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Whitney and Aretha

Whitney Houston, as you know is my Person of the Month.  It’s really ironic that Whitney Houston was very close to Aretha Franklin, her mother Cissy Houston sang backup for Aretha and the Queen of Soul knew Whitney when she was still in pigtails. 

When we chose Whitney to be our Person of the Month we had no idea that such a close family friend like Aretha would be transitioning a week after Whitney’s birthday.

They both were legends and in my heart I know that they are singing together in Heaven’s choir.  

It Isn’t, It Wasn’t, It Ain’t Never Gonna Be” is a duet recorded between Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston, and appeared on Franklin’s 1989 album Through the Storm.

The original album version was produced by Narada Michael Walden and the “re-mix” version was produced by Teddy Riley. It was released as a single in June of that year and peaked at #41 on the Billboard Hot 100. However, it reached the Top 10 of the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. It also peaked at number 29 on the UK Singles Chart.

Whitney’s Mum and Aretha were good friends, in fact The Houstons were all close to Aretha.

“Aretha was my dear friend who I will deeply miss,” Cissy Houston tells PEOPLE in a statement about the Queen of Soul, who died of pancreatic cancer at age 76 on Thursday 16th August.

“I have known Aretha for over 50 years, both professionally as her back up singer and then as a friend,” Cissy adds. “We have shared heartbreak, loss, as well as exaltation and great laughter and most importantly our mutual love of God.”

Continuing, she writes, “Although my heart is broken, my soul rejoices that I was able to watch God move through Aretha’s life. God bless you Re, I will always love you.”

Aretha paid tribute to Whitney after her passing telling Rolling Stone all about it… 

Narada Michael Walden, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, mid-1980s
Candid; Franklin; aretha; Houston; whitney; Music guy 1; Recording studio; Walden
Courtesy Everett Collection

I met Whitney when her mother, Cissy, who was singing with me, brought her to one of my recording sessions. She was around nine or 10, with little red pigtails and her hair parted in the middle. I think Cissy had instructed her to be very quiet, because she didn’t say too much after that. She was just very quiet and very attentive, a pretty little girl.

By the time she was a young lady, Luther Vandross and I were talking about her. She knew how to be glamorous and graceful. She had class. She knew where she was going. It was clear her and her mother both had a similar quality to their voices – the genetics were just unbelievable. Just like her mom, she was one of the great sopranos.

FYI Aretha’s Home Going Service is Friday 31st August with confirmed performances and tributes from Stevie Wonder, Jennifer Hudson and Faith Hill.  So pleased that my colleague David Nathan will be attending, and will hopefully let us know just how much of a celebration it was, because a life and voice like Aretha’s NEEDS to be celebrated. 

Did you know how much Aretha influenced Whitney? Let’s talk about all things fabulous diva on Facebook  Twitter and Instagram.

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