Category Archives: Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston Tribute – Whitney Houston

If you have missed any of the past Whitney Tribute articles, you can get caught up by checking out:

The Later Years
The Soundtrack Years
The Late ’80s/Early ’90s
and Whitney

And now the one that started it all. This album introduced us to Whitney, and she won the world’s heart. Whitney Houston was released on February 14, 1985. It topped the Billboard 200 chart for 14 weeks in 1986 and generated three number-one singles—”Saving All My Love for You”, “How Will I Know” and “Greatest Love of All”—on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making it the first debut album and the first album by a female artist to achieve that feat.

At the time that Whitney Houston was released, I was in a hard rock/heavy metal phase. But, Whitney’s incredible voice got my attention, and I loved every song I heard by her. She just had hit-after-hit-after-hit. I normally get sick of songs when I hear them too much. But that was not the case here. I loved this album when it came out, and I still listen to these songs today. So, let’s listen to some songs I selected from the album, in no particular order:

“Nobody Loves Me Like You Do”

This song was originally recorded by Anne Murray with Dave Loggins in 1984, and was a #1 country song.
Then Whitney recorded this song with Jermaine Jackson, and did an incredible job.

“You Give Good Love”

This song was released as the lead single from the album. It became a crossover hit, and peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

“Hold Me”

This is my favorite Whitney song that I never personally heard on the radio. It was a duet with legendary former Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes frontman, Teddy Pendergrass. The song actually debuted on the 1984 Pendergrass album Love Language. Then it was put on Whitney’s debut album.

“Greatest Love of All”

This song was written by Michael Masser and Linda Creed and originally recorded by George Benson for the 1977 Muhammad Ali biopic The Greatest. Clive Davis was initially against Houston recording the song for her debut album, but he eventually gave in after persuasion from Houston and Masser. Linda Creed wrote the lyrics in the midst of her struggle with breast cancer. She died from the disease in April 1986 at the age of 36. By that time, Whitney made the song a huge international hit. It was her third #1 hit, and remains her third biggest US hit, after “I Will Always Love You” and “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)”.

“All at Once”

Out of all the great ballads on this album, this one is my favorite:

“How Will I Know”

First of all, if you somehow have any doubt about Whitney’s vocal ability, check out her a cappella version of this song:

“How Will I Know” was Whitney’s third single, and second #1 hit. This was a great fun predecessor to “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)”. Originally, songwriters George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam had written the song’s demo for Janet Jackson. But, Jackson’s management team turned down the song.
Clive Davis and the gang had plenty of ballads and R&B songs for Whitney’s debut album. But they were looking for a pop crossover song. Clive heard the song, and knew it was perfect for Whitney, and the rest is history.

Here is the version we are all familiar with:

“Saving All My Love for You”

“You Give Good Love” may have been Whitney’s lead single, but we will end with “Saving All My Love for You”, which was the song that really put her on the map. It was the first #1 of her historical run of seven straight number 1’s.

Whitney won the 1986 Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and the American Music Award for Favorite R&B/Soul Video for “Saving All My Love for You”.

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Whitney Houston Tribute – Whitney

Now we are getting to “our” Whitney. We have already gone through her Later Years, Soundtrack Years, and Late ’80s/Early ’90s Years. Now we will take a listen to some songs from the classic 1987 album Whitney.

Whitney was Whitney Houston’s second studio album. She set all kinds of records with this album. It debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart the issue of June 27, 1987, becoming the first album by a female artist, and only the fifth album by a solo artist. The album remained at the top for eleven consecutive weeks, creating a record; the most cumulative weeks (25 weeks) at number one on the albums chart by a female artist during 1980s. Its first four singles—”I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)”, “Didn’t We Almost Have It All”, “So Emotional” and “Where Do Broken Hearts Go”—all peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making her the first female artist to achieve that feat. Along with three straight number one singles from the debut album, they established an unprecedented seven consecutive number one hits by a performer, surpassing the Beatles and the Bee Gees.

Here are some great songs from the album. The first two were not released as singles, but I still love them:

“I Know Him So Well” (duet with Cissy Houston)

“You’re Still My Man”

“Love Will Save the Day”

This song was the fifth single released from the album. It ended the #1 streak. However, it still made the top 10, peaking at #9 on the charts.

“Where Do Broken Hearts Go”

Wherever they go, that’s where they are right now, Whitney. We miss you!

“So Emotional”

This is still one of my favorite Whitney songs.

“Didn’t We Almost Have It All”

“I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)”

This was the first single from the album, and was one of her signature songs.

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Whitney Houston Tribute – Late ’80s/Early ’90s

We will continue to look back at the music that Whitney left us. We have gone over her Later Years and The Soundtrack Years. Now let’s go over her late ’80s/early ’90s work.

The Star Spangled Banner

“If you were there, you could feel the intensity. You know, we were in the Gulf War at the time. It was an intense time for a country. A lot of our daughters and sons were overseas fighting. I could see, in the stadium, I could see the fear, the hope, the intensity, the prayers going up, you know, and I just felt like this is the moment. And it was hope, we needed hope, you know, to bring our babies home and that’s what it was about for me, that what I felt when I sang that song, and the overwhelming love coming out of the stands was incredible.”

—Whitney Houston talking about how she felt at the moment when she belted out the national anthem at Super Bowl XXV.

Super Bowl XXV would go down in history as one of the greatest Super Bowls of all time, which ended with Buffalo’s Scott Norwood missing the game winning field goal at the end, giving the underdog New York Giants the victory.

However, Whitney made the Super Bowl historic before the opening kick-off. We were in the midst of the first Persian Gulf War, specifically Operation Desert Storm. The nation’s pride was high at the time.
And then Whitney delivered the greatest rendition of the National Anthem of all time. Anybody who performs the song, especially before a big event, will forever be compared to Whitney. And nobody will ever be her equal.

Here is the benchmark performance:

I’m Your Baby Tonight

She released her third studio album, I’m Your Baby Tonight, in 1990. It would take her 8 years to release her next album. I’m Your Baby Tonight was not as successful as her first two albums, but it was still a hit. Here are some of the songs from that album:

“We Didn’t Know” (with Stevie Wonder)

“I Belong to You”

“My Name Is Not Susan”


“I’m Your Baby Tonight”

“One Moment In Time”

Whitney recorded this song for the 1988 Olympics, which were held in Seoul, South Korea. The song would be Whitney’s 10th Top 10 hit.

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Whitney Houston Tribute – The Soundtrack Years

This is the continuation of my Whitney Houston tribute. The first article covered her later years. Now we will slowly work our way backward through time, and get into the movie years. As she was conquering the music world, Whitney moved on to the silver screen. She started off with a bang, starring in The Bodyguard with Kevin Costner. The movie and its soundtrack was a huge success. She then starred in Waiting to Exhale with Angela Bassett. That movie was also successful, debuting at number one, and eventually grossing $81.45 million. Finally, she starred in 1996’s The Preacher’s Wife with Denzel Washington, and directed by Penny Marshall.
All of Whitney’s movies did well. But, she also performed many songs for each film with the legendary soundtrack of The Bodyguard being the most successful.
Now, let’s work our way backward, beginning with…

The Preacher’s Wife

“I Believe in You and Me”

Waiting to Exhale

“Count on Me” (with CeCe Winans)

“Exhale (Shoop Shoop)”

The Bodyguard

“Queen of the Night”

“Run to You”

“I Have Nothing”

“I’m Every Woman”

“I Will Always Love You”

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Whitney Houston Tribute/The Later Years

At a time when I was in to hard rock, and listened to Motley Crue, Van Halen, AC/DC, and Def Leppard, a beautiful pop singer burst on to the scene, with an incredible voice. Whitney Houston brought me back to pop and R&B. She expanded my musical horizon without feeling guilty. She sang some soaring ballads, and fun dance music. Her music stands the test of time. I wasn’t one of those people that downloaded all of her music after she passed away last week. I already had it all, and still love it! As Whitney is laid today (I am writing this while the funeral is on), let us remember her for her music instead of her problems.
Since there are so many songs that I love, I will split this up over several articles. Let’s start with the more recent songs, and work our way back to her beginnings.

The Later Years

Whitney’s last studio album was 2009’s I Look To You. It was her big comeback album that we were all waiting for. She had finally dropped that dead-weight Bobby Brown, and seemed to be cleaned up. Unfortunately, her voice was a shell of its former glory when she performed live. But, her shell is better than most people at their best. Here are a couple of songs that I like from that album:

I Look to You

I Didn’t Know My Own Strength

Whitney released her 5th studio album in 2002 called Just Whitney… This is my favorite song from that album:

“Try It On My Own”

In 1998, Whitney released her first studio album in 8 years, My Love Is Your Love. Here are a few songs from the album. Whitney was obviously a heavy influence on Mariah Carey. They sang a duet together on this album.

Another song of note from this album is “Heartbreak Hotel” in which Whitney sang with Faith Evans and Kelly Price. On February 9, 2012, in a pre-Grammy party to celebrate Price’s nominations, the singer sang “Jesus Loves Me” with Whitney Houston in what turned out to be Houston’s last public performance two days before Whitney’s death.

And the title track, “My Love Is Your Love”, is a great song as well. Here are the songs:

“When You Believe” (with Mariah Carey)

“Heartbreak Hotel” (with Faith Evans and Kelly Price)

“My Love Is Your Love”

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R.I.P. Whitney Houston: August 9, 1963 – February 11, 2012

Sadly, and unfortunately not so surprisingly, Whitney Houston passed away today. We have lost one of the greatest and most beautiful voices of all time. She was 48. According to The Associated Press, Houston was pronounced dead at 3:55 p.m. in her room on the fourth floor of the Beverly Hilton hotel.

This happens on the eve of music’s biggest night — the Grammy Awards. Her death will probably cast a dark shadow over the event tomorrow. Her longtime mentor Clive Davis was to hold his annual concert and dinner today, and a representative of the show said it would proceed. Houston was supposed to appear at the gala, and Davis had told The Associated Press that she would perhaps perform: “It’s her favorite night of the year … (so) who knows by the end of the evening,” he said.

Whitney was part of music royalty. She was the daughter of gospel singer Cissy Houston, the cousin of Dionne Warwick and the goddaughter of Aretha Franklin. She burst on to the scene in 1985 with her debut self-titled album. Her lead single, “You Give Good Love” peaked at #3 on the Billboard chart, and #1 on the Hot R&B chart. Not a bad start. Then her follow-up single, “Saving All My Love” would be her first #1 single in both the U.S. and U.K. It would be the first of many #1 hits. The final single, “Greatest Love of All,” became Houston’s biggest hit at the time after peaking No. 1 and remaining there for three weeks on the Hot 100 chart, which made her debut the first album by a female artist to yield three No. 1 hits. Houston was No. 1 artist of the year and Whitney Houston was the No. 1 album of the year on 1986 Billboard year-end charts, making her the first female artist to earn that distinction.

She did not slow down. Her follow-up album, Whitney, continued her record run. “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me),” “Didn’t We Almost Have It All,” “So Emotional,” and “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” all peaked at number one on the US Hot 100 chart, which gave her a total of seven consecutive number one hits, breaking the record of six previously shared by The Beatles and The Bee Gees.

She hit another high point in 1991 when she gave one of the greatest performances of the Star Spangled Banner before Super Bowl XXV, while America was in the midst of Desert Shield/Desert Storm.

Whitney then became involved with acting as she starred in 1992’s The Bodyguard with Kevin Costner. The movie was a huge hit, grossing more than $121 million in the U.S. and $410 million worldwide. Houston executive produced and contributed six songs for the movie’s soundtrack. One of the songs became her signature song – “I Will Always Love You”.

Just before the movie was released, fatefully, she married New Edition bad-boy Bobby Brown. She returned to the big screen in 1995-96 with “Waiting to Exhale” and “The Preacher’s Wife.” Both spawned soundtrack albums, and another hit studio album, “My Love Is Your Love,” in 1998, brought her a Grammy for best female R&B vocal for the cut “It’s Not Right But It’s Okay.”

But in the meantime, Whitney’s life was starting to spiral out of control. She and Bobby Brown were into drugs pretty heavily, and had a rocky relationship.

She was constantly having meltdowns, and she was looking scary thin. Her decline continued and became more apparent on the relaity show, “Being Bobby Brown.” And she did not make herself look good on the infamous Diane Sawyer “Crack is Wack” interview.

Whitney and Bobby finally divorced in 2007. After that everybody was anxiously awaiting a huge Whitney Houston comeback. We almost had one with the 2009 album “I Look To You.” The album debuted on the top of the charts, and would eventually go platinum. However, when she was performing to promote the album, her voice was not even close to her formaer greatness. She sounded ragged and off-key.

Sadly, we will never see Whitney recover.

Here is my earliest memory of Whitney Houston – Her acting debut on Silver Spoons in 1985:

Here is the full episode on YouTube:

Part 1:

Part 2:

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