As regular readers know, I'm not a big music guy, and I'm also not one to make a big deal out of celebrity deaths. Listening to someone's album or watching their movie gives me no special insight into their life, it doesn't make us friends and I don't pretend to know anything special about them.
Having said all that, the first thing I thought of tonight when I learned of Whitney Houston's death was that she gave one of the greatest national anthem performances of all time, a YouTube video that I've watched dozens of times over the years.
It was 1991, just weeks into the first Gulf War and the setting was perfect: A Super Bowl, a great orchestra there for accompaniment and her big, beautiful voice, with a flyover right at the end.
The pace was perfect, and she didn't drag it out and make it about herself, as so many anthem performers do. And by NOT making it about herself, she absolutely owned the song. It chokes me up every time I hear it, and I hope you enjoy it. R.I.P., Whitney.