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Grammy award winning singer Whitney Houston was inarguably one of the biggest female pop stars of all time. Her accomplishments as a hitmaker were extraordinary; just to scratch the surface, she became the first artist ever to have seven consecutive singles hit number one, and her 1993 Dolly Parton cover “I Will Always Love You” became nothing less than the biggest hit single in rock history. Houston was able to handle big adult contemporary ballads, effervescent, stylish dance-pop, and slick urban.

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Whitney’s debut album, Whitney Houston, was released in February 1985. Its first single, “Someone for Me,” was a flop, but the second try, “You Give Good Love,” became Houston’s first hit, topping the R&B chart and hitting number three on the Hot 100. Houston’s next three singles — the Grammy-winning romantic ballad “Saving All My Love for You,” the brightly danceable “How Will I Know,” and the inspirational “The Greatest Love of All” — all topped the Hot 100, and a year to the month after its release, Whitney Houston hit number one on the Billboard 200. It eventually sold over 13 million copies in the U.S., making it the best-selling debut ever by a female artist. Houston cemented her superstar status on her next album, Whitney; it became the first album by a female artist to debut at number one, and sold over nine million copies in the U.S. Its first four singles — “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)” (another Grammy winner), “Didn’t We Almost Have It All,” “So Emotional,” and “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” — all hit number one, an amazing, record-setting run of seven straight. In late 1988, Houston scored a Top Five hit with the non-LP single “One Moment in Time,” recorded for an Olympics-themed compilation album.

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Whitney returned with her third album, I’m Your Baby Tonight, in 1990. A more R&B-oriented record, it immediately spun off two number one hits in the title track and “All the Man That I Need.” Nevertheless, Whitney remained so popular that she could even take a recording of “The Star Spangled Banner” (performed at the Super Bowl) into the Top 20  though, of course, the Gulf War had something to do with that.  Her first feature film, a romance with Kevin Costner called The Bodyguard, was released in late 1992; it performed well at the box office, helped by an ad campaign that seemingly centered around the climactic key change in Houston’s soundtrack recording of the Dolly Parton-penned “I Will Always Love You.” In fact, the ad campaign undoubtedly helped “I Will Always Love You” become the biggest singles in pop music history. It set new records for sales (nearly five million copies) and 14 weeks at number one. Meanwhile, the soundtrack eventually sold an astounding 16 million copies, and also won a Grammy for Album of the Year.

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In 1995 Waiting to Exhale was released toward the end of the year, and the first single from the soundtrack, “Exhale (Shoop Shoop),” topped the charts; the album sold over seven million copies. For her next project, Whitney decided to return to her gospel roots; the soundtrack to the 1996 film The Preacher’s Wife, which naturally featured Houston in the title role, was loaded with traditional and contemporary gospel songs, plus guest appearances by Houston’s mother, as well as Shirley Caesar and the Georgia Mass Choir. In 1998, Houston finally issued a new full-length album, My Love Is Your Love, her first in eight years. Houston worked with pop/smooth soul mainstays like Babyface and David Foster, but also recruited hip-hop stars like Missy Elliott, Wyclef Jean, Lauryn Hill, and Q-Tip. The album sold even fewer copies than I’m Your Baby Tonight, but it received Houston’s most enthusiastic reviews in quite some time. Moreover, it produced one of her biggest R&B chart hits (seven weeks at number one) in the trio number “Heartbreak Hotel,” done with Faith Evans and Kelly Price. She also duetted with Mariah Carey on “When You Believe,” a song from the animated film The Prince of Egypt.

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Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey sing the nominated song -When You Believe,- at the 71st Annual Academy Awards, March 1999

In 2009 Whitney presented a new album titled I Look to You, featuring collaborations with Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz, R. Kelly, Akon, and Diane Warren. August 31, 2009 I Look to You was available in stores and digital outlets. I Look to you debuted on the U.S. Billboard 200 at number one with sales of 305,000, beating her previous career best first-week sale of 205,137 units with Just Whitney and it was her first album to reach number one in the US since 1992’s The Bodyguard. Additionally it became her fourth chart-topping album, thus extending her as the female artist with the most cumulative weeks at the number one position. The album spawned two official singles: The title song, which became a top 20 U.S. R&B chart single, and the international single “Million Dollar Bill”, which hit the top ten in several countries worldwide and also becoming a US top 20 R&B hit. Since its release, I Look to You has gone on to sell over 3 million units worldwide, earning platinum certification in seven countries and gold certification in eight.

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 01: Singer/ songwriter Whitney Houston is photographed for Tour Book on June 1, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Randee St. Nicholas/Contour by Getty Images)

On February 11, 2012  the night that music stopped. Whitney Houston passed away at the age of 48 years old. Her music continues to lives on in her memory, she is and will forever be the “Voice” . Today on August 9, 2016 we celebrate what would’ve been Whitney’s 53rd Birthday.

Check out Whitney’s “I Look To You” video below;

Check out Whitney’s “Million Dollar Bill” video below:

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