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Famous Like Me > Singer > H > Whitney Houston

Profile of Whitney Houston on Famous Like Me

Name: Whitney Houston  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 9th August 1963
Place of Birth: Newark, New Jersey
Profession: Singer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia
Whitney Houston

Whitney Elizabeth Houston (born August 9, 1963 in Newark, New Jersey) is an American Pop, R&B, and Soul and Gospel singer, songwriter, record producer, and actress. She was one of the most popular and successful singers of the 1980s and 1990s, receivung multiple Grammy Awards, American Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, two Emmy Awards, an MTV Video Music Award, and an MTV Movie Award. Her vocals are considered to be one of the best ever among pop singers.

Early years

Whitney's mother (Cissy Houston), first cousin (Dionne Warwick) and Godmother (Aretha Franklin) were all established Gospel/R&B/Soul singers, which caused her to always be around the presence of music while she was growing up. At the age of 11, she started performing as a soloist in the junior gospel choir at the New Hope Baptist church in Newark and would later go on to accompanying her mother in concert. After appearing her mother's 1978 album, Think It Over, she started as a backing singer for many other established acts, such as Chaka Khan, Jermaine Jackson, and Lou Rawls. At the age of 16, she was featured as the lead vocalist on the Michael Zager Band's single, "Life's a Party". In the early-1980s, she started appearing as a model in various magazines (and even appeared on the cover of Seventeen magazine.) In 1982, she made her first recording as a featured vocalist with the Jazz-Funk ensemble, Material. The song is called "Memories" and is featured on the group's album, One Down.

First album

Whitney Houston

By 1983, Houston had entered a worldwide contract with Arista Records after Arista chief Clive Davis heard Houston perform at a nightclub with her mother. The following year had her first commercial success when "Hold Me", a duet with Teddy Pendergrass, crept into the U.S. top fifty on the pop-singles chart while reaching the top five of the R&B charts. However, the rest of that year was taken up with the recording of a debut album. Clive Davis, who had taken a strong personal interest in the vocalist, insisted on selecting the best songwriters and producers in search of the definitive debut album.

Her eponymous first album was released in February 1985, and it began its slow rise up the album charts. Its steady climb was encouraged by the success of the singles "You Give Good Love" and "Saving All My Love for You", which reached numbers three and one respectively. The latter single also saw her on top of the charts in the UK and much of the rest of the world. The soul-influenced "How Will I Know" and the more soul-flavored "Greatest Love of All", both topped the U.S. charts in rapid succession.

A year to the month after its release, Whitney Houston hit number one on the album charts. It eventually sold over fourteen million copies in the U.S. alone, making it the best-selling debut ever by an American female artist (tied with Britney Spears's 1999 debut album Baby One More Time) Her success was acknowledged by a series of prestigious awards, notably a Best Pop Vocal Performance-Female Grammy for "Saving All My Love for You" and an Emmy for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety Program on TV.

Whitney's popularity was growing fast. She landed an advertising deal with Coca-Cola, guest-starred on Gimme a Break and Silver Spoons, and even auditioned for the part of Sondra Huxtable on the number-one show in the nation, The Cosby Show (she lost the part to Sabrina Le Beauf).


Houston cemented her superstar status on her next album, Whitney. Despite the unimaginative title, it sold over nine million copies in the U.S. "I Wanna Dance with Somebody", released in 1987, topped charts around the world, paving the way for Whitney to become the first album by a female artist to debut at number one on the U.S. album chart, a feat it also achieved in the U.K. Also, Houston had a record four number-one singles from an album (a record broken in 1988, when Michael Jackson took the record when he had five number ones from his album Bad).

The album included a version of "I Know Him So Well", sung as a duet with her mother Cissy, and the ballad "Didn't We Almost Have It All", which became her fifth successive U.S. number one shortly afterwards. However, even this was surpassed when "So Emotional" and "Where Do Broken Hearts Go" continued the sequence, making seven consecutive number one hits, breaking a record previously shared by the Beatles and the Bee Gees. Houston was also declared by the Guinness Book of World Records to have had the most consecutive U.S. number-one singles. In 1988, she made a controversial appearance at Nelson Mandela's 70th Birthday Party, where other acts accused her of behaving like a prima donna. By September, "Love Will Save the Day" had finally broken the winning sequence in the USA, where it could only manage number nine.

Another series of awards followed, including the Best Pop Vocal Performance-Female Grammy for "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" and Pop Female Vocal and Soul/R&B Female Vocal categories at the American Music Awards. Rumors abounded of film offers alongside such actors as Robert De Niro and Eddie Murphy; however, Houston turned down all movie offers at this time.

I'm Your Baby Tonight

Her recording of the title track to the 1988 Olympics tribute, "One Moment in Time", restored her to U.S. top-five prominence and topped the UK singles chart. The follow-up single "I'm Your Baby Tonight" put Houston back on top of the U.S. singles chart. Despite the relatively modest success of the album of the same name (number three in the U.S. charts), "All The Man That I Need" compensated by becoming her ninth number one. She became permanently enshrined in the hearts of the American public, however, when she took the microphone to perform "The Star Spangled Banner" at Super Bowl XXV in Tampa. The public response ensured that the version emerged as a single shortly afterwards. The single went gold and helped to raise funds for the American Red Cross. She also performed the song and her other hits at Norfolk, VA as she welcomed back US troops returning from the Gulf War with a highly rated HBO concert.

Early to mid-1990s

The Bodyguard

The Bodyguard Soundtrack

In July 1992, Whitney Houston married R&B singer Bobby Brown; the relationship proved turbulent. In the same year she made a credible acting debut in the film The Bodyguard alongside Kevin Costner. Houston recorded six songs for the phenomenally successful soundtrack album: cover versions of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You", which topped the U.S. chart for fourteen weeks and the United Kingdom charts for ten, and Chaka Khan's "I'm Every Woman (Whitney Houston song)", in addition to "I Have Nothing", "Run to You", "Queen of the Night", and "Jesus Loves Me". The album went on to sell seventeen million copies in the U.S. and thirty-seven million worldwide, making it the best-selling soundtrack album of all time. The film went on to gross over $120 million in the U.S. and over $410 million worldwide, making Whitney Houston a film star was well as a pop star.

Houston won numerous awards in 1993 including Grammy Awards for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, Record of the Year, and Album of the Year. In 1993, Houston gave birth to her only child, a daughter, whom she named Bobbi Kristina Brown. In 1994, Houston went on to win a record eight American Music Awards (tied with Michael Jackson's Thriller from 1984). Also in that year, Whitney Houston became the first American singer to perform in post-apartheid South Africa. Her concerts raised money to aid South Africa's children.

Waiting to Exhale

In 1995, Waiting to Exhale was released. The movie was very successful, earning over $70 million in the U.S. alone. The all female African-American soundtrack was an even bigger hit, selling over 10 million copies worldwide. It was written and produced by Houston's close friend Babyface. It featured three songs by Houston, the number-one hit "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)", a top-ten duet with gospel artist CeCe Winans, "Count On Me" and "Why Does It Hurt So Bad" an emotional song about love gone wrong.

Late 1990s to present

The Preacher's Wife

In 1996, Whitney Houston co-starred with Denzel Washington in The Preacher's Wife, a remake of the 1947 classic, The Bishop's Wife. The movie did not do as well as the others, but still brought over $48 million in the U.S. The soundtrack, a Gospel dominated album with fourteen new songs from Houston, sold poorly compared to her previous releases. However, it is still the best selling Gospel album of the Billboard Era with sales of more than 3 million copies. The two big singles from the album were the top five hit "I Believe in You and Me" and the surprise pop and dance hit "Step by Step".


In 1997, Houston starred in and produced a multicultural version of the classic fairy-tale Cinderella featuring Brandy in the title role. When Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella premiered on ABC-TV on November 2, 1997, it was watched by over sixty million Americans. The film went on to win an Emmy Award and has become the best selling video ever of a made-for-TV film.

My Love Is Your Love

My Love Is Your Love

Houston spent most of the 1990s concentrating on her acting career, but made a surprise return to the studio for 1998's My Love Is Your Love. The album, which was supposed to be a greatest hits collection, instead featured thirteen new tracks from Houston.

Enlisting the songwriting help of Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott , Diane Warren, and Wyclef Jean, among others, the album was a confident attempt by Houston to reclaim her success of years past. "When You Believe", a duet with Mariah Carey taken from the animated DreamWorks film The Prince of Egypt, was a transatlantic hit. However, Houston's fortunes were revived by the U.S. number-two single, "Heartbreak Hotel". The atypical and hard-hitting "It's Not Right but It's Okay", and the reggae inspired title track, both were U.S./U.K. top-five hit singles. "Heartbreak Hotel", "It's Not Right, but It's Okay", "My Love Is Your Love", and the fifth single from My Love is Your Love, "I Learned from the Best" all went on to become number-one dance hits for Whitney, making her one of the club scene's hottest artists. Houston also performed at VH1's Divas Live! in 1999, helping to make it the highest rated show in VH1 history at that time.

The Greatest Hits

In 2000, Houston got into trouble as she was found with marijuana at an airport in Hawaii and she skipped out on a performance at the Oscars (Faith Hill was a last-minute replacement for Houston). Nevertheless, in 2000, Arista released, Whitney: The Greatest Hits, a two CD compilation of Houston's biggest hits. "Disc One — Cool Down" featured a collection of her ballads as well as two new tracks, "Could I Have This Kiss Forever" (a duet with Enrique Iglesias) and "Same Script, Different Cast" (a duet with Deborah Cox). Both songs received considerable airplay in the U.S. "Disc Two — Throw Down" is a collection of her dance songs and remixes. It also featured two new songs, "Fine" and "If I Told You That" (a duet with George Michael). Neither song made a splash in the U.S.; however they were hits internationally.

Greatest Hits has sold over eleven million copies worldwide. In 2001, Houston and Arista Records agreed to re-release her version of the Star Spangled Banner to benefit the families of police officers and firefighters killed during the tragic events of September 11, 2001. It sold more than 300,000 copies, raised more than one million dollars, and earned Houston yet another top-ten single as it peaked at number six.

Love, Whitney was released on December 10th 2001 in the UK and was the follow-up to her multi-platinum 'Greatest Hits' collection. The album is a collection of ballads that have become Whitney's trademark over the years. It includes a collection of nine top twenty hits, including "Saving All My Love For You", "I Have Nothing" and of course the number 1 smash hit "I Will Always Love You". The album has sold 500,000 copies worldwide.

Just Whitney

In December 2002, Whitney released her fifth studio album, Just Whitney. The album reached number nine on The Billboard 200 and number three on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. The first single, "Whatchulookinat", did poorly on The Billboard Hot 100 (only reaching ninety-six), but it did manage to reach seventy-five on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart. The second single, "One of Those Days", reached seventy-two on The Billboard Hot 100 and twenty-nine on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart. While "Try It on My Own" only reached eight-four on The Billboard Hot 100 and eighty on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart, it did better on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart and the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, where it reached number one and number twenty respectively. In mid-2003, the remixes of "Love That Man" also managed to reach number one on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart. All in all, the album definitely wasn't one of her most successful, but it still went on to sell over one million copies in the U.S. and two million copies worldwide.

One Wish

In November 2003, Whitney released her first holiday album, One Wish. The album reached forty-nine on the Billboard 200, and fourteen on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. The album's single, "One Wish (for Christmas)", didn't chart on the Billboard Hot 100, but it did reach twenty on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. The album has sold over 500,000 copies worldwide.

Controversy and a new beginning

In the year 2000 Houston's public image became tarnished when it was revealed that she had been battling spousal abuse with her husband. Additionally she had clearly lost a great deal of weight and this, coupled with shaky (sometimes cancelled) public performances gave way to rumours of cocaine addiction. Many thought that her vocals sounded strained, and that her voice was worn down.

2001 brought Houston her first major producing assignment: the hit teen Disney comedy The Princess Diaries starring Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews, which grossed over $100 million dollars in the box office. She also produced two other major assignments for Disney: the 2003 TV film The Cheetah Girls, about the tribulations of an all-girl pop group, starring Raven-Symone, and The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (2004) grossed over $100 million. Although these efforts were successful, Houston was criticized by her fans for producing "bubble-gum pop-ish" material.

In 2002, Houston admitted in a television interview with Diane Sawyer to abusing cocaine, marijuana, and various other drugs. She claimed to have stopped using illegal drugs, but seemed to be making the admission to address the rumours circulating about her lifestyle. During the interview, Houston's comment about having never used crack cocaine because it was "for poor people" caused a new uproar. In March 2004, Houston entered a drug rehab program in California. Over the Spring and Summer of 2004, Houston performed at a few concerts in Europe (the Soul Divas Tour with Natalie Cole) and her own concert tour in Asia. In September 2004 she made a surprise appearance at the World Music Awards to sing for Clive Davis. They announced that they would soon start working on a new album for Houston, to be released in 2005, in which a duet with Alicia Keys is rumored to be featured. In March 2005, Houston's chances at a comeback appeared slim when she entered rehab for the second time. However, she finished rehab in May 2005. In an interview with Access Hollywood, Davis announced that he was returning to the studio with Houston to finish the album they had begun before she had started rehab. () As of the summer of 2005, a total of 10 tracks have been recorded and the photo shoot for the album booklet has been completed. It is predicted that the album will come out in either late-2005 or early-2006.



  • 1985 Whitney Houston #1 (14 weeks) US, #2 UK (sales: 13 million US; 24 million worldwide)
  • 1987 Whitney #1 (11 weeks) US, #1 UK (sales: 8 million US; 19 million worldwide)
  • 1990 I'm Your Baby Tonight #3 US, #4 UK (sales: 4 million US; 12 million worldwide)
  • 1992 The Bodyguard OST #1 (20 weeks) US, #1 UK (sales: 17 million US; 37 million worldwide)
  • 1995 Waiting to Exhale OST #1 (5 weeks) US, #8 UK (sales: 7 million US; 10 million worldwide)
  • 1996 The Preacher's Wife OST #3 US, #35 UK (sales: 3 million US; 5 million worldwide)
  • 1998 My Love Is Your Love #13 US, #4 UK (sales: 4 million US; 13 million worldwide)
  • 2000 Whitney: The Greatest Hits #5 US, #1 UK (sales: 3 million US; 11 million worldwide)
  • 2001 Love, Whitney #22 UK (sales: 500 thousand worldwide)
  • 2002 Just Whitney #9 US, #76 UK (sales: 1 million US; 2 million worldwide)
  • 2003 One Wish: The Holiday Album #49 US (sales: 500 thousand worldwide)

Total album sales: 61 million (U.S.), 134 million (worldwide); Total singles sales: 54 million (worldwide); Total record sales: 188 million (worldwide)


  1. 1984 "Hold Me" (featuring Teddy Pendergrass) #46 US, #44 UK
  2. 1985 "You Give Good Love" #3 US
  3. 1985 "Saving All My Love for You" #1 (1 week) US, #1 UK
  4. 1985 "How Will I Know" #1 (2 weeks) US, #5 UK
  5. 1986 "Greatest Love of All" #1 (3 weeks) US, #8 UK
  6. 1987 "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)" #1 (2 weeks) US, #1 UK
  7. 1987 "Didn't We Almost Have It All" #1 (2 weeks) US, #14 UK
  8. 1987 "So Emotional" #1 (2 weeks) US, #5 UK
  9. 1988 "Where Do Broken Hearts Go" #1 (2 weeks) US, #14 UK
  10. 1988 "Love Will Save the Day" #9 US, #10 UK
  11. 1988 "One Moment in Time" #5 US, #1 UK
  12. 1989 "It Isn't, It Wasn't, It Ain't Never Gonna Be" (with Aretha Franklin) #41 US, #29 UK
  13. 1990 "I'm Your Baby Tonight" #1 (1 week) US, #5 UK
  14. 1990 "All the Man That I Need" #1 (2 weeks) US, #13 UK
  15. 1991 "The Star-Spangled Banner" #20 US
  16. 1991 "Miracle" #9 US
  17. 1991 "My Name Is Not Susan" #20 US, #29 UK
  18. 1991 "I Belong to You" #54 UK
  19. 1992 "I Will Always Love You" #1 (14 weeks) US, #1 UK
  20. 1993 "I'm Every Woman" #4 US, #4 UK
  21. 1993 "I Have Nothing" #3 US, #4 UK
  22. 1993 "Run to You" #31 US, #15 UK
  23. 1993 "Queen of the Night" #14 UK
  24. 1994 "Something in Common" (with Bobby Brown) #16 UK
  25. 1995 "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)" #1 (1 week) US, #11 UK
  26. 1996 "Count on Me" (with CeCe Winans) #8 US, #12 UK
  27. 1996 "Why Does It Hurt So Bad" #26 US
  28. 1996 "I Believe in You and Me" #4 US, #16 UK
  29. 1996 "Step by Step" #15 US, #13 UK
  30. 1997 "My Heart Is Calling" #77 US
  31. 1998 "When You Believe" (with Mariah Carey) #15 US, #4 UK
  32. 1999 "Heartbreak Hotel" (featuring Faith Evans and Kelly Price) #2 US, #25 UK
  33. 1999 "It's Not Right but It's Okay" #4 US, #3 UK
  34. 1999 "My Love Is Your Love" #4 US, #2 UK
  35. 1999 "I Learned from the Best" #27 US, #19 UK #14 (R&B)
  36. 2000 "If I Told You That" (with George Michael) #9 UK
  37. 2000 "Could I Have This Kiss Forever" (with Enrique Iglesias) #52 US, #1 UK
  38. 2000 "Same Script, Different Cast" (with Deborah Cox) #14 US (R&B)
  39. 2001 "The Star-Spangled Banner" (re-issue) #6 US
  40. 2002 "Whatchulookinat" #96 US, #13 UK
  41. 2002 "One of Those Days" #72 US
  42. 2003 "Try It on My Own" #84 US


  • The Bodyguard (1992)
  • Waiting to Exhale (1995)
  • The Preacher's Wife (1996)
  • Cinderella (1997)
  • The Princess Diaries - Producer (2001)
  • The Cheetah Girls - Executive Producer (2003)
  • The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement - Producer (2004)


  • U.S. Sales records are certified by the RIAA and can be considered accurate. U.S. chart positions are official through Billboard Magazine. However, world sales are a close estimate, as no process exists that certifies global sales.

Sales records

  • In 1994, Houston received an award from the World Music Awards show, for being the "best-selling artist of the era". To date she has sold over 83 million records in the U.S., and over 184 million worldwide.
  • Houston's The Bodyguard was the first pop album in Korea to sell over a million copies.
  • The world's biggest selling soundtrack is The Bodyguard with over thirty-seven million units sold. It also ranks as the best-selling female album of all time
  • Whitney has fourteen gold singles in the United States, behind only Madonna among female aritsts.
  • The world's best selling debut album by a female is Whitney Houston, with over twenty-four million copies sold.
  • Houston is the first female artist to have two diamond albums (as of January 1994, both Whitney Houston and The Bodyguard were over ten times platinum). To date, Houston, Madonna, Britney Spears, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Shania Twain, and The Dixie Chicks are the only female artists with multiple diamond albums.
  • "I Will Always Love You" is the best-selling single by a female artist, and the biggest-selling non-charity single of all time, with world sales of nearly nine million copies.
  • The Bodyguard was the world's largest selling album of the 1990s with over thirty-three million copies sold from 1992 to 1999.
  • The largest initial certification of any album by the RIAA was for The Bodyguard, whose first certification was for sales of over six million copies.
  • Houston is the only female artist to have three albums sell over nine million copies each: Whitney Houston, Whitney, and The Bodyguard.
  • In the 1990s, Houston was the best-selling soundtrack artist in the U.S., with her three soundtracks selling over twenty-five million copies in the United States throughout the decade.
  • The Preacher's Wife soundtrack is the best-selling gospel album of all time.
  • Houston's version of "The Star Spangled Banner" is the only version to be certified platinum.
  • Houston holds the record for highest one week-single sales of 632,000 copies of "I Will Always Love You" in December 1992.

Chart records

  • The longest stay at number one from a solo song is Houston's "I Will Always Love You", though tied with Elton John's "Candle in the Wind 1997/Something About the Way You Look Tonight" and Mariah Carey's "We Belong Together" with fourteen weeks.
  • The first album by a female to debut at number one on the Billboard 200 was 1987's Whitney.
  • "The Bodyguard" sold a million copies in the final week of 1992 — at the time it set a record for the most albums sold in a single week. The record was broken in 1998 and again in 1999, but this was due to changes in the way the Billboard 200 was compiled, adding extras days' sales for Garth Brooks and Backstreet Boys. More recently, 'N Sync, Britney Spears, and Eminem have followed in the million-plus league.
  • "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)" was the third single ever to debut at number one on the Billboard Hot 100.
  • After spending one week at number one, "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)" spent the next eleven weeks at number two, the longest number-two stay in Hot 100 history.
  • Houston has the longest stay at number one on the Billboard Top Gospel Albums Chart, when "The Preacher's Wife" remained at number one for twenty-six weeks.
  • Houston is the only artist to claim seven consecutive number-one singles that charted on the Hot 100.
  • Whitney Houston's albums have spent fifty weeks at number one on the Billboard 200, more than any other female artist.

Other records

  • Houston has won twenty-one American Music Awards, more than any other female, and second only to Alabama's twenty-two awards.
  • Houston won a record of eight American Music Awards for The Bodyguard back in 1994. She is tied only with Michael Jackson, who won eight AMA's for Thriller at the 1984 ceremony.
  • Houston has entered the Billboard Hot 100 every year from 1985 until 2003.
  • Houston is the only artist with at least one Grammy, Emmy, MTV Video Music Award, MTV Movie Award, People's Choice Award, and Billboard Music Award to their name.
  • Whitney Houston won a record five World Music Awards at the ceremony in 1994, equalled only by Michael Jackson at the 1996 ceremony.
  • Whitney Houston is the most covered artist on the TV Show American Idol with over 1,150 of 70,000 auditions being songs of hers during the show's third season.

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Whitney Houston