Archive for Whitney Houston

Why Does it Hurt So Bad?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on February 12, 2012 by davegerry

Gone at 48. Take a deep breath and think about the talent that was Whitney. I am re-posting a piece I wrote almost two years ago on this blog because I really don’t think I can say it any better now…now that she’s gone.

April 2010

I’m going to explore my soft  feminine side here (and, believe it or not, it’s a sizeable hunk) so bear with me.

I come to the defence of dearest Whitney. She’s taking a helluva drubbing for her performances in England and Ireland and it wasn’t much better in Australia before that. Understand that I love Whitney. I really do. I like her better than Gladys Knight or Anita Baker or even Streisand, I suppose. In her heyday you couldn’t touch Whitney for that voice. God, what a gift! But she’s obviously on the backside of that once glorious career now and, though you have to give her credit for trying, the results have not been pretty.

Did she do it to herself? Did she waste it? Maybe. Probably. She has to own so much of it. We all know what happened to Whitney Houston and some of the people she fell in with and some folks have taken absolute glee in her descent. But here’s the thing and here’s why no matter what she’s done and how much of it was her fault she will forever have my sympathy and support. I cannot fathom what it must be like to have that extraordinary reservoir of talent and watch it seep away. My heart breaks for her. Imagine, if you can,  taking to that stage knowing that the voice of twenty years ago is still echoing in the mind of every audience member..and knowing that you haven’t got a prayer of summoning it once again.  It must be soul-destroying.

Sinatra watched his instrument ebb away too. But Frank would compensate with swagger. There’s no such top-up available to the divas in our midst. We build them up and we watch them fall and when they struggle again to get anywhere near the Olympian heights they once enjoyed we collectively cluck our tongues and say, ‘what a shame’. And it is. And the performer has to live with the legacy lost.

Do yourself a favour. Go to YouTube and watch Whitney sit alone on stage at the 1996 MTV Movie Awards and sing Why Does It Hurt So Bad.  Watch it for the singer she was and watch it for the talent she had and if it doesn’t bring you close to tears you’d better take a moment to check your pulse.

The Sad Song

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on January 16, 2012 by davegerry

She’s gone

I’m listening to Hall and Oates and ‘She’s Gone‘ while I write this. I received a Greatest Hits cd for Christmas (a gentle joke) because I had recently told the story of how some of my fishing buddies once threw my Hall and Oates collection out of a speeding car one wild weekend during the early 1980’s. The mere possession of blue-eyed soul was apparently enough in those days to seriously impugn your manhood. I don’t quite remember why and it doesn’t really matter.

The point is that She’s Gone is a sad song. It’s a sad song for me because someone I valued had just walked out of my life right around the time that tune was getting a lot of radio airplay. This is, of course, how sad songs work. They hit you at the right time and they stick there forever. They are emotional, individual fingerprints, a kind of syncopated scar. It doesn’t take much…a clever evocative lyric, just the right combination of notes… and that song will go straight home. It’s a musical land mine that can lie buried for years. We all have these tuneful touchstones, though they are often very different. My sad song is not likely your sad song.

Gladys Knight and the Pips had a very sad song with Neither One of Us. It’s hard for me to listen to Neither One of Us without getting a tad verklempt. I’ve written on this blog before about Whitney Houston’s Why Does it Hurt So Bad. I don’t have a melancholy memory connected with that particular song but it’s still a killer. When she was on her game, Whitney could break your heart by proxy.

In 1970 The Fifth Dimension had a big hit with a Burt Bacharach sad song, One Less Bell to Answer. At 17, I lost a girl to that one but as fate would have it I got that same woman back many, many years later. I got her back to the Bee Gees’ How Deep is Your Love.

We’ve been married 30 years.

Nothing quite tracks your life like the tracks of your life.

Why Does it Hurt So Bad

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on April 21, 2010 by davegerry

[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=whitney+houston&iid=7115683″ src=”6/1/6/4/2009_American_Music_cff2.jpg?adImageId=12594136&imageId=7115683″ width=”500″ height=”375″ /]

I’m going to explore my soft  feminine side here (and, believe it or not, it’s a sizeable hunk) so bear with me.

I come to the defence of dearest Whitney. She’s taking a helluva drubbing for her performances in England and Ireland and it wasn’t much better in Australia before that. Understand that I love Whitney. I really do. I like her better than Gladys Knight or Anita Baker or even Streisand, I suppose. In her heyday you couldn’t touch Whitney for that voice. God, what a gift! But she’s obviously on the backside of that once glorious career now and, though you have to give her credit for trying, the results have not been pretty.

Did she do it to herself? Did she waste it? Maybe. Probably. She has to own so much of it. We all know what happened to Whitney Houston and some of the people she fell in with and some folks have taken absolute glee in her descent. But here’s the thing and here’s why no matter what she’s done and how much of it was her fault she will forever have my sympathy and support. I cannot fathom what it must be like to have that extraordinary reservoir of talent and watch it seep away. My heart breaks for her. Imagine, if you can,  taking to that stage knowing that the voice of twenty years ago is still echoing in the mind of every audience member..and knowing that you haven’t got a prayer of summoning it once again.  It must be soul-destroying.

Sinatra watched his instrument ebb away too. But Frank would compensate with swagger. There’s no such top-up available to the divas in our midst. We build them up and we watch them fall and when they struggle again to get anywhere near the Olympian heights they once enjoyed we collectively cluck our tongues and say, ‘what a shame’. And it is. And the performer has to live with the legacy lost.

Do yourself a favour. Go to YouTube and watch Whitney sit alone on stage at the 1996 MTV Movie Awards and sing Why Does It Hurt So Bad.  Watch it for the singer she was and watch it for the talent she had and if it doesn’t bring you close to tears you’d better take a moment to check your pulse.