Robin Thicke has paid heartfelt tribute to Whitney Houston by covering her beautiful 1995 song, “Exhale (Shoop, Shoop)”. His soft, gentle vocal compliments the track perfectly, and the stripped back arrangement gives the song an utter poignancy that will bring a tear to your eye. “Exhale” was the late Houston’s 11th number one single on the Billboard Hot 100 and was awarded a Grammy in 1997 for Best R&B Song. The heart wrenching cover will have you grabbing for the Kleenex as the subject matter — inspiring yourself to push on despite hurt or disappointment — resonates with the ultimate tragedy of Houston’s early passing. Robin himself Tweeted of the track:
And what a moving tribute. Robin’s vocals bring out a sense of nostalgia and whimsy, in a respect filled ode to the musical great.
Over the weekend Bobby Brown controversially left the funeral of his late ex-wife, Whitney Houston. The debacle unfolded after Brown entered the church where the funeral was taking place with three other people, including his current wife, and was then forced to move seats several times by security. The LA Times reported that CNN journalist Raelyn Johnson (allegedly the only journalist inside the church), said that Brown “was not the only celebrity who had musical chairs going on,” and that “no one on the inside of that church knew that Bobby Brown was having any sort of drama.” Johnson said that Brown “was not singled out,” and that many VIP guests were moved around inside the church in accordance with Baptist traditional funeral protocols, which strictly say that those wishing to sit in the first few rows with the family must enter with the casket, or with the family if the casket is already in place, which Brown failed to do.
However, the confusion with the seating arrangement upset the bereaved Brown, who felt he was treated differently to other guests, and he issued a statement saying, “My children and I were invited to the funeral of my ex-wife Whitney Houston. We were seated by security and then subsequently asked to move on three separate occasions. I fail to understand why security treated my family this way and continued to ask us and no one else to move. Security then prevented me from attempting to see my daughter Bobbi Kristina. In light of the events, I gave a kiss to the casket of my ex-wife and departed as I refused to create a scene… I will continue to pay my respects to my ex-wife the best way I know how.” The distraught Brown then went on to play a concert with New Edition later that night at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut during which, according to the Huffington Post, he pointed a finger skyward and said “Blessings to my ex-wife, Whitney Houston. I love you.”
UPDATE (4:12 p.m.): Whitney Houston’s “Going Home” funeral service this afternoon, held at Newark, NJ’s New Hope Baptist Church, was a largely celebratory affair that lasted nearly four hours. There were a number of emotion-soaked moments — Alicia Keys’ performance, Kevin Costner’s eulogy — but the crowd at today’s service seemed to want to concentrate more on celebrating Whitney’s tremendous life than mourning her untimely loss one week ago today at the age of 48. When Whitney’s casket was carried out of the church today, “I Will Always Love You” rang out.
The day’s most controversial moment came 24 minutes into the service, which began at noon EST, when ABC News reported that Houston’s ex-husband, Bobby Brown, left the funeral and church unexpectedly. TMZ is reporting that Brown was asked to leave by Houston’s family due to a seating dispute; Bobby wanted to bring nine people into the service with him, but his invitation was only good for two people.
In an unrelated incident, Aretha Franklin did not perform today as originally expected;
I’ve been on television a few times this week discussing the many chart and sales records held by the late Whitney Houston. There is no denying that numerical accolades help define an artist’s legacy, but so does the way their music affects people as they go about their every day lives. Here are five Whitney Houston songs that are significant in my musical journey:
5. “Million Dollar Bill”
Though I’ve been introducing music videos on television for over 10 years, up until a couple years ago I had never introduced a clip from Whitney Houston (my past VJ duties were mostly in the genre of rock). When Houston released I Look To You in 2009, her music video, “Million Dollar Bill,” was featured on the VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown. I remember giving Whitney an abundance of praise, although at the time it was popular to take jabs at her “train-wreck” lifestyle. A rep from Houston’s record label got in contact with me the following week and complimented my segment. I’m proud of the fact that I never took a cheap shot at either Michael Jackson or Whitney Houston during my time on television. When you get to their level, there is a certain amount of respect that’s earned, no matter what may unfold in their private lives.
4. “I Will Always Love You”
Though pop music was not my genre of choice in the ‘90s — especially since there was a band called Nirvana making its mark on pop-culture — I still wasn’t able to ignore the greatness of “I Will Always Love You.” As I entered college, I found it a testament to Houston’s one-of-a-kind voice, that many jocks, college-radio geeks, and hip-hop diehards proudly had The Bodyguard soundtrack on display in their dormitory CD racks.
Unsurprisingly, Whitney Houston‘s untimely death last weekend has lead to a surge in album sales for the legendary performer, with her Greatest Hits compilation selling enough copies in just one day to steamroll the charts and land itself at number six on the Billboard 200 Album chart. Except that Billboard doesn’t acknowledge the would-be chart topper because of its age, so despite killer sales, the album wont actually appear on the chart. Selling 63,853 copies in one day, the album did make it to number one on Billboard’s Catalogue Album list (with her self-titled debut album making it to number five, also on this list), so the soaring sales haven’t gone entirely without recognition.
To put Houston’s posthumous sales in perspective, NY Daily News compares her numbers to Paul McCartney‘s Kisses On The Bottom, which sold 74,100 copies to debut at number five on the Billboard 200 chart. But McCartney had a full week to amass these numbers — Houston’s last minute sales bump was the product of one day, as Sunday night is the cutoff for Nielsen SoundScan’s stats, and we tragically lost Houston on the Saturday night. It’s expected that these big sales will just keep growing for the late Houston over the next week as fans continue to grieve and show support.
The VH1 News special Whitney Houston: Death Of A Diva premieres on VH1 tonight at 8 p.m. ET/PT, and will repeat again at 9:30 p.m. and 1 a.m. The 30-minute program will honor the life and times of Whitney Houston, and feature the latest updates on events surrounding her death, plus reactions from attendees at her mentor music mogul Clive Davis’s annual pre-Grammy Awards music industry party on Saturday night (like L.A. Reid). Additionally, there will be tributes from officials, her peers (like Kelly Price), record executives and fans, as well as some previously unseen interview footage with Whitney Houston herself.
In the clip we have for you above, which was shot back in 2010 as part of the Jennifer Hudson episode of Behind The Music, Whitney discusses how she almost didn’t record the song “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” because she “hated” it. Ultimately, her mentor Clive Davis was able to convince her of the song’s merits, a track that would go on to be her seventh consecutive #1 single, a record that still stands to this day.
In a tragic turn of events the music industry lost one of its biggest legends, Whitney Houston, over the weekend. In a last minute reshuffle, the Grammys made an effort to pay tribute to the great star, with LL Cool J giving an eulogy at the start of the show, and big names like Alicia Keys, Rihanna and Stevie Wonder commemorating their hero (Alicia Keys performed a tribute to the recently passed Etta James with Bonnie Raitt but didn’t fail to acknowledge Whitney). But perhaps the most stirring tribute of all was Jennifer Hudson‘s emotional performance of Whitney’s iconic song “I Will Always Love You.”
While Jennifer’s beautiful vocal soared through the song, and physically she appeared to embody the ghost of Whitney, she didn’t quite hit the high notes with the same easy power as Whitney — so as she paid rousing tribute, she also reminded us of the awesome talent of the late performer, whose natural voice is unparalleled, even by someone who is considered one of the great contemporary vocalists of today. Jennifer’s performance was a deeply emotional one, and it seemed like the singer had some difficulty getting through as she was overcome by tears at the end.
So while it seemed like the Grammys did everything they could at the last minute to ensure Whitney was paid proper respect, some were still perturbed by the closing act, hoping for a Whitney tribute as opposed to Paul McCartney‘s Beatles Medley and the ensuing dad rock guitar-off. What do you think? Do you think the Grammy’s did enough in honor of Whitney? Or do you think there could have been more, for instance a closing ensemble cast Whitney Medley? Let us know in the poll below!
VH1 spoke with Grammy-nominated singer Kelly Price on the Grammys red carpet last night, and chatted with her in depth about close friend Whitney Houston‘s final performance. Kelly was not only present when Whitney sang one final time on Thursday night, she performed alongside her. (Video is below).
The close friends sang “Jesus Loves Me” for a packed crowd at Price’s pre-Grammy celebration, with A-List onlookers like 2011 VH1 DIVA Ledisi, Anthony Hamilton, El Debarge and Ray-J watching from the audience. Kelly adamantly defended Whitney’s behavior that night, telling us “she came out to celebrate a friend…in doing nothing wrong, she’s being vilified.”
Hear more of Kelly’s passionate defense of Whitney, above. And be sure to tune into VH1 at 8 p.m. ET/PT tonight for our brand VH1 News Special, Whitney Houston: Death of a Diva (also repeating at 9:30 p.m. as well), which will feature interviews with celebrities on the 2012 Grammys Red Carpet last night, as well as previously unseen 2010 interview footage with Whitney Houston herself.
When Whitney Houstonpassed away yesterday, we lost a once-in-a-generation talent, a singer whose voice was so pure and emotive that it was heralded by people of of all ages, races and nationalities. During a remarkable stretch from December of 1985 until March of 1988, Whitney scored a record seven consecutive #1 Billboard singles in a row; she ultimately finished her career with 11 #1 songs, good for 7th place on the all-time list of history’s most popular recording artists.
As we all struggle to cope with the sudden loss of Whitney Houston, we put together the following Spotify playlist as a way to remember Whitney at her finest — Dance With Me Baby: All Of Whitney Houston’s Top 40 hits. The playlist consists of 31 tracks, and is organized in order of chart success. It ranges from “I Will Always Love You”, which spent an astounding 14 weeks at #1 in 1992-1993, to “Queen Of The Night”, a deep cut from The Bodyguard that peaked at #36 on the Billboard charts.
The playlist’s tracklist is as follows:
Song: “I Will Always Love You” Released: November 14, 1992 Peak Position: #1 for 14 weeks
Song: “Greatest Love Of All” Released: April 5, 1986 Peak Position: #1 for 3 weeks
Song: “How Will I Know” Released: December 28, 1985 Peak Position: #1 for 2 weeks
“How Will I Know” wasn’t the first single to be released from Whitney Houston‘s self-titled, 1985 debut album; in fact, it wasn’t the second, either (those honors belong to “You Give Good Love” and “Saving All My Love For You”, respectively). However, when the music video for “How Will I Know” hit MTV in November 1985, it helped Whitney “cross over” and ultimately launched her into the stratosphere of superstardom.
Tonight, as the world struggles to come to terms with Whitney Houston’s untimely death at the age of 48, audio of her isolated vocal track from “How Will I Know” has surfaced online. It’s a powerful reminder of her once-in-a-generation vocal talents, and a mesmerizing performance of the song that VH1 named as the #12 song in our countdown of the 100 Greatest Songs Of The ’80s.