When Whitney Houston died shockingly young at 48 years old this February, headlines around the world lamented the passing of The Queen of Pop-a title never bestowed, but one obviously referring to Michael Jackson and his too-young fate. Those headlines weren't wrong. In the 1980s and into the '90s, Whitney ruled the pop world-her songs were the soundtrack of our lives. More: Her own life was extraordinary, and in the end extraordinarily tragic. In this new commemorative, LIFE Books seeks to celebrate-and try to explain-Whitney Houston. What a singer. What a life.