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12.11 The Cooler

When Whitney Houston, Luther Vandross, Stevie Wonder & Dionne Warwick All Sang Together

By J. Tinsley / 12.10.12

There’s a distinct possibility if this video fails to elicit some sort of reaction – tears, chills and/or both – you could possibly be the modern day Scrouge McDuck. In 1987, at the Soul Train Music Awards, Dionne Warwick, Stevie Wonder, Luther Vandross and Whitney Houston serenaded America with their cover of Dionne’s “That’s What Friends Are For.” Yes, all four. At the same damn time.

For a video so profound, it’s only right it be broken down into points.

1. See, it’s performances such as these which provide even more validity to our parents’ claim their generation of music being the unquestioned best. I stopped trying to deny it years ago.

2. Anyone else notice Stevie – with the hair and the shades – resembles Bret “The Hitman” Hart? Or is it just me? Regardless, Stevie played the hell out of that harmonica and his vocals are enough make your spine tingle. That man is a living f’n legend and if you disagree, I will fight you. I may lose, but I will fight you.

3. God bless, Miss Dione. But she knew exactly what she was doing on stage with those three. Get her part out the way first and just smile for the remainder of the time up there.

4. Whitney and Luther. Luther and Whitney. This just makes me all types of sad. For anyone who has ever heard me speak on the two, my feelings towards them are no secret. Unequivocally, the finest pure voices music has ever produced.* Sadly, this opinion is not up for debate either. And as the homie Rem noted, Whitney and Luther’s diva battle towards the end was nothing short of amazing. Said clip represents one of those irreplaceable moments in music history. Not Black music history, music history period. Now go ahead and dry your eyes. No one’s here to cast judgement.

5. Peak Blackness – in the 72 hours I’ve known about it – has become one of my top five favorite Tumblrs.

* – Well, Whitney before the drugs and alcohol began to take their toll.


TAGSDionne WarwickEVERYTHING ELSELuther VandrossSMOKE BREAKSoul Train Music AwardsStevie WonderTV/MoviesVIDEOSWhitney Houston

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