Whitney Houston “would have needed the music to go on,” said industry mogul Clive Davis, who opted to proceed with his annual Grammy-eve party at the Beverly Hilton, in which hours earlier the pop icon he signed and mentored was pronounced dead at 48.
“She loved music and she loved this evening that celebrates music,” said Davis, adding that Houston’s household requested that the celebration continue.
The mood, nevertheless, at least at the evening’s start off, was far from celebratory. Attendees filing into Davis’ occasion hugged one particular one more, sporting dour or dazed expressions, and numerous have been seen shaking their heads, even as music at the hotel thumped loudly. Davis, who spotted a 19-year-outdated Houston at a showcase in Sweetwaters supper club in Manhattan, has been hosting a pre-Grammy occasion for a lot more than three decades. Houston was to attend the gala.
Complete COVERAGE: Whitney Houston
The artist, who routinely ruled the pop charts all through the ’80s and ’90s, was found unresponsive in her Beverly Hilton space Saturday afternoon, police reported. Fire Division officials were dispatched to the hotel following getting a 911 call about three:43 p.m., stated a statement from Beverly Hills police.
“By now you have all discovered of the unspeakably tragic news of our beloved Whitney’s passing,” Davis explained at evening’s start. “I do not have to mask my emotion in front of a space complete of so numerous dear friends. I am personally devastated by the loss of someone who has meant so a lot to me for so numerous a long time. Whitney was so full of life. She was so hunting forward to tonight even though she wasn’t scheduled to complete.”
He continued, “Whitney was a beautiful particular person and a talent past evaluate. She graced this stage with her regal presence and gave so many memorable performances here above the years. Merely put, Whitney would have wanted the music to go on and her loved ones asked that we carry on.”
Pictures: Whitney Houston | 1963-2012
Among those Houston was expected to rub elbows with were Quincy Jones, Tony Bennett, Akon, Cee Lo Green, Miley Cyrus, Sean “Puffy” Combs, Jennifer Hudson, Jackson Browne, Elvis Costello and Diana Krall.
The evening early on morphed into a tribute to Houston. Ray Davies preceded a medley of some of the Kinks’ signature songs by providing an a capella reading of the group’s benedictory song “Days”: “I bless the light that shines on you, imagine me / However you’re gone, you’re with me each and every single day, think me.” He proceeded to sing a couple of the Kinks’ most elegiac songs: “Waterloo Sunset” and “Celluloid Heroes.”
Combs gave a moving talk about Houston, and crooner Bennett drew some applause, as nicely as some seems of hushed disbelief, when the 85-year-outdated singer urged the audience to help the legalization of drugs. Houston’s 2009 comeback album, “I Search to You,” followed nearly a decade of public ups and downs and struggles with illegal substances.
Recording Academy president Neil Portnow reminisced about seeing an early efficiency of Houston’s. Portnow worked for Davis when the latter signed Houston to Arista Records in the early ’80s. He explained canceling the pre-Grammy ball was “never ever an option.” “We’d have heard Whitney’s voice on our shoulders saying, ‘Guys, this is display business. The display should go on,’ ” he explained.
Photographs: Stars react to Whitney Houston’s death
Before the start of the Davis-hosted celebration, it was announced that Sunday’s Grammy Awards would characteristic a tribute to Houston performed by Jennifer Hudson. “There could be nothing at all far more acceptable than Jennifer Hudson singing Whitney Houston on stage,” Portnow stated of the selection to tap the youthful star to honor Houston.
Earlier, Grammy executive producer Ken Erhlich stated, ”It is too fresh in everyone’s memory to do more at this time, but we would be remiss if we did not understand Whitney’s exceptional contribution to music followers in basic, and in particular her close ties with the Grammy telecast and her Grammy wins and nominations more than the a long time.”
Pop & Hiss will have a lot more on Davis’ pre-Grammy gala and the reactions to Houston’s passing.