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Whitney Houstin in 1987

Whitney Houston in Washington

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Whitney Houston is dead at 48. Sadly, I can’t say that I’m surprised, given the downward spiral of her life, beginning with her train wreck marriage to Bobby Brown. It’s really a tragic story.

This was a woman with an unbelievable talent who sang the greatest Star Spangled Banner at the Super Bowl in January of ’91. She had a voice comparable to Aretha Franklin and Patti LaBelle.

She made numerous appearances in the Washington area to perform, but one that I came across was early on in her career, as she was rocketing to superstardom. She played Merriweather on July 27th, 1986 to a packed audience (you know how crowded and hot that place gets in the summer). The Baltimore Sun reviewed her performance the following day.

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Whitney Houston was hot Saturday night, both literally and figuratively. Riding a wave of popularity generated by “Whitney Houston,” her septuple-platinum debut, the 22-year old singer had managed to sell out the Merriweather Post Pavilion in a mere 30 minutes. No wonder the fans began to fill the lawn by 6 p.m., sitting almost three hours (through stultifying heat, humidity and a brief thunderstorm to see their idol.

Not that Ms. Houston was one to keep quiet. if anything, the greatest strength of her 90-minute set was the extent to which it allowed her to stretch vocally. Unlike her album, which scaled her singing down to the confines of its slick, studio-savvy production. Ms. Houston’s concert performance emphasized the fact that she is, above all else, a singer out of the gospel/soul tradition.

Whitney Houston in 1987
Whitney Houston in 1987
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The unbelievable Star Spangled banner she performed at the Super Bowl will go down as one of the best ever.

RIP Whitney Houston (1963 – 2012)

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