There’s a reason Whitney Houston was dubbed “The Voice.” The Newark native made history multiple times over in her nearly 30-year career. In October 2020, Sony Music announced that Houston is the first Black recording artist to have three RIAA Diamond-certified albums, one of which is a soundtrack.
Whitney Houston’s self-titled debut album breaks records
Houston’s self-titled debut album was released on Valentine’s Day in 1985. Despite having a slow commercial response, the album grew in popularity throughout the summer months.
It topped the Billboard 200 chart for 14 weeks in 1986. Whitney Houston generated three No. 1 singles: “Saving All My Love for You”, “How Will I Know,” and “Greatest Love of All” – the latter is a cover of the 1977 original by George Benson.
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The album became the first debut album – as well as the first album by a solo female artist – to generate three No. 1 singles.
By 1999, the album was certified platinum diamond by the RIAA, selling over 10 million copies worldwide. It eventually became one of the greatest selling albums of all time.
The singer’s follow-up produces more success
Houston’s 1987 sophomore follow-up broke the idea of a “sophomore jinx’ – a reference for artists who make it big on their debut and fall off with their second album.
Whitney features four No. 1 hits: “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)”, “Didn’t We Almost Have It All,” “So Emotional” and “Where Do Broken Hearts Go.” Each single peaked at No. 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. She made history the second time around by becoming the first female artist to achieve four No. 1 hits from one album.
Due to Houston’s No. 1 hits from her debut album, she garnered seven consecutive No. 1 hits from both albums combined. This feat surpassed a previous record set by the Beatles and the Bee Gees, who each had six No. 1 consecutive hits. Unlike many other artists, Houston’s seven consecutive hits were all non-duets, which was another historical feat.
The album was certified diamond by the RIAA in October 2020.
‘The Bodyguard’ soundtrack catapults Whitney Houston to superstardom
Not only did Houston’s first movie role provide her more iconic status with 1992’s The Bodyguard alongside Kevin Costner, but the accompanying soundtrack was equally successful.
The Bodyguard features Houston’s biggest hit: “I Will Always Love You,” which spent 14 weeks at No. 1. Other singles from the soundtrack include “I’m Every Woman” – a remake of Chaka Khan’s 1992 version – “I Have Nothing,” and “Queen of the Night.”
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Released in November 1992, The Bodyguard was the first album verified by Neilsen’s updated computerized system to sell more than 1 million copies within the first week of its release. It is the best-selling soundtrack album of all time, with over 40 million copies worldwide.
The soundtrack won the 1992 Grammy Award for Album of the Year.
Houston embarked on a worldwide tour in promotion of the film and soundtrack, while also performing her other hits. She performed over 100 shows over a period of a year and a half in North America, Asia, Europe, and Africa.
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