Clive Davis’ annual pre-Grammy party took on the somber mood of a wake after party-goers learned of the death of Whitney Houston, who had been found dead in her room in the same hotel — the Beverly Hills Hilton — just hours before the party.
“By now you have all learned of the unspeakably tragic news of our beloved Whitney’s passing,” Davis said as the party got underway. “I don’t have to mask my emotion in front of a room full of so many dear friends. I am personally devastated by the loss of someone who has meant so much to me for so many years. Whitney was so full of life. She was so looking forward to tonight even though she wasn’t scheduled to perform.”
He continued: “Whitney was a beautiful person and a talent beyond compare. She graced this stage with her regal presence and gave so many memorable performances here over the years. Simply put, Whitney would have wanted the music to go on and her family asked that we carry on.”
The evening became an impromptu tribute to Houston with many performers making reference to her death, including The Kinks’ Ray Davies who performed some of his bands more moving songs, including “Waterloo Sunset,” reports the Los Angeles Times.
“She always, she always hit you with that beautiful smile, she always hit you with that incredible energy, she gave you that hug, that grandma hug that just shook your body,” said Sean “Diddy Combs before his performance.
Alicia Keys, too, remembered Houston as an inspiration for her own musical career.
“I started to think back, think about just how much this person has touched your life, and it’s incredible, it’s incredible, I mean, from being a little girl, like a little girl growing up, watching this beautiful, incredible woman, who was a girl at the time too. I’m talking about Whitney, and I’d be like ‘Oh, I want to dance with somebody’,” she said.
Pictured Above: Alicia Keys, Swizz Beatz and Clive Davis.