Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Grammy's and ...the passing of an icon

Sunday night's performances on the Grammy's remind us of how music is our emotional soundtrack. It can make us happy, dance with joy, celebratory, reflective, sorrowful and even sad. Then at times leave us scratching our heads wondering, what was that we just listened to or saw -- as was the case with Nikki Minaj's exorcism faux pas.

Imagine our lives without music. Rites of passage are so connected with a drum beat, dance step, strum of a string or blare of a horn.  What would a high school or college graduation ceremony be without Sir Edward Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance? Or a wedding without the brides favorite songs? Silent.

There has been much debate surrounding the passing of Whitney Houston. Who's to blame? Her enablers? Family, friends, husband? the music industry itself? We all have choices and we all make mistakes.  Whitney had a choice to lead her life, marry whomever and thankfully a choice to sing.

And sing she did. Her songs give us one of the things we so love about music - Reflection. Reflection to the period of our youth, innocence and earlier times. Thus the reason for compilations. The Best of the 80's, Various artist's of the 80's. Top Videos from the 80's, Big Hair Bands of the 80's.  Go back to the stone age and visit a used record store or spend present day on iTunes and you'll find these collections in abundance.

Why? Because we love remembering the times we've experienced and are reminded of those through a song, melody or tune. Whitney's catalog of music is part of the soundtrack of the 80's, the MTV generation.

Whitney's death was a stunner. Step away from all the tabloidal news, photos, this or that, and listen just to her music. Think of where you were when you first heard "I wanna dance with somebody" or "The greatest love of all", think of who you were with, happy moments, sad times, loves made and loves lost.

Whitney's performances weren't about  Nikki Minaj/ Lady Gaga big-type productions, but about one thing - her voice. The Voice.

Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters speaks to that in his Grammy acceptance speech, " me this award means alot because it shows the human element is what is important about music... Singing into a's not about what goes into a computer.."  Houston won six Grammys, twenty-two American Music Awards, thirty Billboard Music Awards and countless others.

She reminds us of life's fragile nature, the choices it allows us and our musical memories.

Houston blazed a trail for many artists that we've seen and heard over the past couple of decades. But very few if any just sing, sing like she did, that is until...


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