As a music lover and a long time fan of Whitney Houston, I can honestly say that I remember the exact place I was when I heard of her death. It was an eye opening moment.
I believe that every time a singer makes an album they are giving you a part of themselves. Listeners become close to singers in a personal manner because there is a relationship developed. It is always there for you when you need it. It provides emotional outlets. It can ban people together. Music can be your best friend.
Well for me, it was my mom, Whitney, and I. I was raised on Houston’s timeless songs. I remember the center console of my mom’s car being full of cassette tapes, with at least a few of them being Whitney’s. I have many fond memories wrapped around Houston with my mom, from dancing in the car to watching The Bodyguard. I always enjoyed Houston’s music and my mom and I formed a bond around her.
So when Houston died, a part of that relationship died with it. I’ll always have the recordings, but the idea that Houston was actually gone, never to make new music here on Earth, was a saddening thought.
I know there is a lot of controversy surrounding Ms. Houston, but none of that matters now. Say what you want to say, but I am going to reflect on the legacy she chose to leave, her music and what it means to me.
Lately, I have been listening to Whitney’s first album. This is where she firmly established herself as a force to be reckoned with. There really is not much to say about it. It’s excellent in all it’s 80’s glory. Although this album reached beyond the music stylings of the 80’s. It brings back elements of soul that were being lost, and it was also beyond its time.
This album consists of 10 songs. Three of these songs reached the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 (“Saving All My Love For You, “How Will I Know,” and “Greatest Love of All”) . One of these songs peaked at three (“You Give Good Love”). Another was a hit in Europeon countries, but was never released here in the U.S. (“All at Once”), but it still got significant airplay.
Five hits out of 10. Not bad for your first album.
What I found especially intriguing about this album is the duets with Jermaine Jackson and Teddy Pendergrass that have largely gone unnoticed. She sings two with Jermaine Jackson, “Nobody Loves Me Like You Do” and “Take Good Care of Your Heart.” Jackson also produced these songs, as well as “Someone for Me.” My favorite is her duet with Teddy Pendergrass, “Hold Me.” A great way to end a nearly perfect album. She proved she could play with the best.
This album is where the voice was introduced to the world.
In retrospect, as I did research on Houston for this writing, I found that she was also close with her mother. She was once quoted saying, “My mother was the first singer I had contact with. She sang constantly to us around the house, in church.” It’s the same for me, except my mother doesn’t quite always hit the note. Although one thing she did was lay the foundation to what I am today. I believe Whitney’s mom did the same.
Music is one of the many ways my mom and I bonded and Whitney was always on repeat. So in a way, Houston was a small ingredient in helping my mom build a foundation, that I only hope to make her proud of.
She helped us both find the greatest love of all.