1985 debut album Whitney Houston became the best-selling debut album by a female act at the time of its release. The album was named Rolling Stone's best album of 1986, and was ranked at number 254 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Her second studio album Whitney (1987) became the first album by a female artist to debut at number one on the Billboard 200 albums chart. Houston's crossover appeal on the popular music charts as well as her prominence on MTV, starting with her video for "How Will I Know", influenced several African-American female artists to follow in her footsteps.




The Oprah Winfrey Show Exclusive: Whitney Houston’s First Interview” airs Monday, September 14, 2009  
Since her 1985 self-titled debut, Whitney Houston has built an illustrious career that has generated over 170 million combined worldwide sales of albums, singles and videos. Cited by the Guinness Book of World Records as music’s “most awarded female artist of all time,” with an unsurpassed tally of 411 awards, inclusive of 6 Grammy Awards, 2 Emmy Awards, 23 American Music Awards and 16 Billboard Music Awards. Houston remains a singular force in music today.

Source: Oprah Winfrey show



 The New Hope Baptist Church was filled with love on Saturday afternoon, as 1,500 family and friends joined together at Whitney Houston's childhood church in Newark, NJ to celebrate her life.
In addition to Houston's mother, Cissy, and her daughter Bobbi Kristina, several celebrities turned up to pay their respects to the late singer in the form of both tribute songs and heartfelt speeches.

PHOTOS: Whitney and Bobby's family album

Actor/director Kevin Costner told a lesson-laden story about casting the "I Will Always Love You" singer in the 1992 flick The Bodyguard, for which he revealed filming was postponed a year until Houston had wrapped her tour.
The 57-year-old actor reminisced how Houston took off the professional makeup and used her own, but the lights melted it right off during her screen test.
"I asked her why she did it, and she said I just wanted to look my best. I asked her to trust me, and she said she would," Costner said. "A half hour later she went back to do her screen test and the studio fell in love with her…Whitney, you weren't just good enough, you were great."
"To you, Bobbi Kristina, and to all those young girls who are dreaming that dream, thinking that maybe they aren't good enough, I think Whitney would tell you, guard your bodies. And guard the precious miracle of your own life. Then sing your hearts out."

Choking up and pausing as he ended his speech, he said, "Off you go Whitney, off you go. Escorted by an army of angels to your heavenly Father. When you sing before him, don't you worry. You'll be good enough."
NEWS: Why Bobby Brown left Whitney's funeral
Before belting out "Send Me An Angel," Alicia Keys remembered how she and Houston would call each other the nickname "Me Ma."
"She would call you for no reason at all, but just to say 'hi,' Keys, who struggled to hold back tears, said. "She was a beautiful human being -- really caring, beautiful, thoughtful."

PHOTOS: Whitney Houston, 1963-2012

Houston's music mentor Clive Davis added, "You wait for a voice like that a for a lifetime. You wait for a face, a presence like that for a lifetime. When one person embodies it all, it takes your breath away. That's what I felt in 1983 when your daughter shattered me with her version of 'Greatest Love of All,'" he said looking at Cissy.
Ray Watson, Houston's bodyguard for 11 years who found her body in her Beverly Hills hotel room Feb.11, said "I lost a friend, a boss, a sister." He wrapped his speech by saying, "We need to respect and love entertainers," adding that entertainers give their lives so people can have enjoyment. His comments we met with a standing ovation from the crowd.
VIDEO: Whitney's ups and downs
Stevie Wonder opened his two-song performance with lyrics, "I want to give praise to the Father for Whitney from God's choir of love."
Tyler Perry spoke of the singer's everlasting grace. "She had a grace that kept on carrying her all the way through her life. It was the same grace that carried her home."




>UPDATE: TMZ has obtained one of the programs from today's family viewing for Whitney Houston. The program is titled "I Will Always Love You" and has photos of Whitney with Bobbi Kristina, her mother, Clive Davis and others. Bobby Brown is not pictured.

The public service for Houston starts tomorrow at 12 PM EST and is being streamed online.

ORIGINAL: TMZ has obtained a copy of the invitation to Whitney Houston's funeral, which takes place on Saturday.

The invite doesn't describe the ceremony as a "funeral" but a "home going service". It reads: "With heartfelt gratitude, the Houston Family requests the honor of your presence at the home going service for Whitney Elizabeth Houston."

A "home going" service is common in the black community and is usually more upbeat than your average funeral. It focuses more on the honor of the deceased going "home" to Heaven to be with God.

The ceremony takes place at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey at 12 PM EST. Several celebrities will attend including Kevin Costner, Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin.


WHITNEY Houston reportedly had premonitions about her death and told friends she "was going to go and see Jesus" just days before she died. TMZ.com, who were among the first to report on Houston's death, claim the legendary singer told friends she had a feeling the end was near for her.
"We're told... on Friday , one day after she performed, Yes Jesus Loves Me at Tru nightclub in Hollywood, Whitney told one of her friends, 'I'm gonna go see Jesus ... I want to see Jesus,' wrote TMZ.
"The next morning, hours before her death, Whitney was discussing a Bible passage involving John the Baptist and Jesus ... when Houston flashed a big smile and remarked, 'You know, he's so cool... I really want to see that Jesus.'"
The gossip site said their sources claim the 48-year-old had also been very spiritual in the days before her demise, quoting the Bible, singing hymns and engaging in intense conversations about Jesus Christ and the afterlife with her family and friends.
"Another source tells us ... Whitney had been telling friends she 'felt like her time was coming' ... and wanted to make sure she spent her time praising her lord and savior whenever she could."
Houston's funeral is set to be held in New Jersey on Saturday.
NBC reports Houston's godmother, Aretha Franklin, will reportedly perform at the service, alongside gospel singer Marvin L. Winans who will deliver the eulogy.

 Saving All My Love For you
Houston won the 1986 Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and the American Music Award for Favorite R&B/Soul Video for "Saving All My Love for You".



 A few stolen moments is all that we share You've got your family, and they need you there Though I've tried to resist, being last on your list But no other man's gonna do
So I'm saving all my love for you
It's not very easy, living all alone My friends try and tell me, find a man of my own But each time I try, I just break down and cry 'Cause I'd rather be home feeling blue
So I'm saving all my love for you
You used to tell me we'd run away together Love gives you the right to be free You said, "Be patient, just wait a little longer" But that's just an old fantasy
I've got to get ready, just a few minutes more Gonna get that old feeling when you walk through that door 'Cause tonight is the night, for feeling alright We'll be making love the whole night through
So I'm saving all my love Yes I'm saving all my love Yes I'm saving all my love for you
No other woman Is gonna love you more 'Cause tonight is the night, that I'm feeling alright We'll be making love the whole night through
So I'm saving all my love Yeah, I'm saving all my lovin' Yes, I'm saving all my love for you For you, for you

Writer — Michael Masser, Gerry Goffin
  • Producer — Michael Masser
  • Arranger — Gene Page
  • Saxophone solo by Tom Scott
  • Mixer — Bill Schnee
  • Engineers — Michael Mancini, Russell Schmitt




Houston's first acting role was as the star of the feature film The Bodyguard (1992). The film's original soundtrack won the 1994 Grammy Award for Album of the Year. Its lead single "I Will Always Love You", became the best-selling single by a female artist in music history. With the album, Houston became the first act (solo or group, male or female) to sell more than a million copies of an album within a single week period.The album makes her the top female act in the top 10 list of the best-selling albums of all time, at number four. Houston continued to star in movies and contribute to their soundtracks, including the films Waiting to Exhale (1995) and The Preacher's Wife (1996). The Preacher's Wife soundtrack became the best-selling gospel album in history. Three years after the release of her fourth studio album My Love Is Your Love (1998), she renewed her recording contract with Arista Records.She released her fifth studio album Just Whitney in 2002, and the Christmas-themed One Wish: The Holiday Album in 2003. In 2009, Houston released her seventh studio album I Look to You.
On February 11, 2012, Houston was found dead in her guest room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, in Beverly Hills, California, of causes not immediately known. News of her death, the day before the 2012 Grammy Awards, dominated American and international media, especially cable news.

On February 11, 2012, Houston was found dead in a suite at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, in Beverly Hills, California, submerged in the bathtub. The cause of death is not immediately known. Beverly Hills paramedics arrived at approximately 3:30 p.m. and found the singer unresponsive and performed CPR. Houston was pronounced dead at 4:00 p.m. PST. Local police said there were "no obvious signs of criminal intent".
On the Thursday before her death, February 9, 2012, Houston visited singers Brandy and Monica, together with Clive Davis, at their rehearsals for Davis' pre-Grammy Awards party. That same day, she made her last public performance, when she joined Kelly Price on stage at the party and sang "Jesus Loves Me".
According to the Winnepeg Free Press, one law enforcement official has stated that benzodiazepines were found in Houston's system.
A Private Funeral will be held on the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey on Saturday, February 18, 2012, where the Funeral will be streamed live.

 

Reaction

The Clive Davis party that Houston was expected to attend, and that featured many of the biggest names in music and movies, went on as scheduled although it was quickly turned into a tribute to Houston. Davis spoke about Houston's death at the evening's start: "By now you have all learned of the unspeakably tragic news of our beloved Whitney's passing. I don't have to mask my emotion in front of a room full of so many dear friends. I am personally devastated by the loss of someone who has meant so much to me for so many years. Whitney was so full of life. She was so looking forward to tonight even though she wasn't scheduled to perform. Whitney was a beautiful person and a talent beyond compare. She graced this stage with her regal presence and gave so many memorable performances here over the years. Simply put, Whitney would have wanted the music to go on and her family asked that we carry on."
Tony Bennett, who had a drug addiction problem in the 1970s, spoke of Houston's death before performing at Davis' party. He said, "First, it was Michael Jackson, then Amy Winehouse, now, the magnificent Whitney Houston", tying it into his public stance in favor of legalizing drugs. Bennett sang "How Do You Keep the Music Playing?" and said of Houston, "When I first heard her, I called Clive Davis and said, 'You finally found the greatest singer I've ever heard in my life.'"
Several other celebrities released statements responding to Houston's death. Dolly Parton, whose song "I Will Always Love You" was covered by Houston, said, "I will always be grateful and in awe of the wonderful performance she did on my song and I can truly say from the bottom of my heart, 'Whitney, I will always love you. You will be missed'." Houston's godmother Aretha Franklin said, "It's so stunning and unbelievable. I couldn't believe what I was reading coming across the TV screen." Mariah Carey said, "Heartbroken and in tears over the shocking death of my friend ... She will never be forgotten as one of the greatest voices to ever grace the earth."
Moments after news of her death emerged, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News all broke from their regularly scheduled programming to dedicate time to non-stop coverage of Houston's death. All three featured live interviews with people who knew Houston including those that have worked with her, interviewed her along with some of her peers in the music industry. Saturday Night Live displayed a still photo in silent reverence of a smiling Houston, alongside Molly Shannon, from her 1996 appearance.MTV and VH-1 interrupted their regularly scheduled programming on Sunday February 12 to air many of Houston's classic videos with MTV often airing news segments in between and featuring various reactions from fans and celebrities.
Houston's former husband, Bobby Brown, was reported to be "in and out of crying fits" since receiving the news. He did not cancel a scheduled performance and within hours of his ex-wife's sudden death, an audience in Mississippi observed as Brown blew kisses skyward, tearfully saying: "I love you, Whitney".
Ken Ehrlich, executive producer of the 54th Grammy Awards announced that Jennifer Hudson would perform a tribute to Houston at the February 12, 2012, awards. He said "event organizers believed Hudson — an Academy Award-winning actress and Grammy Award-winning artist — could perform a respectful musical tribute to Houston". Ehrlich went on to say: "It's too fresh in everyone's memory to do more at this time, but we would be remiss if we didn't recognize Whitney's remarkable contribution to music fans in general, and in particular her close ties with the Grammy telecast and her Grammy wins and nominations over the years".At the start of the awards ceremony, footage of Houston performing was shown following a prayer read by host, LL Cool J . Later in the program following a montage of photos of musicians who died in 2011, Hudson paid tribute to Houston and the other artists by performing "I Will Always Love You".

Sources: Wikipedia, Tmz.com and youtube



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