In honor of Whitney Houston, who died Saturday at the very young age of 48, members of the HuffPost Lifestyle staff have started compiling our memories of the incredibly talented singer and actress. Here are some of our thoughts -- we hope you'll add your own memories in the comments.
From Lisa Belkin, HuffPost Senior Columnist on Life/Work/Family:
"If my life had an anthem, it would be "One Moment In Time," which Whitney sang at the opening of the Olympic games in 1988. I know that now, because I just looked it up. But the first time I heard it I was newly wed, in a new job, living in a new place and all I knew was that this song captured the simultaneous dread and exhilaration that comes with everything new. Whitney's best known songs are love songs, but this one is an exclamation point about life, work,creativity and craft. You have to work for it, you have to earn it, she says, but when you do, you deserve it:
I want one moment in time
When I'm more than I thought I could be
When all of my dreams are a heartbeat away
And the answers are all up to me
What I've always loved most is the declaration that the best part, the best moment, is the "just before" -- the anticipation and the crescendo. It's subtly sexual in its imagery, and the metaphor is apt. But today it holds new meaning, because clearly Whitney couldn't find this kind of happiness in the "ever after", in a life after the moment had passed.
And oh, that voice."
From Lori Fradkin, HuffPost Senior Lifestyle Editor:
"Until last night, I was certain that the boy Whitney Houston knew and sang about in her hit "How Will I Know" took her to the carnival. The lyrics to Whitney's song actually state that the boy she dreamed of and was too shy to phone took her "to the clouds above." But until last night, when I heard of the singer's death and looked up the words (and watched the amazing, candy-colored music video), I had a different picture of her experience.
I suppose when you’re a kindergartner making up a dance with your best friend, the idea of a girl wandering around the fairgrounds with a boy, perhaps stopping for cotton candy or a ride on the Ferris wheel, is far more appealing. My friend Kelli and I chose this song for our talent show, playing it in our school auditorium using the Fisher-Price Pocket Rocker — that late-80s toy that also introduced us to Madonna, Belinda Carlisle and Tiffany. Whitney would go through some serious struggles in the years that followed, but when I hear her name, it is this memory – one of my own innocence and what I perceived to be hers – that immediately comes to mind."
From Margaret Wheeler Johnson, Women's Editor:
"When I heard that Whitney Houston had died Saturday at the age of 48, I was just leaving dinner with a friend in New York City. The streets of lower Manhattan suddenly filled with expressions of disbelief as the news got passed along. I heard more than one (tipsy?) sidewalk rendition of "I Will Always Love You."
Here was the amazing thing: There wasn't a trace of irony in all of their eulogies and ululations. And if you've lived in New York, you know that you don't go out on a Saturday night without your irony.
This was also amazing for me personally because, I am now emboldenedto confess: I like that song -- at least the way Houston sang it. Even as a child, I think I understood New Orleans' Magic 101.9 Continuous Soft Rock station, which my mother always had on in the car, to be the radio equivalent of Lifetime: Television for Women. But when Whitney Houston's rendition of "I Will Always Love You" hit the airwaves, no matter what you thought of the lyrics, the performance was mesmerizing. I'd never heard anything like that voice. I remember sitting in the bucket seat of the minivan, looking up from the homework I was doing in my lap, and thinking, "Who is this and how does she do that?" Whether she meant to or not, Houston managed to sing the song so that it delivered authentically some of the emotion that the Hallmark-y lyrics (sorry, Dolly) couldn't. Ever since, I've felt a little mad when people mock it and compare it to some of Celine Dion's more regrettable ballads. Why dis Whitney to prove what a critical thinker you are? Why not just enjoy it? And last night, people did."
What's your best memory of Whitney Houston and/or her songs and performances? We'd love to hear them in the comments below