Whitney Houston (1963-2012) was an American singer of the 1980s and 1990s. She was the daughter of Cissy Houston, cousin of Dionne Warwick and wife of Bobby Brown, all singers in their own right. She died two years ago today.
She won six Grammy Awards and sold over 170 million records and videos worldwide.
Her songs that made the top ten on either the American pop or R&B charts:
- 1984: Hold Me (pop #45, R&B #5)
- 1985: Thinking About You (-, #10)
- 1985: You Give Good Love (#3, #1)
- 1985: Saving All My Love For You (#1, #1)
- 1985: How Will I Know (#1, #1)
- 1986: Greatest Love of All (#1, #3)
- 1987: I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me) (#1, #2)
- 1987: Didn’t We Almost Have It All (#1, #2)
- 1987: So Emotional (#1, #5)
- 1988: Where Do Broken Hearts Go (#1, #2)
- 1988: Love Will Save the Day (#9, #5)
- 1988: One Moment in Time (#5, #22)
- 1990: I’m Your Baby Tonight (#1, #1)
- 1990: All the Man That I Need (#1, #1)
- 1991: The Star Spangled Banner (#6, -)
- 1991: Miracle (#9, #2)
- 1991: My Name is Not Susan (#20, #8)
- 1991: I Belong to You (-, #10)
- 1992: I Will Always Love You (#1, #1)
- 1993: I’m Every Woman (#4, #5)
- 1993: I Have Nothing (#4, #4)
- 1995: Exhale (Shoop Shoop) (#1, #1)
- 1996: Count on Me (#8, #7)
- 1996: I Believe in You and Me (#4, #4)
- 1999: Heartbreak Hotel (#2, #1)
- 1999: It’s Not Right but It’s Okay (#4, #7)
- 1999: My Love Is Your Love (#4, #2)
“I Will Always Love You” was a huge hit worldwide, becoming one of the best-selling songs of all time.
She appealed to both blacks and whites, pretty much equally. Her music, though, especially before 1995, seemed like it was watered down to appeal to whites.
It was not just me. Nelson George in 1988:
Houston is extremely talented, but most of her music is so “color-blind,” such a product of eighties crossover marketing, that in her commercial triumph is a hollowness of spirit that mocks her own gospel roots.
The mastermind behind that crossover marketing was Clive Davis, then of Arista Records, the man who gave us Alicia Keys – and sidelined Phyllis Hyman. Among other things.
Before she became famous, Houston was a fashion model in the early 1980s, when she appeared in Seventeen, Glamour, Cosmopolitan and YM magazines.
In the 1990s she became an actress. She was good in “Waiting to Exhale” (1995) and “The Preacher’s Wife” (1996) and unforgettable in “The Bodyguard” (1992).
She was beautiful and talented, rich and famous – and then.
And then she looked like a well-dressed cracklady, frighteningly thin.
In 2002 Diane Sawyer asked if she was on crack. Houston famously said:
First of all, let’s get one thing straight. Crack is cheap. I make too much for me to ever smoke crack. Let’s get that straight, okay? We don’t do crack. We don’t do that. Crack is wack.
She was hooked on cocaine. Some blame her descent into drugs on Bobby Brown. She was married to him from 1992 to 2007. He beat her and was reportedly unfaithful. A woman so beautiful who sang such beautiful love songs and yet had such an unhappy marriage.
She was in and out of drug rehab in her last years. She drowned in a bathtub at age 48, with cocaine, Benadryl, Xanax, marijuana and Flexeril in her body.
She had one daughter, Bobbi Kristina, born in 1993.
– Abagond, 2014.
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