One of the music industry’s brightest stars was missing as the country’s top recording artists gathered at last night’s Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. The tragic death of pop powerhouse Whitney Houston on Saturday, at the age of 48, shocked the music industry and the world. Houston brought gospel tones to mainstream R&B. Her vibrant voice and unparalleled range made her a mainstay of pop superstardom throughout the 1980s and 1990s.
In recent years, Houston’s public personae became the subject of Saturday Night Live satire. Her once-sparkling voice dimmed along with her image. But Whitney Houston’s death also gives us an opportunity to remember Houston in her prime: as the young woman in white, who brought the nation to its feet as she belted "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the Super Bowl in 1991.
Michael Zager is a professor of music at Florida Atlantic University. Michael worked with Whitney Houston and her mother as a producer and arranger. Steve Kandell is editor-in-chief of Spin magazine.