Whitney Houston died in a hotel bathtub on February 11, 2012. She was 48. Whitney Houston set records during her too brief career. She sold over 200 million records. Whitney Houston released seven studio albums and two soundtrack albums, all of which have been certified diamond, multi-platinum, platinum, or gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Whitney Houston is the only artist to have seven consecutive number one Billboard Hot 100 songs.

Despite Houston’s wonderful voice, she made several Bad Decisions. One of the members of her entourage interviewed for this documentary says, “People around Whitney considered her an ATM.” Her career rocketed into the stratosphere after her role in The Bodyguard became iconic. But Whitney’s success grated on her husband, Bobby Brown. He abused her verbally and physically. He may have contributed to her drug addictions. Director Kevin Macdonald doesn’t grill some of the principal characters in Whitney’s destruction; Macdonald takes a more subtle approach by letting these characters reveal their parts in the calamity of Whitney Houston’s life. For example, the President of Arista Records L. A. Reid looks into the camera and says he never knew Whitney used drugs. The audience laughed at this blatant lie. One of Whitney’s brothers says there were no drugs used by the Houston family while he’s obviously addled by drugs on screen.

Great music weaves its way through this film from Whitney’s debut television appearance on THE MERV GRIFFIN SHOW to her electrifying rendition of “The Star Bangled Banner” at Super Bowl XXV in 1991. The highs are impressive, but Whitney’s lows are heartbreaking. Do you have a favorite Whitney Houston song? GRADE: A

18 thoughts on “WHITNEY

  1. Steve Oerkfitz

    I have little interest in this. Never cared for her music. She oversang everything and I believe it was Elvis Costello who said that she didn’t sing a song she beat it to death.

    1. george Post author

      Steve, Whitney’s mother, Cissy Houston (who was a backup singer for Elvis Presley, Dionne Warwick, and Aretha Franklin) taught her daughter how to sing. Credit or blame for Whitney’s singing style goes to her.

  2. Jeff Meyerson

    Not a huge Whitney fan either, though she was incredibly talented. Clearly, she was another self-destructive diva who had no business having children.

    Favorite song? I’d pick “I Will Always Love You” but I prefer the Dolly Parton original or the Linda Ronstadt version to Whitney’s overheated take. “The Greatest Love of All” is a little more subtle.

  3. Patti Abbott

    I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU. Not a big fan either but she had a voice. I would have liked her to try less show-stopping songs. A mistake many “big voices” seem to make. I want to see this.

  4. Jeff Meyerson

    I asked Jackie, who was a fan, and she picked “The Greatest Love of All” and “How Will I Know?”

    1. george Post author

      Jeff, Jackie has great taste in Whitney Houston music! I still listen to the soundtrack of THE BODYGUARD occasionally. Still great after all these years!

  5. Deb

    I’m with Jackie—“How Will I Know?” Is my favorite Whitney song: an upbeat dance number where she didn’t beat every note into submission. Her life story is ultimately a downward trajectory with no redemption or third act; I think I’d have to give this one a pass.

    1. george Post author

      Rick, Whitney was one of the Biggest Stars of the 1980s and 1990s. And then she and her career crashed and burned. There are lessons to be learned in this movie.

  6. wolf

    “How Will I Know?” is one song that I remember – wasn’t a fan. “Luckily” we didn’t get MTV at home in Germany and when her stuff played on the radio – well I had my cassettes and later CDs. Only listened to music while driving …

    Totally OT:
    I just remembered tha tin the bar in the Croatian village (Yugoslaviauntil 1989 …) that we went to in the evening (we were camping much of the summer) they had MTV – from Italy which wasn’t too far.
    We didn’t like the music too much – but late at night they had SNL reruns, some in b&w even.
    I just had to watch these …

    But of course she hadn’t earned what happened to her – did no one in her management try to get her off the drugs?

    1. george Post author

      Wolf, Whitney’s family and entourage aided and abetted her drug addiction. Tragic! Are you gripped by World Cup fever?

      1. wolf

        Re Whitney and her family:
        That was part of her tragedy – as long as she made enough money, nobody cared …
        We’ve seen it so often in the world of pop music – crazy!
        I remember an early sketch from SNL where two guys from the record company are discussing an artist’s lessening sales. Then they have an idea:
        If he died, sales would surely go up again and they propose this to him – he thinks that means that he just has to go into hiding, but no …
        When he leaves one of the guys says:
        Oh, btw we bought you a new Ferrari , it’s standing outside – here are the keys …
        That was the kind of black humour you only found there or in British programs.

        Re the world cup:
        No, George -we haven’t watched a single soccer game in life …
        My wife likes water polo however.
        Anyway it was just in the news that a player was”sold” for more than a hundred million Euros – I#m angry sometimes that we pay for these with our taxes, advertising etc. So we try to boycott companies spending money on these millionnaires – it’s kind of crazy!
        But obviously you have a similar situation in the USA withall kinds of “professional sports”.

      2. george Post author

        Wolf, World Cup fever occurs in pockets of the U.S. I have zero interest, but I had many students from Europe and Africa and South America who loved to watch the World Cup and cheer for their favorite teams.

    1. george Post author

      Bob, I don’t watch THE VOICE or any of those performance TV shows because I’m not a fan of bombastic singing either.


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