- Last Updated: 9:49 AM, February 13, 2012
- Posted: 2:57 AM, February 13, 2012
There were other songs on Whitney Houston’s debut album in 1985 than “How Will I Know.” But it was that simple track, about true love, that made you fall head over heels for this woman.
In the signature video of the song that MTV seemed to play nonstop, Houston was presented as a breezy, innocent, all-American girl, incredibly beautiful in a silver minidress.
“How Will I Know” painted her as a celebration of life itself as she danced and wondered if she’d ever find happiness.
But sometimes life doesn’t imitate art. And that’s what makes Houston’s relatively short time in the limelight, where her professional triumphs were often overshadowed by personal difficulties, so sad.
We remember her train-wreck later life. Her rocky, 15-year marriage to Bobby Brown, the bad-boy R&B singer with whom she reportedly did drugs, ended in 2007. By then, Houston looked like a shell of her former self, gaunt and frail.
Worse, in those years, she lost some of the juice that made her vocals so magnificent. The public is often the cruelest of critics, and the singer was actually booed at some performances.
A few years ago, music mogul Clive Davis, who introduced the world to Whitney, called me. He was angry at being called Kelly Clarkson’s Svengali in The Post and wanted me in his office to vent personally.
After I got there, he started what became a 10-minute rant I’ll never forget. And then Whitney Houston saved me, although she never knew it.
At one point during his tirade, Davis looked down at his desk and saw a CD with a simple, handwritten, label — “WH” — on it. Suddenly, Davis said, “You gotta hear this. Whitney just recorded these songs for her new album.”
Whitney sounded great, Davis forgot he was pissed off — and I got to fall in love with Whitney one more time.