Bill Flanagan: Let Whitney Houston rest in peace

Whitney Houston
Singer Whitney Houston during a benefit concert for Camp Joy, at Boston Garden, May 10, 1986.
AP Photo/Elise Amendola

Singer Whitney Houston died yesterday at the age of 48. She leaves a significant musical legacy. An appreciation, now from our Bill Flanagan of MTV:

Whitney Houston died yesterday. She was scheduled to appear at Clive Davis's annual pre-Grammy party last night.

When I heard that I thought, well, she must have been putting on her public face and summoning the strength to go out there again and live up to all the expectations.

She'd been doing that pretty much her whole life.

Whitney was still a teenager when the buzz in New York music circles became, "Have you heard Cissy Houston's daughter? She's an incredible singer - she's the most beautiful woman you ever saw! She's going to be huge!".

And this was BEFORE she ever made a record.

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From the time Whitney was a kid, she was the object of enormous expectations. And you know what? She lived up to them all.

Her voice contained gospel, soul, rock and pop. It was a young voice, an old voice - it was timeless.

Like Elvis, like Sinatra, she could elevate a mediocre song by her taste, her virtuosity, and by the conviction she brought to each performance.

And when she got her chops around a GOOD song? The heavens opened.

Whitney Houston was a public figure her whole adult life. She battled her demons in the public eye. Today, everyone will praise her. Tonight at the Grammys, she will be paid tribute. In the next few days she will be eulogized. That's as it should be, she deserves it.

But wouldn't it be great if all of us could then leave it at that? Let's ignore the gossip press and scandal media that will try to exploit her memory now that she can't defend herself.

Whitney Houston touched millions of us, but she does not belong to us. She was someone's daughter. She was someone's mother. Her memory, like her love, belongs to them.

The rest of us will always have her music.

When the eulogies have ended, let's let Whitney Houston rest in peace.