Whitney Houston Women’s T-Shirt
Finally, a way to show your respect for some of the greatest icons, legends and pioneers that paved the way past and present. Rock this gear in style and bring back the moments that made you, memories they gave you and/or lessons they taught you. Scroll down for a history lesson with some of our favorite clips.
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Whitney Houston: The Greatest Love of All (FULL MOVIE)
Whitney Elizabeth Houston (August 9, 1963 – February 11, 2012) was an American singer and actress. She was cited as the most awarded female artist of all time by Guinness World Records and is one of the best-selling recording artists of all time, with estimated sales of over 200 million records worldwide. Houston released seven studio albums and two soundtrack albums, all of which have been certified diamond, multi-platinum, platinum, or gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Her crossover appeal on the popular music charts as well as her prominence on MTV influenced several African-American female artists.
Houston began singing in church as a child and became a background vocalist while in high school. With the guidance of Arista Records chairman Clive Davis, she signed to the label at age 19. Her first two studio albums, Whitney Houston (1985) and Whitney (1987), both peaked at number one on the Billboard 200 and are among the best-selling albums of all time. She is the only artist to have seven consecutive number-one singles on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, from “Saving All My Love for You” in 1985 to “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” in 1988.
Houston made her acting debut with the romantic thriller film The Bodyguard (1992). She recorded six songs for the film’s soundtrack, including “I Will Always Love You“, which won the Grammy Award for Record of the Year and became the best-selling physical single by a woman in music history. The soundtrack album won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year; it remains the best-selling soundtrack album in history. Houston starred and recorded soundtracks for two other high-profile films, Waiting to Exhale (1995) and The Preacher’s Wife (1996), with the latter’s soundtrack becoming the best-selling gospel album in history.
Following the critical and commercial success of My Love Is Your Love (1998), Houston renewed her contract with Arista for $100 million. However, her personal struggles began overshadowing her career, and the album Just Whitney (2002) received mixed reviews. Her drug use and a tumultuous marriage to singer Bobby Brown received widespread media coverage. After a six-year break from recording, Houston returned to the top of the Billboard 200 chart with her final studio album, I Look to You (2009). On February 11, 2012, Houston was found dead at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California. The coroner’s report showed that she had accidentally drowned in the bathtub, with heart disease and cocaine use as contributing factors. News of her death coincided with the 2012 Grammy Awards and was featured prominently in international media.
Whitney Houston – I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Official Video)
1963–1984: Early life and career beginnings
Whitney Elizabeth Houston was born on August 9, 1963, in what was then a middle-income neighborhood in Newark, New Jersey. She was the daughter of Army serviceman and entertainment executive John Russell Houston, Jr. and gospel singer Emily “Cissy” (Drinkard) Houston. Her elder brother Michael is a singer, and her elder half-brother is former basketball player Gary Garland. Her parents were both African-American. Through her mother, Houston was a first cousin of singers Dionne Warwick and Dee Dee Warwick. Her godmother was Darlene Love and her honorary aunt was Aretha Franklin, whom she met at age 8 or 9 when her mother took her to a recording studio. Houston was raised a Baptist, but was also exposed to the Pentecostal church. After the 1967 Newark riots, the family moved to a middle-class area in East Orange, New Jersey, when she was four. Her parents later divorced.
At age 11, Houston started performing as a soloist in the junior gospel choir at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, where she also learned to play the piano. Her first solo performance in the church was “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah“.
While Houston was still in school, her mother, Cissy, continued to teach her how to sing. Cissy was a member of the group The Sweet Inspirations which also opened for and sang backup for Elvis Presley. Houston spent some of her teenage years touring nightclubs where Cissy was performing, and she would occasionally get on stage and perform with her. Houston was also exposed to the music of Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight, and Roberta Flack, most of whom would have an influence on her as a singer and performer. In 1977, at age 14, she became a backup singer on the Michael Zager Band‘s single “Life’s a Party”. In 1978, at age 15, Houston sang background vocals for Chaka Khan and Lou Rawls. Houston attended Mount Saint Dominic Academy, a Catholic girls’ high school in Caldwell, New Jersey; she graduated from Mount Saint Dominic in 1981. During her teen years, Houston met Robyn Crawford, who she described as the “sister she never had”. Crawford went on to become Houston’s best friend, roommate, and executive assistant. After Houston rose to stardom, she and Crawford were rumored to be lovers, which they both denied in 1987. In 2019, several years after Houston’s death, Crawford stated that their early relationship had included sexual activity, but that Houston ended this for fear of others’ reactions.
In the early 1980s, Houston started working as a fashion model after a photographer saw her at Carnegie Hall singing with her mother. She became the first woman of color to appear on the cover of Seventeen and appeared in Glamour, Cosmopolitan and Young Miss, and appeared in a Canada Dry soft drink TV commercial. Her looks and girl-next-door charm made her one of the most sought-after teen models. In 1982, under the suggestion of longtime friend Valerie Simpson, Houston signed with Tara Productions and hired Daniel Gittleman, Seymour Flics and Gene Harvey as her managers. With Gittleman, Flics and Harvey, Houston continued her burgeoning recording career by working with producers Michael Beinhorn, Bill Laswell and Martin Bisi on an album they were spearheading called One Down, which was credited to the group Material. For that project, Houston contributed the ballad “Memories“, a cover of a song by Hugh Hopper of Soft Machine. Robert Christgau of The Village Voice called her contribution “one of the most gorgeous ballads you’ve ever heard”. She also appeared as a lead vocalist on one track on a Paul Jabara album, entitled Paul Jabara and Friends, released by Columbia Records in 1983.
In 1983, Gerry Griffith, an A&R representative from Arista Records, saw Houston performing with her mother in a New York City nightclub. He convinced Arista’s head Clive Davis to make time to see Houston perform. Davis was impressed and immediately offered a worldwide recording contract, which Houston signed. (Houston had been offered deals by recording agencies before—by Michael Zager in 1980, and by Elektra Records in 1981—but her mother declined them on the grounds that Whitney had yet to complete high school.) Later that year, Houston made her national television debut alongside Davis on The Merv Griffin Show. She performed “Home”, a song from the musical The Wiz.
Houston did not begin work on an album immediately. The label wanted to make sure no other label signed her away, and Davis wanted to ensure he had the right material and producers for Houston’s debut album. Some producers had to pass on the project because of prior commitments. Houston first recorded a duet with Teddy Pendergrass, “Hold Me“, which appeared on his gold album, Love Language. The single was released in 1984 and gave Houston her first taste of success, becoming a Top 5 R&B hit. It would also appear on her debut album in 1985.
1985–1986: Whitney Houston and rise to international prominence
With production from Michael Masser, Kashif, Jermaine Jackson, and Narada Michael Walden, Houston’s debut album Whitney Houston was released in February 1985 and sold 25 million copies worldwide; Houston won her first Grammy Award with this LP. Rolling Stone magazine praised Houston, calling her “one of the most exciting new voices in years” while The New York Times called the album “an impressive, musically conservative showcase for an exceptional vocal talent”. Arista Records promoted Houston’s album with three different singles from the album in the US, UK and other European countries. In the UK, the dance-funk “Someone for Me”, which failed to chart in the country, was the first single while “All at Once” was in such European countries as the Netherlands and Belgium, where the song reached the top 5 on the singles charts, respectively.
In the US, the soulful ballad “You Give Good Love” was chosen as the lead single from Houston’s debut to establish her in the black marketplace first. Outside the US, the song failed to get enough attention to become a hit, but in the US, it gave the album its first major hit as it peaked at No. 3 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, and No. 1 on the Hot R&B chart. As a result, the album began to sell strongly, and Houston continued promotion by touring nightclubs in the US. She also began performing on late-night television talk shows, which were not usually accessible to unestablished black acts. The jazzy ballad “Saving All My Love for You” was released next and it would become Houston’s first No. 1 single in both the US and the UK. She was then an opening act for singer Jeffrey Osborne on his nationwide tour. “Thinking About You” was released as the promo single only to R&B-oriented radio stations, which peaked at number ten on the US R&B Chart. At the time, MTV had received harsh criticism for not playing enough videos by black, Latino, and other racial minorities while favoring white acts. Houston claimed during an interview with MTV in 2001 that she and Arista had tried to send the video clip for “You Give Good Love” to the channel, though the channel rejected it because it did not fit their playlist but later were able to get the clip to “Saving All My Love for You” on the channel after the song became a huge crossover hit with Houston saying the channel “had no choice but to play [the video] and I love it when they have no choice.” The third US single, “How Will I Know“, peaked at No. 1, and the video introduced Houston to the MTV audience. Houston’s subsequent singles from this and future albums would make her the first African-American woman to receive consistent heavy rotation on MTV.
By 1986, a year after its initial release, Whitney Houston topped the Billboard 200 albums chart and stayed there for 14 non-consecutive weeks. The final single, “Greatest Love of All” (a cover of “The Greatest Love of All“, originally recorded by George Benson in 1977), became Houston’s biggest hit yet; the single peaked at No. 1 and remained there for three weeks on the Hot 100 chart, making Houston’s debut the first album by a woman to yield three No. 1 hits. Houston was No. 1 artist of the year and Whitney Houston was the No. 1 album of the year on the 1986 Billboard year-end charts, making her the first woman to earn that distinction. At the time, the album was the best-selling debut album by a solo artist. Houston then embarked on her world tour, Greatest Love Tour. The album had become an international success, was certified 13× platinum (diamond) in the United States alone, and has sold 22 million copies worldwide.
At the 1986 Grammy Awards, Houston was nominated for three awards, including Album of the Year. She was not eligible for the Best New Artist category because of her previous hit R&B duet recording with Teddy Pendergrass in 1984. She won her first Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female for “Saving All My Love for You”. Houston’s performance of the song during the Grammy telecast later earned her an Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program.
Houston won seven American Music Awards in total in 1986 and 1987, and an MTV Video Music Award. The album’s popularity would also carry over to the 1987 Grammy Awards, when “Greatest Love of All” would receive a Record of the Year nomination. Houston’s debut album is listed as one of Rolling Stone‘s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time and on The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame‘s Definitive 200 list. Houston’s grand entrance into the music industry is considered one of the 25 musical milestones of the last 25 years, according to USA Today. Following Houston’s breakthrough, doors were opened for other African-American women such as Janet Jackson and Anita Baker to find notable success in popular music and on MTV.
1987–1991: Whitney, I’m Your Baby Tonight and “The Star-Spangled Banner”
Houston’s second album, Whitney, was released in June 1987. The album again featured production from Masser, Kashif, and Walden as well as Jellybean Benitez. Many critics complained that the material was too similar to her previous album. Rolling Stone said, “the narrow channel through which this talent has been directed is frustrating”. Still, the album enjoyed commercial success. Houston became the first woman in music history to debut at number one on the Billboard 200 albums chart, and the first artist to enter the albums chart at number one in both the US and UK, while also hitting number one or top ten in dozens of other countries around the world. The album’s first single, “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)“, was also a massive hit worldwide, peaking at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and topping the singles chart in many countries such as Australia, Germany, and the UK. Her next three singles, “Didn’t We Almost Have It All“, “So Emotional“, and “Where Do Broken Hearts Go“, all peaked at number one on the US Hot 100 chart, giving Houston a record total of seven consecutive number one hits; the previous record of six consecutive number one hits had been shared by the Beatles and the Bee Gees. Houston became the first woman to generate four number-one singles from one album. Whitney has been certified 9× Platinum in the US for shipments of over nine million copies and has sold a total of 20 million copies worldwide.
At the 30th Grammy Awards in 1988, Houston was nominated for three awards, including Album of the Year. She won her second Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)”. Houston also won two American Music Awards in 1988 and 1989, respectively, and a Soul Train Music Award. Following the release of the album, Houston embarked on the Moment of Truth World Tour, which was one of the ten highest-grossing concert tours of 1987. The success of the tours during 1986–87 and her two studio albums ranked Houston No. 8 for the highest-earning entertainers list according to Forbes magazine. She was the highest-earning African-American woman overall and the third highest entertainer after Bill Cosby and Eddie Murphy.
Houston was a supporter of Nelson Mandela and the anti-apartheid movement. During her modeling days, she refused to work with agencies who did business with the then-apartheid South Africa. On June 11, 1988, during the European leg of her tour, Houston joined other musicians to perform a set at Wembley Stadium in London to celebrate a then-imprisoned Nelson Mandela’s 70th birthday. Over 72,000 people attended Wembley Stadium, and over a billion people tuned in worldwide as the rock concert raised over $1 million for charities while bringing awareness to apartheid. Houston then flew back to the US for a concert at Madison Square Garden in New York City in August. The show was a benefit concert that raised a quarter of a million dollars for the United Negro College Fund. In the same year, she recorded a song for NBC‘s coverage of the 1988 Summer Olympics, “One Moment in Time“, which became a Top 5 hit in the US, while reaching number one in the UK and Germany. With her world tour continuing overseas, Houston was still one of the top 20 highest-earning entertainers for 1987–88 according to Forbes magazine.
In 1989, Houston formed The Whitney Houston Foundation For Children, a non-profit organization that has raised funds for the needs of children around the world. The organization cares for homelessness, children with cancer or AIDS, and other issues of self-empowerment.
With the success of her first two albums, Houston became an international crossover superstar, appealing to all demographics. However, some black critics believed she was “selling out“. They felt her singing on record lacked the soul that was present during her live concerts. At the 1989 Soul Train Music Awards, when Houston’s name was called out for a nomination, a few in the audience jeered. Houston defended herself against the criticism, stating, “If you’re gonna have a long career, there’s a certain way to do it, and I did it that way. I’m not ashamed of it.”
Houston took a more urban direction with her third studio album, I’m Your Baby Tonight, released in November 1990. She produced and chose producers for this album and as a result, it featured production and collaborations with L.A. Reid and Babyface, Luther Vandross, and Stevie Wonder. The album showed Houston’s versatility on a new batch of tough rhythmic grooves, soulful ballads and up-tempo dance tracks. Reviews were mixed. Rolling Stone felt it was her “best and most integrated album”. While Entertainment Weekly, at the time thought Houston’s shift towards an urban direction was “superficial”.
I’m Your Baby Tonight contained several hits: the first two singles, “I’m Your Baby Tonight” and “All the Man That I Need” peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart; “Miracle” peaked at number nine; “My Name Is Not Susan” peaked in the top twenty; “I Belong to You” reached the top ten of the US R&B chart and garnered Houston a Grammy nomination; and the sixth single, the Stevie Wonder duet “We Didn’t Know“, reached the R&B top twenty. The album peaked at number three on the Billboard 200 and went on to be certified 4× platinum in the US while selling 10 million total worldwide.
During the Persian Gulf War, on January 27, 1991, Houston performed “The Star-Spangled Banner“, the US national anthem, at Super Bowl XXV at Tampa Stadium. Houston’s vocals were pre-recorded, drawing criticism. Dan Klores, a spokesman for Houston, said: “This is not a Milli Vanilli thing. She sang live, but the microphone was turned off. It was a technical decision, partially based on the noise factor. This is standard procedure at these events.” Nevertheless, a commercial single and video of the performance reached the Top 20 on the US Hot 100, giving Houston the biggest chart hit for a performance of the national anthem (José Feliciano‘s version reached No. 50 in November 1968). Houston donated her share of the proceeds to the American Red Cross Gulf Crisis Fund and was named to the Red Cross Board of Governors. Her rendition was critically acclaimed and is considered the benchmark for singers; VH1 listed the performance as one of the greatest moments that rocked TV. Following the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks, the single was rereleased, with all profits going towards the firefighters and victims of the attacks. It peaked at No. 6 in the Hot 100 and was certified platinum.
Later in 1991, Houston put together her Welcome Home Heroes concert with HBO for the soldiers fighting in the Persian Gulf War and their families. The free concert took place at Naval Station Norfolk in Norfolk, Virginia in front of 3,500 servicemen and women. HBO descrambled the concert so that it was free for everyone to watch. Houston’s concert gave HBO its highest ratings ever.
Whitney Houston – Greatest Love Of All (Official Video)
Whitney Houston – I’m Your Baby Tonight (Official Video)
Whitney Houston – You Give Good Love (Official Music Video)
Whitney Houston – I’m Every Woman (Official Video)
Whitney Houston – I Have Nothing (Official Video)
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