Return to Transcripts main page
PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
World Pays Tribute to Whitney Houston
Aired February 14, 2012 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: Tonight, Whitney Houston, as the world pays tribute to a fallen diva, I'll ask some of the people who knew her best. What went wrong and could anybody have saved her.
The Hollywood songwriter behind so many of her hits, Diane Warren, and why she blamed bad medicine.
Superstar producers, David Foster and Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds on why Whitney's voice wasn't what it used to be. Piling on pressure.
Plus was Whitney's fame simply too much for her to bear?
DEEPAK CHOPRA, "THE SEVEN SPIRITUAL LAWS FOR SUCCESS": Fame in itself is an addictive drug and also fame creates an image which you cannot live up to.
MORGAN: I'll ask spiritual guru, Deepak Chopra, was Hollywood to blame?
And only in America, a proper home state farewell for Whitney Houston.
This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
Good evening. Whitney Houston's family preparing to say their final good-byes on Saturday with a private funeral at her childhood church. We're looking at it now, the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey. Gospel singer and pastor Marvin Winans has been asked to give a eulogy and there are plans to try to have a large screen jumbotron outside the church so fans could watch the service.
Coming up tonight, I'll talk to some of the people closes to the superstar diva.
Also tonight crisis in the Middle East. Israel diplomats under attack. Is Iran behind it? I'll asked a top member of the Israeli government.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SILVAN SHALOM, ISRAELI VICE PRIME MINISTER: They would like to revive the Persian empire. They would like to take control of the all oil fields within the Middle East and to have a nuclear bomb.
(END VIDEO CLIP) MORGAN: Well, we begin with our big story, the latest on Whitney Houston's tragic death. I want to start by bringing you CNN's Don Lemon who's covering the story for us in Los Angeles where Whitney died on Saturday night. He's got the latest on the investigation.
Don, you've been with us from the start, endless twists and turns. But I understand you spoke to the coroner today. What did he tell you?
DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I did, Piers. And I want to be very specific about what the coroner said because he really warned everyone about the rumors that are out there. There are lots of rumors out there.
One I want to point out before I get into this, Piers. He says that he's getting calls from all over the world. One of which includes the DEA is now joining this investigation with the coroner because prescription drug meds are killing celebrities in Los Angeles. And he said that is simply not true. That is out there.
Another thing that he wanted to talk about that I asked him about, you know, that whole thing, Piers, about Mickey Fine, the pharmacist that was involved with the Michael Jackson case?
LEMON: I asked him about that. He said, listen, Don, we're looking into all of this. We're still investigating. He said, we're trying to find medical records, which I think is interesting, and he said, and we're trying to find out who her doctor is so that they can get more information. He didn't deny it but he said he didn't want to address it in that manner. He just wanted to say they're still investigating.
And the other thing, Piers, you know when we talked about that six to eight-week timeline for the toxicology report? But when I talked to the coroner today, I said, listen, I know you guys know sooner, maybe within a couple days, Piers, he said, again -- and I'm looking down at my notes here because I don't want to get it wrong, I don't want to fuel any rumors.
He said, sometimes we do get prelims, Don. Preliminary spikes. We might get a spike in something for a drug or a prescription medication. He said the first series they run is for amphetamines and then depressants. And so they want to make sure what they're getting is not like a Midol or some sort of over-the-counter medication. And if they do get a spike, what they do is go back and check and recheck to make sure even if it's in the person's body, it's something that's in Whitney Houston's body, doesn't necessarily mean there was enough of it in her body to kill her, so they go back and check it against everything, her body weight and everything else, Piers.
MORGAN: Don, just finally, there are lots of reports about Bobby Brown, whether he's seen his daughter, Bobbi Kristina, yet, whether he'll be invited to the funeral, some reports said the family don't want him there. What do you know about that? LEMON: Yes. What I know is is that Bobby released a statement through his representatives today basically saying that, "My daughter did visit the doctors at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on Saturday." He goes on to say that obviously the death of her mother is affecting her. And then he said, she's with her family and again we ask for privacy during this time.
That's the statement in part that I read there and you see the full statement on your screen. But there are reports that he hasn't seen her. And so CNN is working, calling his representative now to try to figure out exactly what's going on
Piers, one other thing, I know that you are huge on social media, on Twitter and on Facebook. And if you go on your social media account, and look out there, you'll see that people are upset. Many of her fans are upset about this private ceremony. They want something very public, they want something like Michael Jackson, and the Staples Center. In a way they feel sort of robbed of being able to give tribute to Whitney Houston.
MORGAN: Well, it's a contentious issue. Don, thanks very much for bringing us up to speed on that. And we'll certainly address some of those subjects now with one of Whitney Houston's old friends, Diane Warren. She's a Grammy winning songwriter behind many of Whitney's greatest hits. She was at Clive Davis; pre-Grammy party at the Beverly Hilton Hotel as of Whitney died. And Diane joins me now.
I could hear you reacting to some of the things Don Lemon was saying there. What were you reacting to?
DIANE WARREN, GRAMMY AWARDS-WINNING SONGWRITER: Fans being robbed. I mean that's up to her family to do what they're going to do. You know that was kind of strange there.
MORGAN: Do you think there is any duty if you have a star of the magnitude of a Whitney Houston to give the fans something though?
WARREN: I mean that's -- I mean she gave the fans something, she gave them her amazing music, her amazing voice through her records that will be there forever, the best performances of all time. What else can she give? She gave everything. She has to -- now she's done giving.
MORGAN: When did you hear the news of Whitney's death?
WARREN: I heard it Saturday. And I didn't -- I didn't think it was true. It was only those Twitter things, you know, they're always pronouncing someone dead on there. You know, I mean, last week, it was Cher, it was Jon Bon Jovi. And I thought, I was with a friend of mine who got the call, I was like, he said Whitney died. No, no, no, it's probably some kind of Twitter stupidity. And it wasn't. It was just like -- and I'm kind of still in shock like you're seeing all this stuff and hearing all this stuff, and it just doesn't seem real.
MORGAN: I mean you wrote some of her greatest ever songs.
WARREN: I wrote -- I don't know if they were the greatest ever, some good ones.
MORGAN: Yes. I mean tell me some of the -- the bigger ones that you wrote.
WARREN: Well, I wrote her comeback song, I'm sorry, "I Didn't Know My Own Strength," on her last album, and a song called "I Learned from the Best." Clive's "Kiss Forever." There were a bunch of songs, like seven songs, that I've written for her.
MORGAN: When you look at what happened to Whitney, the picture that's being painted is of this brilliantly talented young woman who fell victim to fame, to Hollywood, possibly Bobby Brown and the marriage wasn't helpful to that either. What do you think -- knowing her as you do, what do you think?
WARREN: You know, I wasn't around her all the time. So I don't really know. But I just think that it happens. I mean fame is dangerous, isn't it? That level of fame. That level of -- and it's hard. There's so many -- I mean if you have a (INAUDIBLE) to be addicted to anything you're going to -- it's the worst thing that can happen. Because, you know, you're going to maybe feel lonely and go to that or people are going to give -- want to get close to you so they're going to be giving you drugs. It's hard to escape that. You have to be very strong, you know. It's like you're singing to, you know, 50,000 people and none of these people really know you.
MORGAN: How did she seem to you, Whitney?
WARREN: I mean, you know, when I've seen her, she's always really a very up person, she's so full of life. That's what -- that's why this is so weird. Because she is so full of life, you can't imagine her not being alive.
MORGAN: I mean it's interesting that Don said the coroner was very sort of mocking of people saying prescription drugs are killing celebrities in Los Angeles. I have to say, from where I've been sitting for the last year, they are. Now it's the mixture of prescription drugs with alcohol or whatever or bad doctoring, whatever it is, but there's no doubt Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston would still be alive if they weren't fallen victim --
WARREN: They're always going to give them that. There's always going to be a doctor or somebody --
MORGAN: But isn't that the problem in Los Angeles? There are always doctors prepared to cross the line and do this.
WARREN: There probably are. You know, I'm sure it's easier when you're a famous person. They don't want to -- no one wants to say no to you when you're famous. That's the -- that's the really bad thing about it.
MORGAN: I mean, the thing that really angers me, I think, it came out when I was interviewing Chaka Khan, a really intense emotional interview last night because she had been an addict, she knew Whitney. Let's just play a clip about she said -- just sort of reacquaint ourselves on what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHAKA KHAN, SINGER, SONGWRITER: I stand on that. Whoever flew her out to perform at that party should have provided someone to be there, to somehow just keep the riff raft out of the situation, keep some of the dangerous people away.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: You see, the more I thought about what she said there and I listened to Dr. Drew erupting in anger earlier on the Anderson Cooper's show, I understood why. Because the reality is if you've been an addict, you remain an addict. You might be in recovery that you --
WARREN: Always an addict.
MORGAN: You know, and some of these people that she was hanging around with have been popping up on television saying she was only having a few glasses of champagne.
WARREN: You can't -- you can't do that when you -- you can't have a glass of champagne --
MORGAN: How stupid can you be to think that you can let an addict just have a few glasses of champagne when she's taking loads of prescription drugs?
WARREN: Well, what can you do? I mean, I mean, I mean she'll go somewhere -- I mean --
MORGAN: Well, I think, I think what you do is --
WARREN: You want to -- you want to --
MORGAN: People should take responsibilities as Chaka Khan said. Somebody flew Whitney Houston in.
MORGAN: Somebody planned to have a week in Los Angeles building up to the Grammys.
WARREN: That usually kept like, don't go to this club, don't do this, don't --
MORGAN: Who was looking after her? You know everyone now is sort of with hindsight talking in this very sort of, you know, wasn't Whitney fantastic? The reality is, she was let down by people. I don't know who they were, but people letting her down all this week. She was out partying and partying and partying. She's an addict.
WARREN: Maybe she wasn't going to listen to them. Maybe she's like, I don't care what you say, I'm going out partying. Then what do you do? You can't lock her in a room --
MORGAN: Is it right to apportion blame then?
WARREN: I'm sorry?
MORGAN: Is it right to apportion any blame or do you think --
WARREN: On people having a party? I don't think you can blame them. She came to a party. How can you blame them for having -- I mean she -- I mean too bad she went there, right? Too bad, like someone said, no, Whitney, you can't go. I mean, you know, I can't really judge that. You know? But you know I wish -- I wish, you know, that she didn't go or she had a change of heart and didn't want to go out. If she went out didn't -- we don't really know. See, we don't really know what happened.
MORGAN: Well, we do know that she went out on Thursday night and was performing --
WARREN: We don't know what --
MORGAN: I mean she was drinking champagne all night. And it's like, she's an addict. I don't know what people around her were thinking. An addict can just take this all stuff and mix it with alcohol. And that's where the prescription drugs, in her case, probably killed her. We don't know. We got to wait.
WARREN: It does happen, isn't it? It's a pretty deadly combination.
MORGAN: I just think it -- it just -- no one seems to be holding their hands up to say, we got this wrong.
WARREN: It's hard. You know, I mean --
MORGAN: I mean you -- having worked with her, do you feel that she was so strong-willed that you could --
WARREN: She seemed pretty strong-willed, while I was in the studio with her she was really strong willed.
MORGAN: Right. And Chaka Khan -- could you imagine that she just would instinctively rail against anyone that tried to tell her what to do?
WARREN: You know I have a feeling that she did what she wanted to do, you know, in working with her. She probably like -- you know, probably said, no, Whitney, you can't go party. I don't care what you say. I'm going -- I mean I can see that. I mean, you know, I've never gone out partying with her. You know? I can see that in her personality that she probably --
MORGAN: You were at the Clive Davis party.
WARREN: Yes. MORGAN: Chaka Khan didn't go and thought it was sort of tasteless, she said last night, to continue with it. What did you feel?
WARREN: You know, it wasn't -- I mean, it was weird, yes. It was strange. The whole -- it was strange to be there because all I kept thinking, personally kept thinking about was that her body is on the fourth floor. I just sat at my table and I don't drink much. But I kept saying, more wine, please. You know. But maybe it was -- I mean if it was me, I would have probably canceled. But I don't know, I don't know what that entailed. Maybe there was --
MORGAN: I think it was very hard for Clive Davis, I've got to say --
WARREN: Yes, and you know what, Clive --
MORGAN: I wouldn't criticize him at all.
WARREN: I'm not criticizing Clive. Clive is --
MORGAN: I mean I wouldn't either. I mean Chaka Khan felt strongly about it. I actually feel that he --
WARREN: No. I don't think he could. I think he -- if he would have he could have -- I mean if he could have he would have. But he was devastated. I went to his hotel before the party, that man was devastated. I mean how he pulled that together to be that strong, you know, that -- I mean, kind of amazed me.
MORGAN: Stay here for a moment, Diane. Let's take a break and come back and talk further with you and also with Deepak Chopra. I want to talk about this whole issue of celebrities and prescription drugs which may be a hell of a lot more dangerous than people think they are and a lot more dangerous than many street drugs.
MORGAN: Whitney Houston singing a song Diane Warren wrote, "I Learned from the Best" from 1999. Diane Warren is back with me now. And we're joined by Deepak Chopra, "New York Times" best selling author of "The Seven Spiritual Laws for Success."
Deepak, let me go to you because my Twitter feed just exploded after the last segment where we were talking about who may or may not be to blame for what happened to Whitney Houston. I feel quite strongly like Chaka Khan did, that for an addict to be dragged around Hollywood night spots for a week before the Grammys, and be seen openly drinking a lot of champagne and stuff, seemed to me to be utterly irresponsible for anyone that knew her background as an addict.
What do you think? I mean I would say to Twitter, to be fair, two out of every five are saying I'm right. Three out of every five don't agree. They think self-responsibility is the key and Whitney was to blame. What do you think? CHOPRA: It's a very complex issue, Piers. Once you are an addict, you're always an addict and it's very difficult to control your substance abuse. The fact is that when you mix alcohol with prescription drugs, tranquilizers, sedatives, it can be a very dangerous combination and the fact also is that medical prescriptions now are the number one cause of drug addiction. The number one cause of drug addiction is no longer street drugs, it's medically prescribed drugs, tranquilizers, painkillers and so on.
This is a problem. You know you have high performance artists under a lot of stress, a lot of them have addictive tendencies and then you have enabling doctors who get their identity from celebrity associations. They are addicted to the celebrity. And it's very difficult to control the situation.
MORGAN: I mean we're losing a lot of incredibly talented people. Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse, now, Whitney Houston. None of them lived past 50.
CHOPRA: Elvis Presley --
MORGAN: To me it's just --
CHOPRA: So many people, yes. Particularly in the music industry, there seems to be a particularly proneness to addictive behavior. But what --
MORGAN: Well, let me ask -- let me ask Diane about that. I'm going to ask Diane actually.
When you've been written for these big stars, do you see them change? I mean when they become fabulously famous, rich, successful, and they start getting into this whole drug scene, illegal and legal, do you see a change in them?
WARREN: So I don't see a lot of -- I don't usually hang out with a lot of the artists I work with, so I don't see a lot of that. You know I don't really see that. I see them change in different ways. You know? I see -- I see the people -- here's what I see. I see a lot of hangers on coming on them.
WARREN: And, you know, there's all of a sudden, you know -- when they would come the first time in the studio, and next time they have like, you know, their five minders and they're all -- you know what I mean? And that is kind of dangerous because no one -- what happens is you surround yourself with a bunch of yes, people and a bunch of people that want like what Deepak said, they want to -- they get their identity from celebrities so they become --
(CROSSTALK) MORGAN: I think that's a very good point, Deepak. They become like sort of blood sucking leeches, don't they? I mean they get their own celebrity status by being around the celebrity. It's not in their interest to say no to the star.
CHOPRA: Yes, it's a co-dependent addictive relationship. And you have doctors that are known as concierge doctors, boutique doctors, you know, pill mills that are owned by doctors and drug suppliers. So -- and you have the same person getting prescriptions from multiple doctors. Pharmacists usually know that the same person is getting from the prescription from multiple doctors but they ignore it very frequently.
This is -- it should be something very easy to monitor. Every time a narcotic is dispensed or a sedative or a tranquilizer, there is a record for it, and yet people still have this problem.
MORGAN: We don't know enough facts yet about the Whitney Houston case. The only thing that we know as a fact is that she was a self- confessed drug addict. And it's that that really angers me, I think, about what we saw this week. Because this was a public meltdown going on. She was being seen coming out of clubs apparently with blood on her legs, we don't know if it was blood, it may have been red wine, as some people were saying.
But it was an unedifying spectacle, whatever it was. When I saw some of the people she was partying with just glibly saying, oh, yes, she was drinking champagne but she was fine. Massive alarm bells should have rung, shouldn't it? With someone --
CHOPRA: Yes. If somebody is a self-confessed addict who has previously had problems, the correct thing to do by responsible people is to do an intervention. But again, as was said just now, enablers are yes, people. They don't like to say no to somebody who's rich or perceived as powerful or famous. Fame itself is an addiction, too.
So you have lots of addictive behavior going on. Addiction from the doctors who are addicted to the celebrity. Fame as an addiction by itself. You have these co-dependent dysfunctional relationships that initiate, perpetuate and continue the problem. You don't have responsible people in this situation.
If somebody had seen that behavior which you just showed, there should have been an intervention, yes.
MORGAN: I agree. Diane, what do you say --
WARREN: I agree, too. But here's the thing. Some people don't know enough to know that -- they might think that it's OK for them to have a glass of wine when you're an addict. Well, she's not doing crack, she's not doing, you know, coke or something. What's wrong with a glass of wine? But most people don't know that that -- you know, a lot of people don't know that.
MORGAN: I think it's a good point. I mean, Deepak, you mentioned that the fame itself is a drug. And I totally concur with that. I have seen people wreck their lives to this addiction to being famous. And it takes over their lives. And you've seen that, I know, with other people.
What is the cure for that kind of addiction? How do you treat an addiction to fame?
CHOPRA: You have to realize, first of all, that fame actually causes the same brain chemical changes as a drug does. And you have to have counseling for a situation like that. And it's very difficult. You know I have a -- by the way, I have a rehab center, we have a rehab center in Paradise Valley in British Columbia, where we counsel people but we also detox them emotionally and physically through various procedures, teach them meditation, yoga, breathing techniques, cognitive therapy and even then it's quite difficult.
MORGAN: Finally, Deepak, I know you've been working a bit with Demi Moore. She's one of my favorite actresses. And she came on my show last year. And I was devastated to see that she's having to have treatment and so on. How is she doing?
CHOPRA: Piers, I'm not at liberty to talk about that right now.
MORGAN: OK. Well, fair enough. Well, send her my very best and we hope she's back in top form soon.
Deepak Chopra and Diane Warren, thank you both very much.
WARREN: Thank you.
CHOPRA: Thank you.
MORGAN: When we come back, I'll talk to two music legends who worked closely with Whitney Houston about what went wrong with her career and that amazing voice.
COOPER: Whitney Houston singing "I Will Always Love You" in a music video based on "The Bodyguard." It's hard to forget that amazing voice but in recent years that voice definitely faded along with her career.
And joining me now to help understand what happened to Whitney are superstar producers David Foster who produced that song and Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds who produced some of Whitney's biggest hits, being songs from "Waiting to Exhale."
Welcome to you both. And my condolences. You know I have everyone on here. I don't say that enough because you new Whitney really well, much better than I did. And I imagine grief is the first thing you're both experiencing this week never mind anything else.
DAVID FOSTER, PRODUCER, COMPOSER: Well, I was just saying to Kenny backstage that, you know, I knew her professionally, and not so much as a friend. Kenny was a real friend to her and with her. So he has maybe a different take than me. MORGAN: I mean you guys between you helped produced some of her biggest songs and greatest successes. You heard the debate that just went on with Deepak and Diane. And there is this raging issue of who is to blame for what happened to Whitney. When you lose a star of that quality at 48 years old, to drug-related -- let's just put it like that, to a drug-related downfall, who's to blame? What do you think? What do you think?
KENNY "BABYFACE" EDMONDS, PRODUCER, MUSICIAN: Who's to blame when it's just somebody that we don't know? If you didn't know -- if she wasn't a star before, and most of the time you blame it on that person, you know, you don't blame their family, you don't blame people around them that weren't there. So I think that for the most part, it has to come to her. And unfortunately, I don't even like to say it's her fault. You know, it's a whole life thing in terms of whatever she was dealing with, whatever pain, and, you know, the things that she was carrying with her through her life that even put her in that position.
MORGAN: When you worked with her, were you aware of all these struggles she was going through?
EDMONDS: I think that any singer that sings as amazing as she sung, when you have a certain pain that you can touch people, that you're carrying a pain with you. It could be from childhood, something that makes -- that helps make it great.
It's something that you can't manufacture it. I don't care how many people would sing "I'll Always Love You," they would never do it that way. When she sang that song, she nailed it. It was like that was it. No one will ever do this again.
MORGAN: That's true, isn't it? No one could sing it like Whitney.
FOSTER: She owned it. It was like I say about here, she was like a laser beam. And during that time that we made that song and the other songs I did for "The Bodyguard" -- and Kenny did some, too. She would be working all day, 12 hours a day. And she's come into the studio midnight, rip off her coat, step up to the mike and go like a racehorse.
MORGAN: So what happened? What went wrong?
FOSTER: She obviously led a very tortured life. I don't know what her life was like before Clive discovered her. But she had demons, for sure. I do disagree with you. I said it on the break. I think everybody is responsible for themselves.
On a much lower, lesser scale, we're all sort of -- I saw those chocolate chip cookies in there. I would love to eat every last one of them. But I know that if I do that everyday, I am going to be fat.
So you just -- you know, I don't mean to simplify addiction. But, you know, food is an addiction, too. MORGAN: I said on Twitter, and if you want to tell me what you think, @PiersSMorgan, send me your views now. There's definitely more people agreeing with what you're both saying, that the responsibility should start with Whitney. My issue actually isn't so much who was to blame for her drug problems. I don't like this -- what was happening last week.
I don't like the fact that one of the world's most famous drug addicts is out in Hollywood night clubs boozing the night away, and nobody is trying to stop her.
FOSTER: If you were out at a Hollywood nightclub Thursday night, if I saw you and you were drunk out of your mind, whatever it was, would you blame the guys with you? Would I blame the guys with you? I blame you.
MORGAN: I'm not an addict. And no one knows I've never been an addict. I never have been. No one would know that about me.
FOSTER: If you were drunk out of your mind, would it be somebody else's responsibility.
MORGAN: Anyone can go out and get drunk. But if you are a well chronicled addict who's been to hell and back with this addiction, is there nobody in that Whitney system?
EDMONDS: What are you going to do? If that's what she -- Whitney was very strong-willed. She was going to do what she wanted to do.
MORGAN: I keep being told that. Is that the reality? She wouldn't have listened anyway.
EDMONDS: She obviously didn't listen. She was going to do what she was going to do.
FOSTER: That's what I always said about singing when they're in the studio. I would ask her to give me a lick, a note, and she would always give me something different that what I would ask for. The great thing was that it was usually better than what I asked for and better than anything I could conjure up.
MORGAN: But her instinctive reaction would be to rail against whatever you wanted?
FOSTER: To take some direction, but, you know, you can't have conversations with people when they're stars about certain things. I sat down with a new artist, very quickly, the other day, a young artist that I'm thinking about signing. I've got a video camera.
I said, I want to tell you a few things and I am video taping this so I can show you this, because in two years, if you become a star, I won't be able to have this conversation with you. So I'm having it now and I'm videotaping it so I can show it to you in two years. MORGAN: How much of that is ego? How much of it is paranoia, insecurity, all those things that comes with making it big in the music business.
FOSTER: Stardom is so intoxicating. You guys both probably know. You can't go anywhere without somebody saying, I love your show. I tell you I love your show.
MORGAN: Yes, but it's a totally different thing I think to that kind of recognition to the superstardom of a Michael Jackson or a Whitney Houston. They were just on a different level even to most celebrities.
And I'm curious as to -- I detected in both of them serious vulnerabilities. What do you think?
EDMONDS: I think she was vulnerable. But I don't know it was all about being a star. I think it goes to another place. Because Whitney -- the Whitney that I knew, it wasn't that she was loving being a star. She loved the music. She loved performing. When it was time to do her thing, that was what pushed her.
MORGAN: Let's take a quick break. I want to come back and talk specifically about her voice, what happened to her voice and how much you think that played a part in the other stuff.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Whitney Houston singing "I'm Your Baby Tonight," produced by Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds. I'm back with him and David Foster, the chairman of Verv Records. You said a fascinating thing in the break there that I just want to pick up on, that you remember the Soul Train Awards back in the early '90s, when the audience turned on Whitney a bit.
Tell me what happened.
EDMONDS: Well, she had won another award. And suddenly, there were boos in the audience when she won the award. We were all shocked. She was like really shocked about it. It was like, what did I do? It was just one of those things, pre-blog time, when people were just kind of tired of her winning things.
MORGAN: How did she react to that afterwards?
EDMONDS: We talked about it later, when -- the first time I visited her at her house. She was like, I can't let that happen. She didn't like that. She didn't like being unliked, especially not knowing the reason. She was just -- she was just doing her normal thing. MORGAN: Then things got worse for her, I think, just observing from the outside. What it must be like -- we talked about this with Chaka Khan last night -- when a singer who's that good suddenly becomes not quite as good at singing, and their voice slightly goes. What did you think? I have seen you quoted as saying that that may have been part of her problem.
FOSTER: Well, it happens to every singer, Piers. Nobody at 50 and 60 is what they were at 20 and 30. That's why singers go out and they start doing their songs in their 30s and 40s. They lower the key by a half tone and then another half tone. And then two tones.
And then by the time they're 55 or 60, it's like you don't even recognize it anymore, because the voice is a muscle and it atrophies like ever other muscle. And I think she had bad DNA. She just got the bad draw on the DNA. I don't think it had a lot to do with whatever her other problems were.
MORGAN: She had -- how good was her voice at its best?
FOSTER: Better than anybody on the planet.
FOSTER: For me. Would you say?
MORGAN: Has there ever been a better recording voice?
EDMONDS: I always say she was the best singer ever.
FOSTER: I would put Celine in that category too, and Barbra, for me in my world.
MORGAN: That's what Tony Bennett said. Tom Jones has said it. Lots of people have been saying it. I have never heard a better natural singing voice.
FOSTER: Her instincts were beyond beyond, her instincts to just grab a melody and go, I think I'll do this with it. And it's better than anything you could ever conjure up.
EDMONDS: It's more than just technical. It has what I mentioned earlier about the pain. She was able to make you feel her words.
MORGAN: Yes, she was.
EDMONDS: No matter what it was.
MORGAN: Part of that may be the gospel background that she had. When you're singing in a gospel church regularly and stuff, it's very emotive. I saw that side to her definitely. You could see that when she was a young singer in the gospel church, the footage that is coming out now.
So when psychologically -- when that goes, that instrument starts to go, what does it do to a singer? You have worked with all the greats.
FOSTER: It's not even just the voice. But it's every artist has a span, whether it's seven or 10 years, where they're hitting it hard and heavy. If you look since the '50s, you can pick any artist from, Glenn Campbell to Helen Reddy (ph) to Lionel Richie to Diana Ross to Barry Manilow to whatever, and then, all of a sudden, boom, the hits just stop, and the next generation moves in.
MORGAN: It must be desperately hard for the singer.
FOSTER: It's not hard for everybody, but it's hard for some people, for sure. They can't handle it.
MORGAN: Did you speak to Whitney after things began to go with her voice? Do you know how she felt about it?
EDMONDS: Didn't really talk about it.
FOSTER: We dealt with it.
EDMONDS: Yes, you just dealt with it.
MORGAN: Was it just like the unmentionable?
EDMONDS: You just made a record. And you went in there and made the best record you could make. You weren't going to go for the higher notes as much. You still were going to push for what you could get out of it. And that's the best that you could do.
It is a hard thing to deal with. I'm sure she had to deal with it to -- she didn't talk about it. But I'm sure she had to deal with it. She had to know it everyday.
But she still -- you know, it's not like she stopped. She kept singing.
FOSTER: But Kenny, you're -- Kenny is a great singer. You can't hit the notes that you hit when you were 20.
EDMONDS: Yeah, I can. What are you talking about?
FOSTER: You can? Whoops, commercial.
MORGAN: Tell me this, are we making too much of Whitney's problems? Did most Divas in history have problems? You think back to Judy Garland, you think back to all of them. They all had issues in their lives. Should it be something that we focus on really, or should we celebrate -- and I sort of instinctively am beginning to feel should we focus more on these incredible songs she sang?
EDMONDS: I think so. Everybody has issues. It's not just -- you know, everyone does. So we only are on it because she is a superstar. But other than that, we really should be happy for what she gave us.
FOSTER: She left a gift. She left the greatest gift, as she says, in one of her songs. This music will live on forever and ever.
MORGAN: I think it's very poignant and pertinent that she will be eulogized in the church where she first sang, in that gospel choir. I think that's really special.
Guys, thank you very much. Kenny, a pleasure to meet you. David, as always.
FOSTER: Thanks, Piers.
MORGAN: Coming up tonight, a special Only in America, New Jersey says good-bye to Whitney Houston. We will hear what Governor Christie has planned.
When we come back, new threats from Iran. My exclusive interview with one of Israel's leaders on what he calls Iran's plan for empire.
MORGAN: Israel is blaming Iran for a series of bombings in Bangkok today, just one day after attacks against the country's diplomats in India and Georgia. Thai authorities say two Iranians are in custody and another person is still at large. The Israeli Foreign Ministry personnel based overseas have been on alert for weeks and weeks against the possibility of attacks. And the Israeli government issued a travel advisory this year for citizens traveling to Thailand, after Thai security officials arrested a man in January connected with a planned attack in the country.
Joining me now exclusively is Israel's vice prime minister, Silvan Shalom.
Vice prime minister, obviously very, very tense time at the moment for Israel. What is your overview of this escalation in what appears to be a coordinated series of attacks in India, now Bangkok, and other places? What is your overview on what's going on here?
SILVAN SHALOM, ISRAELI VICE PRIME MINISTER: Unfortunately, Iran is running terror against Israel for many, many years. It's a few decades now they are trying to target Israeli sites and Jewish sites. What they have done recently, something that we are fully aware of their involvement.
We knew that they are planning it, they are preparing it. We were in touch with the local government in a few countries in Asia and other places. And together,, we are trying to prevent those attacks for a very long time.
Unfortunately, they succeeded to do it in India and they tried to do it in Georgia, as you know, in Azerbaijan a few weeks ago. That's something that Iran is responsible for.
MORGAN: Is Israel prepared to act unilaterally against Iran if the wider international feeling is that there is no grounds for military action? Would Israel go alone? SHALOM: Israel is trying to stop the military program of Iran for years. Unfortunately for many, many years, most of the world believed that Iran, like terrorism, is Israel's problem only. Only after a terrorist attack that was carried out here in New York in 9/11 and some other terrorist attacks that were carried out in Madrid -- in Madrid, in Spain, in Russia, the world realized that terrorism can hit everywhere and against every one.
Since then, the world is much more determined to combat terrorism. And the outcome is very positive. With Iran, it's absolutely the same, because for many, many years, they didn't believe us that they are having a military program. And they asked for proof.
More than that, only when they realized that the Iranians are developing new missiles with much longer range than Israel, of 2,500 kilometers, 3,000 kilometers, that we put within that range all the capitals of Europe, like London, Paris, Madrid, Rome, even the southern part of Russia, they have started to act.
The Iranians are trying to develop these days even longer missiles, with a longer range of 10,000 kilometers that can come until here to the States. So the world now is more determined to fight them back. The sanctions that were imposed by the European Union recently are much tougher than those light sanctions that was imposed by the Security Council.
And I believe that if those sanctions will include the oil -- the Iranian oil as well as the Central Bank of Iran, and if those sanctions will be imposed by the European Union, will be followed by the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, South Korea, I believe that finally it might work.
MORGAN: But does Israel now and Israelis -- do they feel vulnerable because of the Arab Spring and the sense of perhaps old allies aren't quite as trustworthy as they once were? Has it become a problem for you?
SHALOM: Every one of us, it doesn't matter if you're Israelis, Americans, Europeans, we are in favor of those people that are asking for freedom, for human rights, for liberty. Unfortunately in every country that they implemented the coup there or had an election, the Islamist groups came to power.
Those Islamist groups are saying very clear that they don't want to have any kind of engagement with Israel or the people of Israel. And that is very pity of course. We would like to believe that the people themselves that ask for freedom are not asking for a new regime that will be much more extreme or religious and don't want to have any kind of relations with Israel.
But like it looks now, in our view, it is not the Arab Spring. it might be the Islamic Winter.
MORGAN: And finally, vice prime minister, what is your view of what should be done right now in Syria? There is a growing sense that something has to be done, but not a consensus of what or when or how. SHALOM: In Syria, there is a massacre. It is a killing innocent Syrian civilians. I mean, President Assad with his collaborators of Iran -- from Iran and from the Hezbollah -- the Iranians and the militants of the Hezbollah are there. They are helping him to fire toward buildings full with innocent Syrians.
There are children and old people. And that is something that should be stopped. Of course, we were very sorry to find out that Russia and China have decided to veto that resolution against Syria. They have, of course, their own attitude, because they might look at it in a different way than we look at it, as the western world.
They don't want Syria to fall maybe because they believe that it will bring the Iranians down and maybe will enable the United States to take control of all of the Middle East, to take control of the oil fields. There are the oil reserves of the entire world for the next 150 years.
But more than that, I think that now the Russians and the Chinese that are under huge pressure, they realize that it can't last forever. And what I've heard only recently from the president of the United States that maybe the United States itself, with its allies, will maybe think about another way of stopping it. We should stop it and the sooner the better.
MORGAN: Vice Prime Minister Shalom, thank you very much indeed.
SHALOM: Thank you very much.
MORGAN: Now I want to turn to politics in this country, and a stunning role reversal for Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. Take a look at the latest CNN/ORC Poll. A surging Santorum has more than doubled his share of GOP voters since last month and is now in a virtual tie with Romney among Republicans nationwide. Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich are a distant third and fourth.
Tomorrow, Rick Santorum will be here to talk about how he's shaking up the Republican race. Rick Santorum, exclusive, tomorrow night.
Coming up, Only in America, a proper farewell for Whitney Houston, Jersey style.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LENNY KRAVITZ, SINGER: She was a friend and such an amazing, amazing artist. Why does it take death for us to appreciate folks? You know?
You look at the charts today and Whitney Houston is number one everywhere. How come we can't wake up when she's healthy and wonderful and say, damn that is blessed, blessed by her. Let's buy her album. Let's listen to it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: That was Lenny Kravitz paying tribute to Whitney Houston. Tonight, Only in America, a farewell to a cherished style, Jersey style. Whitney Houston's funeral in New Jersey this Saturday will be invitation only, as befits an international superstar.
But her home state couldn't let it go without its own tribute to a favorite daughter. Governor Chris Christie says he'll issue an executive order to have flags in the state fly at half-staff on the day of the funeral.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Whitney Houston was -- was an important part of the fabric -- cultural fabric of this state. And as I said on the night of her passing, I think, you know, she belongs in the same category from a musical perspective in New Jersey history with folks like Frank Sinatra and Count Basie and Bruce Springsteen.
She was a cultural icon in this state.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: The funeral will take place at Whitney's childhood church, New Hope Baptist in Newark. Her fans have been leaving flowers all day. Pastor Joe Carter says his congregation is hurting. He told CNN that voice is silenced, but she left us with so much.
And that surely is the truth. Some people have mocked the eulogies pouring in for Whitney Houston because of the drug related issues that she suffered in her personal life.
Of the cynics I simply ask this, how many people in modern entertainment history have brought as much joy to so many strangers' lives as Whitney and her incredible vice? The answer is very, very few.
She had a special, unique talent. And with her tragically early death, this is not the time to pour scorn on a woman who clearly found the road to superstardom impossible to handle.
Instead, let's acknowledge, remember and celebrate Whitney Houston's genius, never better heard than her defining performance of "I Will Always Love You."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: That's all for us tonight. "AC 360" starts now.