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Whitney Houston: Aretha Franklin, LeAnn Rimes pay tribute

February 14, 2012 |  6:04 pm

Click here for more pictures of Whitney Houston
Musical tributes to Whitney Houston will likely ramp up in the coming weeks and months as artists and the industry get a better handle on the pop titan’s tragic passing on Saturday. Yet some affecting ones already are starting to appear.

Country veteran LeAnn Rimes offered a raw take on “I Will Always Love You” at a Reno concert just hours after the singer was found dead in her hotel room in Beverly Hills. During the touching performance, video of which is below, she had to stop to recapture her composure, which she was able to regain at the encouragement of the audience. While "I Will Always Love You" became one of Houston's signature songs, it was penned by country legend Dolly Parton. 

On Monday R&B singer Ashanti feted the singer during her set on ABC's “Good Morning America.” But it's Houston’s godmother, Aretha Franklin, who has the net buzzing.

FULL COVERAGE: Whitney Houston | 1963-2012

During a concert in North Carolina on Monday night, Franklin performed a brief yet elegant tribute to Houston. Franklin, perched at a piano, riffed on"I Will Always Love You" before offering a sermon and asking the audience to join her in “acknowledging one of the greatest singers that ever stood before a mic.” She then asked them to pray for Houston's family and thanked the singer for her "music and legacy."

Meanwhile, R&B/funk icon Chaka Khan, who was close to Houston, is speaking out against Clive Davis’ decision to carry on with his annual pre-Grammy gala, which occurred at the same Beverly HIlls hotel just a few hours after Houston’s death. Her body remained in the Beverly Hilton during the somber event. 

PHOTOS: Whitney Houston, 1963-2012

"I thought that was complete insanity," Khan said Monday during an interview on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight."

"And knowing Whitney I don't believe that she would've said, 'The show must go on.' She's the kind of woman who would've said, 'Stop everything! I'm not going to be there.' I don't know what could motivate a person to have a party in the building where the person whose life he had influenced so enormously -- and whose life has been affected by hers. I don't understand how that party went on."


Khan was supposed to appear at Davis' annual bash but pulled out. She said she was "paralyzed" after hearing about Houston's death.

"I couldn't put on makeup," she said. "I couldn't get dressed."

In the hours after Houston's passing it was reported Khan would join Jennifer Hudson for a "respectful musical tribute" on the CBS broadcast of the Grammys on Sunday. But not even an hour before the live show, Khan announced she would be backing out.

"As I grieve the loss of my friend and 'little sister,' I don't feel it appropriate to perform at this time," the singer tweeted. "Continue to pray for the family"

On Tuesday it was announced Houston's funeral will be Saturday in New Jersey, though not a large public memorial.

Her body arrived at the Whigham Funeral Home in Newark under heavy police escort Monday. Entry to the funeral service -- to be held at noon Saturday at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark -- will be by invitation only, the funeral home's owner, Carolyn Whigham, told the Star-Ledger, with no wake or public viewing at the Prudential Center, as had been previously reported.

Check out the tributes from Franklin and Rimes below:






Full coverage


Whitney Houston spotted displaying erratic behavior

Appreciation: A voice for the ages tarnished by addictions

-- Gerrick D. Kennedy

Photo: Whitney Houston performs at Clive Davis' annual pre-Grammy gala at the Beverly Hilton on Feb. 12, 2011. Credit: Mark Ralston / AFP/Getty Images