Reporting Vince Gerasole
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CHICAGO (CBS) – Whitney Houston’s voice truly moved her fans. On Sunday, fans in Chicago were in shock over her death at the age of 48 in Los Angeles.
CBS 2′s Vince Gerasole reports on how fans are coping and remembering Whitney Houston.
They’re fans who remember singing her hits into their hairbrushes, or along to the radio as they drove down Lake Shore Drive.
Like legends Michael Jackson and Frank Sinatra before her, Whitney Houston is remembered for songs and a sound that underscored American lives.
As her impeccable voice sang on, listeners called in to Effie Rolfe at V103 FM, singing Houston’s praises.
“When she sang, she just had it all. She had it,” Rolfe said.
Fans were touched by the superstar who crossed over from pop to R&B and smooth jazz, but never forgot her gospel music roots.
“One listener called this morning and said even when she sang the Star Spangled Banner; she said ‘I felt like my soul was on fire,’” Rolfe said.
John Gehron, one of the nation’s leading radio executives since the 1970′s, said Houston’s vocal clarity and charisma are only part of what made her a music legend.
“She loved what she did and it’s fun when you talk to people who love what they do,” Gehron said. “There was an enthusiasm for the business that she had. I mean, when you watched her on stage, I mean she just exploded with excitement.”
South Side resident Rai Barney said, “Her music was so inspirational.”
As they enjoyed a Sunday brunch, Barney and her family reflected on how Houston became the soundtrack to their lives.
“You just get chills when you hear her voice, because it’s so soulful and it just … I don’t know, it just touches you deep down,” Rha-Kera Sutton said.
Barney said it’s sad that Houston is gone, but her music still gives people a reason to smile.
“We have to celebrate her life, and her legacy, and her music,” she said.
There’s a pretty big Chicago connection to Sunday night’s Grammy tribute to Houston. Local girls Chaka Khan and Jennifer Hudson are reportedly the featured singers. Hudson has made no secret that Houston was a major influence on her career.