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Here's a video of Whitney's first recorded performance of her first lead at the New Hope Baptist Church at age 15. Her talent needed no favors. You could have put her up against the best and she would have stood out, even at 15.
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I too place her "Star Spangled Banner" at the Super Bowl on my very short list of great renditions, possibly the best. We have all heard that song thousands of times but she made it sound like we were discovering it for the first time. Rather than stylistically mangling it like so many others do, Whitney just sang it better. THAT is talent.
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It really is a shame that her life has to be added to the long list of cautionary tales. It shouldn't have ended this way but she was relentless in making very bad choices. Her problems were self-inflicted. It's not like she came from a humble and troubled childhood. She came from music royalty. Her talent opened to her an opportunity to do good in the world but she chose to live a self-indulgent life. A real shame. We can and should remember and appreciate her talent but what was behind the voice was a life largely wasted.
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Feb 12, 2012