Today’s column was supposed to open with the Blue Ivy Carter and how her parents decided to cockblock Grammy weekend by releasing photos of her on Friday, to dominate discussion in the 48 hours preceding Sunday’s event.
There’s no doubt in the weeks to come that we will collectively compulsively devour the details of Whitney’s death and final days; many other sites specialise in that kind of information. But beyond this column open, I will not be covering the story: this blog has always had a Sad Smut policy and besides, it’s not like that would change the end. In the end, Whitney Houston was defeated by something she couldn’t contain. Whitney Houston went from the shelter of church straight into the deepest cesspools of fame and celebrity. I’m not sure she had a chance.
In 2009, I had the privilege of attending a listening event for what would be Whitney’s final album in New York at Lincoln Centre. (Click here to re-read that article.) Her mother and Dionne Warwick were there; her daughter was there; Gayle King and Diane Sawyer were there; Alicia Keys was there, as excited as I’ve ever seen her; and Clive Davis hosted, so proud that his protégée appeared to be back from too many years of living in sh-t. After he lovingly took the time to introduce every song, unabashedly admitting that she’s always been his greatest find, she finally came on stage, and that thing that happens around only the rarest of talents happened: she took over and made you believe. I subsequently wrote that I believed. I really, really did. I believed that she had beaten it. I believed that, finally, after all this time, she had won. I left that event, me the cynic, glowing with belief and sharing it with everyone I talked to.
Life is too often too temporary. What’s left is what we remember.
How do you choose the best in such an impressively extensive catalogue, stacked with tracks that everyone instantly knows the lyrics to? For me it’s All At Once. And vinyl. There was something about placing the needle on the groove of that record that felt like for something to require so much precision to be played, what you heard had to earn it. Don’t you miss that about music (for those of you who’ve seen an old fashioned record player)? I always thought it was the greatest secret, the way a song was embedded onto a few lines on a flimsy disc and could only be unlocked by a fine point on the tip of a wand...
And then Whitney’s voice filled the room. That voice was truly historic. Do you remember her first appearance on David Letterman singing Saving All My Love? He came on at the end to congratulate her and he looked STUNNED. When she performed, it was transformational.
For me it was All At Once over and over and over again. I would listen to that song and weep for the boy in grade 6 who wanted to meet Kim H at the swings instead of me, trying to match my pre-teen intensity to Whitney’s grown up romantic tragedy. Obviously, totally on the same level heartbreak. That’s how you know it’s a great ballad.
Duana and I are covering the BAFTAs and the Grammys today. And after that there’s a lot of gossip, the fun kind, we have to catch up on too. In between I’m also shooting all day but I’m writing well into the evening, and I’m trying to get to all of it. It’ll be a heavy column; please refresh often and scroll down, click VIEW MORE ARTICLES, so that you don’t miss any posts. Also don’t forget all the new photos in LifeStyle from NY Fashion Week.
Yours in gossip,
Intro for February 13, 2012