This is the Whitney Houston I'll always remember. The one that was young and energetic, and had her whole life ahead of her.
Back in the 1980s when Whitney first arrived on the music scene and music videos were all the rage on MTV, I fell in love with her voice and her music and her spontaneity. There was something about her videos that were just fun. I would watch "How Will I Know" or "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" and end up with a smile on my face every time. The heart-wrenching sadness of "I'll Always Love You" lay in the future.
But in the 1980s, the fans had this beautiful, vivacious woman whose voice was so big and so electric that you couldn't sit still while listening to her.
I had concert tickets in 1987, but she got sick and canceled. She had a heavy load that year, lots of tour engagements. I was disappointed that I did not get to hear her sing. Then she rescheduled and came back in the middle of the week in November that year. I was lucky enough to be able to change my work schedule and go see her.
The concert was awesome. Very few times in my life have I heard a voice that was so big. Whitney sang her heart out, flirted with the audience in the way that only a young woman coming into her life can, and filled that concert hall with music and laughter. I don't care how good your sound system is, nothing could capture the way she sounded back then. I've watched the videos and listened to CDs, and I've never again heard that same sound.
Every time I hear one of those old songs, I can't help but go back and remember being that 29 year old kid who had just sold his first book only days before. I had achieved one of the things I'd always wanted to do in my life. Celebrating with Whitney Houston that night made that event even more special. Both of us were really just starting out in our careers.
When she started having her personal problems, I kept hoping she would get back on top. I've seen people go through those kinds of troubles before, and I know that not all of them make it through. I wish she had.