Remembering Whitney Houston: 7 Definitive Moments
9 August 1963 – 11 February 2012
Whitney Houston is one of the greatest singers ever lived and that is a fact. It’s almost unreal to think she left us seven years ago. Discovered by the amazing music producer Clive Davis who also introduced us to incredible names like Janis Joplin, Barry Manilow and Alicia Keys, Whitney Houston is one of the best vocalists that has ever graced the entertainment industry. Growing up in gospel and crafted numerous pop, R&B and gospel hits since she debuted in 1985, but unfortunately passed away too soon in 2012 due to coronary artery disease. As Mariah Carey said it best during Whitney’s tribute segment at the BET Awards in 2012, “We will always have the music. We always have that voice we all fell in love with.”
It has been seven years since Whitney Houston left us, but we continually have her music in our playlist whether we are getting down to “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” or in a romantic mood with “You Give Good Love.” We want to always remember the artist that the family members known as Nippy for her contribution to music and will always be one of the greatest icons in the entertainment industry. To celebrate the late diva’s legacy in music, here are seven amazing Whitney Houston moments we must never forget.
1. Whitney Houston debuted
Whitney Houston’s first self-titled album was released in early 1985 with the first lead single “You Give Good Love.” It was a rousing love song by Whitney that resonated very well with such clarity in her delivery. The singer has been known for her precision in vocal skills through her contemporary pop ballads that sat well with music lovers at the time of the release. It gave Whitney the crossover from R&B to pop audience immediately with the release of “You Give Good Love.”
2. The “Star Spangled Banner” moment
No one sang the United States of America’s national anthem the way Whitney Houston did at the Super Bowl XXV in 1991. She sang “Star Spangled Banner” with such strength and grace with a dash of the Whitney Houston soul. There were no gimmicks. It was a voice and her rendition in 1991 will go down in history as one of the best ever sung live. This iconic performance also made her the first artist to reach the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart with the national anthem.
3. She got The Bodyguard
1992 saw Whitney Houston’s acting debut alongside Kevin Costner in The Bodyguard. The movie received many negative reviews, but it was Whitney Houston’s cover of “I Will Always Love You” by Dolly Parton that really stamped her global recognition more than she already had. The soundtrack went on to become the biggest selling movie soundtrack of all time with more than 45 million copies sold featuring other amazing tunes like “I Have Nothing,” “Run to You,” “Queen of the Night,” and the Chaka Khan cover of “I’m Every Woman.” Whitney’s music definitely saved this movie project.
4. Waiting to Exhale with Whitney Houston
This is one of the most iconic movies about four African-American females that Whitney starred alongside Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine and Lela Rochon. Released in 1995 a few days before Christmas, it was a powerful movie about co-dependent and independent women that was accompanied by a collection of amazing tunes led by Whitney herself and super producer Babyface that garnered one Grammy Award for the lead single “Exhale (Shoop Shoop)”. After The Bodyguard, she really proved to the world that she is quite a leading lady on the silver screen too on top of the amazing vocals.
5. Playing Fairy Godmother in 1997’s Cinderella
This 1997 remake of Cinderella produced by Walt Disney Television was co-produced by Whitney Houston based on the French fairy tale by Charles Perrault. It was modernized with a stronger leading actress played by R&B singer Brandy and Whitney as the Fairy Godmother. The movie stars a diverse cast and the main attraction of this movie was definitely Whitney and Brandy’s musical performances that lifted the movie through their amazing voices. Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella received numerous nominations for the production of this classic remake that also made it one of the most culturally-diversed fairy tales ever released.
6. “When You Believe” with Mariah Carey
The tabloids have been making Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey rivals, but when the duo finally met for this magical 1998 moment, they proved everyone wrong. The two vocal divas gave us the iconic and spiritual “When You Believe” from The Prince of Egypt soundtrack produced by Babyface. Whitney and Mariah managed to perform the soaring single live twice at The Opray Winfrey Show before winning Best Song at the 1999 Academy Awards.
7. Whitney Looks to You
Released in 2009, I Look to You was Whitney Houston last studio album since Just Whitney in 2002 and Christmas album One Wish in 2003. The album spawned two amazing singles being the uplifting title track written and produced by R. Kelly, as well as “Million Dollar Bill” that was written and produced by husband/wife duo of Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz. She proved to critics that she is still one of the greatest singers of our time. It may not have been as successful as her previous releases, but she gave us some unforgettable tunes that we will still look back on many years from now on.
Cover Image: The Estate of Whitney Houston via USA Today
Writer | Kevin Yeoh
Kevin was the former editor of two music and lifestyle platforms in Malaysia. He is an all-round music enthusiast from the '90's R&B to K-Pop.