Just when you think the winter can’t get any colder, it does.
The first of them went on January 20th when the great Etta James lost her battle with leukemia. Then Don Cornelius takes his own life twelve days later. And last night completed the unluckiest of trifecta’s with the news that Whitney Houston was gone now too.
I’d be crazy not to wonder as to the coincidence of time and space in these three talents passing as they have. Three weeks take three voices, and all the complications they could never keep at a safe enough distance.
While I had to play catch up with Etta and Cornelius, Whitney Houston was my generation. I had watched her burst on to the scene singing pop songs with a voice that was so much better than Top 20. She had a command that transcended those lyrics, an ability to take musical notes and turn them into a heavenly consent form.
She had this voice that could sing sunshine onto the dark side of the moon, and if you ever saw her when she was in that place, well, you came away from it feeling as if you still owed the house some more money. And the shame of it all would be if anyone forgot just how incredible a gift she had because of all the stops and starts that came to define her career.
Despite all the comebacks and false starts and breakdowns, you never stopped believing it could happen again. That she could walk out on to a stage somewhere and deliver that same way. You always think it’s going to turn around for someone with talent that big. Right up until they run out of time.
We’ll always have that one true thing to remember her by. Along with the sad realization that the demons won a bunch of days, but the angels won the last.