Whitney Houston had arguably one of the best voices in music. She was one of the powerhouse divas. She had a voice like an angel. She had a gospel background mixed with a pop and r&b sound, which made for a beautiful and angelic voice. It is easy to so why so many people were influenced by her voice. She was often imitated, but never duplicated. Some of the singers who were influenced by Whitney Houston are Mariah Carey, Brandy, Alicia Keys, Celine Dion, Toni Braxton, Monica, Jennifer Hudson, Leona Lewis, Pink, Lady Gaga, Mary J. Blige, Beyonce, Deborah Cox, Jessie J., Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears and Rihanna. All of these artists credit Houston for why they became singers. Most girls wanted to sing like Houston.
Throughout Whitney Houston’s career, she sold over 170 million albums and singles. It made her a superstar in a way that hasn’t been matched by too many artists. She has shattered records throughout her long-standing career. Her first album Whitney Houston was the best-selling album for a female as well as a new artist. This album was the first album by a female to go 10 times platinum. She was the first female artist to have seven consecutive number-one hit singles. These singles are “Saving All My Love for You,” “How Will I Know,” “Greatest Love of All,” “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me),” “Didn’t We Almost Have It All,” “So Emotional” and “Where Do Broken Hearts Go.”
Whitney Houston was the first female artist to have her album debut at number one with Whitney. Houston’s also one of the only artists with seven consecutive multi-platinum CDs. The CDs are Whitney Houston, Whitney, I’m Your Baby Tonight, The Bodyguard Soundtrack, Waiting to Exhale Soundtrack, The Preacher’s Wife Soundtrack and My Love Is Your Love. Houston achieved another status. She has the most number one cover songs with “Saving All My for You,” “Greatest Love of All,” “All The Man That I Need” and “I Will Always Love You.”
Whitney Houston was one of the only female artists to have multi-diamond selling albums. She is one of the only female artists to have her albums top the charts for 10 weeks or longer. Whitney Houston, Whitney, The Bodyguard Soundtrack and I Look to You spent a combined 46 weeks on the charts at number one. She holds the record for the most triple-crown hits by a female. She topped three charts. She topped the Hot 100, r&b charts and adult contemporary charts. The singles that accomplished this goal were “Saving All My Love for You,” “How Will I Know,” “All The Man I Need” and “I Will Always Love You.” Houston has the best-selling gospel album with The Preacher’s Wife Soundtrack. It spent an impressive twenty-six weeks at number one on the gospel charts.
Whitney Houston’s number-one singles contributed to her numerous awards. She has won over 20 AMAs. She is one of the only female artists to receive that many awards. Taylor Swift is the only female artist to have won more AMAs than Houston. She won 11 Billboard Awards for The Bodyguard Soundtrack. She received five WMAs. She set a record for winning the most WMAs in one year. She won an Emmy Award for her performance of “Saving All My Love for You” at the Grammys in 1986. She is one of the only artists to have won almost every award available to entertainers.
Whitney Houston has a lot of hit songs, but this Top 10 Whitney Houston Songs list will be about her number-one hits. It’s hard to believe that she doesn’t have more number one songs. She has 11 number ones so one had to be left off this list. Unfortunately, we chose not to add “All The Man That I Need” but it does deserve an honorary mention. The song could have easily been included on the list, but something couldn’t be included. It was a mental coin toss to decide what would make the list. Without further delay, here is the Top 10 Whitney Houston Songs list.
# 10 – Exhale (Shoop Shoop)
The first song on our Top 10 Whitney Houston Songs list is the soulful “Exhale (Shoop Shoop).” It is the lead single from the flawless soundtrack to Waiting To Exhale. This is an r&b ballad. This soothing song was the perfect accompaniment for the women in the movie. The women were struggling with the men in their lives. The instrumentation is very silky and smooth. The music is soft and not overpowering. It is a smooth jam with an incredibly catchy groove. Houston’s vocals are soulful and relaxing. She doesn’t use her big vocals in the song, but her voice is intoxicating. She proved that she didn’t have to use her big voice to sell a song. Simplicity said it best with this track. The song has a very easy chorus to remember. There aren’t too many words so you shouldn’t forget the chorus.
# 9 – So Emotional
The next song on our Top 10 Whitney Houston Songs list is the captivating “So Emotional” taken from the dynamic Whitney album. It is the third single from the album. It has a dance, r&b and pop sound. The guitar riffs give the song a rock edge. This is Whitney Houston’s sixth number one hit song. This song is about Whitney Houston being in love with an old flame and feeling emotional about it. Producer Clive Davis wanted Whitney Houston to sing a fast song so the writers came up with this gem. She proved she could sing a song with tempo and do it very well. The music has an old school pop sound, which may sound a little like bubble gum music, but it serves its purpose. Whitney Houston uses her big vocals and knocks another one out of the park. The writers had Prince in mind when they wrote the song. It’s hard to picture Prince singing a song like this after what Whitney Houston did to it. She does wonderful runs and holds amazing notes with the loud beat.
# 8 – I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)
This buoyant and bouncy song is the lead single from the sensational Whitney album. This is her first platinum single as well as her fourth number one. This has a dance, pop, r&b and post disco beat. This cheerful song is about someone wishing they could find love. The upbeat music makes you want to get up and dance. It’s reminiscent of Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” with Whitney Houston’s vocal flavor added to it. Whitney Houston’s vocals are sparkling and happy. For some reason, some critics were harsh towards this song when it was released. This joyous beat was a perfect marriage for her vocals. She sings the verses softly and then bursts into flames by the time she sings the chorus and bridge. She continues to soar after the bridge and never stops. Her incredible vocals kept this song from sounding like a cheesy pop song.
# 7 – I’m Your Baby Tonight
This sultry song is the lead single from the r&b flavored album I’m Your Baby Tonight. This has a moody dance and r&b beat. It also mixes funk and jazz music. This song was done so she could prove that she can sing r&b music. Before she recorded this song, she was singing pop music. This was a great switch for her because she proved that her voice has soul. The dominance of the piano gives Whitney Houston’s vocals a haunting sound. She does impeccable harmonies in the chorus. Her vocals are layered in the bridge because she sounds like she has a double. She didn’t stray away from her power vocals. They were on display throughout the track. This single was the first of many of her collaborations with singer/songwriter Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds. In fact, this was the first pop hit he and songwriter L.A. scored with Whitney Houston.
# 6 – Saving All My Love for You
This dazzling and sizzling ballad is from the incredible Whitney Houston album. This song is about her being in love with a married man. This is a remake. Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr originally did this song. This has an r&b and soul sound. The saxophone is the perfect accompaniment for Whitney Houston’s voice. She mixes soft and high vocals with the music change. She sings the song with a lot of emotion. She sounds seductive throughout the song. She makes you feel the love she has for another woman’s husband. Speaking of, there were rumors that this song was about her relationship with Jermaine Jackson. Whitney Houston admitted that she was involved with a married man when she sang this song. Regardless of whom the song is about, Whitney Houston does a tremendous job. You would never know that this song was on her debut album because she sounds like a professional.
# 5 – How Will I Know
This tremendous song is the fifth single from her outstanding debut album. This has a sweet and light pop and funk beat. The song is about her questioning whether or not a guy has feelings for her. This song was originally meant for Janet Jackson. It was supposed to be on her Control album. Janet Jackson turned down the song. Jackson’s loss was Whitney Houstonn’s gain because this was a number one song for her. The lead and background vocals sound incredible. Houston’s mother Cissy supports her well in the background. They do a great job together. The saxophone is on point. It gives the music a soulful edge. The only minor issue with the song is it sounds overproduced because she is louder than the music. Other than that, this song is flawless.
# 4 – Where Do Broken Hearts Go
The next song on our Top 10 Whitney Houston Songs list is the delightful “Where Do Broken Hearts Go.” This is the fourth song from the magnificent album Whitney. This has a pop and r&b sound. This ballad is about her trying to convince her boyfriend to come back to her. Houston didn’t want to sing this song. She thought it didn’t have enough depth. Clive Davis promised her that the song would be a hit for her and he was right.
Whitney Houston admitted in an interview that she hated the song when she first heard it. You would never know that she hated the song because she gave it her all. She performed it as if it were one of her favorite songs on the album. Her vocals are understated in the beginning of the song to match the soft music. She comes to life by the second verse. She gives her power vocals a nice warm up before she scores a touchdown. Here’s a little trivia about the song. Singer Smokey Robinson wanted to record the track, but the writers wanted to give it to Whitney Houston. The writers made the right call because Robinson would not have performed the song the way Whitney Houston did.
# 3 – Didn’t We Almost Have It All
This excellent ballad is the second single from the superb Whitney album. This song wasn’t supposed to be the second single. The label wanted “For The Love Of You” to be the second single. The label changed their mind and let this amazing song be the second single. It is a big and emotional track, which stops at nothing vocally. This song is one of the songs that prove that Whitney Houston is the power diva we all love. This song has an emotional finish that will make her peers envious that they didn’t get the track. The music is soft and soothing allowing her voice to be the star that it deserves to be. She starts the song softly and then explodes towards the end. Whitney Houston belts with such ease. There are live versions of the song that are just as wonderful as the album version. Whitney Houston holds flawless notes in the live versions. You won’t go wrong listening to any of the versions of the song.
# 2 – Greatest Love of All
This fascinating ballad is the final single released from the powerful debut album. This is another remake. George Benson originally performed the song. This has a soul and r&b sound. This song is a masterpiece. She sings it with a directness that gives its message of self-worth credibility. Her inspiring vocals convince the audience to believe in themselves no matter what. When the song builds to its climatic finish, she utilizes her soulful vocals. She also uses her church background to her advantage. She holds long notes, which showcases her outstanding voice. She made the song her own. It became one of her signature songs. It’s hard to imagine anyone else singing this song besides her. This song is so superbly arranged that it could have been number one on this list. Unfortunately that honor went to another worthy track.
# 1 – I Will Always Love You
The number one song on our Top 10 Whitney Houston Songs list is the record-breaking “I Will Always Love You” from the sensational Bodyguard Soundtrack. This power ballad is a remake of Dolly Parton’s hit song. Houston’s version has a pop, r&b and adult contemporary sound while Parton’s has a country sound. Both versions of the song went to number one, but Houston’s version is more popular. Houston didn’t want to record this track for the soundtrack. She wanted to sing Jimmy Ruffin’s “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted,” but it was already featured on another soundtrack. Kevin Costner suggested she sing Parton’s classic hit. It was the right decision because it became the biggest hit of Houston’s career. This song has crossover appeal. She starts the song off a capella. Her voice was the only music she needed. She showed that she could sing even without music.
Once the music begins, her vocals are more restrained. She builds to a dramatic finale. Her voice was unstoppable. She sounds compelling when she reaches the high notes. She doesn’t project her voice until the end when she is pleading for her love to know how she feels. This song is the epitome of amazing singing. She showed she could sing anyone’s song and turn it into magic. The same cannot be said about anyone trying to cover her songs. There aren’t too many artists who could or should remake any of her songs because they would not be able to hold a candle to the ultimate power balladeer. Houston is in a league all by herself when it comes to remaking songs.
Top 10 Whitney Houston Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2020
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