Whitney Houston was “The Voice.” Debuting with her self-titled album in 1985—the best-selling album for a female and a new artist, and the first album by a female to earn three No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hits—Houston instantly became an R&B and pop icon, influencing everyone from Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, Alicia Keys, Britney Spears, Jennifer Hudson, Rihanna and many more along the way.
Throughout her career, Houston had 11 No. 1 hits and sold more than 170 million albums and singles, including seven consecutive number one singles—“Saving All My Love for You,” “How Will I Know,” “Greatest Love of All,” “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me),” “Didn’t We Almost Have It All,” “So Emotional” and “Where Do Broken Hearts Go.
Additionally, Houston was one of the only female artists to have multi-diamond selling albums and had seven consecutive multi-platinum CDs—Whitney Houston, Whitney, I’m Your Baby Tonight, The Bodyguard Soundtrack, Waiting to Exhale Soundtrack, The Preacher’s Wife Soundtrack and My Love Is Your Love.
Throughout her career, Houston won nearly every award available to an entertainer, including more than 20 American Music Awards, and an Emmy for her performance of “Saving All My Love for You” at the 28th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony in 1986. Whitney picked up six Grammy Awards, including her first in 1985 for Best Pop Vocal Performance Female for “Saving All My Love For You” and her last in 1999 for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for “It’s Not Right But It’s Okay.”
“God gave me a voice to sing with,” said Houston, who passed away on Feb. 11, 2012, “and when you have that, what other gimmick is there?”
Here are 10 of the top songs released by Houston throughout the 1980s and ’90s, ending with her penultimate cover of Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You.”
“The Greatest Love of All” (1985)
“How Will I Know” (1985)
“Saving All My Love For You” (1985)
“I Wanna Dance With Somebody” (1987)
“Where Do Broken Hearts Go” (1987)
“Didn’t We Almost Have It All” (1987)
“So Emotional” (1987)
“I’m Your Baby Tonight” (1990)
“I’m Every Woman” (1992)
“I Will Always Love You” (1992)
Photos: Courtesy of Sony Music Entertainment