Category: whitney houston

On this day in music history: December 1, 1990 – “I’m Your Baby Tonight” by Whitney Houston hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 2 weeks, also topping the Hot 100 for 1 week on the same date. Written and produced by L.A. Reid and Babyface, it is the fourth R&B and eight number one single on the pop chart for the superstar vocalist. Amid criticism from fans and critics that her music has become “too pop”, Houston is paired with the superstar R&B production team of L.A. & Babyface (having produced fifteen R&B number ones at that point) to re-establish Houston with her black fan base. The title track first single to Whitney’s third album, it is released in October, more than a month ahead of the full length. Entering the Hot 100 at #42 on October 20, 1990, it climbs to the top of the chart six weeks later. “Baby” also becomes the first number one pop single for L.A. & Babyface as songwriters and producers. The song is also spoofed on the comedy series “In Living Color” with Kim Wayans" as Houston singing “Got Your Babies Tonight” to Marlon Wayans as Bobby Brown". “I’m Your Baby Tonight” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: November 28, 1992 – “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 14 weeks, also topping the R&B singles chart for 11 weeks on December 5, 1992, and topping the Adult Contemporary chart for 5 weeks on December 19, 1992. Written by Dolly Parton, it is the biggest hit for the pop and R&B vocal superstar from Newark, NJ. Having established herself as a megastar in music, Whitney Houston sets her sights on the movies. She is hired to play the female lead opposite actor Kevin Costner (“Bull Durham”, “Field Of Dreams, “Dances With Wolves”) in “The Bodyguard”. Written by screenwriter and director Lawrence Kasdan (“The Big Chill”, “The Empire Strikes Back”, “Silverado”), the screenplay has been floating around for nearly fifteen years before it is finally made. For the soundtrack, Houston cuts “I Have Nothing”, “Run To You” and “Queen Of The Night”, three original songs penned for the film, a cover of Chaka Khan’s “I’m Every Woman” and the hymn “Jesus Loves Me”. Whitney is to also record of a cover of Jimmy Ruffin’s Motown classic “What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted”, but is scratched when it’s discovered that it had been recorded by Paul Young for the film “Fried Green Tomatoes”, released while “The Bodyguard” is still filming. Costner suggests that Whitney cover Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You”. Parton writes the song in 1973 after splitting with her mentor Porter Wagoner. It tops the Billboard Country singles chart in June of 1974. Dolly records it again for the film “The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas”, taking it to #1 on the country chart again. Producer David Foster re-arranges the song as an pop/R&B ballad, using Houston’s touring band led by musical director Rickey Minor to cut the basic track. Jazz saxophonist Kirk Whalum is the featured soloist. When Arista Records hears the finished track, they like it, but feel that the forty five second long a cappella intro might hurt its chances for radio play. Their fears are unfounded when it is released on November 3, 1992, becoming an instant smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #40 on November 14, 1992, it pole vaults to the top of the chart two weeks later, making the third highest jump to number one from outside the top ten in Billboard chart history from #12 to #1. It sells over four and a half million copies in the US alone, propels the soundtrack to 18x Platinum status. “The Bodyguard” soundtrack shatters the worldwide sales record held by “Saturday Night Fever”. “I Will Always Love You” also wins two Grammy Awards for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and Record Of The Year in 1994. After Houston’s untimely passing in February of 2012, the words “The Voice” and the title of her biggest hit are written on her epitaph. “I Will Always Love You” is certified 4x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: November 25, 1995 – “Exhale (Shoop Shoop)” by Whitney Houston hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week, also spending 8 weeks at #1 on the R&B singles chart on the same date. Written and produced by Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, it is the eleventh and final chart topping pop single and the seventh R&B chart topper for the New Jersey born superstar vocalist. Issued as the lead single from the soundtrack and film to “Waiting To Exhale”, which stars Houston with Angela Bassett, Lela Rochon and Loretta Devine. First time director, actor Forest Whitaker meets Babyface backstage after a show (while on tour with Boyz II Men) at the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, CA. Whitaker asks the singer, songwriter, and producer if he will score and write songs for the film adaptation of Terry McMillian’s book “Waiting To Exhale”. Edmonds agrees, helping to assemble a top notch group of female R&B vocalists that include Chaka Khan, Toni Braxton, Mary J. Blige, Chante Moore, Brandy, and TLC for the soundtrack album. Face writes the films’ title song especially for Whitney to sing along with “Count On Me” (a duet with gospel singer CeCe Winans). At first, Houston is not fond of “Exhale” particularly the songs’ chorus, but she eventually warms up to it. “Exhale (Shoop Shoop)” is an instant smash, debuting at number one on both the pop and R&B singles charts. The single also wins Babyface a Grammy Award for Best R&B Song in 1997. “Exhale (Shoop Shoop)” is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: November 17, 1992 – “The Bodyguard – Original Soundtrack Album” is released. Produced by David Foster, Robert Clivilles, David Cole, Narada Michael Walden, L.A. Reid, Babyface, Daryl Simmons, BeBe Winans, Walter Afanasieff, Ian Devaney, Andy Morris, Danny Kortchmar, Charlie Midnight and Roy Lott, it is recorded from Mid 1991 – Early 1992. The album serves as the soundtrack for the hugely successful film starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner. The film written by Lawrence Kasdan (“The Big Chill”, “The Empire Strikes Back”, “Body Heat”, “Raiders Of The Lost Ark”), is one of the first screenplays written by the Academy Award nominated screen writer, producer and director. Originally conceived as a film vehicle starring Diana Ross and Ryan O’Neal in the late 70’s, the script is stuck in development at Warner Bros for nearly two decades before it is finally made. With pop and R&B superstar Houston and Oscar winner Costner cast in the lead roles, the film is directed by Mick Jackson (“L.A. Story”). The accompanying soundtrack album features six tracks by Houston including the smash “I Will Always Love You”, which breaks the then current record of thirteen weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 set Boyz II Men’s “End Of The Road”. The album also features tracks by Curtis Stigers, Lisa Stansfield, Kenny G. & Aaron Neville, The S.O.U.L. System (featuring Michelle Visage), Joe Cocker (featuring Sass Jordan), and score composer Alan Silvestri. The soundtrack sells over forty four million copies worldwide, making it the biggest selling soundtrack of all time. The soundtrack wins three Grammy Awards including Record and Album Of The Year in 1994. “The Bodyguard” spends twenty weeks (non-consecutive) at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 17x Platinum in the US by the RIAA, earning a Diamond Certification.

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On this day in music history: October 26, 1985 – “Saving All My Love For You” by Whitney Houston hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week, also topping the R&B singles chart for 1 week on September 7, 1985, and topping the Adult Contemporary chart for 3 weeks on October 5, 1985. Written by Michael Masser and Gerry Goffin, it is the first pop and second R&B chart topper for the pop and R&B vocal icon from Newark, NJ. After Whitney Houston is signed to Arista Records in 1983, the nearly two year long task of recording her debut album begins in earnest. Among the producers selected to work on the project is songwriter Michael Masser, best known for penning classics including “The Greatest Love Of All” (also recorded by Houston for her debut), “Touch Me In The Morning” and “Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To?)” (both for Diana Ross). One of the songs chosen for Whitney is “Saving All My Love For You” co-written with lyricist Gerry Goffin (“The Locomotion”, “One Fine Day”, “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman”), a song about a woman having an affair with a married man. The song is originally recorded in 1978 by Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. (also produced by Masser), whose version is only a minor hit. Masser retools the song for Houston and records it with her in 1984, with the then twenty one year old singer delivering an emotional and flawless performance. The track is given a torchy, understated arrangement by veteran arranger Gene Page (Barry White, The Jackson 5), and features a sax solo by jazz musician Tom Scott. Issued as the second single from Whitney Houston’s self-titled debut in July of 1985, it becomes an across the board smash like its predecessor “You Give Good Love”. Entering the Hot 100 at #53 on August 17, 1985, it climbs to the top of the chart ten weeks later. The single wins Whitney her first Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female in 1986 (also performing the song live on the telecast), an honor made even sweeter when it is presented excitedly and emotionally by Houston’s cousin, vocal legend Dionne Warwick. Houston’s Grammy performance of the song also wins her an Emmy Award for  Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program also in 1986. “Saving All My Love For You” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston video shoot for “Something In Common” (November 1993)

Photos by Cesar Vera

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Whitney Houston photographed by Norman Seeff, 1990.

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Whitney Houston and Apollonia Kotero at the 13th Annual American Music Awards at Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on January 27, 1986.

Whitney won Favorite Soul/R&B Single for “You Give Good Love” and Favorite Soul/R&B for “Saving All My Love for You.”

Born on this day: August 9, 1963 – Pop and R&B vocal legend Whitney Houston (born Whitney Elizabeth Houston in Newark, NJ). Happy Birthday to this icon on what would have been her 56th Birthday.

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On this day in music history: June 27, 1987 – “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” by Whitney Houston hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks, also topping the Adult Contemporary chart for 3 weeks on July 4, 1987, and peaking at #2 on the R&B singles chart on June 20, 1987. Written by George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam, it is the fourth chart topping single for the pop and R&B vocal superstar from Newark, NJ. After the massive whirlwind success of her self-titled debut album, Whitney Houston begins recording her sophomore release in the Fall of 1986. Having produced the smash “How Will I Know” on the first album, producer Narada Michael Walden produces the majority of the new album, working on eight of the eleven songs on the finished LP. George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam, the husband and wife songwriting team responsible for writing “Know”, and the pop vocal duo known as Boy Meets Girl, are invited back to contribute a song to Whitney’s album. Initially, the pair come up with “Waiting For A Star To Fall” for Houston and submit it to Arista. The song is rejected as not being suitable for Whitney, and the duo end up keeping it for themselves, and scoring a major pop hit with “Fall” (#5 Pop) in 1988. Instead, they write the equally bouncy and infectious “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)”, in a similar vein to “How Will I Know”. All involved agree that it is a smash, and Whitney and Narada record the song. Issued as the first single from “Whitney” on April 30, 1987, it is an immediate smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #38 on May 16, 1987, it shoots to the top of the chart six weeks later. The 45 and import 12" versions of the single are backed with the non-LP track “Moment Of Truth” which also becomes a fan favorite. “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” wins Whitney her second Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female in 1988. Houston’s second album also enters the Billboard Top 200 at number one on the same date that “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” tops the singles chart, making her the first female artist in history to debut in the top spot on the US album chart. “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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