Kenny G in concert

One of the highest selling artists of all time, Kenny G has single-handedly made the saxophone a hit amongst music lovers. Perhaps it is the raspy mid-tones of the saxophone that lend it an air of intimacy, or maybe it’s Read more

Splashy Fen is the ultimate Easter concert

It’s been going since 1990, and Easter 2015 will be the 26th year for the Splashy Fen music festival. I have yet to learn why the music event is called Splashy Fen, though I do believe that the farm it Read more

Oppikoppi, a whole series of concerts rolled into one

The small town of Northam in Limpopo Province comes to life every August. Technically it’s spring if you calculate that you are halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox and you don’t factor in seasonal lag, but Read more

Richard Clayderman in concert

No doubt the mysterious Frenchman’s greatest gift to the world musically has been “Ballad for Adeline.” Composed by Paul de Senneville and Olivier Toussaint in 1976, the co-writers could never have imagined how big the song would become, because disco Read more

Albert Hammond in concert

This is not a name that rolls off the tongue like Madonna or Michael Jackson or Elvis, but Albert Hammond has had an amazing music career anyway. A native of the UK, he has done a considerable body of work Read more

Mamma Mia! heads back to Jozi in 2015

The smash hit musical based on the music of those 4 Swedes (well, actually 3 Swedes and a half-Norwegian) returns to the Teatro at Montecasino in Johannesburg, for a limited season run from Tuesday 24 March 2015 to Sunday Read more

Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse is NOT too cool for school!

On 1 October the Lyric Theatre at Gold Reef City hosted Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse in concert. It’s been 30 years since his hit “Burnout” tore up the charts, and, according to the write-up for his show, 50 years since Read more

Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston

Ah, this is one of music’s truly tragic stories. Related to gospel singer Cissy Houston (her mother) and Dion Warwick, who had a slew of hits in the 60s, Whitney Houston was privileged enough to grow up in a very musical family, and that no doubt influenced her career. I wonder sometimes if she was formally trained, but when you hang out in churches and grow up singing, the voice finds its own way, and stumbles upon the right technique in a manner of speaking.

The fairytale goes that she was discovered by Clive Davis, the record mogul who put his people to work in creating a bunch of radio-friendly crowd pleaser hits that would then be sung by a great vocalist, who had a great bod and a pretty face. I often say it didn’t take much acting ability to play the spoilt diva in The Bodyguard, which of course spawned the über hit I Will Always Love You, penned by Dolly Parton and produced by David Foster (with so many album sales, the soundtrack is still one of the best-selling of all time, and has helped make Dolly a very rich woman).

Her song Didn’t We Almost Have It All is most appropriate, as in Whitney’s case, she did. But then she went and lost it. Her relationship with Bobby Brown was rocky and drug-filled, and she took a beautiful voice and amazing career and went and tossed it. I remember her interview on Oprah – how the mighty had fallen. But she was humble, more real, more open, more of a human. Of course by then the voice was gone. She still had a minor hit, but she was a shadow of her former self.

And of course, sadly, she never managed to truly kick the drug habit that had haunted her for so many years. She died at age 48, and joins other fallen stars Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson in a weird musical tradition (in some cases) – you have to die in order to truly live, and become immortal.

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