Once again an entertainer’s life is taken from us, although we do not know the cause of death, but we lost a very gifted and talented singer in Whitney Houston. She was 48 years old. Ms. Houston sold over 170 Million Albums and songs. She won numerous Grammy awards and arguably was one of the greatest singers of the 20th Century. That in a word is the impact that Ms. Houston had on the music industry and the world. Whitney Houston ranks right up there with Aretha Franklin, Patty Labelle, Gladys Knight, and Chaka Khan among top Soul Singers. But perhaps Ms. Houston could in fact be considered the greatest African American Pop singer given her range and ability to cross over to a diverse audience. No one who came before her was able to claim that honor.
It is perhaps an oversight to consider Ms. Houston a Soul singer. She was not from the start; however African American strongly identified with her and saw her as one of the greater African American singers of all time. Perhaps a better way to describe Ms. Houston is that she was a crossover artist who appealed to all races, sort of the female Michael Jackson. She had that type of influence musically throughout the world. She had so many hits there is not enough ink to name them all. She had a melodic voice and the ability and range to deliver it along a musical matrix that is unequaled. Thus the comparisons to Aretha Franklin and Patty Labelle, who all who possessed larger than life voices that defined their careers. Chaka Khan is most definitely included in this sorority of African American singers.
Whitney Houston was on top of the world throughout the late Eighty’s and soon she met Bobby Brown during the 90’s and they married. Many thought that the union with Bobby Brown was not a good one for Whitney Houston, and it was during her time with Bobby Brown that she begin to use and abuse drugs. Their life was chronicled on a reality show including Bobby and Whitney and the entire Brown family. It was not a flattering story. Now the News of Whitney Houston’s death has shaken up the world. More to come when more details become available.