Whitney Houston was the very first cassette that I remember having. That terra cotta background and her slicked back hair... I'm pretty sure she was 19 on the cover of that album and she looked like a goddess to me. And, she was on Silver Spoons (one of my very favorite shows) as Alfonso's uncle's date. Off that album, "Greatest Love of All." I don't know if anyone else remembers, but I quite clearly remember being a fourth grader performing this song in Carolyn Montrose's backyard with the Winogrond girls, and mi prima favorita.
"Do You Want to Dance" inspired me to want to grow my hair out so I could look just like her in the video...well, have hair like her. I was crushed, crushed when Julie Forcina told me it was a wig. And there isn't a girl out there, I don't care what you say, who when you hear that song come on you don't pump the volume up and belt it out as loud as you can. It is just that kind of song.
Julie, without whom I would have no childhood memories, and I would sit on her front steps, rearranging "Where Do Broken Hearts Go." I think we thought we were better than Whitney...we weren't, but man did we go at that song for hours.
For a solid decade, Clairie and I would head to the Pancake House for a Christmas Eve morning breakfast singing Whitney's version of "Do You Hear What I Hear" In her Jetta, we would sing along with soul hangs and "Chakas" adding them in wherever we saw fit.
"Queen of the Night" and "I'm Every Woman" were songs of choice for car rides from Durham, NH to Boston for my college roommate, Kate, and myself. Not to mention breakout song in our dorm rooms. I actually forgot about this until I started to think about Whitney's catalog and how it is part of my growing up.
Everyone is paying tribute to her with "I Will Always Love You" because that video (do they even make videos anymore?) was the most simple yet dramatic Whitney. When she opened her eyes and started singing again...it is an image that we can't forget. And we will always love her, because for those little girls who grew up with her, she was vocal brilliance and sang the soundtrack to our girlhood.