...One Hundred Million Dollar Diva, Whitney Houston...


Aaliyah 1979 - 2001

Dinner With Michael...

Superstar Michael Jackson to Open The Nasdaq Stock Market
on Thursday, August 30th

New York, Aug. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- The Nasdaq Stock Market(R) announced today that superstar Michael Jackson will preside over the Nasdaq Market Open ceremony on Thursday, August 30, 2001 at 9:30 A.M. at its MarketSite building located in Times Square.

Jackson's appearance kicks off his "Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration, The Solo Years" performances at Madison Square Garden on Friday, September 7, 2001 and Monday, September 10, 2001, which are being produced by David Gest.

Nasdaq Vice Chairman Alfred R. Berkeley, III, and Executive Vice President David Weild, will host a dinner in Jackson's honor at Tavern on The Green following the September 7, 2001 concert. They will be joined by their event co-chairmen:
Whitney Houston, Sean Lennon, Yoko Ono Lennon, Liza Minnelli, Leslie Moonves (President & CEO, CBS), Liam Neeson, Veronique and Gregory Peck, and Elizabeth Taylor.

The Nasdaq Stock Market is thrilled to serve as the launch pad for the "Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration, The Solo Years" concerts. "The Nasdaq Stock Market recognizes Michael Jackson for his extraordinary vision and commitment to excellence in the entertainment industry as well as being a humanitarian who is continually seeking creative avenues in which to help others," said David Weild, Executive Vice President of The Nasdaq Stock Market.

Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO of Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) and another co- chairman of the "Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration, The Solo Years" concerts, will preside over the market open ceremony at Nasdaq MarketSite on Friday, September 7, 2001 at 9:30 a.m.

Due to the prime location and broadcast capabilities of Nasdaq MarketSite, this event can be seen by the public and easily captured for broadcast by the media. Details for the Thursday, August 30, market open ceremony are as follows:

* The Nasdaq MarketSite is located at 4 Times Square, at the corner of 43rd and Broadway.

* At 9:30 a.m., Michael Jackson will preside over the market open ceremony from the broadcast studio, which faces the corner of 43rd and Broadway. The broadcast studio has large picture windows to give the public a clear, unobtrusive view into the studio from the street.

* Nine plasma screens outline the broadcast studio, facing the street, for fans not positioned close to the windows.

* The MarketSite Tower, which is seven stories tall and is the largest stationary video wall in the world, will feature a live broadcast of the market open ceremony.

* The entire market open ceremony will be available live on Waterfront loop 1418 from 9:25 a.m. to 9:45 a.m.

* A camera is positioned at the Northwest corner of 43rd & Broadway will tape the crowd standing outside Nasdaq MarketSite. Video will be available live on Waterfront loop 1623.

About The Nasdaq Stock Market
The Nasdaq Stock Market lists over 4, 300 companies and trades more shares per day than any other U.S. market. For more information about Nasdaq, visit the Nasdaq Website at http://www.nasdaq.com or the Nasdaq Newsroom at http://www.nasdaqnews.com .



This Day In History...

August 25

1997 - The new Arthur Ashe Stadium is dedicated with an on-court ceremony that features Ashe's widow Jeanne Moutassamy Ashe, singer Whitney Houston and 38 former champions.   Whitney performed 'One Moment In Time.'


Guest Performances...

Music Stars Big on Guest Cameos


.c The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) - Pairing different music stars for a hit song is a tradition: Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder, The Supremes and the Temptations, Willie Nelson and Julio Iglesias.

But what used to be a special occasion has become an everyday occurrence. Now it's not uncommon to find four, five or even 10 guest artists on one album.

``When you listen to the radio, it seems like everyone is making what we call 'posse cuts,''' said Emil Wilbekin, editor-in-chief at Vibe magazine. ``And on posse cuts, it's not just about one artist, it's about several artists.''

In a competitive industry where even established artists have trouble keeping fans' attention, musical cameos have become almost expected as acts try to win new fans from each other and across genres.

``If you're doing an album and people think that
Whitney's on the album, they are going to go get it because Whitney's on the album,'' said Wyclef Jean, whose last album, ``The Ecleftic,'' had contributions from Whitney Houston, Mary J. Blige, Kenny Rogers and even professional wrestler The Rock.

But Jean, a member of the hip-hop group the Fugees and a producer and songwriter, said sales are not the major reason he taps star power for his records.

``The reason I do it is because all my CDs I try and make like mini-movies,'' he said. ``I like to get a cast, so I try to look for a cast that would fit the topic.''

The ``casts'' on some discs have more star power than a summer blockbuster. For instance, on Missy ``Misdemeanor'' Elliott's new CD, she enlists the help of at least 11 other performers, from Eve to the ubiquitous Jay-Z.

Mariah Carey's upcoming disc ``Glitter'' features numerous guests - even her current hit, ``Loverboy,'' a sample of an old Cameo tune, features Ludacris, Da Brat, Cameo's own Larry Blackmon and others.

``What people are finding is that you get more bang for your buck when you not only have one successful artist, but three successful artists working on one track,'' said Wilbekin.

The trend is especially popular in rap and R&B - so much so that the Grammy Awards recently added a category for it: best rap/sung collaboration, which will be handed out for the first time next year.

``I think collaborations are important because you get the two worlds to mix up - hip-hop and R&B, and R&B and rock 'n' roll,'' said Mary J. Blige. ``Everybody gets a chance to see everybody's audience.''

Two of this summer's most popular tunes featured collaborations between rappers and singers: the ``Lady Marmalade'' remake, with singers Christina Aguilera, Mya, Pink and rapper Lil' Kim; and ``Let Me Blow Ya Mind,'' with rapper Eve and Gwen Stefani of No Doubt.

Rapper Ja Rule's last few hits have all been collaborations: ``Put It On Me'' featured rapper Vita and singer Lil' Mo; ``I Cry'' also featured Lil' Mo; and his remix of Jennifer Lopez's hit ``I'm Real'' is now the second-most popular song in the country.

Rapper Foxy Brown could be a candidate for the new Grammy category: among the collaborations on her latest disc, ``Broken Silence,'' is a song with R&B veteran Ronald Isley of the Isley Brothers.

``It just brings a different aura to the music, because I'm hip-hop,'' said Brown. ``He's a legend, and he's great, and it just brought a different feel to the hard-core hip-hop.''

The Isley Brothers went the same route on their latest disc, ``Eternal.'' Their first single, a collaboration with R. Kelly and Chante Moore, is a top-five hit on the R&B charts and has propelled their album to a No. 3 debut on next week's Billboard Hot 200 albums. Other guests on it include Grammy nominee Jill Scott.

Sometimes, guest collaborations are used to boost the profile of older artists among younger buyers. Carlos Santana's ``Supernatural'' album tapped hot younger acts such as Matchbox Twenty's Rob Thomas to appeal to a generation unaware of the baby-boomer guitarist. The album went on to sell millions of copies and win eight Grammys.

Yet collaborations don't always pay off. Run-DMC used everyone from Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst to Kid Rock on the comeback disc ``Crown Royal,'' released earlier this year, but it flopped.

``There's only so many times you can go to that well,'' said Geoff Mayfield, director of charts at Billboard magazine. ``Just because it worked for someone else doesn't mean that it will work (for you).''


Bond 20...

Producers unshaken by Web site's Bond film "scoop"

By Michael Holden

LONDON (Reuters) - It sounded like a dastardly plot from a James Bond movie -- an unknown spy infiltrates Hollywood, steals a blockbuster script and reveals all on the Internet.

But just like a typical Bond villain, a Web site which claimed it had the details of the next film about British secret agent 007, has failed in its mission, the producers said Wednesday. They dismissed the supposed plot outline as pure fantasy.

The Bond fans' Web site, www.bond20.com, dedicated to providing information about the 20th film in the series, said it had seen the script for next year's movie that it said would be titled "Final Assignment."

It said 007 would confront the killer of his father, Andrew Bond -- who was also a British spy -- in an action-packed adventure filmed on location in Australia, France, Tokyo and New York. The final fight to the death would take place on the crown on New York's Statue of Liberty.

To whet fans' appetite further, Sean Connery, the original cinema Bond of the 1960s, would appear in flashbacks as 007's father while British actor Nigel Havers would play the film's baddie, David Saten, the Web site said.

But the Bond film production company said the plot was the product of a fan's overactive imagination and had left them neither shaken nor stirred.

"It's fabricated. We have spoken to the producers about it and I'm afraid it's a fan who's done a James Bond script -- it's not ours," a spokeswoman for Eon Productions told Reuters.

"The film hasn't got a name yet. It's only in the very beginning of pre-production." She said casting should start in the next couple of weeks and they hoped to start shooting in January next year.

New Zealand-born Lee Tamayo was on board as director and had started working on the film, she added.

The Web site's claims are the latest speculation about the film. Newspaper reports earlier in the year tipped singer Whitney Houston to appear as the next "Bond girl."

One actor is certain to feature -- Pierce Brosnan will star as James Bond for the fourth, and last, time.



Charity Auction...

Warner Bros. Pictures to Auction Exclusive Items From Rock N' Roll Comedy ``Rock Star'' On eBay; Net Proceeds to Benefit VH1's Save the Music Foundation

BURBANK, Calif.--(ENTERTAINMENT WIRE)--Aug. 21, 2001--In the spirit of the upcoming rock n' roll comedy "Rock Star," Warner Bros. Pictures, Bel-Air Entertainment, Warner Music Group and VH1 will auction rock n' roll memorabilia and other items on the popular Internet auction site eBay to benefit VH1's Save the Music foundation.

The Save The Music initiative is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of education in America's public schools by restoring and supporting music programs in cities across the country, and by raising public awareness about the importance of music participation for America's youth.

Beginning Friday, August 24th, fans will be able to bid on many exciting and valuable items from "Rock Star," including a left-handed Fender American Standard Stratocaster(R) guitar used by Mark Wahlberg (the Fender '62 Custom Strat retails at almost $2,000); costumes worn by Wahlberg and Jennifer Aniston; props from the movie, such as tour jackets, t-shirts, framed albums, guitar straps, a Steel Dragon drum skin, and more.

Also up for auction are pairs of tickets to the "VH1 Fashion Awards," "My VH1 Music Awards," "Divas Live 2002" and a taping of the hit concert series "Storytellers"; a tank top signed by Madonna; Eric Singer's KISS drum kit; a Paiste Cymbal signed by all the band members of Sugar Ray; a Sammy Hagar photo signed by photographer Billy Tompkins;
one of Whitney Houston's Platinum Awards; and Motley Crue's Millennium Award.

All items will go to the highest bidder after eighteen days of active bidding, which will end on Monday, September 10th.

The auction is accessible both at eBay (http://members.ebay.com/aboutme/wbauction/) and the "Rock Star" web site (www.rockstarmovie.com).

Opening nationwide on September 7th, "Rock Star" tells the story of wannabe rock star Chris Cole (WAHLBERG), who is plucked from obscurity and catapulted to fame when Steel Dragon, the rock band he worships, chooses him to replace their lead singer after seeing a videotape of Cole fronting his Steel Dragon tribute band.

Warner Bros. Pictures presents, in association with Bel-Air Entertainment, a Maysville Pictures/Robert Lawrence Production of a Stephen Herek Film. Starring Mark Wahlberg and Jennifer Aniston, "Rock Star" is directed by Stephen Herek, written by John Stockwell. The film is produced by Robert Lawrence and Toby Jaffe and also stars Jason Flemyng, Timothy Olyphant, Timothy Spall and Dominic West. Rock Star is executive produced by Steven Reuther, George Clooney and Mike Ockrent, and co-produced by Michael Fottrell. Musicians who play featured roles in the film include Jason Bonham, Blas Elias, Stephan Jenkins, Jeff Pilson, Brian Vander Ark, Zakk Wylde and Nick Catanese. The director of photography is Ueli Steiger, production designer is Mayne Berke, the editor is Trudy Ship, and the composer is Trevor Rabin. The "Rock Star" soundtrack album will be released by Priority Records.

"Rock Star" will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, an AOL Time Warner Company.

This film has been rated "R" by the Motion Picture Association of America, for language, sexuality and some drug content.

Fender Musical Instruments Corporation has a long history of dedication to the arts and the support of music education. Fender made a $1 million donation to VH1's Save the Music foundation in 2000. For more information about Fender's current program with eBay and Warner Bros. Pictures, please visit www.fender.com.


She's A Bitch...

Excerpt from an interview with Missy Elliott in a German Newspaper:

Why do you often say bitch? Do you want to offend other women with it?
Missy Elliott: No. Not at all. This has no negative meaning for me. This means for me that she is aggressive, assertive, she knows what she wants. This person doesn't make a fool of herself. But I don't expect that each woman understands this.

Whom would you call so?

Missy Elliott: Whitney Houston. Sometimes anyway. She is so strong. She doesn't do anything she doesn't want to.

You can also hear this in the number-one-hit, "Lady Marmalade“ that you produced with Christina Aguilera and others.
Missy Elliott: Christina is one of the most talented vocalists. Somewhere between Whitney and Mariah Carey. A small, tender, white girl with an incredibly strong voice.

You earn a lot of money. What do you do with it?

Missy Elliott: I'm addicted to jewels. I love them. And I love cars, I have seven of them. Actually I wanted to buy the Mercedes jeep of Whitney Houston but instead I have rather bought a Lamborghini. I have also three Mercedes, a Lexus, a jeep and a Ferrari.

[Thanks Andre]

Chart Information...

The Chart Archives have been updated with new Swiss Chart statistics and the complete chart history of Whitney's albums and singles in Germany added.

[Special Thanks to Sabine & Gogi]


Whitney To Perform At Both Michael Jackson Tribute Shows...

Whitney Houston Added to Second Night (Monday, September 10, 2001) At Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration, The Solo Years

NEW YORK, Aug. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- ``Whitney Houston will join the illustrious line-up of stars performing at the all-star salute to the 'King Of Pop,' MICHAEL JACKSON: 30TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION, THE SOLO YEARS,'' announced producer David Gest (pronounced guest). Houston has confirmed performances for both Friday, September 7, 2001 and Monday, September 10, 2001 at the all-star tribute in honor of Michael Jackson at Madison Square Garden. According to Gest, ``Whitney is one of my closest friends and I am delighted she will share this special occasion with Michael, who happens to be her favorite artist. They will perform a duet together.'' According to Michael Jackson, ``I feel Whitney is one of the greatest voices in the world. She could sing the yellow pages and I would buy it. I absolutely adore her and am her greatest fan.''

The event will mark Jackson's first live performances on a mainland stage in eleven years and the first reunion with his brothers, the Jackson 5 (Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Michael and Marlon) and the Jacksons (Jackie, Marlon, Tito, Michael and Randy) in twenty years. The two evenings will be filmed as a two-hour primetime special for the CBS Television Network to air during the 2001-2002 Season. In addition to Michael Jackson, the Jackson 5 and the Jacksons the line-ups are as follows:

Friday, September 7, 2001 (alphabetically): Marc Anthony; Bobby Brown; Ray Charles; Deborah Cox; Destiny's Child; Gloria Estefan; Billy Gilman; James Ingram; Quincy Jones & The Legends Of Jazz including Al Jarreau, Herbie Mann, Les McCann, David ``Fathead'' Newman, Jimmy Smith, Clark Terry & Cassandra Wilson; Liza Minnelli; Monica; Mya; 'N Sync; Jill Scott; Shaggy featuring Ricardo ``Rikrok'' Ducent & Rayvon; Britney Spears; Tamia; 3T; Usher and many surprise guests.

Monday, September 10, 2001 (alphabetically): Marc Anthony; Bobby Brown; Deborah Cox; Missy ``Misdemeanor'' Elliott; Nelly Furtado; Gloria Gaynor; Al Jarreau; Gladys Knight; Lil' Romeo; Ricky Martin; Liza Minnelli; Monica; Mya; 98 degrees; Jill Scott; Usher; Luther Vandross; Dionne Warwick and many surprise guests.

Chairmen for the event are: Alfred R. Berkeley lll (Vice Chairman, Nasdaq), Jeff Bezos (Founder & CEO, Amazon.Com), Whitney Houston, Sean Lennon, Yoko Ono Lennon, Liza Minnelli, Leslie Moonves (President & CEO, CBS), Liam Neeson, Veronique and Gregory Peck, Elizabeth Taylor and David Weild (Executive Vice President, Nasdaq).

Tickets for both the Friday, September 7, 2001 and Monday, September 10, 2001 performances are sold out.

For further information contact: Susan Blond, Inc. at (212) 333-7728.

SOURCE: David Gest


Interviews Update...

The Interviews section of Classic Whitney has been further enhanced tonight.  Featured as interviews with Cissy Houston, Deborah Martin Chase as well as many Whitney Houston interviews spanning her career.

Highlights include Time, Rolling Stone, Good Housekeeping with more to come soon.

[Special Thanks Dannie C.]

Princess Diaries...

Following on from the phenomenal success of The Princess Diaries, The Hollywood Reporter states that the script for a sequel the movie is already being worked on with Anne Hathaway likewise optioned by Disney to reappear.

It is too early to say whether or not Whitney Houston's BrownHouse will also produce the second instalment.




A range of new interviews and articles about Whitney Houston have been added to the Interviews Section of Classic Whitney.  Check it out.

There will be more to come in the next few days.

[Special Thanks Dannie C.]

New VH1...

Abstract of VH1 press release citing new VH1 programming which will feature a series documenting the evolution of R&B, Soul & Hip-Hop.  Whitney Houston will feature in the series:


* "Say It Loud!: A Celebration of Black Music in America" -- Produced by Quincy Jones Media Group, Rhino Entertainment and Highway Films, this documentary series recounts the evolution of urban music's most powerful and trend-setting genres through firsthand accounts of those who experienced and created the history. Covering jazz, blues, gospel, and hip hop through to modern R&B and Soul, the documentary chronicles the contributions of African American musicians like Aretha Franklin, Duke Ellington, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, Isaac Hayes, Tina Turner, Prince, Tupac Shakur, Miles Davis, Billie Holiday, Robert Johnson,
Whitney Houston, Sam Cooke, Dr. Dre, Al Green, and many others. Debuts Sunday - Thursday, October 7 - 11, at 10:00 p.m. each night; special "Say It Loud" theme week programming, Sunday, October 7 - Saturday, October 13.

You can read the entire press release here.

Whitney Ballad...

[From MTV News]

Michael Jackson will perform past hits with new-school pop stars Britney Spears and 'NSYNC at his upcoming 30th-anniversary gala.

Jackson and pop princess Spears will duet on "The Way You Make Me Feel," Jackson's #1 single from 1987's Bad, at the first of two shows dubbed "Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration, The Solo Years," the event's publicist said Monday (August 13). The new information sheds light on a pair of concerts whose content has remained obscure to date.

The Jackson 5, performing together for the first time in 11 years (see "Jermaine Jackson To Reunite With His Brothers Onstage After All"), and 'NSYNC will team up for "Dancing Machine" during the same September 7 show at Madison Square Garden.

Jackson's September 10 "Celebration" will include other superstar performances. Latin singer Ricky Martin will perform "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough," Jackson's first post-Jackson 5 solo track to reach #1 (in 1979), Martin's spokesperson said.

On September 10, Missy Elliott and Nelly Furtado are expected to perform their remix of Elliott's "Get Ur Freak On" (see "Missy Elliott, Nelly Furtado Get Freaky").

Another Latin heartthrob, Marc Anthony, will tackle Jackson's 1980 ballad "She's Out of My Life" during the first show, Anthony's spokesperson said. Although he has been announced for September 10 as well, his spokesperson said Anthony is still negotiating the later appearance. If he performs both nights, he may sing his upcoming Rob Thomas-penned single, "Tragedy."

Lil' Kim, Deborah Cox, Mya and Tamia will collaborate on "Heal the World" during at least one of the shows, according to a source close to the production. Organizers have advertised Cox and Mya as performing both nights.

Although Jackson friend and seasoned entertainer Liza Minelli's September 7 selection remains unannounced, she will sing the 1995 Jackson single "You Are Not Alone" with a 300-member gospel choir on September 10.

Whitney Houston will sing a ballad, and teen country star Billy Gilman will cover 1972's "Ben" (Jackson's first #1 solo single) on the celebration's first night, according to the event's publicist.

Several other artists — including Shaggy, Jill Scott, Monica and Luther Vandross — have yet to decide what they will perform, according to their respective publicists.

Diana Ross, who was at one time announced as a performer, is off the schedule, according to the celebration's organizers.

Jackson and his brothers convened in Los Angeles on Friday to rehearse for the shows.

—Corey Moss, with additional reporting by Jennifer Vineyard



New Album, New Greatest Hits...

[From Sunday Star Ledger]

Arista's L.A.-Houston connection

No one questions Whitney Houston's ability as a singer, but her records have always been a bit impersonal. Antonio "L.A." Reid, president and CEO of Arista Records -- which signed her to a new $100 million, seven-album deal last week -- wants that to change.

"I want her to make a record that reflects where she is in her life, as opposed to just singing songs that people write for her," he says. "I want it to be a record that's very true and personal for her."

"She's at that point where people want to feel like they're getting a piece of Whitney, as opposed to just a recording. My goal is to make sure Whitney is motivated to give of herself, and make sure [her next album] reflects not only her taste, but also her personality and where she is in her life.

Reid, whose first major success in the industry came through his songwriting and production partnership with Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, took over Arista's reins in July of 2000. His appointment followed the highly publicized ousting of the label's founder, Clive Davis, who subsequently started his own label, J Records.

Houston has been with Arista throughout her career, and has sold 140 million units (albums, singles and videos combined) for the label. Still, she sees Davis as a mentor, and there was some speculation she might leave with him. But she decided to stay.

Reid shares some history with Houston, too, having worked as a songwriter and producer on her 1990 album "I'm Your Baby Tonight" and the 1992 soundtrack to "The Bodyguard." He still has a vivid memory of their first session together, recording the "I'm Your Baby Tonight" title track.

"She came into the studio, she listened to the track a couple of times, she got behind the mic and nailed it within 10 minutes. Perfect pitched, and exciting -- the whole nine. I had never seen a vocalist that talented in my life."

While he says he doesn't know when her next album will come out (recording sessions haven't even begun), Reid calls her "absolutely the priority artist at this company. Not because we made a new deal with her -- not because of anything other than she's Whitney Houston."

Though Houston released a two-CD greatest hits collection in April of 2000, Reid doesn't feel it did her justice, and wants to put out another one at some point.  "There were a lot of remixes on it. They were good remixes: there was nothing wrong with that. But my goal would be to create a record that...people have grown up to Whitney Houston and made babies to Whitney Houston. Whitney Houston is a staple in their lives, and I want a record that reflects that journey."

-Jay Lustig

[Thanks Franz]


In their 'Winners & Losers' section, Time Magazine cites Whitney as a Winner (even if their one line comment is a bit suspect):

Whitney Houston
Diva floats to top of the charts with $100 million contract. Now all she needs is a couple of hits.

Fashionably Late...

[From Chicago Tribune]

Event: Nordstrom's fall Designer Preview gala at the Chicago Hilton and Towers.
To benefit: The Chicago Historical Society.
Mini-me: A small Nordstrom, with changing rooms, was set up for 550 guests to shop after the fashion show.
Man the mannequins: 36 models changing into 104 outfits.
Absentee dress: A Christian Lacroix black cocktail number was too late to the party, held up at a Whitney Houston photo shoot.

[Thanks Margaret G./Lisa D.]

US Sales Update...

'Whitney: The Greatest Hits' scanned 3,432 units for the 18 August 2001 chart week, up 23.4% from the prior week (2,780).

Meanwhile, It's Not Right But It's Okay scanned 364 units, slipping 168 -195 on the top 200 sales listing. The single has scanned 13,496 to date this year.

[Thanks Jim R.]



Collecting Songs...

[From Billboard]

Houston, We Have Lift-off

Following the signing of a new [over] $100 million contract with Arista Records, Whitney Houston is "collecting songs" for her next project, which will be out in 2002, according to Arista Records president/CEO Antonio "L.A." Reid. "We're looking at producers," he says. "My conversations with her have focused on making an album that her fans will feel is a very personal album. I'm not saying [the songs] should reflect the state of her personal life, but I want something that feels personal." He expects her to be in the studio by year's end. Reid and Houston will co-executive produce the project.

The deal, Reid says, does not extend the number of albums Houston owes the label. (She had at least five remaining on her current contract.) "The idea is to motivate her and encourage her, and -- I find this very important -- if she is the biggest-selling artist on Arista Records, and if she is the queen of Arista, I think her deal should reflect that. This was an acknowledgement of her greatness. This wasn't an exchange for more songs or albums."

[Thanks Lisa D.]


For The Record...

Reports about Whitney Houston's new contract stating the number of albums that she has committed to record for Arista are guess work on the media's part. Neither Whitney Houston nor Arista Records have made any statement that confirms album numbers.

The contract is confirmed as being worth in excess of $100 million.

Michael Houston...

[From New York Post]



Whitney Houston's brother Michael - his speech slurred, his eyes dilated, his teeth grinding - was busted in New Jersey with a small stash of drugs in his car after he was pulled over for cutting off another vehicle, police said.  Houston, 39, had 14 partially smoked joints, one small bag of cocaine and two bags of marijuana in a duffel bag in his rental 2002 Dodge Stratus when he was pulled over Wednesday night by two Fort Lee detectives, said Sgt. Tom Ottina.

Later, at the station house, Houston voluntarily handed over a third bag of marijuana that he took out of his shoe, the sergeant said.

Houston, of South Plainfield, was pulled over in front of 2165 Route 4 as he left a Holiday Inn parking lot, Ottina said.  He was stopped because "it was a merge and he failed to yield to traffic," said Fort Lee Detective Leonard Cottrell.

Houston was charged with criminal possession of cocaine, criminal possession of marijuana and with being under the influence of a controlled, dangerous substance, police said.   He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment yesterday, said his lawyer David Bauman.


Michael Houston Released on Bail

FORT LEE, N.J. (AP) - Whitney Houston's brother has been released on bail after being arrested on charges of carrying cocaine and marijuana.

Two detectives saw Michael Houston's car nearly collide with another car as he pulled out of a Holiday Inn parking lot around 9:45 p.m. Wednesday, police said.

The 39-year-old from South Plainfield, N.J., was stopped along Route 4, and police said his eyes appeared glassy and bloodshot and he was grinding his teeth. Police arrested him and reported finding in his car 14 partially smoked marijuana cigarettes, a bag of what appeared to be marijuana and a bag of cocaine.

He was charged with marijuana possession, cocaine possession, possession of drug paraphernalia and being under the influence of drugs.

Police said Houston, a music writer for his sister's company, Nippy Inc., was cooperative. He was arraigned Thursday and bail was set at $3,500. He was released to his attorney.

A 17-year-old girl from Manhattan traveling with Houston was released to her parents' custody. She was not charged.

[Thanks Sabine]



Happy Birthday Whitney!

You can leave Birthday Wishes for Whitney On The Platinum Club Website.

Bobby Brown...

WHITNEY'S 911 CALL - Associated Press


Bad-boy singer Bobby Brown was rushed to a New Jersey hospital yesterday with pop diva wife Whitney Houston at his side in the ambulance after she made a frantic predawn call to 911.   "He's fine," Houston's spokeswoman Nancy Seltzer said, explaining the "mind-boggling" heat and humidity got to Brown, who had put in long hours in a recording studio on the grounds of the couple's Mendham estate.

Mendham Township cops said they got the 911 call about 3 a.m. that a man was having a seizure and needed help.

When cops and the ambulance arrived at the house, Houston met them and took them inside, cops said.

"Whitney did what any wife would do and took her husband to the hospital," Seltzer said, noting that he was not admitted and spent only about 90 minutes at Morristown Memorial Hospital's emergency room.  He was literally working nonstop for three to four days recording his new album. He was getting in the groove" and wasn't prepared for the brutal heat, she said.

"He hadn't been getting enough fluid and basically he was lightheaded," the spokeswoman said.

While in the ER, Brown refused to provide blood and urine samples, sources said.    "He was feeling better by the time he got there and he didn't feel it was necessary," Seltzer said when asked for comment on his refusal.

She said Brown is "going to get some rest and go back to recording."

A hospital spokesman refused to provide any details, citing patient confidentiality.

The sour note came just days after the Grammy-winning Houston nailed a new multi-album long-term recording contract with Arista records for more than $100 million.

And it came over a year after Brown cooled his heels in a Florida jail for 26 days last May for violating probation on a 1996 drunken-driving charge by failing to take a drug test.

The episode dates to his August 1996 arrest after the singer smashed his wife's Porsche Carrera into a signpost in Hollywood, Fla. His blood-alcohol level was nearly three times the legal limit, tests showed.

He was granted probation and ordered to take regular drug tests.  Authorities said Brown tested positive for cocaine in April 1999 and later refused to take any more tests or check in with his New Jersey probation officer.

He was arrested in May, 2000 at Newark Airport - returning from a Bahamas vacation with Houston - and immediately flown to Fort Lauderdale to face the music.

On Jan. 11, 2000, Houston was busted with a half-ounce of pot in her purse at a Hawaiian airport, cops said.  In November, Hawaii prosecutors dismissed a pot-possession charge in return for her promise to complete a probation-like program.   US Weekly reported last year that Houston's family begged her to go into rehab, but she refused.

It was last year that Houston backed out of performing at the Oscars because of what her publicist called "a sore throat."

[Thanks Arunesh]

Bobby Brown Collapses...

[Allstar Report]

Bobby Brown Collapses At Home While Working On New Album

R&B singer Bobby Brown -– better known these days as Mr. Whitney Houston -– collapsed after having a seizure while working in his studio at his suburban New Jersey home early Wednesday (Aug. 8), according to the singer's spokesperson, Nancy Seltzer.

Houston called 911 around 3 a.m. after Brown collapsed, and accompanied the singer to Morristown, N.J., Memorial Hospital where he was treated and released. Brown refused to submit to blood or urine samples during the 90-minute visit. A spokesperson for the hospital would not reveal the exact condition for which Brown was treated, citing patient confidentiality.

"He was literally working nonstop for three to four days recording his new album," said Seltzer in a statement on Thursday. "He was getting in the groove. He hadn't been getting enough fluid, and, basically, he was lightheaded." Seltzer added that the "mind-boggling" heat and humidity was the culprit. Brown is currently back at home resting.

The former New Edition star has not released an album since 1997's Forever.


MTV: Bobby Brown..

[From MTV News]

Bobby Brown was rushed to a hospital early Wednesday after suffering a seizure that his publicist said was caused by heat exhaustion.

Brown's wife, Whitney Houston, called 911 at about 3 a.m. Wednesday, saying that Brown was having a seizure and needed help, according to police in the couple's hometown of Mendham, New Jersey. She accompanied him in the ambulance to an emergency room in nearby Morristown.

A representative for Brown and Houston's publicist said he had been recording "nonstop" for days and hadn't been getting enough fluid. He was released after 90 minutes.

In response to reports that Brown — who spent time in a Florida jail for violating probation on a 1996 drunk-driving arrest by failing to take a drug test — refused to provide blood and urine samples, the spokesperson said Brown was feeling fine when he got to the hospital and he didn't think the samples were necessary.

The spokesperson said Brown will get some rest and return to recording his album soon.

—Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen



Opening Weekend...

The Princess Diaries opening weekend in the US grossed $22.8m, coming below the summer blockbusters Rush Hour 2 and Planet of The Apes.


Kool & The Gang return with `Gangland


LOS ANGELES - R&B veterans Kool & the Gang will on Aug. 22 release their 23rd album, ``Kool & the Gang Presents Gangland.'' The KFTA album will be the first since the group's long-time lead singer JT Taylor departed for the second time in 1999. To compensate for the loss, Gang leader Kool (real name: Robert Bell) says the act has turned back the clock to the early '70s, specifically the De Lite album ``Wild and Peaceful,'' which spawned such hits as ``Jungle Boogie'' and ``Hollywood Swinging.''

``Since Taylor left, we've gone back to more of a '70s edge,'' says Kool. ``The funky stuff days. Then, of course, we're introducing a bunch of new artists to keep it fresh, so we're not just doing the same old thing.'' Guesting on the album will be Kool's son Da Prince Hakim with his Too Hot All-Stars. Hakim raps on the set's first single, ``Bigg Thangs.'' Kool says other guests on the album include Funkin', a group comprised of the sons and younger brothers of the original Parliament/Funkadelic members, and SX4, a female R&B quartet.

Kool & the Gang are also working on an album entitled ``Odyssey,'' which will be released next year. Kool says the set will feature contemporary artists reworking old Kool & the Gang tunes.

``So far we have Jamiroquai, who have rerecorded `Hollywood Swinging.' Bryan Adams is working on a rock version of `Celebration,' a new millennium rock version. Other people we've talked to [are] Sting, Carlos Santana, Outkast,
Whitney Houston, and most recently R. Kelly.''

Actor/director Bill Duke (''Hoodlum'') has also begun preliminary work on film which will track Kool & the Gang's New Jersey beginnings. The band will embark on a fall tour of hotels and casinos next week. For the latest updates, check the band's official Web site.


$100 Million...

[Wire Services Report]


Arista Records is taking a big gamble on Whitney Houston.

Despite the pop diva's history of erratic behavior, and despite Arista having lost millions last year amid a widespread slump in the music industry, the label has cut a $100 million deal with its long-time star.

"Whitney Houston is the premier vocalist of our time," gushed Arista chief Antonio (L.A.) Reid. "She is the queen of Arista Records."

Fans can expect to see a new album from Houston in the next six months, Reid said. Under the new contract, she is obliged to deliver seven albums to Arista.

Asked whether he was concerned about Houston's personal problems - some of them drug-related - Reid said: "We all have good times and bad. I looked at Whitney Houston and saw a woman dedicated to her career."

Reid, who took over Arista a year ago from Clive Davis, has made it a priority to keep Houston from following Davis - the man who discovered her in 1983 and helped catapult her to superstardom - to his new company at J Records.

[Thank Dave W.]

The Princess Dollars...

Early indications are that the Whitney Houston produced movie, The Princess Diaries, will have an opening weekend of approximately $23 million.  Confirmed figures should be available tomorrow.

The movie opens globally on the following dates (according to the IMDB).

USA 3 August 2001
UK 10 August 2001
Israel 16 August 2001
Australia 13 September 2001
Hungary 13 September 2001
Spain 28 September 2001
Argentina 11 October 2001
Netherlands 11 October 2001
Belgium 17 October 2001
France 24 October 2001
Bulgaria 30 November 2001
Germany 20 December 2001




The Greatest Contract Of All...

[From PR Newswire]

Grammy-Award Winning Superstar Whitney Houston Signs Biggest Recording Deal In Arista's History!!!

NEW YORK, Aug. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Mega-platinum artist Whitney Houston has signed a new exclusive long-term recording agreement with Arista Records, it was announced today by Antonio "L.A." Reid, President and CEO, Arista Records. The recording agreement, valued in excess of $100 million, provides for a multi-album commitment from Ms. Houston, who has sold more than 140 million combined albums, singles and videos around the world since her career began at Arista in 1983.

"I couldn't be more thrilled that Whitney has decided to continue her career here at Arista Records. No one in the world can sing like Whitney, which is why she is regarded as the cornerstone of not only Arista but the entire music business," said Mr. Reid. "I've had the pleasure of working with Whitney as a producer and songwriter for more than ten years and I regard her as a close, personal friend. I look forward to a warm and productive relationship with Whitney at Arista for many, many years to come."

"I am so excited with this new deal and I'm looking forward to going into the studio soon to start work on my next album," said Ms. Houston. "Arista Records has been my home since the beginning of my career. I am happy to be continuing the relationship and I look forward to working with L.A. Reid and the new Arista family."

With last year's release of the double-CD/cassette Greatest Hits, Whitney Houston extended her track record to become the only artist with eight consecutive multi-platinum albums. A 6-time Grammy winner, she was the first female artist to enter the Billboard 200 album chart at #1 (her second album, Whitney, 1987) and the only artist to chart 7 consecutive #1 Billboard Hot 100 hits. Her dozens of industry awards, including 21 American Music Awards (the most for any female), 15 Billboard Music Awards, 11 NAACP Image Awards and more, are complemented by her tireless philanthropic activities as head of the Whitney Houston Foundation For Children Inc., the non-profit organization she established in 1989.


The Greatest Contract Of All: 2...

[From Associated Press]

Whitney Houston Inks $100M Deal

AP Music Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Arista Records is saving all its love — and money — for Whitney Houston.

The Grammy-winning superstar has signed a multi-album record deal with Arista that the label said was in excess of $100 million. The deal would appear to top Mariah Carey's recent signing to Virgin Records, which was said to be worth about $20 million per album.

``I am so excited with this new deal and I'm looking forward to going into the studio soon to start work on my next album,'' Houston said in a statement Thursday. ``Arista Records has been my home since the beginning of my career. I am happy to be continuing the relationship and I look forward to working with (Arista president) L.A. Reid and the new Arista family.''

Houston is Arista's best-selling artist, having sold more than 140 million records worldwide and charting numerous No. 1 hits, including ``The Greatest Love of All,'' ``I Will Always Love You'' and ``Saving All My Love For You.''

She was signed to the label by Arista's founder and former leader, Clive Davis, who left Arista last year and started J Records.

Since her debut in 1985, Houston has delivered nothing but platinum records for Arista. She has also branched out into acting, starring in the hit ``The Bodyguard'' and other movies such as ``Waiting to Exhale.''

But her last album of original material, ``My Love Is Your Love,'' was not as successful as her previous discs, although it sold more than 1 million copies.

The singer's reputation was also tarnished last year after erratic behavior sparked rumors that she might be abusing drugs, a charge she denied. However, last September, prosecutors in Hawaii said they found marijuana in her purse.

A petty misdemeanor drug charge was dismissed against Houston earlier this year after a drug counselor filed an assessment with prosecutors stating that Houston did not require treatment for substance abuse.

Besides acting and singing, Houston has expanded into producing movies. Besides the successful Disney special ``Cinderella,'' starring pop singer Brandy, Houston is the executive director of the new film ``The Princess Diaries.''

[Thanks Tony P.]

The Greatest Contract Of All: 3...

Whitney Houston signs $100 million deal! 
'Arista queen' Houston re-ups in $100 mil deal
By Chris Marlowe

LOS ANGELES (The Hollywood Reporter) --- Whitney Houston has signed a new exclusive long-term recording agreement with Arista Records, label president and CEO Antonio "L.A." Reid said Thursday.

The deal is valued at more than $100 million, with $25 million of it paid upfront. Exact details are difficult to ascertain because the deal Houston had with Arista before Thursday's signing still has her committed to at least six albums of new material plus two compilation albums.

"It's a combination of things," Reid said of the deal. "First off, Whitney Houston is the queen of Arista Records. She really has earned this deal. But this wasn't an exchange of money for guaranteed anything."

Asked why he would sign a new contract while the last one was still valid, Reid said, "Because she deserved it. I want her to feel very inspired, very committed and very happy to remain in her home."

Despite Houston's long relationship with Arista, there had been some question as to whether she would stay with the label or join her mentor Clive Davis at his new label, J Records. Reid took control of Arista from Davis in a very public and prolonged power struggle slightly in May 2000. Davis, then 67, had been ousted after Arista's parent company, Bertelsmann AG (news - web sites), opted to enforce its mandate to retire top executives by age 60 amid strong disagreements over the corporate heir to the label Davis had run for 25 years.

Reid strongly denied that there had ever been any doubt about Houston staying with the label.

"There has never, ever been a question of her leaving Arista," he said. "The day it was announced that I would even potentially be coming in, Whitney Houston was the first Arista artist to reach out to me and be supportive. Even when the gossipmongers were saying the label was doomed, there was never any discussions of her leaving. Not between myself and her, or her lawyers, or her representatives or her husband or anyone."

The deal is the largest that Arista has entered into, but Reid said there is no doubt in his mind that Houston is worth it. "We're happy," he said. "We're very, very happy. It's a wonderful feeling."

Reid added that the deal also was better for Houston in many respects other than the purely financial, but he declined to elaborate. He also declined to compare Houston's deal with those signed by such other female stars as Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson.

"It's competitive with the best deals out there for recording artists of her caliber," was all Reid would say on the subject. "And for us, it's a renewed commitment from an artist that is the voice of her time."

Houston has been a hugely successful artist since shortly after she initially joined Arista in 1983. Her second album, "Whitney," made her the first female artist to enter the Billboard 200 album chart at No. 1 when it was released in 1987.

Her most recent album, "Whitney: The Greatest Hits," was released just as Davis was being removed from Arista. The 36-track retrospective also included three newly recorded duet singles that paired Houston with Enrique Iglesias on "Could I Have This Kiss Forever" and with Deborah Cox and George Michael on two less successful tracks.

Including the best-of package, Houston is the only artist able to claim eight consecutive multiplatinum albums. She also has won six Grammy Awards, 21 American Music Awards, 15 Billboard Music Awards, 11 NAACP Image Awards and numerous other recognitions of her work.

Besides her music renown, 1992's "The Bodyguard" brought Houston to movie-star status. It also featured a soundtrack that sold 37 million units, making it the biggest-selling motion picture soundtrack album of all time and which included the massively successful single "I Will Always Love You."

Houston's film career has continued with 1995's "Waiting to Exhale" and 1996's "The Preacher's Wife."

Other hit singles include "Saving All My Love for You," "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)" and "It's Not Right But It's Okay."

Reid said he and Houston were beginning work on her new album immediately but had no time frame for its completion. "We're having creative discussions about the direction of the record now," he said. "We're going to work on the record for as long as it takes to make it wonderful, so I'm not going to schedule it and put that kind of pressure on Whitney."

The Greatest Contract Of All: 4...

Whitney trills $100 mil from Arista
By Justin Oppelaar

NEW YORK (Variety) - Inking what appears to be the biggest recording deal in the history of the music biz, superstar diva Whitney Houston has reupped with Arista Records in a contract worth $100 million.

Under the terms of the pact, Houston will deliver at least six albums and two greatest-hits compilations for Arista, which has been home to the R&B chanteuse since the start of her career. She is expected to head into the studio within weeks to begin work on her first LP under the new deal, to be executive produced by Arista president Antonio ``L.A.'' Reid.

The contract eclipses the reported $80 million-plus offer used by EMI imprint Virgin Records to woo Mariah Carey from Sony Music in April. Carey, whose first release under the deal is the soundtrack to her upcoming film ``Glitter,'' suffered a physical and emotional breakdown earlier this week, and is being treated in a New York-area hospital.

The Houston deal represents a mammoth bet on the future for Arista parent BMG Entertainment, which is facing a $150 million loss for the year and planning to lay off hundreds of employees worldwide.

News of the Houston re-signing also quashes speculation that the singer was mulling a defection to J Records, the year-old startup founded by her mentor, Arista founder Clive Davis.

Reid said Houston was committed to staying with the label all along.

``We didn't have to fight for it,'' he told Daily Variety. ``Whitney was a big supporter of the company from the get-go -- there was never any conversation about her leaving.''

Davis was ousted from the top spot at Arista and replaced by Reid in May 2000 amid a disagreement with executives at BMG over succession at the label.

At the time, speculation ran high that many top Arista acts, including Houston and multiplatinum-selling guitarist Carlos Santana, might bolt the label out of loyalty to the former chief. To date, Arista has managed to hang on to most of its major acts.

Houston is one of the biggest-selling solo artists of all time, shifting more than 140 million albums, singles and videos in her 18-year career at Arista. Her most recent release, a double-CD greatest-hits compilation that bowed in April 2000, has sold more than 8 million copies worldwide.

Reuters/Variety REUTERS

The Greatest Contract Of All: 5...

[From Billboard]

Whitney Houston has signed a new, exclusive multi-album deal with Arista, valued at more than $100 million. The deal, which the label says is the biggest in its history, would appear to top Mariah Carey's recent signing to Virgin Records, which was said to be worth about $20 million per album.

"I am so excited with this new deal and I'm looking forward to going into the studio soon to start work on my next album," Houston said in a statement. "Arista Records has been my home since the beginning of my career. I am happy to be continuing the relationship and I look forward to working with [Arista president Antonio] 'L.A.' Reid and the new Arista family."

Houston, who has been with the label since 1983, is Arista's best-selling artist, having sold more than 140 million records worldwide. Through her career, she has charted such Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 hits as "The Greatest Love of All," "I Will Always Love You" and "Saving All My Love For You."

She was signed to the label by Arista's founder and former leader, Clive Davis, who left Arista last year and started J Records.

Houston has also branched out into acting, starring in the hit "The Bodyguard" and other movies such as "Waiting to Exhale." Along with acting and singing, Houston has expanded into producing movies. Besides the successful Disney special "Cinderella," starring pop singer Brandy, Houston is the executive director of the new film "The Princess Diaries."

As previously reported, Houston is among the dozens of artists scheduled to take part in a two-night tribute to Michael Jackson in September.

The entertainer's reputation was tarnished last year after erratic behavior sparked rumors that she might be abusing drugs, a charge she denied. However, last September, prosecutors in Hawaii said they found marijuana in her purse. A petty misdemeanor drug charge was dismissed against Houston earlier this year after a drug counselor filed an assessment with prosecutors stating that Houston did not require treatment for substance abuse.

The Greatest Contract Of All: 6...

[From BBC Online]

Singer Whitney Houston has become one of the highest-paid musicians in the world after agreeing to stay with record company Arista. She will be paid more than $100m (70m) in a new long-term, multi-album deal.

That puts her in the same league as Mariah Carey, who was said to have signed the biggest record deal ever earlier this year, getting a reported $80m (56m) for four albums.

Arista's outlay comes after Houston had drugs charges dropped in March, and despite parent company BMG Entertainment's expected financial losses.

Houston, who turns 38 next week, has sold more than 140 million records worldwide and has won seven Grammy awards*. Her hits include I Will Always Love You, Saving All My Love For You and I Wanna Dance With Somebody.

"I am so excited with this new deal and I'm looking forward to going into the studio soon to start work on my next album," she said in a statement.

"Arista Records has been my home since the beginning of my career.

"I am happy to be continuing the relationship and I look forward to working with [Arista president] LA Reid and the new Arista family."

There had been speculation that she would move to J Records, which was set up a year ago by Houston's mentor and Arista founder Clive Davis.

Mr Reid said: "I've had the pleasure of working with Whitney as a producer and songwriter for more than 10 years and I regard her as a close, personal friend. I look forward to a warm and productive relationship with Whitney at Arista for many, many years to come."

She is now expected to begin recording her first album under the new deal within weeks.

It is likely that a suggested tour with husband Bobby Brown will now be put back until the new album is finished.

Houston's career appeared to have stalled until 1998's My Love Is Your Love album, which featured collaborations with Wyclef Jean and Missy Elliot, and a duet with Mariah Carey.   Five songs from the album went on to reach the top 10 of the UK singles chart**.

But she landed in trouble after marijuana was found in her handbag at a Hawaiian airport in January 2000.

She was ordered to pay fines and could have faced jail in Hawaii, but charges were dropped earlier this year.

Arista have decided to take a risk to keep the singer with the label despite BMG Entertainment's expected losses more than $150m (105m) for the year up to 30 June.

* Whitney has six Grammys
** My Love Is Your Love produced three UK Top Tens

[Thanks Marcus J.]

The Greatest Contract Of All: 7...

[From London Evening Standard]

I Will Always Love You, says Whitney with 35m* contract

Whitney Houston has landed one of the biggest ever record deals - just for renewing her contract with her record label. The singer is to re-sign to Arista with a contract estimated to be worth 35m. Executives at Arista refused to confirm the exact sum, except to call it "very, very significant". Rumours began flying last year that Houston would leave Arista with its founder Clive Davis who has formed J records. But new Arista boss Antonio Reid made it a top priority to hold on to the singer, according to the New York Post

* Current exchange rates place the contract value at over 70m

[Thanks Marcus J.]


Judy Clay...

Soul singer whose career floundered in the face of American racism;

Billy Vera

Friday July 27, 2001

Judy Clay, who has died aged 62, was a hell of a singer. But, apart from two duets with me, Storybook Children (1967) and Country Girl-City Man in 1968, and two records later that year with William Bell, Private Number and My Baby Specialises, she had no chart success.

This must have been no small source of frustration. You can't have a voice as good as hers and not know how good you are; she was, arguably, one of the best in her adopted family, which also included Dionne and Dee Dee Warwick, and Cissy and Whitney Houston, as well as her own sister, Sylvia Shemwell.

As an act, Judy and I - Billy Vera and Judy Clay - were notable for being the United States' first racially integrated duo, a fact which, even in the 1960s, prevented us from being seen on national television. Other than an appearance on Hy Lit's show on WKBS in Philadelphia, and one on Robin Seymour's Swingin' Time in Detroit, our little revolution was never televised.

In New York, the Clay Cole Show taped us but, once they knew our racial makeup, our segment was never aired. To add to the indignity, we went on to see our songs performed on network TV by Sammy Davis Jr and Tina Turner, and by Peter Lawford and Minnie Pearl.

We were never taken up as a cause by the limousine liberals of the day. This may have had something to do with the fact that our audience was mostly everyday blacks and working-class whites.

Our music was just plain old soul, so the hippie culture found nothing in us to connect with. We didn't wear leather fringe vests and bell-bottom jeans. Judy went on in floor-length gowns and my outfits were mohair continental suits. We played the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, not the Fillmore East. And that was just fine with the un-chic bridge-and-tunnel crowd and the Harlemites, who gave us standing ovations, even as bloody riots were taking place across the Hudson river in Newark, New Jersey.

Our first Apollo appearance was during those riots, and stage manager Honi Coles, fearing that we might not be well received, put us second on the bill, the spot usually reserved for the weakest acts. After the first house, he came to our dressing room and said, "I'm moving you to right before the star's spot; ain't nobody gonna follow you two."

Given today's unfortunate state of race relations in the US, it is hard to imagine what an act like ours meant to an older generation of black Americans, to whom integration and assimilation were goals. I recall coming off stage one night after we had stopped the show - and been forced to do an encore of Storybook Children - and seeing Judy's "aunt", Cissy Houston, crying tears of joy and hope in the wings, with her four-year-old daughter Whitney in her arms.

Judy was born Judy Guions in St Paul, North Carolina, and soon moved to Fayetteville, where she was raised by her grandmother. She started singing in church as a small child. Moving to Brookyn in the early 1950s, she continued her church singing, indeed her choir featured on Sunday night radio.

By her early teens, she had been adopted by Lee Drinkard, of the famous gospel group, the Drinkard Singers. Lee was Cissy Houston's sister and Dionne Warwick's mother - and Judy was soon involved in the group with them, as well as with Dionne's sister Delia, Dee Dee Warwick.

The Drinkard Singers released three albums in the 1950s which featured Judy - the Newport Spiritual Stars record in 1954, a live album from the Newport jazz festival and a 1958 studio LP. Judy's voice could raise the roof and stir the soul; if you ever run across a copy of that 1958 RCA Victor album, grab it and see what I'm talking about.

In 1961, Judy recorded More Than You Know/ I'd Thought I'd Gotten Over You as a solo artist. More singles followed, on Ember, Lavette, Scepter and Stax. Then, on Atlantic in 1968, came our Story Book Children/ Really Together.

Many years after Judy and I had performed at the Apollo, the legendary manager of that theatre, Ralph Cooper, pulled me from a crowd, took me in his arms and told a roomful of people how important he felt our act was. It had been seen at the time in Harlem as a giant step forward.

After she had made two singles with William Bell, and a couple more solo singles, Judy and I cut one more duet, Reaching For The Moon, recorded for Atlantic at the Muscle Shoals studio. One solo single she recorded there, Greatest Love, made the r&b charts. Subsequently, she worked as a back-up singer, underwent brain surgery at the end of the 1970s, and released Stayin' Alive, recorded live in Newark.

In later years, Judy and I would speak by phone once or twice a year. She was back in North Carolina, singing occassionally with Cissy Houston's baptist choir in Newark, and very proud that the baby she was carrying when we first met had grown up to become a West Point graduate. And no one was prouder than she when I finally managed to get a big hit of my own, At This Moment, some 20 years after our moment.

She used to tell me, "Duets are coming back. We ought to make another record." When I was working as leader of the houseband on a late-night network talk show, I tried, and almost convinced, the powers there to book Judy so we could perform together once more. But, being the whores for ratings TV people tend to be, there was always one more flavour-of-the-week act which took precedence.

With Judy's passing, we have lost a great singer who never got her due. She is survived by two sons, Todd and Leo, a brother, Raymond, and her sister, Sylvia Shemwell, of the Sweet Inspirations.

• Judy Clay (Judith Grace Gatewood) singer, born September 12 1938; died July 19 2001.


Billboard Update...

The Billboard update for the week ending 11 August July 2001:

Adult Contemporary Recurrent Singles: Re-Entry at No.25.

[Thanks Lisa D.]



Billboard Sales Information...

It's not often this information is made available: the latest week's Billboard sales scan numbers for Whitney Houston (chart week ending 11 August 2001):

Top 200 Singles Sales
No.168 (from No.161) - It's Not Right But It's Okay - 416 units
No.192 (from No.My Love Is Your Love - 387 units

Year-to-Date Top 200 Singles Sales

No.196- It's Not Right But It's Okay - 13,132 units

The Greatest Hits- 2,780 units (previous weeks 2,837 & 2,917).

[Thanks Jim R.]


[Excerpt from the August 6, 2001 issue of Newsweek]

The hits keep coming: just last week [music industry lawyer Allen] Grubman and a star partner, Kenny Meiselas, landed a deal for Whitney Houston with Arista said to be worth tens of millions of dollars, her biggest contract ever.

[Thanks Lisa D.]


Sold Out...

Wednesday August 1 2:07 PM ET
Michael Jackson Concert Is Sold Out

NEW YORK (AP) - Michael Jackson fans beat it to the box office for tickets to his all-star 30th anniversary concerts.

Seats for ``Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration, The Solo Years'' went on sale at 10 a.m. EDT Tuesday. Less than five hours later, they were gone, concert organizers said.

Prices for the shows, scheduled for Sept. 7 and 10 at Madison Square Garden, ranged from $45 to $2,500.

The concerts will be Jackson's first with his brothers - Jackie, Tito, Marlon and Randy - since the ``Victory'' tour in 1984. Jermaine Jackson said last month that he didn't plan to participate.

Among the artists scheduled to perform are Whitney Houston, Gladys Knight, Ray Charles, Britney Spears, Ricky Martin and `N Sync (news - web sites).

More than 200 stars from film, television, music and sports also will honor Jackson, including Marlon Brando, Elizabeth Taylor, William Shatner, Quincy Jones, Kobe Bryant, Willem Dafoe and Macaulay Culkin.

[Thanks Sabine]




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