The night I was in the company of Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown
2/13/2012 8:24:00 AM
As a radio station intern in 1985, I was a gopher at the station's concert at Boston Garden in May or June of that year. Two of the big acts that night were Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown.
Whitney was the hottest act in America at the time, a squeaky clean 21 year old singer with Gospel roots, who was now getting into the R and B world of music. She was was the daughter of gospel singer Sissy Houston, the cousin of Dionne Warwick and the Goddaughter of the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin.
Bobby Brown was a 16-year-old from Roxbury and he and local group of Bostonians were just starting to hit the charts with "Candy Girl" and "Cool it now". Shortly after the show, Brown went solo and was replaced with Johnny Gill.
I remember vividly being back stage at Boston Garden when Whitney was whisked in with a posse of body guards and brought right by other stars like David Lee Roth, Gloria Estefan and Applonia and into the dressing room. She was beautiful, innocent and rather reserved. She passed within a few feet of me and although I didn't meet her, it was a privilege to be in her presence. She had enormous charisma.
Later that night, I was bringing water or something to the dressing room and managed to end up in New Edition's dressing room, where Bobby Brown was gathered with the other members of the band: Ralph Tresvant, Ronnie Devoe, Michael Bivens and Ricky Bell. They were giddy teens from Roxbury and were performing in their own backyard. They were excited, upbeat and still pretty innocent. They were unspoiled by the all the attention and thrilled to be a part of it.
Nearly 27 years later, Whitney Houston is dead and Bobby Brown, now divorced from Houston for almost five years, in on on a re-union tour with New Edition. Both were addled with drug addiction over the years. On that night in 1985 at the Boston Garden, they were two young kids, with mega talent, small egos and unlimited potential.