Whitney Houston - The Greatest Singer.

Whitney Houston was born at 9th August 1963 in East Orange, NJ, in a talented family, she was inspired and encouraged bythem to develop her natureal ability as a singer, and her family also provided the security and support she needed to become an international star.

Whitney's mother, Emily Drinkard (nickname Cissy), was born in 1933 in Newark. As a youngster she started singingin family gospel group, the Drinkard Sisters, who recorded for RCA Records. Cissy performed with Dionee Warwick's first group, the Gospelaires, and formed the four-piece group the Sweet Inspirations(featuring Sylvia Shemwell of Bobby&Sylvia) In 1970s Cissy worked both as a session singer and as solo artist. She not only released three albums (Cissy Houston in 1977, Warning-Danger in 1979 and Step Aside For A Lady, EMI 1980) but also worked with such varied and celebrated singers as Elvis Presley and her close friend Aretha Franklin. Remarkably she was the first singer to record 'Midnight Train To Georgia', later a big hit for Gladys Knight.
John Houston was his wife's manager when Cissy was out on the road, and when thier daughter, Whitney Elizabeth, was born, it was John who stayed at home to watch over her. "He was Mom's support network while she was out on tour." said Whitney, in tribute to her father. "He changed diapers, cooked, did my hair and dressed me, all the while providing Mom with advice and answers."
Together they lived in Newark, in the state of New Jersey, near New York. Although Cissy's work as a soul singer often caused her to be away from home, the family's strong religious convictions meany that they were regularly seen in the congregation at New Hope Baptist Church, where Cissy was Minister of Music. In the natural progression of things, the church was to become the humble venue for Whitney Houston's first solo performance.

With so much music in her parent's lives, it was only a matter of time before Whitney realized that music was in her blood: "Being around people like Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, Dionne Warwick and Roberta Flack, all these greats, I was tought to listen and observe. It had a great impact on me as a singer, as a performer, as a musician. Growing around it, you just can't help it. I identified with it immediately. It was something that was so natural to me that when I started singing, it was almost like speaking."

The first time Whitney's solo voice was heard in public was, naturally, at the New Hope Baptist Church. At the age of about 11 she sang 'Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah', and the reaction she received taught her something she would never forget."I was aware of people staring at me. No one moved. They seemed almost in trance. I just stred at the clock in the center of the church. When I finished, everyone clapped and started crying."
When Whitney decided to become a professional singer like her mother, it was not just that the clamour of applause stimulatied her so strongly - although that in itself was overwhelming - it was that a career as a vocalist was the only way she could imagine truly to repay God for the gift of music. "God gave me a voice to sing with," she said. "And when you have that, what other gimmick is there?"

Whitney's two older brothers, Michael and gary, have both helped her in her career with business and music respectively. Michael became her production manager on tour, arranging everything from the lighting hire to the catering crew, while Gary joined her as a singer, performing duets and backing vocals with his sister on stage.
It is clear that Whitney and her family have always been close, and are able to rely on each other for support. That relationship has given Whitney Houston a famously unshakeable selfconfidence, which is very much a part of her personality. And as famous as she is, Whitney always seemsdown to earth, because her simple family background and Christian faith remind her of her ordinary roots.

Throwing herself into her extra-curricular work, Whitney found a very promisin career in modelling. She appeared in US magazines Csmopolitan and Young Miss and on the covers of Glamor and Seventeen in 1981, describing herself later as "young, kind of innocent, but sexy". Whitney's modelling career began quite by chance. "My Mom and I were in New York and young man walked over to me and said that I should go to a modelling agency that was upstairs from where we were - that they were looking for someone like me and that I whould be good. I was a little suspicious, but my Momwas with me and I said, 'What the heck, let's go see about this.'" Modeling led to offers of acting roles on television, such as the American family comedies Silver Spoons and Gimme A Break, but at the same time Whitney was in even greater demand as a singer.

When Arista Records president Clive Davis fisrt spotted Whitney Houston on stage, he saw the gift of stardom in her eyes and signed her up almost on the spot, in 1983. Davis had founded Arista Records in 1975 and launched the careers of many singers and songwriters from Billy Joel to Barry Manilow. He made Whitney his own presonal responsibility, and famously added a clause to her contract to ensure that is he ever moved on from Arista, Whitney would be comming with him. "He is the only head of a record company who is really involved in and knows about music," said Whitney. Conscious of the dizzying effects of the music business lifestyle on an impressionable young woman, Davis made every effort to protect Whitney from the harsher side of the industry while nourishing her promising talent. By pairing the beautiful voice with the classiest and best songs and musicians, Davis knew that he would get a winning combination. Using the best minds in the business, he began laying the foundations for Whitney's career. But her fame did not arrive overnight.

Contary to the opinions of Whitney's critics, the relationship worked best because Clive and Whitney both had the same goals and shared the same beliefs about entertainment. Whitney told Rolling Stone in 1993: "I don't like it when they [mdedia critics] see me as this little person who doesn't know what to do with herself - like I have have no idea what I want, like I'm just a puppet and Clive's got the strings. That's bullshit. That's demeaning to me, because that ain't how it is, and it never was. And never will be."
Most of all, the reason that the partnership worked so well was that Clive Davis truly believed in Whitney's talant. Soonafter they began working together, they appeared on The Merv Griffin Show in US television and DAvis explained succinctly why he thought Whitney Houston woud become a star: "You either got it or you don't", he said. "She's got it."

Whitney Houston was paired with well-estabilished soul cronners like Teddy Pendergrass and Jermaine Jackson, who both releasted records featuring vocals by Whitney in 1984 - songs that appeared on her own debut album a year later. Houston and Jackson even made a cameo appearance on American soap As The World Turns mugging for the camera and sining the slushy 'Take Good Care Of My Heart'.
Meanwhile, as Whitney worked ceaselessly, Clive Davis cast his net far and wide to find the best songs for her to sing, and some of the pop worls's most prestigious songwriters - Michael Masser, Peter McCann, Linda Creed and Gerry Goffin - supplied the songs that would form Whitney's first collection.

Clive Davis did not stop his pursuit of excellence with the choice of songs for Whitney's first album, which was to be called, simply Whitney Houston. It was vital that the finished recordings had the class and quality befitting soul's newest queen. So far the album's producers Davis enlisted writer Michael Masser, George Benson's producer Kashif, and consummate all-rounded Narada Michael Walden.
"Clive Davis wasn't taking any risks", said Rolling Stone in thier review of Whitney Houston. "The president of Arista invested two years and $250000 into the making of her debut album...those pipes and those looks are not to be denied...with the right songs and settings, she could be an earth-shattering performer."

Whitney Houston - the album

Whitney's eponymous debut album was released in the US on Valentine's Day 1985, and although several months passed before the young artiste was truly a hit, the success of the album was historic. When the public finally sat up and took notice, the sales of Whitney houston swiftly went through the roof to the tune of 14 million. Not only was it the all-time best-selling debut album in the US, it was also the most successful solo album by any black female artist. When it reached the Number 1 spot, it stayed there for 14 weeks, and held a position in the Top 40 for over a year. US magazine Poeple predicted "It will take an act of congress to keep this woman from becoming a megastar."
The album really took off in 1986, to become the top-selling US album of the entire year, ahead of Madonna's True Blue. In Britain, where the album was released in December 1985, Whitney did not quite manage to outsell Madonna, but she did achieve the third best-selling album of the year. Unusually, a full eight of the ten songs on the album where romantic ballads, firmly setting Whitney's public image as a velvety-voice beauty with lovesick streak.

'Someone For Me'

Whitney recieved her first mention on the British press in Record Mirror under the unflattering sub-heading "Whitney WHo?", in MArch 1985. The occasion was the low-key release of her debut single, 'Someone For Me'. "The lady can sing," the feature informed us, "but only time will tell if she's really the new Aretha Franklin or Diana Ross of US press hype." In fact, 'Someone For Me' has a crashing beat and chunky funk bass-line, but none of the fragrant charm of Whitney's ballads - it is reminiscent of great, early Prince material like 'Controversy', but is almost completely unrepresentative of her other songs.

'You Give Good Love'

The first major single release from Whitney's new album was the smooth soul ballad 'You Give Good Love'. According to Clive Davis it was selected specially to give Whitney her big break "because we wanted to estabilish her in the black marketplace first. Otherwise you fall between the cracks, where top 40 won't play you and R&B won't consider you thier own." Not only was 'You Give Good Love' a big R&B hit in July 1985, it also made the hoped-for crossover to the mainstream pop chart. The single spent 13 weeks on the chart, peaking at Number 3, and Whitney Houston became a pop celebrity.

A heart-warming, selfless love song, 'Saving All My Love For You' was the single that made Whitney Houston a household name. Written by Gerry Goffin and Michael Masser, it first appeared as an album cut by Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis jr in 1978. Whitney's version was the Number 8 best-selling singleof the year in Britain, easily topping the chart on both sides of the Atlantic, although the record had been in the shopd for quite a while before radio stations and records buyers began to catch on.
The winning gambit that clinched the record's success was the video, which gave Whitney a major breakthrough on MTV. Whitney played a sultry, streamlined "other woman", whose sugardaddy was far away with his wife and family while she waitedpatiently for him to return. It was a moving little tale, in which Whitney Houston looked fresh and pure, but with a very sharp edge.

The following year, Whitney was presented with her first Grammy award, by her cousin Dionne Warwick, for Best Female Pop Vocal Perfomance for 'Saving All My Love For You'. The national US paper Herald Examiner wrote "Warwick bounced up and down with obvious delight as she read Whitney Houston's name as winner." When she took the stage to accept, Whitney simply said, "Oh, my goodness. I must thenk God, who makes it all possible for me!"

"My mom says that is you keep your eyes open and look around, you can learn a lot," Whitney told Steve Dale of the Chicago tribune in August 1985 during her first national "warm-up" tour. "I've already seen people come and go in this business. I'm being very careful with my career, taking everything step by step. I'm in no hurry." Performing in suppport of headliner Jeffrey Osborne, Whitney got plenty of exposure, and although the audiences were sometimes less than enthusiastic, the critcs were learning to love her.
"I always enjoy performing." said Whitney the following month, as her own tour began, "so it doesn't matter to me wherether I'm the opening act or the headliner. But it will be fun to get to do a whole 60-minute show."

'Hold Me'

'Hold Me' first surfaced in 1984 on the Teddy pendergrass album Love Language. The album marked the singer's comeback, following a very severe car accident, which left him confined to a wheelchair. 'Hold Me' is a syrupy ballad dominated well by Whitney's fresh, young sound. the single reached Number 44 in the US charts, and was finally released in UK in January 1986, also reaching Number 44.
To hear it today, the first track on Whitney's debut album, 'How Will I Know', sounds timid and girlish. Nancy Culp, writing in UK weekly Record Mirror, called it "a waste of a fair voice with such a forgettable song", adding that "the last laugh will be on good old Whitney unless the rest of her material is infinitely better than this".
It is a bounct, teenage song without much substance, but Whitney's fame was on such a high after Christmas of 1985 that her voice could scrcely fail to hit. 'How Will I Know' (the only track on Whitney Houston to be produced by Narada Michael Walden) became her second US Number 1 and was among the top ten best-selling singles of the year in the US. In the UK, too, fans were still hot for Whitney's vocals - the single reached Number 5, her biggest hit in 1986.
'The Greatest Love Of All' by Michael masser and Linda Creed was originally written for George Benson as the theme for Muhammed Ali's 1977 biopic The Greatest, in which the boxer portrayed himself. At the time is reached Number 24 in the US and Number 27 in the UK. However, in 1986 it was touched by the Whitney Houston magic. originally it was the 'B' side of US single 'You Give Good Love' and UK single 'Someone For Me'. It didn't make it to an 'A' side until a full year after the release of the album in America, but immediately went to Number 1 in the States and Number 8 in Britain. It was even nominated as the Song of the year at the Grammy Awards in february 1987.

Whitney's first ever world tour was a major event, with a very ambitious presentation. The star chose to perform in the round on a huge circular stage situated in the middle of each auditorium, like a boxing match, so that the entire crowd had a clear view. The staging gave each show a dramatic yet intimate feel, and was and enormous test of her skills as a performer, as she tried to play to all "sides" at once. David Sinclair in the national UK paper The Times called it "a measure of her extraordinary status after only one solo album", saying that Whitney "looked like a shimmering hologram, but her command of such an intimidating area of space was real enough through the set".
Perforing nearly all of the songs on her debut album, Whitney sang a simple set to show off her vocal talent, without any costume changes. The seven-piece band was set apart from the singer, on a smalle stage below her. Whitney was alone on the stage but for a cordless microphone, although she was joined by her brother, Gagy Garland, for the duets 'Hold Me' and 'Nobody Loves Me Like You Do'. The show began with Whitney singing the first bars of 'The Greatest Love Of All' teasingly from nehind a partition, before launching into the uptempo Michael Jackson hit 'Wanna Be Startin' Something' (which was one of her earliest recordings, on an Arista Records sampler LP).

Commenting in the Chicago Tribune, Daniel Brogan called Whitney "an uptown Tina Turner", saying that he could forginve her occasional ad libs and indulgences because: "It is easy to image just how tempting it is to cut loose when you have as much natural talent as she does." A regular highlight was the gospel standart 'I Believe' (once a hit for Frankie Laine), which David Sinclair said "swept towards the very highest of registers in waves of mounting vigour".
The tour was far more indicative of Whitney's roots than the album had been. Daniel Brogan was pleasantly surprised that Whitney seemed to be "a far bolder, far grittier performer than the MOR pop diva on Whitney Houston". "The evening's clearcut standout wasn't a Whitney song at all, "he said. "It was her passionately soulful reading of Jennifer Holliday's 'I Am Changing'. Houston sang the song with such convictionand determination that you couldn't help wondering if she was issuing a challenge to her audience to follow her in the new direction she is beginning to take."
Indeed, Whitney houston was changing, becoming less a starlet or supermodel of the Eighties, and more a world-class entertainer. by the time of her next major tour, there would be no one to equal her success. US Billboard magazine named her thier Artist of the year in 1986, and in January 1987 she won an astonishing five American Music Awards. At the time it seemed as if she had reached the peak of her career, and couldn't possibly improve on such success. But now we know otherwise.

"No surprises here," said UK magazine Smash Hits in May 1987. 'The great Whitney Houston announces her return from a ling lay-off with her usual brilliant singing...Welcome back Ma'am!"
With the foot-tapping, Caribbean precusion and irresistible baritone backing vocals, 'I wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)' was the pop single of summer 1987. Everybody remembers the catchy, repetitive chorus and cute outro ("Dontcha wanna dance? Say ya wanna dance. Danotcha wanna dance?"). On the seemingly improvised bridge section Whitney gives a gorgeous giggle which spreads a brilliant ray of sunshine into the song, It is fun, classic pop, and was inevitably another Number 1 hit in the UK and US in May 1987, but that wasn't all.
'I Wanna Danca With Somebody (Who loves Me)' was the Number 1 best-selling single of the year in the US, and in the UK it made Number 9 in the year-end chart-helped by Whitney having preformed the song on her one and only appearance on the legendary British TV show Top of the Pops. Written by Shannon Rubicam and George Merrill (of 'How Will I Know' fame), the song had the dubios honour of being the fifth video clip ever transmited by the satellite channel MTV Europe; but the greatest possible tribute to the classic hit was a grammy Award For Best Female pop Vocal Performance the following year.


The opening track of Whitney, the effervescent 'I Wanna Dance With Somebody', seems to fulfil all the promise of the cover photograph, which shows the singer ion a pose ver different from that on her debut album. gone is the untouchable look, to be replaced by a far more approachable, down-to-earth Whitney Houston - it could almost be the cover for a Whitney Houston aerobics workout video.
The second track, 'Just The Lonely Talking Again', slows the pace down with a slushy love ballad by Sam Dees (who wrote Larry Graham's US megahit 'One In Million You'). Three hit singles fullow - 'Love Will Save The Day', 'Didn't We Almost Have It All' and 'So Emotional' - followed by another ballad, 'Where You Are', a somewhat over-produced song of long-distance love. 'Love Is A Contact Sport' is probably the most popular of the tracks that never made it on to a 45, with a heavy kick drum driving the beat along and s very sexy vocal: "You gotta act untamed, If you wanna play the game, So grab my hand and...SLAM!" It was an early sign that Whitney was keen to shake off her "Miss Clean" image and admit there might be more to love than romantic words.
On song that had been considered for Whitney's first album was returned to in 1987: Michael Masser and Garry Coggin's 'You're Still My Man'. It is a simple and unpretentious song, which Whitney brings to a rousing conclusion, but the lyrics are for once a little too cliched to hold much meaning. On the other hand, the isley Brothers' song 'For The Love Of You' (a 1976 UK Top 30 hit written at the peak of their success) is a superbly laid-back soul song, which forces Whitney to restrain her passion and relax into a gorgeous three-part harmony with herself on backing vocals. Although not released as a single, it was justifiably nominated for a Grammy for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance at the March 1988 awards.

'Where Do Broken hearts Go' is followed by the closing track, 'I Know Him So Well', taken from the West End/Broadway hit musical Chess by lyricist Tim Rice and Abba stars Benny Andersson and Beorn Ulvaeus. "I love the song" said Whitney. "I thought it was a classic, actually...I was in Germany and these two young ladies who originally sang the song [Elaine Paige and Barbara Dickson] were in the dressing-room next to me and I could hear them singing it...And then, two years later, we were playing through some material for the new album and someone asked me 'Do you like this song?' And there it was!"
On Whitney's version, she is joined on lead vocals by her mother, which brings the album to a very moving climax. On the sleeve notes Whitney thanks her "Mommy" warmly for her contribution: "What a joy and honour to have had the opportunity to be able to do something with you that will be a treasure for me."
Whitney was a massive success, hitting the UK Number 1 and going to the top of US album chart in the first week of release, making her the first female solo artist ever to do so. The album sold five million copies in its first six months of release. It held a fleeting joint record for most US Number 1 singles from one album (four), which was beaten by Michael Jackson a year later. It became the Number 2 best-selling US album of 1987, and Number 3 in the UK's top sellers of the year. According to Russell Ash's book The Top 10 of Music, Whitney is also the Number 10 best-selling album of all time in the Netherlands! MEanwhile, Whitney Houston was selling almost as rapidly, making Number 8 in the year's US albums and topping 13 million sales by the end of 1987.

In May, Whitney Houston, along with more than 60 other singers and bands from around the world, appeared at the Montreux Pop Festival in Switzerland. Characteristically staying out of the limelight at her hotel in Lausanne, Whitney surfaced only twice during the week, for a press conference and a single performance.
Asked at the press conference if fame was turning her head, she said: "I'm coping with it. The only way that it affects me is that I don't have as much time as I used to by myself." She reiterated that fame was no big surprise to her: "What you have to remember," she said simply, "is hat I took my time with this. I didn't just run into this and say 'I want to be a star and singer.' My mother wasn't going to go for that...So i had to finish school; that's all that matters when you're young. So I think I've had my fun in my teen years. There's not anything I particularly miss."

Whitney's 1987 summer tour of the States was her most extensive to date, comprising multiple shows in 25 cities. She opened the tour in Tampa, Florida on July 4 and wound up in Montreal, Canada, on August 28. It was a gruelling schedule - "By the end of tour you really understand the phrase 'There's no place like home'!" she said.
The setting remained "in the round", but this time the song list was far more rich with two full albums to drow on. Cissy houston often joined Whitney to sing back-up vocals on the gospel standard 'I Believe' and then remained on stage for the big-build-up ballads 'Didn't We Almost Have It All' and 'The Greatest Love Of All'. John Pareles on the New York Times lavishly praised Whitney's sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden, calling her "an encyclopedic, restless virtuoso" whose voice invorporated "everyone from Aretha Franklin to Barbara Streisand to Diana Ross to Al Green". he continued: "She can deliver a gospel rasp, a velvety coo, a floating soprano and cheerleader's whoop," in an article titled: "Whitney Houston Can Sing Up a Storm".

'Didn't We Almost Have It All'

Described by Caroline Sullivan as "irredeemably gooey", Whitney Houstion's fifth US Number 1 single is a brilliant ballad - another from the pen of Michael Masser - which Whitney performed with great passion. by final line of the third verse Whitney's voice is so loud that it is shaking the speakers as she sings: "Once you know what love is, you never let it end." It is a touching recollection of a love affair that has gone too far, and was nominated for a Grammy Award for the 1987 Song of the Year.
However, the song itself was among those noted by critics who claimed that Whitney's performance lacked the pain of the hearbreak she sang about, and that she could never truly be called a soul singer, because she did not sing from her soul. Smash Hits again demonstrated their lack of judgement by writing: "She lumbered with an incredibly bland, soulless voice. there's never any emotion in the way she sings." To this accusation, Whitney was quick to retort: "I do sing from my soul," she said. "I'm only 24, so I haven't gone through as much as Billie Holiday. I wasn't a drug addict, I've never felt dark and melancholic. I had a good childhood, no tragedies, and I can only sing from my own life experiences."

'So Emotional'

'So Emotional' was written by the hit-making team William Steinberg and Tom Kelly. It is a crossover rock/pop/dance-floor single, with a pounding rock back-beat and raunchy lead break played by Carnado Rustici on guitar synth; it takes Whitney's voice from the highest pitch to the lowest funky growl. It was her sixth US Number 1 single in a row, equalling a record previously shared only by the Beatles and the Bee Gees. The single was Whitney's first stap away from the "tame" sound of love ballads into something more raw and gritty, and although she has never left the romantic songs behind, she has gone on to spread her wings wider and wider. Even heavy metal singer Zodiac Mindwarp (guest singles reviewr in Smash Hits) was impressed by the record. "This is a good record," he wrote, "and very tough for Whitney. She's got wonderful legs and she's a great singer."

A Very Special Christmas

A Very Special Christmas (1987) is an album of exclusive "Christmassy" recording by celebrated artists compiled to raise money for Special Plympics international. The beautiful red-and-gold sleeve was designed by US artist Keith Haring, and the album features tracks by Madonna, Bon Jovi, Sting, U2, the Pointer Sisters, Eurythmics, Bruce Springsteen and others. Whitney contributed the gospel song 'Do You hear What I Hear?' aided by vocal from Darlene love, a veteran of Phil Spector's Sixties pop factory. The song reappeared on CD version of 'I Will Always Love You' in 1992.

Although it is a powerfully emotional ballad 'Where Do Broken Hearts Go' is likely to be remembered not for its music and lyric but for breaking a long-standing US chart record. Seizing the top spot once more in February 1988, Whitney was the first artist in history to have seven conseccutive Billboard Number 1 singles.
In March 1988 Whitney was awarded the Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for 'I Wanna Dance With Somebody'. At the awards she cried out "I love you Clive! I love you Arista!" and later she said to reporters "I can't tell you how I feel. It's so...emotional!"

Meanwhile, Whitney had reached the UK on her latest world tour, making appearances at Birmingham's NEC (five consecutive nights) and London's Wembley Arena. The Wembley dates accounted for yet another broken record - a run of nine shows, which was the most by any solo performer at that time.
The tour was once again "in the round", and Whitney was led through the crowd to the stage to begin the set with a rousing 'Didn't We Almost Have It All', usually dressed in a long, plain coat, which she then removed to reveal a black silk halter to and knee-length pink satin skirt. In the Guardian Adam Sweeting marvelled at her pristine beauty: "Despite the occasional gleam of perspiration," he said, "she looked throughout as though she'd just stepped out of a hat box."
Reoirtedly inspired by a visit to Michael jackson's extravagant Bad Tour in New York, the show had a stronger accent on movement and variety than ever before, and team of dancers took the stage for the faster numbers. A passionate version of '(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman' saw Whitney alone on stage, but for other numbers she was joined by her saxophonist, or keyboard player with portable synthesizer.

Organized by Artists Agains Apartheid, a British awareness-raising pressure group, the Nelson Mandela Tribute Concert in London in June 1988 was intended to be something of a "Live Aid 2". The world's pop stars came together for one spectacular 11-hour gig to rmind the public of the long imprisonment of nelson mandela in South Africa. Whitney houston, normally wary of involvement with political issues, was crucially important to the credibilly of the venture, as a representative of America's major black talent. Barry marshall, promoter of Whitney's massive European tour, offered to talk to the star, and persuaded her to postpone. a gig already planned for Milan, italy on June 11.
Whitney was joined by Phill Collins, Al green, George Michael, Peter gabriel, Roberta Flack, Stevie Wonder, and dozen of other celebrities, and the show was transmitted live on British television and radio by BBC. On US television the Fox Network aired a controversially "edited" version which strategically removed many of the references to the concert's political motive, using the evasive title "Freedomfest".
It soon became clear that apartheid was an issue that Whitney houston felt very strongly about. Apparently, during her brief time as a model, Whitney had refused to promote any company that had branches in South Africa, and it was even suggested that Whitney had been in communication with Nelson Mandela's wife, Winnie.

Before the show even began, Whitney was the subject of an unusual tribute from South Africa. on the afternoon of the concert, the Anti-Apartheid Movement distributed a statement from Ahmed Kathrada, who at 58 was the youngest of the ANC rebels who were sentenced to life imprisonment along with mandela: "You lucky guys. What I wouldn't give just to listen to Whitney Houston!" said Ahmed. "I must have told you that she has long been mine and Walter's [Walter Sisulu - fellow prisoner aged 76] top favourite. In our love and admiration for Whitney we are prepared to be second to none!"
Perhaps Whitney was aware of her glowing review, because she entertained with brimming energy. it was a disappointment for some - an earlier announcement had promoted an "all gospel" set, which never materialized - but the audience were treated to a duet by Whitney and her mother, the gospel song 'I Believe', which Whitney dedicated to "Nelson mandela and his family, and for all of my South Africa brothers and sisters".

As the new decade approached, Whitney's career was quieter than usual, though she was far from idle. In 1988 she had contributed vocals to a song called 'hold Up the Light' from BeBe (Benjamin) & CeCe (Priscilla) Winans' album Heaven. Also, while performing live in London, she recorded the title track to an Arista Records compilation album in commemoration of the 1988 Olympics in Los Angeles. The album was called One Moment In Time, and the eponymous single was yet another Number 1 hit got Whitney on both sides of the Atlantic. The single was one of the Top 20 hits of the year in the UK and Whitney was nominated for a Grammy for Best female Pop Vocal Performance. Sadly the record was deleted in 1990.
In 1989 Whitney's voice was heard on a new single by a lady she once knew as "Aunt Ree" - one of her mother's oldest friends, Aretha Franklin. her Album Through The Storm featured a funky soul groove called 'It's Isn't, It Wasn't, It Ain't never Conna be' (a kind of sequel to Aretha's collaboration with The Eurythmics on 'Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves'), which was released as a single in Spetember 1989, reaching Number 41 in the US and 29 in Britian.
Meanwhile, Whitney was considering an even more diverse move - a career in the movies. The scripts were flooding in, with potential co-stars rumoured to include Robert De Niro and Eddi Murphy (with whom was said to be romantically "connected" for a while). But the right film had not come along.

In the summer of 1989, she joined her friends the Winans on a tour of the US as a back-up singer. the tour was perfectly timed for Whitney, Not only was it an opportunity to return to her gospel roots, but it was also a chance to sing without feeling the pressure of the audience's expectations. The Winans' following was a predominantly gospel crowd, so Whitney was able to relax in the back-ground and just let go. Whitney's cousin Dionne Warwick and soul singer Luther Vandross also guested at some of the Winans' shows.

Whitney's next single, in October 1990, was the title of her forthcomming third LP, released later the same year. 'I'm Your Baby Tonight' was a clear indication thatthis was going to be a relentless dance album. Whitney gives the song a potent sound with throuaty, soulful growls and uninhibited squeals and screams. It makes a perfect single and a perfect opening track, as Whitney wraps up the instant thrill of love at first sight with the irresistible, sexy beat of a pop song. No wonder the song was so popular - only a woman with this much class could make a song about a passionate one-night stand sound lie a love song!
`I'm Your baby Tonight' was nominated for a Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal performenace in 1991, but was beaten by newcomer Mariah Carey with 'Vision Of love' - one of many new artists who had surfaced in the late Eighties as pretenders to Whitney's throne. However, the competition was not something that troubled Whitney, confident in her own charisma. As she explained later: "People who go out and buy me, buy me for me. Furthermore, I came out first anyways [laughs]...anybody that's gonna come has definitely got to come after. they don't say I sound like Mariah Carey, they say Mariah Carey sounds like me, you gid what I'm saying?"

To call I'm Your Baby Tonight long-awaited would ne one of pop music's greatest understatements. Despite Whitney's regular appearances in the singles chart, the world had benn waiting three and a half years for a new Whitney Houston album. Released in 1990, I'm Your Baby Tonight represented a major turning-point in Whitney's career as she launched herself into the Nineties with a renewed passion for pop music in all its different forms.

I'm Your Baby Tonight

I'm Your Baby Tonight kicks off with three very different singles: the irresistibly danceable title track, the hip-hop influenced 'My Name Is Not Susan', and the powerful 'All The Man That I Need', in which the extraordinary scream of the saxophone follows Whitney's lead as the song builds into a wave of adoration. it became Whitney's ninth US Numer 1 hit single in December 1990.
'Love For Life' is a light-hearted, bouncy pop song on the surface, but its lyrics have great charm, as they describe a love affair as if it were a court case: "You've heard my testimony, you've seen my evidence, hey it's a crime of passion, in every sense...will you sentence me to be your lover for life?"
Bobby Brown's producers LA Reid and Babyface worked on two of the tracks, 'Anymore' and 'Miracle'. Their influence is particularly apparent on 'Anymore', a soulful, laid-back groove, in which Whitney's strong side creeps back to reject yet another suitor who does not fit the bill, and her Jacksonesque vocals prove that, contrary to her romantic image, she can be as bad as any man!
'Miracle' sees Whitney as the glamorous, heart-rending balladeer once more. The longest song on the album, it pushes the scope of Whitney's voice to its fullest extent.
'I Belong To You' borrows the catchy hook from 'Just be Good To Me' by the SOS Band. One of three tracks produced by Narada Michael Walden, the song has his trademark slick arrangements with soothing sax and melodic rhythm guitar - it was released as a single in 1992, with litle chart success. 'Who Do You Love' was Whitney's first collaboration with sou crooner Luther Vandross, and the sleeve notes promise that we can look forward to more. Whitney's mother is reportedly his favourite singer, and he invited her to sing on his first who albums.

Singing with Stevie

'We Didn't know' is another first-time collaboration, this time with Motown song-writing genius Stevie Wonder. Putting two negastars in the studio together can be a dangerous experiment, but the result of this combination sounds totally natural. if anything, 'We Didn't Know' is dominated by Stevie own soul signature, but he and Whitney sound superb together, how this song failed to be released as a single remains a mystery. Surely it would have been massive?
'After We Make Love' is probably more memorable for its risque post-coital title than its rather schmaltzy lyrics (an uncomfortable marrige of religion and sex) but the closing number 'I'm Knockin'', is right back on course. It makes Whitney's first attempt at co-production, with her musical director Richey Minor, and the song was a perfect choice for her to work on. With a melody almost exclusively provided by Whitney's own vocals - both lead and back-up - 'I'm Knokin'' gave her the chance to play around with her own voice in the studio, a useful experience for the future.
The album was relatively unsuccessful in the UK and US, reaching Number 4 and Number 3 respectively. Ian McCann in UK music paper NME gave the album an almost unprecedented zero out of ten, commenting with an air of disappointment: "Whitney sings better than ever, but so what?...Tomorrow night, Whitney, ne your own baby and shock us all." It is likely that the sharp change of pace was a disappointmnt to many of the fans who had made the first two albums so ver successful. however, if I'm Your Baby Tonight was not the album that the world wanted her to make, it was certainly a big step towards it, and those same fans were soon to come flooding back to her - and more desides.

In 1991, Whitney made good use of her celebrity by raising a great deal of money for charity. She was invited to begin the ceremony of the 25th Superbowl at joe Robbie Stadium, Miami, Florida by singing the traditional anthem 'the Star-Spangled Banner'. Although her performance was pre-recorded, it was a definitive version of the uplifting hymn, and public demand inevitably lwd to the release of a single and video
In rtue Whitney Houston style, the record went to the US number 20 spot and raised $500,000 for civilian victims of the Gulf War. In may Whitney performed live via satellite at the Simple Truth gig at London's Wembley Arena to raise money for Kurdish refugees, and was noted by the American Red Cross in recognition of her fund-raising efforts.

These fans who had so far been denied the chance to see Whitney perform live were finally able to get the next best thing in April 1991. Whitney houston Live was a clourful concert in Norolk, virginia, on the east coast of the USA, on March 31 that year. The concert was first transmitted by the Home Box Office (HBO) on US television, under the title Welcome Home Heroes with Whitney houston, and it caused a small controversy at the time.

The Norfolk show was in many ways a preview of Whitney's 1991 tour set list. To the audience of servicemen and women, the Gulf War had been both a chance to serve their country and a terrifying experience in which the lives of friends, family and lovers were at stake. "It's so good to see you all home safe and sound," said Whitney, "From that I understand, there are still a few our troops left over there - so this one's for them, too!" After a roar of applause, Whitney contnued: "That's right - until they all come home. Until they all come home. i thik this next song's gonna describe...how you felt when you took your loved one in your arms - and I know you made love all night long. ooh, I know you did!" - and Kirk Whalum's saxophone began to pick out the bluesy melody pf the next song, 'Saving All My Love'

Whitney's dancers joined her for the cheerful 'How Will I know', and with the backing singers picking up the melody, there was plenty of room for Whitney's own bluesy waviations on the song. Skipping off-stage, Whitney prepared herself for the second part of the show with lighting change into a beautiful red evening down. Sweeping back in along the raised metal walkway and daintily down the steps, she accepted cards from the more presumptuous men in the audience, coyly asking them, "I'm gonna sing you some love song. is that all right?" Almost unaccompained at first, but for the gentle voice of piano in the backgrownd, Whitney launched into a slow and emotional version of 'Didn't We Almost Have It All', which built into a crescendo, imperceptibly changing into a medley with the Burt Bacharach - hal David standart 'A House Is Not A Home' and 'Where Do Broken Hearts Go'.
The show-stopper was 'All The Man Tha I Need'. Clasping a towel in one hand as she sang, her face and plunging neckline glistened with perspiration as she closed her eyes tightly with the intensity of the moment.

The show's third act began with the pounding drum beat of 'My Name Is Not Susan' as Whitney and her dancers worked out on the raised gangway at the rear of the stage. In peppermint green leggings, boots and matching mini-dress with glittery silver "W.H." motif, Whitney used a radio microphone and headset to make this final part of the show very mobile. For 'My Name Is Not Susan' the dancers wore brightly coloured linen suits, and Whitney, as always, proved that her voice was strong enough to last the distance, no matter what the pace.
Taking break from the dance numbers, Whitney was alone under the spotlight for a few moments as she sang an operatic, jazzy love song called 'A Song For You'. However, the stage was soon alive with colour and light for the brilliant gospel hymn 'Revelation' as Whitney called out,"Put your hands together for the Lord," and the audience willingly complied. A heart-warming tune, 'Revelation', gave Whitney the chance to introduce her band and bring a series of brief solos from each performer into the show.

After another chnage of costume into a spectacular, off-the-shoulder blue satin dress, Whitney grabbed from somewhere an ugainly sailor's cap as the opening melody of 'Who Do You Love' began, and wore it throughout the track. Joined on stage by the four dancers, Whitney turned the song into another stomping workout. With 'I'm Your baby Tonight' getting the same treatment, the set was completed with a version of 'Greatest Love Of All'. Whitney basked in her perfect moment as a little boy was shyly coaxed on the stage to share the limelight. It was a stirring and mesmerizing performance, made especially potent by the atmosphere of wartime thanksgiving in the crowd.

Folowing the transmission of the concert on US TV, renowned critic Robert Hilburn criticized Whitney Houston in the LA Times for using the Gulf War an opportunity to exploit the emotions of the families and servicemen involved, commentiing that Ms Houston's motivation for the performance was suspiciously unclear. However, to its credit, the newspaper allowed HBO producer Anthony Eaton to redress the balance two weeks later. "We built a show for the returning servicemen and women," wrote Eaton, "and they came. They came and they pretty much blew the top off Hangar LP-2 in Norfolk." In an attempt to "justify" the homecoming performance, Eaton pointed to the ecstatic reaction of the crowd. "We had sailors dancing with army lieutenants," he claimed with pride, "air-force flies sining along with the coastguard, boy soldiers bashfully handing flowers to Whitney on stage, proud families with their reunited moms and dads and, of course, marines hanging off the refters. That night it felt like Babe Ruth pointing to left field, Lindbergh landing in Paris, martin Luther King's speech at the Washington Monument." Finishing with an indignant rebuff, Eaton praised Whitney's integrity and sincerity. "Contrary to Hilbun's comments, Whitney is a my sterious sigure. in an age of fiercely ambitions artists trying whatever tricks they can catch and hold the public's attention, it can be confusing to see an artist whose stage production is built around her outstanding vocal performance."

Whitney's 1991 world tour was fa from a disaster, but the reaction of the paying customers was mixed - not surprising after the relatively poor sales of her third album. In the New York Times, Peter Watrous was scathing in his review of her return bout at madison Square Garden in July. Nothing that the venue was far from ful, he claimed that the concert-goers were "mostly underwhelmed" and suggested that Whitney displayed a distinct lack of commitment to the performance. She "isn't a natural performer", he said, "and she hasn't in any way mastered the large-scale rhetoric of passion needed to convince a huge hall of her sincerity. In a form that demands acrobatics, she's ungainly at best, looking distinctly ill-at-ease, as if she had suddenly awakened to find herself in someone else's body." The same critic sourly described her band as "clattering around like a drunk in a kitchen," and felt that they "managed to drown out any singing she might have wanted to do, which apparently wasn't much anyway". Watrous did concede that those songs that features Whitney's characteristic "deep blues gospel tonalities" were distinctly different, proving "that in the right circumstances she can be as athletic a singer anybody in pop music."

When show moved to the UK a mnth later - with huge light show, back-projections, video screens, moving catwalks, firework displays and all - some of the critics were less than charitable. In the Guardian, Caroline Sullivan pointedly controversy: "originally planned for Spring, Whitney Houston's tour was postponed when the little contretemps in the Gulf gave her a sore throat. "The gigs at brimingham's NEC and Wembley Arena in London were almosy sold out, but Sullivan compared the show to a cabaret: "In her sparky catwoman suit she could have been Shire Bassey giving it some at the Palladium."

Robert Baresfold Vrown was just 14 years old when new Edition hit the UK Number 1 spot with 'Candy Girl'. The five-piece group from Boston, Massachusetts was an Eighties answer to the Jackson 5: lightweight, radio-friendly pop singers with universal appear. Splitting from their manager - pop enterpreneur Maurice Starr - in 1984, they signed a major recording deal with MCA Records. New Edition released four albums featuring Bobby Brown: Candy Girl (1983), New Edition (1984), All For Love (1985) and Under The Blue Moon (1986). The records spawned several hit singlees, including the US Number 4 'Coll It Now' and a revival of the Doo-Wop standard 'Earth Angel', which reached Number 3 in the States.
Although remaining with MCA, Bobby Brown went solo in 1986. His first album King Of Stage (1986) made little impact. although the single 'Girlfriend' was a massive R&B chart hit. However, his next album, Don't be Cruel (1989) producered by LA Reid & Babyface, topped the US chart, and on the strenght of the US Number 1 single 'My Prerogative' it remained in the album chatr for 97 weeks.
On the crest of a wave of success, Bobby brown toured the States extensively in 1989, wowing audiences with his relentless dance routines. The US Number 3 hit single 'Every Little Step' was folowed closely by 'On Our Own' tied in with one of the summer's major films Ghostbusters 2, which made a UK and US Top 5 hit. 'Every Little Step' was the winner of the year's Grammy Award for best R&B Vocal Performance. Another sell-out world tour followed in 1990, which included eight nights at Wembley Arena in London. His most recent album, Bobby, features deeper, more introspective lyrics and broad range of Nineties dance sounds.

Bobby Brown has a reputation. Having fathered three illegitimate children before first meeting Whitney at the Soul Train awards in 1989, it seems fair to say that Bobby had lived life to the full. So has Whitney really tamed the wild man of rap? If she can be believed, the answer is no - he was never the wild man to begin with. 'I just want people to undertsand something," she said in 1993." Mu husband has never, never disrespected any woman...he's a respectable human being. He was raised with respect. And I just wish they would stop trying to make him out to be this man who jusy goes around and adbitrarily says: "I want her, and I'm gonna screw her.'"
However "they" - meaning newspapers and magazines, of course - are never likely to stop their speculation, as she knows. Sensational weekly American tabloid magazine the National Enquirer ran a story as recently as December 1993 with the headline "Whitney Houston Blasts Cheating Hubby". In it, "insiders" claimed that Whitney had accused Bobby of adultery with at least one of his old girlfirneds and a "neautiful black TV actress". The same magazine has on more that one accasion accused Whitneyof having a gay relationship with her close friend Robyn Crawford, whom she met at summer camp at the age of 17.

On July 18, 1992, Whitney Houston was married to Bobby brown at her estate in New jersey. The bride and groom both wore white.
The ceremony was followed by a reception for 800, after which the happy couple jetted off for Nice, via london, travelling by Concorde.
So far they have collaborated musically only once, in duet, 'Something In Common', released as a single inJanuary 1994. Rolling Stone said simply: "This duet shouldn't work. The fact that they're mismatched - vocally that is - forces them to feel each other out, testing their stylistic limits." Not only does the song challenge their ver different talents, it is also a landmark in their romnce, as Bobby sings "Girl you know it's you that I adore," to which Whitney replies, sweetly: "And there's no one in this world that I love more."

Back in September 1987, Rolling Stone magazine reported Whitney's interest in a complementary career: "Now that topping charts has become old hat, Whitney wants to estabilish herself as an actor. 'It's inevitable,' she says. 'I'm sure that music will turn into acting. it could happen at any point.'" Apparently, Whitney had been offered a part in a movie version of the hit Broadway musical Dreamgirls, but this was not destined to be her silver-screen debut.

Kevin Costner emerged from the Eighties as Hollywood's most important and versatile suprestar. His first job as a director on the epic western Dances with Wolves, a breathtaking film in which Costner plays a soldier alone on the frontier, learning the ways of the Sioux Indians. The spectacular three-hours film was widely praised by critics. Working on a limited budget (he gave up part of his fee to reduce production costs), Costner made Dances with Wolves into an unforgettable cinematic experience, and at the US Academy Awards in 1991 he took away the Oscar for Best Picture and best Director.
Only days after the completion of Dances with Wolves, Kevin started shooting Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.Costners next role was in the controversial political thriller JFK directed by Oliver Stone (Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July), in which he reconstructed District Attorney Jim Garrison's investigation into the assassination of President Kennedy. Like so many of Costenr's most successful characterizations, Garrison was seen to have a higher purpose than mundane detective work. he had a quest, an all-encompassing purpose in life. For Elliot Ness in The Untouchables, the motivation was Likewise in The Bodygard, in which Costner played poker-faced Frank Framer, the hero's reason for living is complete dedication to work - he was the paragon on professionalism,ready to die to save the life of his employer.
Costner's on-screen power seems to come from a brooding inner drive - on the surface he may be distant, insensitive, officious or angry, but deep inside his character always have a strongly intuitive sense of right and wrong. So, although the good guy does not always win, at least the audience is left knowing who the hero really is.
Despite achieving cumulative box-office taking throughout his career of $1.3 billion, much of the boyish, down-to-earth personality shines through the glitter. Costner's 15-year marriage to his wife Cindy has lasted longer than most Hollywood careers. He has three children, Annie, Lily and Joe. He has his own filmmaking company, Tig Productions, which was responsible for both Dances with Wolves and The Bodyguard. Somehow, amid the extraordinary world of Hollywood, Kevin Costner remains just an ordinary guy.

When Kevin Costner's offer came along, it seemed too good to be true. Whitney told Rolling Stone: "I got a call saying that there was a script that kevin Costner had, called The Bodyguard, that he wanted me to do. I went, 'Yeah, sure'" Was she really ready to perform alongside the biggest Hollywood star of the moment? "I wanted to do some acting, you know." Whitney told US movie magazine Premiere in 1992, "but I didn't think it would be this major."
It took a considerable time for Kevin to persuade Whitney to be his leading lady. "I was scared," she told Rolling Stone in 1993. "It took me two years to decide to do it. I kind of waited too long for Kevin. I think it got on hid nerves. He called one day and said, 'Listen, are you going to do this movie with me or not?' I told him about my fears; I said: 'I'm afraid. I don't want to go out there and fall.' He said 'I promise you I will not let you fall. I will help you.' And he did."

The Bodyguard

The smash-hit box-office success of Christmas 1992, The Bodyguard had the perfect combination of glamour, action, suspense and romance. The result was a classic of the great Hollywood tradition: bigger than life, earth-shatteringly dramatic and full of variety. Larry Kasdan's original script was written in the early days of his career, with the late Steve McQueen in mind, but it wasn't until 1990 that kevin Costner took it on and enlisted Mick Jackson (director of Steve Martin's modern comedy of manners, LA Story) to work with him. But the biggest problem was finding a co-star.
"Do you choose an actress and teach her to sing?" pondered Jackson. "Or do you choose a singer and hope that you can find ana cting ability there? That semed to be the better an, itturned out, wiser option. She's great. "Costner conviced Whitney not to take acting lessons, and the two starts spent many hours working together to make her character come to life. Whitney's stylistic approach was a simple one - to treat her script the way she treats her music, and let it flow from the heart. "It's easy for me to stand on stage and sing and relate to people," she said. "I feel the beats to music. I know when to become powerfull and when to quiet it down. That was the hardest part in acting - learning the words and letting then flow like I was singing."

The singer's movie debut could hardly have benn more of a success, and her worries about falling as an actress were soon dispelled by the public's reaction. They flocked to The Bodyguard in their million. The movie premiered in November, taking $27 million in its first week. By the end of 1992 it had scored a massive $200 million worldwide. Following its UK release on Boxing Day 1992, the film rocked to the Number 1 position to become one of the top five earners in UK box office history, taking $25 million. And when it was released on video in the UK in March 1993, more than two million people rented the film in the first days, accounting for a full 20 percent of all home video rentals that week.

The album of the movie features six new Whitney Houston track, five of which have been released as a singles in their own right, including the outrageously successful 'I Will Always Love You'. On its release in November 1992 in immediately broke the US record for the most albums sold in one week. By the end of the year it was selling almost a million copies a week in the USA alone, making it the third best-selling album of the year after only five weeks!
It went on to sell more than ten million copies in the USA alone, and 22 million worldwide - the second most successful soundtrack album ever, after Saturday Night Fever It has already sold more copies than the Pink Floyd LP Dark Side of the Moon, which spent an unbroken 736 week on the album chart. The album also featured 'I Have Nothing', written by David Foster and Linda Thompson, which was reputedly inspired by the themes to early James Bond movies.
'I Have Nothing' became the sixth best-selling single of 1993 in the US reached Number 3 in the British charts, and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song. More hit singles followed: a cover version of the familiar Chaka Khan track 'I'm Every Woman', produced by long-time collaborator Narada Michael Waldem; 'Run To You', in which Rachel Marron features in a stunning video, swathed in diaphanous white veils; and 'Queen Of The Night', a taunchy, guitar-heavy rock-dance groove, which was co-written by Whitney herself and introduces a fusion of new colours in her musical palette.

'I Will Always Love You'

"This is kinda a cowboy song, huh?" says Rachel Marron as she dances with her date for the evening. "I mean, it's so depressing. Have you listened to the words?"
"It is kinda depressing," replies Frank Farmer. "It's one o' those somebody's-always-leaving-somebody songs."
There is surely no doubt that the success of The Bodyguard and its soundtrack album revolved around one, wonderful song. Written by country and western star Dolly Parton, and first recorded in 1974, 'I Will Always love you' is unforgettable. The song was a minor hit for Dolly in 1982 when it was included in the soundtrack of her movie the Best Little Whorehouse In Texas, but with Whitney's vocal the melody really becomes magical. "It never did that well for me," Dolly Parton told Whitney. "It did well for you because you put all that stuff into it."
Released as a single in November, Whitney's tenth US chart-topper became the best-selling single of 1992 in the UK and USA, spending 10 weeks and 14 weeks respectively at the Number 1 position. In America it sold 4 million colpies in 1992, but still managed to achieve the Number 3 place in the best-selling singles of 1993! 'I Will Always Love You' is one of ten best-selling singles of all time in the USA, and the third most successful UK single in terms of chart success (highest number of weeks in the highest position). The song even made headlines in the UK when a young woman was successfully prosecuted by her next-door neighbour for playing the song over and over again at hight volume, day and night!
'I Will Always Love You' holds the UK sold by a female solo artist 91,200,00), a title previously held by jennifer Rush with 'The Power Of Love'. The CD single-seller of all time. It was re-released in December 1993, to considerable renewed interest.

In march 1993 Whitney gave a birth to a daughter, named Bobbi Kristina, but this didn't stop her setting off on a world tour, which reached Britian in November for dates at Sheffield Arena and London's Earls Court Satium. Whitney was frequently joined on stage by her husband and baby, and at an exclusive after-show party at london's Hard Rock Cafe she was serenaded by a bespectacled Bobby in front of her 150-strong entourage. Many of the audience members at the sell-out shows were new fans, and there was, of course, one song that they always wanted to hear. The climactic 'I Will Always Love You' put a chill in the air as Whitney's extraordinary voice boomed out over the heads of thousands of stunned, silent listeners - but as soon as the song came to its climax, the roar of the crowd was inevitably deafening. Not only has the song become a classic on CD, it is also one of the most spine-tingling concert show-stoppers of all time.

There are always rumours about Whitney's future (and a remark of A Star is Born may be on the cards). One project that she has always longed to work on is a full-length gospel album. "That pop dance stuff I can run off in my sleep; I feel like I'm a kid at an amusement park" she told UK's The Sunday Times in 1990, a little too irankly. "But gospel is very precious, intricate and delicate to me. You don't just sing it, you live it. There are a few steps I have to make before I'm ready for that. But it will happen. God knows that."
But despite this dream, the future holds only one real goal for Whitney now. Happiness, "You know what I feel? she asked Rolling Stone in 1993. "I feel old. For the most part, since I was 11 years old, I've been working, I did the nightclubs, I did the modeling, all that stuff... When I first started I was having a lot of fun. But it ain't fun no more. I enjoy what I do... but it's not fun." For now, Whitney's idea of fun is being with her baby and trying to live something close to a normal life: "Man, when I gave birth to her and when they put her in my arms, I thought 'This has got to be it. This is the ultimate.' I haven't experienced anything greater."

Copied from "WHITNEY HOUSTON by Carole Portland"

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