Today, we look back at a superstar gone too soon. Whitney Houston, who passed away in March 2012, would have had her milestone 50th birthday today if she were still with us. Whitney is another great to have left this world too soon, joining a terrible laundry list of beloved entertainers who left us long before we were ready to let them go and long before their time (Heath Ledger, John Belushi, Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Holly, Cory Monteith, Aaliyah, I could sadly do this reminiscing all day). Fans of Houston’s (and let’s be honest, who wasn’t a fan of Whitney Houston’s?) watched her deteriorate over the last decade of her life, turning to drugs and poor choice in men until she finally lost her life over a combination of cocaine overdose, coronary artery disease, and drowning (she was found in the bathtub in her room at the Beverly Hilton).
But during her 30 years in the business, Whitney had a career that no one will ever forget or live up to and a legacy including 31 Billboard Music Awards, 22 American Music Awards, 7 Grammys, 2 Emmys, and more. In 2009, Guinness World Records cited her as the most awarded female act of all time. She released six studio albums, one holiday album, and three movie soundtrack albums, all of which have diamond, multi-platinum, platinum or gold certification. Whitney was spunky, soulful, ALL-woman, and breathtakingly beautiful. She will forever be remembered as one of the top performers and singers of all time. Let’s look back at some of Whitney’s best and remember her, with “bittersweet memories,” and with the awe and appreciation she will always deserve. And expect to have tears at times, these magical moments are pretty emotional.
1985 Saving All My Love for You on David Letterman. Whitney was there promoting her debut album and this performance most likely glued viewers’ eyes to the screen and introduced them to the powerhouse singer.
1986 How Will I Know music video. This song was also off Whitney’s debut album Whitney Houston and the video was enormously popular, introducing her to the younger generation through its frequent airplay on MTV.
1987 I Wanna Dance with Somebody video. Off Whitney’s second album, Whitney, this song is an upbeat, fun tune that everyone knows and loves. A Whitney classic and Grammy winner for Best Female Vocal Pop Performance.
1990 TThe Greatest Love of All, Arista Records 15th Anniversary Special. One of the most popular performances among both fans and non-fans is this astounding performance. So moving.
1991 Star Spangled Banner at Super Bowl XXV. Whitney’s rendition of the National Anthem is renowned as the very best rendition of all time. It was a particularly patriotic time in the U.S. due to the recently beginning of the Persian Gulf War and her version stopped America’s hearts and went on to be an enormous chart-topping single. This brings tears to my eyes its so awe-inspiring.
1994 I Will Always Love You, World Music Awards. Her biggest hit, this song is one of the best selling singles of all time and is in the Billboard’s top 50 greatest songs of all time. This is Whitney’s swan song and the one that she will always be most remembered for. It was sang at many of her tributes and is a heartbreaking song for only the world’s best singers to attempt. The video was wonderful but seeing Whitney sing it live is truly something else.
I found a 16 minute medley that Whitney performed at Arista’s 2000 20th Anniversary Special, which is a great compilation. But I did not include it because of Bobby Brown being part of it and I can’t help but think about the effect loving him had on her wellbeing and her health. But do Youtube this performance if you want to see Whitney perform her heart out and looking amazing later on in her career. Instead, I have included Jennifer Hudson’s spectacular rendition of I Will Always Love You at the 54th Grammy Awards, occurring only one day after Whitney passed. She was the perfect person to sing the song and it touched broken hearts all over the world who mourned the loss of one of the greatest, most favorite singers of all time. This song will always live on, is it works for anyone you may have lost in your lives, perfectly narrating the sweet sorrow felt when saying goodbye to a loved one.
We will always love you, Whitney!