Gone Before Their Time


Dutourdumonde Photography /

By Todd Camp

As Turtle Creek Chorale’s performances of “Divas Gone…But Not Forgotten” continue this weekend at Dallas City Performance Hall, prolific divas share the stage with a couple of short-lived, but no less iconic, performers who were gone long before their time.


Diva status: The Queen of Tejano Music

Props: Her outfits.Dubbed “the Mexican Madonna,” her attire was bold, sexy, and in your face — just as much as was her ample talent and vocal chops.

Signature song: “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom,” from the album Amor Prohibido may be her best-known single, but it was her 1995 album, Dreaming Of You, that established her as a cross over artist and a (vocal) force to be reckoned with.

Personal struggle: While her legacy is not tarnished by substance abuse, herfame and stardom would lead to her untimely downfall. On March 31, 1995, Selena was gunned down by Yolanda Saldivar — who, coincidentally — was the former president of her fan club. Two weeks after her death, then-governor of Texas, George W. Bush declared April 16th (her birthday) to be “Selena Day” in the state. In 1997, Jennifer Lopez portrayed the Latin crossover artist in a wildly successful biopic, and on March 16, 2011, the U.S. Post Office commemorated Selena as the subject of one of their “Latin Legends” memorial stamps.

Amy Winehouse

Diva status: Self-Destructive Chanteuse

Props: This north London-born singer was known for embracing a number ofmusical styles, from soul to reggae. Her second album, Back to Black, earned five Grammy awards, including three of the Big Four awards.

Signature song: Winehouse never cracked the Top 5 in the States, but her autobiographical hit “Rehab,”an ode to her own struggles with treatment for substance abuse, did reach No. 9, taking home three Grammys, including “Record of the Year,” “Song of the Year,” and “Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.”

Personal struggle: Winehouse shared some eerie parallels with Joplin, including a longtime struggle with drug abuse (including heroine and crack cocaine) and later alcohol abuse. Various bouts with treatment proved unsuccessful (as her cruelly ironic hit single attested) and her frequent relapses eventually lead to her death by alcohol poisoning on July 23, 2011 at the age of 27.