The “Greatest Love of All” 45 (album for you youngsters) was one of my first music purchases. The first album I bought on my own, with my own hard earned chores money. (The Go Gos “Head Over Heels” was the second, in case you were curious.) I must have played that song over and over until the needle from the record player had worn grooves into the black plastic. Her voice was the one that made me want to sing. Really sing. Not just hum along to the radio for fun, but one that had me, singing in our living room while no one was around, belting out a song like it was nobody’s business.
When “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” and “How Will I Know” came out, I was fascinated by her incredible voice and style. It was the 80s, and I was totally one of those girls. There was no one like her. She was absolutely lovely and I wanted to be like her – hair, voice and all.
When “The Bodyguard” came out, the soundtrack for the movie became the one of my life. I’d grown up and hadn’t listened to her in years — others had taken over my music world by then. But I remember laughing with friends over that album, crying over a break up over that album, and looking back, I believe I even began singing in the living room again, one night while no one was home, because of that album.
It was sad listening to her in recent years. That incredible voice was gone and in its place, a raspy, tired one, as well as younger stars that wanted to be her, trying to imitate her sound and style, but with little success. I hoped after the “Being Bobby Brown” years she’d find that voice again and we’d all remember that incredible talent that had been overshadowed by her life. We waited in vain.
With her passing it seems childhood moved just a little further out of reach. And while the life she had lived in recent years might not have been the one we expected of her, her talent and voice was undoubtedly one to remember. And I for one, will turn up the radio and sing as loud as I damn well please when I hear a Whitney song, because that legacy and memory should be remembered, not the tattered, beaten down one critics and naysayers would like us to.
Instead of posting a list of her songs I like, I’ll just share the one I love most. Surprisingly it’s not a ballad, but one that’s simple in message and delivery – “My Love is Your Love.”