I never met her. But I used to drive the freeways of LA with her voice booming over my cheap car stereo, trying my best to keep up with her. Back in the late 1980’s – early 90’s, when I was working for the licensed merchandise giant Winterland Productions, we made T-shirts, posters and programs for her tours. At the time, Winterland was doing most of the major acts: Eric Clapton, Elton John, Michael and Janet Jackson, Madonna, U2, Cher, Springsteen, etc… out of all these, I hate to say, Houston always had terrible sales. This was always a mystery, because lots of people obviously loved her. She was notoriously uneven and nervous in live performance, and I can only speculate that people were glad to see her, but didn’t find it a performance worth commemorating with a $25 T-shirt.
When she nailed a performance though, she really knocked it out of the park. Her recorded performances were always spot on and mixed to perfection. I’ve seen many posts that include a link to her amazing rendition of The Star Spangled Banner at the Super Bowl in 1991 (such as this post on The Mary Sue, which also includes a lot of good biographical detail). The one time I saw her live was at the 1994 Grammy Awards at Radio City in NY.