"Whitney would have wanted the music to go on," he told the crowd Saturday night at the hotel where she died

By Alison Schwartz
Updated February 12, 2012 01:50 AM
Credit: Larry Busacca/WireImage

The death of Whitney Houston has rocked the industry on the eve of music’s biggest night, but the show must go on – it’s what she would have wanted, music mogul Clive Davis said Saturday night.

“Whitney was so full of life. She was so looking forward to tonight,” he told those gathered Saturday night at The Recording Academy and Clive Davis’s pre-Grammy gala, which she was due to attend (although she was not scheduled to perform, he said, as previously reported).

“She loved music and loved this night that celebrated music,” he continued of the late singer, whose death is currently under investigation.

“Whitney would have asked that the music go on. And her family said the show should go on.”

With “a very heavy heart,” Davis also asked party goers to join him in a moment of silence.

“Now ladies and gentlemen,” he said after, “let the music begin.”

As the party started, Houston’s body was still in the Beverly Hilton hotel.

First to take the stage: Tony Bennett, who sang “How Do You Keep the Music Playing?”

“First Michael Jackson, then Amy Winehouse and now Whitney,” he said before advocating that the government legalizes drugs.

Bennett was followed by Diana Krall. Then it was Diddy who tried to push the event from somber to celebratory. “Whenever you saw Whitney, she hit you with that beautiful smile,” he said. “If we truly believe in God, then we should celebrate the life of Whitney Houston tonight.”

When Alicia Keys performed, she dedicated part of “No One” to Houston.

With reporting by CHUCK ARNOLD