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Whitney Houston Fans Advised to Stay Away From Singer's Funeral

Flags flown at half-mast in New Jersey on Friday in her honor

People gather to view a display for Whitney Houston at the New Hope Baptist Church.
STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images
February 17, 2012 8:35 AM ET

Whitney Houston fans are being advised by police to stay away from the singer's funeral in Newark, New Jersey on Saturday, noting that security for the service at the New Hope Baptist Church will be very tight. The funeral, which will feature performances by Stevie Wonder and Houston's godmother, Aretha Franklin, and a eulogy by gospel singer Marvin Winans, will be streamed live over the internet by the Associated Press.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has signed an executive order mandating that all flags in the state will be flown at half-mast in honor of Houston today. "It is with deep sadness that we mourn the loss of Whitney Houston and extend our sincere sympathy to her family, friends, and countless fans," reads Christie's order. "It is appropriate to recognize the achievements and contributions, to honor the memory, and to mark the passing of Whitney Houston."

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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