Whitney Houston ranks as one of the best-selling recording artists of all time, racking up over 200 million worldwide record sales. She also happens to be one of the best vocalists of all time and would go on to become an inspiration and an influence on most of the pop singers we know today and owns several US chart records.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the 17 best songs Whitney Houston ever released.
1. I Wanna Dance With Somebody
I don’t think there’s a lot of argument out there when it comes to I Wanna Dance With Somebody. It’s easily one of, if not, the best song Houston ever produced. Serving as the lead single for her 1987 album Whitney, it went on to win her a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, the second time she won that category. While it was initially met with mixed reviews by critics, those would soon fade.
On top of her Grammy win, it would bag an AMA for Favorite Pop/Rock Single and eventually find its way onto Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. On top of that, when it was released it immediately took the charts by storm. It was a number-one single internationally, taking the top spot of the Hot 100 and topping charts in 15 other countries.
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2. I Will Always Love You
Dolly Parton might have been the first to sing I Will Always Love You, but Houston took the song to an entirely new level. Her cover of the track would eventually become one of her best-selling tracks of all time, and it performed incredibly well on national music charts. It would go on to win Record of the Year at the Grammy Awards and broke a lot of records. Even to this day, it’s the best-selling single by a female recording artist in history, with no sign of that record being broken anytime soon.
3. I Have Nothing
I Have Nothing was Houston’s third massive hit in a row following I Will Always Love You and I’m Every Woman. It was released as the third single from The Bodyguard: Original Soundtrack Album in 1993 and rose up the Billboard Hot 100 to number four. Its success made her the first artist to have three tracks inside the top 11 of the Hot 100 in the same week and went on to be one of her most performed songs in live concerts.
Interestingly enough, it also is one of the most-performed tracks in the history of the show American Idol. As you probably assumed, it received numerous nominations for awards such as at the Grammy Awards, Soul Train Awards, and the Academy Award for Best Original Song.
4. How Will I Know
Houston recorded How Will I Know for her debut studio album, serving as the third single to be released from it. Originally, the song was meant for Janet Jackson, but she passed on it and the producers handed it over to Houston. It wound up being her second number-one single on the Hot 100 and made it to the top 20 in nine other countries, reaching number one in Canada.
The track was a springboard for her career, with the music video for it finding regular rotation on MTV to give her exposure and earning two nominations and winning one at the 1986 MTV Video Music Awards.
5. Where Do Broken Hearts Go
Where Do Broken Hearts Go served as the fourth single from Houston’s 1987 album Whitney and was officially released in 1988. While it definitely wasn’t a favorite song of hers, it still became one of her best. She even went as far as to say she hated it in an interview in 2000, but it still went to number one on the Hot 100 despite her disliking the shallow nature of it.
That chart performance set another record for her, as it was her seventh-consecutive number-one single. That record still stands today. Interestingly, it would re-enter the UK charts in 2012 and rise to number 74 after her unfortunate death that year.
6. Exhale (Shoop Shoop)
Houston was an amazing singer, finding work on film soundtracks in addition to her own recording career. Exhale (Shoop Shoop) was a major feature of the film Waiting To Exhale and was the lead single for the soundtrack in 1995. It was met with mostly positive reviews and dealt with the difficulties of growing up and letting go of things we need to.
Upon release, it debuted at number one on the US Billboard Hot 100, which was only the third time—at the time—a single had debuted at that position. It was also the 11th number-one single of her career and the final track of hers that would reach that position. It would go on to earn four Grammy nominations, winning Best R&B Song, and win her a few awards at other shows.
7. My Love Is Your Love
My Love Is Your Love is the title track for Houston’s fourth studio album in 1998 and served as the fourth single for that album. Another massive success for her, the song would reach the Top 10 of 23 different international markets, with a peak of number two in the UK and number four on the Hot 100.
Many critics ate the track up, hailing it as one of the best female soul songs to come out in years at the time of its release. It was also a wonderful example of Houston maturing as an artist, creating more deeper tracks, and evolving as her career went on.
8. I’m Your Baby Tonight
The title track of Houston’s third studio album, I’m Your Baby Tonight served as the album’s lead single and was released in 1990 to widespread acclaim by fans. Critics thought it was a safe song that fit pop formulas, but it made her the first woman to ever debut in the top spot of the Billboard 200.
The Soul Train Awards was a turning point for her, as the track saw her get booed by fans in 1989 for departing from her “black” sound. It would eventually receive a nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the Grammy Awards and would land her eighth number-one single on the Hot 100.
9. It’s Not Right But It’s Okay
The fourth single from Houston’s fourth album My Love Is Your Love, It’s Not Right But It’s Okay saw a wronged woman confronting her partner about an infidelity she found out about. It would win the Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and had solid chart success. It made the top five in the US, the UK, Canada, and Iceland while reaching number one in Spain.
Q Magazine would give the track its due in 2003, ranking it among their 1001 Best Songs Ever.
10. Didn’t We Almost Have It All
Didn’t We Almost Have It All almost didn’t make the cut as a single from Houston’s second studio album. Her cover of another song was originally meant to be the second single from the album, however, her production wanted all of her tracks at the time to be original works. So we got this song, and it was a huge success.
It was her fifth-consecutive track to reach number one on the Hot 100 and was an international Top 10 hit. While it didn’t win, it did receive a nomination for Song of the Year at the Grammy Awards and appeared pretty high on a lot of year-end charts.
11. Greatest Love Of All
Houston wasn’t the first one to record The Greatest Love Of All, and she wasn’t the first artist who made the song a hit. George Benson originally recorded it in 1977. That version would reach number two on the Hot Soul Singles chart and be the main theme song for the Muhammad Ali film The Greatest. Houston’s version would become even more well-known, though her title was slightly amended to include the word love, and it would eventually top every chart in the US, Canada, and Australia in 1986.
12. Saving All My Love For You
Houston would record her version of Saving All My Love For You eight years after Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. released their version. It would become the title track for Houston’s 1985 album and serve as the second single from the album. Overnight, the song became a global success. It was her first track to reach number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 and won her a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 28th Annual Grammy Awards.
13. All The Man That I Need
Houston’s cover of All The Man That I Need in 1990 would reach the top of several different US charts. It was originally recorded by Linda Clifford in 1982, but Houston included the song on her 1990 I’m Your Baby Tonight album and released it as its second single.
It was of course an international hit track for her, becoming her fourth biggest hit on the Hot 100. She also received her fifth nomination in the Best Female Pop Vocal Performance category at the Grammy Awards and an additional Soul Train Music Award nomination for Best R&B/Soul Single, Female for this song.
14. Same Script, Different Cast
Houston teamed up with Deborah Cox for this massive hit. Same Script, Different Cast sees Houston—Cox’s current lover’s former lover—warning her about how bad her new lover might hurt her, with Cox shrugging it off. No video was made for the song at the time, as it was released as a radio-only promo. It didn’t rise to the heights of her other tracks, only making it to number 70 on the Hot 100, but it’s a major fan-favorite song for the artist and gave her a popular dance club track.
15. Run To You
The fourth single to bless us from The Bodyguard: Original Soundtrack Album was Run To You. While originally a breakup song, it was flipped into a love track and would give her a fairly solid hit on the charts. It rose to number 31 on the Hot 100 and spent six weeks within the top 40 of that chart. It would earn a nomination for the 1993 Academy Award for Best Original Song, but A Whole New World from Aladdin would beat it out for the prize.
16. All At Once
All At Once is sort of a deep cut from Houston. It was released as a single in Europe and Japan from her debut studio album in 1985 but wasn’t released as a single in North America. It was her first hit in the Netherlands and would turn into a top-five hit in Italy and Belgium. While it isn’t her most popular song in the US by far, it still helped her find a global foothold as an international star.
17. One Of Those Days
One Of Those Days was one of Houston’s newer songs, coming from her Just Whitney album in 2002. The second single from the album, this track would be a modest success commercially. It rose to number 72 on the Hot 100 but found a lot more favor with fans than it did with critics.
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