, Newburyport, MA


February 18, 2012

Music by Whitney, Adele part of the sound track of our lives

On summer evenings in the early 1980s, as I worked late in my Boston office, I'd open the window to listen to "Concerts on the Common" across Tremont Street.

One evening, the act opening for some well-known group could be heard better than usual, because the singer's voice was so powerful. I and others in connected office buildings were hanging out the windows, calling to each other, "Who is that?!"

Though one needed a ticket to see the performers inside the temporary fencing, I walked across the street to see the makeshift marquee and, for the first time, the name Whitney Houston.

Later, in 1985, I heard that voice on the TV that my boyfriend usually had tuned to a music video channel. I was delighted to find "my discovery" singing "Saving All My Love For You" to an enchanted cameraman, and thought to myself, "There is the next great female star" — which, of course, she became.

A few years later I was staying overnight in a central Massachusetts hotel prior to an early-morning speaking engagement. "The Bodyguard" was available on pay television. I indulged in the movie and room service, and enjoyed crying through, "I Will Always Love You" as Houston and Kevin Costner went their separate ways. I bought the CD, and along with many others I'm sure, played it this week at the news of Houston's death.

How sad it was to watch her self-destruct through the years, and then, totally, from drugs and alcohol. Yet what is immortality but the rich memories of something extraordinary? I remember the above events in the category, "Music of My Life."

Since this is my birthday week, I'm indulging in a column about other special musical events, focusing on those that were experienced on some site, not while watching a movie or television.

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