The very first real record, yes, plastic round thing that looks like a huge plate, that I got was Whitney Houston’s self titled debut. This was MY album, not something I had to share with my sister (well, I DID have to share since we were in the same room and shared a record player, but it was a gift for me!). This was not something pilfered from my dad’s records (he was a DJ known who called himself The Gemini Man and had scores of albums that we always wanted to play but included no Whitney) so when my birthday finally rolled around, I ran that album like nobody’s business.
Whitney was a “good girl”. She was pretty, she seemed nice and boy oh boy could she sing. Her songs were sorta inappropriate (Saving all My Love for you is about her lusting after another woman’s man) but could be forgiven as the voice was so sweet and clear. The ish stopped when her videos came on. I clowned her stiff dance moves but secretly thought we were kindred spirits. Throughout my teen and young adult years she sorta fell in and out of favor with me, my like for her wavering for reasons that I can’t remember. Her albums would be would be dutifully purchased, but they would get ignored for something with an edgier sound or the newest thing.
In later years I didn’t even consider her. She was such a caricature of herself, most memorable from that interview she did with Diane Sawyer. As Diane inquires about Whitney’s use of drugs Whitney fired back, “Crack is Whack!” and “Show me the receipts!” Then there was The Talk Soup clip from her reality show with Bobby Brown. I know I laughed and giggled when Joel McHale kept playing that clip of her telling Bobby off after Bobby dissed George Bush. It is, was, easy to forget that these celebrities, are people and not just available for my amusement. While she had her share of troubles with drugs, she will always be the person I belt out when I;m dialing the radio and hear one of her songs.
I don’t pretend to be heartbroken and sad but I do feel for her mother and her daughter. I don’t judge; addiction is a beast. But I did love her music. Inspired by new blogging friend Mary Ann who writes the Delco Daily Top Ten, here are my ten favorite tunes by Whitney Houston
1. I’m Every Woman.
Yes. This is a Chaka Khan song however Whitney’s version was fun, had a great video and would make me feel like I could kick butt and take names! For years I wore Brown lipstick it looked so beautiful on the glowing face of Whitney.
2. The National Anthem
Admitting this is akin to treason but there was that time I was going through a Rachee X phase and was anti US. Hearing Whitney sing the National Anthem made me appreciate my country and love it. Everything about the performance was great and she made me sing the anthem with gusto ever since.
3. The Waiting to Exhale CD.
I realize that she was not the only person to sing on this soundtrack but my mom blasted this CD so much when she and my dad were divorcing that it became the soundtrack to our house. Shoop, Shoop the Exhale song could be heard playing when my mom got up to head to the gym, after she got home from work or weekends as she dithered around the house.
4. I Will Always Love You
I had not watched The Bodyguard but knew about this song. I know its a Dolly Parton song. While Dolly may have sung it first, Whitney’s version is what I think of when I think of unrequited love. When she hits that high note I still get chills.
5. The Greatest Love of All
When Leaky was in preschool this was like the go to song for EVERY ceremony. Of course since these were toddlers the words were more like “I can leave the children in the future” but the sentiment still remains the same.
6. How Will I Know
Another dance around the house like no one was watching song. The hair, the day glo colored clothes. All 80’s baby! I may or may not have borrowed The Dad’s leather jacket and had a weave that made my hair look rather fluffy.
7. So Emotional
See above. Also, the title alone makes me love this one! Who doesn’t get emotional when they are thinking of their boo? Its sorta sassy with a funky beat and just smooth.
8. Run to You.
Another song that just makes me so sad for her wasted talent. Say what you will about Whitney Houston but her voice was just chilling in its beauty.
9. When You Believe
Mariah Carey teamed up with Whitney for this duet for The Prince of Egypt. Pop used to love this movie (particularly the most violent part with the hunt for the first born males…m’kay!). In the movie someone else sings the song but when Mariah Carey and Whitney harmonize I can’t wait to watch The Prince of Egypt again.
10. I’m Your Baby Tonight
Remember when music stations used to play videos? This was another of my favorite. I used to love Whitney through time. My favorite was beatnik Whitney. Yes. I flubbed the song may a time but I still think this is one of jams to sing and be bop to.
I think I may have to dust off my CDs and have a dance party in the house.