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Whitney Houston’s Mother Cissy Houston – Who is she?

By Roger Friedman

HollywoodNews.com: Last night on either “ET” or its miserable sidekick “The Insider,” Cissy Houston–Whitney’s mother–was identified as a former Elvis Presley backup singer. Just so you know as you watch the funeral tomorrow, Cissy Houston is one of those great unheralded R&B stories.

She had a group called the Sweet Inspirations. More importantly than singing with Elvis, the Sweet Inspirations had their own hits. They also sang back up on most of Aretha Franklin’s classic hits in 1967 and 1968. It’s Cissy’s high note counterpointing Aretha’s amazing record, “Ain’t No Way.” Later Cissy sang back up on lots of hit records including Linda Ronstadt’s “Heart Like a Wheel” album and Bette Midler’s “The Divine Miss M.”

The Sweet Inspirations are also heard on countless top 10 hits, many of them from Atlantic Records during its heyday. The early members of the group included Cissy’s niece Dee Dee Warwick (Dionne’s gifted sister) and Doris Troy (“Just One Look”), sister of Vy Higginsen. “Cissy” Emily Drinkard was a member of her family’s gospel group, the Drinkards. Her eldest sister was the mother of Dionne and Dee Dee.When I first met Whitney, it was with Cissy and her ex husband John; they were divorced when Whitney was 16.

I think I annoyed Whitney a little because I was so in awe of meeting her mother. Cissy and John spent countless hours on the road, touring, and in recording sessions. Their life before Whitney hit it big was hard. It’s impossible to imagine the grief Cissy is suffering now.

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  • February 17, 2012 | Permalink |

    Yes, more people should know about Cissy and their whole family really, Dionne Warwick is a legend herself as well. Surprised more people aren’t interested in their story.

  • February 17, 2012 | Permalink |

    I am very sad that the world has lost such an incredible talent. I think collectively we all have a part in this loss. Imangine what it would be like to have your every mistake and error viewed in public… how hard it would be to accomodate the guilt and shame of your mistakes knowing that not only your familly knew your dirty little secrets; but instead, have your face on the cover of major magazines… If you were raised to respect honor and integrity and then fell short of this… well the chance of acceptance and recovery must have seemed too far away. Rest in Peace Whitney. I am so sorry that your chances of recovery were limited by the publics need to know.

  • February 17, 2012 | Permalink |

    I agree with “Rob.” An episode of TV One’s “Unsung” is in order for the Sweet Inspirations.

  • February 18, 2012 | Permalink |

    The Sweets as were many times called were and are incredibly amazing. A huge part of history

  • February 19, 2012 | Permalink |

    Whitney’s story proves that genetics can play a big role in what we turn out to be………..what when you have in your stead cissy Houston, Dionne Warwick, Aretha Franklin, etc……..Whitney from day one was bound to make it big in music…..RIP

  • February 20, 2012 | Permalink |

    Rght now Cissy is considered a selfish as woman…. she is tryin to turn Bobbi Kristin against her father and she is treating bobby brown like a piece of shyt…. if Whitney chose to marry Bobby that was her biz… and they were together for15 years and had rough edges in their marriage like anybody else… is this the way a so called Christian woman is suppose to act…

  • February 23, 2012 | Permalink |

    To those saying “we all have a part in this death”

    No we don’t.

    It’s sad, yes.

    Also sad is that people don’t believe in personal responsibility.

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