RIP Lari White: Never knew I had a favorite country singer … Now I Know

Posted: 02/12/2018 in Uncategorized
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I never knew I had a favorite country singer. “Now I Know.”

I learned this Jan. 23.

Was doing one of the 40 or 50 online searches I do during a work shift and I saw a familiar face but the headline was out of my view.

I scrolled downward and the headline was crushing: ‘Now I Know’ Singer Lari White Dead at 52.

Whatever sports stuff I was searching for quickly took a backseat. I had to read that story immediately. Totally saddened me to learn how a rare abdominal lining cancer that she was diagnosed with four months earlier took her life and left three teenage kids without a mom.

They are holding a “Celebration of Life” for Lari White in Nashville on Monday evening and I decided I am going to do my part to keep her memory alive.

I once wrote an item on this website about rock singer John Waite’s top 10 songs and it remains one of the most searched things that causes people to land on my website. So five years from now, 10 years from now, people can still reminisce or learn about Lari White by seeing this post.

That works for me.

In case you didn’t know, Lari White would help people pronounce her name correctly by saying “it rhymes with starry night.” That is fitting because that certainly will be her star shining in the sky when you look upward at night.

Funny that I learned about her due to her three gigantic Top 10 hits off the “Wishes” album in the mid-1990s. But upon her death, I learned that she is famous to millions of other people due to her acting.

That is Lari White playing alongside Tom Hanks in the dramatic final scene of the movie “Cast Away.” … Yeah, I never knew … but here it is for you … http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afiuJ2tsoVA&t=17s

The other thing that has stuck out to me since White’s death is reading hundreds of comments from people who either knew her well, knew her slightly or had a chance meeting with her.

Every single person raves about her. I’m talking gushing remarks with details of her unparalleled kindness and caring nature.

Most people reaching a high level of fame who sing their hits on the Letterman and Leno shows develop a bit of an ego. Remember, I cover sports for a living and have lots of firsthand experience of seeing arrogance at its highest level. Or lowest level (Hey, Ryan Leaf!)

So it is rare for someone this accomplished to remain so grounded and be so beloved by everyone. Usually, a person’s success alone is going to create jealousy from someone at a minimum, and typically the increased demands and attention pull out some hidden warts.

I can’t find a single person who didn’t like Lari White. All I find are people who adore her. Pretty touching.

Oh yeah, so you are wondering how the heck I even know of this woman since I grew up listening to The Cars and The Doors and whatever band John Waite was in (Babys, Bad English) when he wasn’t a solo act … OK, here are the details.

I only know country music from 1994-98 because my sister and one of my brothers used to hang out at the big country bar in the Mission Valley area of San Diego.

So pretty much, if I wanted to hang out with my sister, I had to go to that place. (Um, please refrain from jokes about hanging out with my sister. Someone might read this to her).

It was different music than I was used to on some levels, but there were plenty of songs that weren’t too far off my comfort level.

The first time I heard “That’s My Baby” at that country bar, I had no idea who was signing it but I instantly knew it was someone with a stellar voice. Then I saw the video for the song and it was amazing just how much fun the woman was having. Such magnetic personality with a total goofy side. Impossible not to like her.

This video was my first time seeing Lari White sing that Top 10 hit … http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjPp01DQgsA

Then a few months later, I heard the stellar “Now I Know” and I somehow recognized the voice. I ended up buying the cassette tape (wow, might need a picture of that for the younger folks) as one of my few country music album purchases.

That song was not only a Top 5 hit, but it proved therapeutic for me following the end of the 1994 college football season. For whatever reason, when the work slowed down, I was hit with a lot of depression over a three-month span that I couldn’t seem to shake. So I would lay there at night (picture 3 a.m.) and play “Now I Know” five or six times in a row just looking for inspiration.

Eventually, I would get some sleep.

Here is Lari White’s biggest hit here … http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLn5pdWeBLE

Also on the same album was “That’s How You Know (When You’re In Love).” During the past few weeks, I have seen dozens of accounts of people saying that Top 10 hit was their wedding song and how people would write White to tell her that.

That is kind of cool. Almost as cool as having David Letterman inviting you to come sing it to the studio audience … http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNEz8y5eYc4

And like all albums with three major hits, there is another song on “Wishes” that would be the best song on most people’s albums. Got to say “Go On” is a pretty good fourth-best song for one cassette tape (Yeah, I have the CD now) … http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nm8GTVRRiP4

My country music window closed a few years later and I never heard any other songs from White at the time of their release. I know now that she eventually put the music career aside and was concentrating on acting and starring in a Broadway musical and with being a mom.

But I did find a very lively hit song called “Take Me” from her “Stepping Stone” album. And I think we get a good glimpse of her personality at the beginning.

She is trying to teach a kid how to pronounce her name and he is saying “Larry” or “Lori” and she just can’t get him to say it right. Her reaction when the kid calls her “Lori” is pretty funny … http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9ML95rnLY0

The title track song was new to me as well and here’s the link for that … http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PowEaoFdr0U

So I was thinking … I really knew nothing about what was going on in Lari White’s life for about 23 years. Nothing about her music, nothing about her acting. Flat-out nothing.

But this whole situation hit me kind of hard — she was just 52! — and I have been reading a lot of things about how fast Lari’s health went downward.

As 2017 reached its midway point, White probably figured she would live another two or three decades. She even released her first album in 13 years earlier in the year.

Heck, I saw an interview of her that is from February 2017 where she is so full of life and encouraging her fans to get on her email list or contact her on social media.

More Heck, I saw a video of her singing at a concert from early September. Less than two weeks after that, she was diagnosed with cancer.

She had been teaching online songwriting and voice lessons to people and in mid-November, she penned a letter saying she needed to step away due to the cancer. Two months later, she was gone.

We all know life isn’t always fair. We never understand why a creep like Charles Manson gets to live to age 83 while some 8-year-old kid gets a rare disease and dies without getting a chance to live.

So yeah, somebody who is a fabulous person by all accounts dying at age 52 is bothersome. And I’m not even factoring in the talent part of the equation.

I think that is why it hit me so hard and continues to have an effect. This was one person the current world needed … badly.

But perhaps heaven needed some reinforcements too. As in another angel.

RIP to Lari White, the best country music singing voice I have ever heard.

There are undoubtedly a lot of people who knew her personally singing one of her spectacularly sung lines:

“I always wondered how I’d live without you. Now I know.”

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