By Phyllis Pollack
At the annual Clive Davis Pre-Grammy Party tonight, record executive Clive Davis made an emotional speech in memory of the late Whitney Houston, who died last year, just three hours before artists were slated to walk the red carpet downstairs at the annual event.
The party is held every year in Los Angeles at the Beverly Hilton on the eve of the Grammy Awards.
Some of Davis' comments tonight were as follows. Invoking Houston as the greatest singer of all time, he spoke of his long-held admiration of her, noting, "From the day I first saw Whitney perform, this will be the 30th year."
He then pointed out, "Whitney Houston’s brother Gary Houston is here tonight. Welcome to you, Gary. Gary Houston."
He continued, "And Gary’s wife Pat really turned out to be a tower of strength for Whitney. She was there at all times, guiding her and supporting her, and giving her the words and the wisdom and the words and support that Whitney needed. She became her manager."
Davis then stated, "And now as we burnish her legacy, and as we worked with Ken Erlich and Neil Portnow and the Grammy people for that wonderful special that was on CBS back in the fall, she was there. And thank you for being there tonight."
He poignantly stated, "Words don’t express, for those who weren’t there to see Whitney, the younger people, to see Whitney at various performances. She was so unique. Showing the performances, I urged Ken when he did this special, don’t use six or seven singers to play or sing Whitney’s songs. Let her speak for herself."
"So I’ve chosen one video to show you," announced Davis. "This is a video of a performance of that hasn’t been seen much. It was a soldiers concert, where she took the song “All the Man That I Need.”
Concluding his remarks before showing the video, Davis explained, "And you’ll see why without question, along with the great Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston is the greatest singer of our lifetime. Please watch Whitney and “All The Man That I Need.”
Houston performed the song on tours, and also gave live renditions of it in other appearances, including the televised concert Welcome Home Heroes with Whitney Houston. The show was dedicated to troops, their families, and to other military dignitaries returning from the Gulf War.
The video, which can be accessed on this page, was then shown on the large screens at the star-studded party, which is still ensuing as of press time.
Shortly afterwards, Neil Portnow, President and CEO of The Recording Academy announced the presentation of the Icon Award to L.A. Reid.
Reid was inducted by L.A. Reid. Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds, who made a speech about the forming of LaFace Records.
Previous to Davis' speech, among performers was the Patti Smith Band, who opened her performance with the song "Gloria: In Excelsis Deo/Gloria" from her 1975 debut album Horses.
Singer Gladys Knight is among the many other iconic artists slated to appear at the Pre-Grammy party tonight. She will be performing her smash hits "Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye" and "Midnight Train To Georgia."
The Annual Clive Davis Party is sponsored by The Recording Academy every year on the eve of the Grammy Awards.
Established in 1957, The Recording Academy is an organization of musicians, producers, engineers and recording professionals that is dedicated to improving the cultural condition and quality of life for music and its makers.
Internationally known for the Grammy Awards, the preeminent peer-recognized award for musical excellence and the most credible brand in music, The Recording Academy is responsible for groundbreaking professional development, cultural enrichment, advocacy, education and human services programs.
The Academy continues to focus on its mission of recognizing musical excellence, advocating for the well-being of music makers.
The Academy also includes in its mission the goal of ensuring music that remains an indelible part of American culture, through its many initiatives that support education. For more information about The Academy, please visit www.grammy.com.
For breaking news on the upcoming 55th Annual Grammy Awards and exclusive content, follow @TheGrammys on Twitter, like "The Grammys" on Facebook, and join The Grammys' social communities on YouTube, Tumblr, Foursquare, GetGlue, and Instagram.
For more information about The Academy, please visit www.grammy.com. For breaking news and exclusive content, follow @TheGrammys on Twitter, like "The Grammys" on Facebook, and join The Grammys' social communities on Foursquare, GetGlue, Google +, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and YouTube.
For the first time ever, the Pre-Telecast Ceremony for the 55th Annual Grammy Awards will be streamed live worldwide at Grammy.com/live and online at CBS.com. Historically, this will mark the first time that the public will be able to view the Pre-Telecast Ceremony.
The televised portion of the music industry's “Biggest Night of the Year” will take place live on Sunday, Feb. 10, at Staples Center in Los Angeles. It will be broadcast in high-definition TV and 5.1surround sound on the CBS Television Network from 8:00 to 11:30 p.m. (ET/PT).
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