Village People’s “YMCA” Honored By Library Of Congress

(image via Facebook)

The world’s largest library, the Library of Congress, has inducted the Village People’s disco-tastic gay anthem “Y.M.C.A” to its National Recording Registry.

To be eligible for the consideration for the registry, tracks and albums must be least 10 years old and be viewed as “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.”

Written in 1978 by the band’s lead singer Victor Willis, the bop describes life at the Y as a kind of gay cultural center. It’s since gone on to be a mainstay at weddings and other social events.

In a statement from the Library of Congress, Willis shares that he “had no idea when we wrote ‘Y.M.C.A.’ that it would become one of the most iconic songs in the world, and a fixture at almost every wedding, birthday party, bar mitzvah and sporting event.”

Also honored with inclusion in the registry this week is Whitney Houston’s pitch-perfect cover of the Dolly Parton hit, “I Will Always Love You,” from the 1992 movie, The Bodyguard.

Whitney Houston To Be Inducted Into Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame

Whitney Houston (screen capture via YouTube/I’m Every Woman)

Legendary singer and LGBTQ favorite Whitney Houston and rapper The Notorious B.I.G. were announced this morning as posthumous inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

This was the first time the two artists, who died in 2012 and 1997 respectively, had been on the nominating ballot.

Also part of the Rock Hall’s class of 2020 are: experimental/alternative rockers Nine Inch Nails, 1970’s soft rock artists the Doobie Brothers, synth-pop group Depeche Mode and English glam/rock band T. Rex.

The six inductees were chosen by an international group of over 1,000 recording artists, industry professionals, and historians.

An artist doesn’t become eligible for induction until 25 years after the release of their first single, album or EP, which means that this year’s class had to have released their first eligible music in 1994 or earlier.

Diversity has been a consistent criticism for the hall over the years. In her acceptance speech last year, Janet Jackson underscored the dearth of female inductees saying, “2020 – please induct more women.”

This year’s list of 16 artists under consideration included only 3 women. In addition to Houston, Pat Benatar made the shortlist for the first time but failed to get the nod, and Rufus featuring Chaka Khan was left out for the fourth time.

This is the first year that the winner of the Fan Vote, introduced in 2013, did not get chosen for induction.

The Dave Matthews Band led the Fan Vote with over a million votes cast online since October. Pat Benatar came in second with almost 900,000 votes.

But neither scored induction honors this year.

USA Today reports that music journalist-turned-producer Jon Landau, who worked with Bruce Springsteen, will be honored with the Ahmet Ertegun Award given to influential producers, songwriters and music executives.

Music manager Irving Azoff will also receive the same honor.

For the first time, the induction ceremony will be televised live on HBO. Tickets to the May 2 event in Cleveland go on sale February 27 at ticketmaster.com.

Twitter Celebrates Whitney Houston’s Birthday

Twitter is remembering the great Whitney Houston today on what would have been her 56th birthday.

The Voice. Not ‘a great voice.’ THE Voice. Gone too soon.

Instead of her music videos, I love that folks are posting clips from her live performances.

Whitney Houston Returns To Billboard Charts With ‘Higher Love’

Whitney Houston and DJ Kygo land on the Billboard Hot 100

Pop icon Whitney Houston, who passed away in 2012, lands on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart this week with the newly-remixed version of “Higher Love” by Norwegian producer/DJ Kygo.

“Higher Love” is Houston’s first appearance on the chart since her 2009 single, “Million Dollar Bill,” from her final album, I Look to You.

The track was previously only available as a bonus cut on the Japan release of Houston’s 1990 album, I’m Your Baby Tonight.

I wrote about the track when it dropped recently, and it’s been on my playlist ever since.

I think it’s a spectacular collaboration bringing one of the greatest voices pop music has ever known back to still-adoring fans.

Here’s Houston singing “Higher Love” during her Feels So Right tour in Japan 1990.

DJ Kygo Delivers New Whitney Houston “Higher Love” From Rare 1990 Recording

DJ/producer Kyrre Gørvell-Dahll (aka Kygo) releases the new single “Higher Love” with the legendary Whitney Houston.

“Higher Love” is the first new Whitney Houston music released in a decade, since 2009’s “I Look To You.”

Previously, Houston’s take on the 1986 Steve Winwood hit was available as a ‘Japan-only’ bonus track on her 1990 album, I’m Your Baby Tonight.

Music industry legend Clive Davis told Rolling Stone the decision to omit the track on the U.S. release was an effort in avoiding her being viewed as a cover artist at that time.

And so, the track has been a prized rarity among hardcore Houston fans over the years.

The Whitney Houston estate presented Kygo with the archival recording of Whitney’s version, and Kygo raced into the studio, thrilled for the opportunity to make music with one of the greatest female vocalists of all time.

“I was honored when the Whitney Houston estate reached out and presented me with the opportunity to work with one of the greatest female vocalists of all time,” said Kygo in a statement. “I reworked the song from scratch and am really happy with how it turned out!”

Recorded when Houston was in peak vocal form, the first notes from the diva feel like an old friend walking in the room. That voice – rich, robust, with just the perfect edge – is full of unbridled joy.

The production – thoroughly modern with threads of gospel choir woven in with undeniable deep beats – is fresh and exhilarating. Instead of merely remastering the track, Kygo stripped away the previous production and started from scratch to create a new track around the gorgeous Houston vocals.

“I was trying to make it sound like something that she would’ve done, but also something that’s my style,” he told Rolling Stone.

Kygo will perform the song this Sunday, June 30th, at PrideFestival Utopia in New York City.

Hit play and enjoy.

Pride Music: Matt Alber “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”

Out singer Matt Alber covers the Whitney Houston classic "I Wanna Dance With Somebody"

Part of what the LGBTQ community has had to do over the decades was co-opt popular music for ourselves when it wasn’t possible for an artist to be open about who they really were.

I’ve loved this gorgeous, poignant cover version of Whitney Houston’s mega hit, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” by popular out singer Matt Alber for years.

Alber’s brilliant reimagining of the tune reflects a universal feeling many young LGBTQs have experienced forever. Let’s face it – how many of us thought we’d never find someone to dance with?

The lyrics really are front and center in this thoughtful take on the song.

From the single release notes: “I grew up listening to Whitney on my Sony Walkman cassette player while wandering my apartment complex in St. Louis. No one knew I was gay, and I spent a lot of time alone singing along to Whitney, and this song in particular.”

“It’s lonely growing up as a teen in the closet and Whitney helped me express the deeply hidden desires of my heart– I wanted to dance with somebody who loved me.”

A portion of the proceeds from the single benefit Larkin Street Youth Services in San Francisco, an organization directly meeting the needs of homeless LGBTQ youth in the bay area.

Learn more at: www.larkinstreetyouth.org

You can buy the single at iTunes or CDbaby.com

Whitney Houston’s Rumored Ex-Girlfriend To Pen Tell-All Memoir

Robyn Crawford, Whitney Houston’s long-rumored lesbian lover, says she will “set the record straight” once and for all in a new memoir titled, A Song For You: My Life with Whitney Houston, due out November 5.

Robyn Crawford, Whitney Houston’s long-rumored lesbian lover, says she will “set the record straight” once and for all in a new memoir titled, A Song For You: My Life with Whitney Houston, due out November 5.

During their decades-long friendship, both women denied any romantic involvement with each other. But fans have long speculated about the nature of their relationship.

Since Houston’s death at the age of 48 in 2012, there have been two documentary films of Houston’s life – Nick Broomfield’s Whitney: Can I Be Me?, and Kevin MacDonald’s Whitney. Both films addressed Houston’s rumored bisexuality and the women’s speculated relationship.

Crawford, notably, declined to take part in either project.

Houston’s mother, Cissy Houston, famously told Oprah in 2013 that it “absolutely” would have bothered her if Whitney had been lesbian or bisexual.

Bobby Brown, Houston’s ex-husband, shared with US Weekly in 2016 that he felt Houston would still be alive today if the “I Will Always Love You” singer’s family had accepted Robyn.

According to the book’s official synopsis, “In A Song for You, Robyn breaks her silence to share the moving and often complicated story of her life and relationship with Whitney.”

Whitney Houston (image via YouTube/I Will Always Love You)

The memoir will follow the years from the women’s meeting in the 1980s, to the singer’s self-titled debut album in 1985, her record-breaking world tours, the success of The Bodyguard, and more.

The publisher of the upcoming book, Penguin imprint Dutton, describes the release as “the vital, honest and previously untold story that provides an understanding of the complex life of Whitney Houston,” and promises that “finally, the person who knew her best sets the record straight.”

The talkers at E! News’s ‘Daily Pop’ discuss the upcoming book below.

Country Hunk Ty Herndon Covers Whitney Classic “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”

After spending the past few months criss-crossing the country performing at various Pride events, out country music artist Ty Herndon recently hit the recording studio with DJ Little Steve to cut four songs for his dance floor fans.

“I have truly had the time of my life playing Pride festivals across America,” says the hunky country singer. “But, as much as the fans love country music, I noticed that I needed to bump up the party factor a bit.”

Herndon plans on releasing one track each week for the next four weeks beginning with his cover of the Whitney Houston classic, “I Wanna Dance with Somebody.”

In addition to “Dance,” Herndon recorded to new versions of his own songs (“Living in a Moment,” “That Kind of Night”) as well as the Marc Cohn hit, “Walking in Memphis,” which became a big hit for Cher.

Herndon debuted the dance remixes this past summer at Market Days in Chicago.

It is interesting to note that Herndon says he was inspired by his Pride performances to record the remixes, but in listening to his cover of “Dance,” the openly gay artist omits the lyric “I need a man who’ll take a chance, On a love that burns hot enough to last.”

Instead, he chose to repeat an earlier gender-neutral lyric. Hmm…

Since coming out in 2014, the “What Mattered Most” singer has been a loud and proud advocate for the LGBT community partnering with several organizations, most notably GLAAD.

His annual Cancer for Love and Acceptance fundraiser for GLAAD features out musicians as well as LGBT allies. This year’s concert, hosted by Herndon and out CMT host Cody Alan, featured performances by Ty, country music icons Tanya Tucker and Vince Gill as well as out UK sensation Calum Scott and Michael Ray.

Check out Ty’s cover of “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” below.

#TBT – Whitney Houston & Jermaine Jackson “If You Say My Eyes Are Beautiful”

(I’m using the GH cover as this version has been remastered)

A little #TBT action as I sit back a relive the days I wore down my cassette tape (!!!) of this duet, “If You Say My Eyes Are Beautiful,” by Jermaine Jackson and a young Whitney Houston.

A bit of history about this recording: Whitney was deemed ineligible for “Best New Artist” in 1986 when her first solo album dropped because this duet with Jermaine had been released prior and she was considered “not new.”

Isn’t that silly? Anyway…

Everything here takes me back: the oh-so-80s music production, Jermaine’s light but shining vocals, and then – my girl.

So much here was a sign of what was to come. So sweet in the beginning, but take note of moments like the 2:40 mark and 3:32. Boom!

My bestie Matt and I rewound those tapes over and over and over to hear the awesome over-the-bar key change and those rocking riffs.

Sigh. Takes me back.

Sit back and enjoy 🙂