Saturday, February 11, 2012

Rest in Peace, Whitney Houston.

As a 5/6 year old kid growing up in the golden era of music videos, there were two artists that stood out the most, one of which being Michael Jackson and the other Whitney Houston. As of today, neither are with us. Whitney Houston was found dead at a Los Angeles hotel this afternoon at the age of 48.

Whitney's legacy in music as a female artist is unparalleled.

As of 2010, she's won over 400 awards for her contributions to music and film.

Even though Katy Perry has recently threatened to break the award, Whitney Houston had 7 consecutive #1 songs on Billboard, a record that still stands for any artist.

Her second album (Whitney, 1987) became the first female album to debut at #1 at a time when debuting at #1 for any artist was a rare feat.

Her rendition of the Star Spangled Banner at Super Bowl XXV (Bills v. Giants) in 1991 during the Persian Gulf War was so popular that it was commercially released and, to this day, is the only version of the National Anthem to be commercially released and be certified platinum.

All of this preceded the most successful album and venture of her career, The Bodyguard movie and soundtrack in 1992. The movie sold over $400 million worth of tickets worldwide, one of the top grossing films at the time of its release and the soundtrack is one of the best-selling albums of all time, apart from it being the highest selling soundtrack of all time at 17 million albums stateside and 44 million worldwide. The album was also the first album of the Soundscan era (post May 1991) to sell over 1 million copies in a single week.

The single "I Will Always Love You", a cover of a 1974 Dolly Parton song, became the most successful single at the time of its release hitting #1 on the Billboard for a then record 14 weeks, outperforming the original song (a rarity to happen in the music industry).

The single is the second best-selling single in history only behind Elton John's 1997 remake of Candle in the Wind and netted two of Houston's six overall Grammy Awards.

Lightning struck twice for Whitney when her cover of the 1978 Chaka Khan classic "I'm Every Woman" would also outperform the original, becoming yet another worldwide smash.

Before The Bodyguard's popularity, Whitney became romantically linked to Bobby Brown, the two would marry in July 1992, putting out "Something in Common" on Bobby's album the following month, which became a moderate hit for Bobby on one of his most successful solo albums. Bobbi Kristina Houston Brown would be born the following year.

The success of The Bodyguard led Whitney to another movie venture. Waiting to Exhale in 1995 became her first movie venture to debut at #1 and led to yet another soundtrack #1 with "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)".

The following year, Whitney starred alongside Denzel Washington in The Preacher's Wife, which did pretty well for a holiday movie and the soundtrack is the best selling gospel album of all time.

In 1997, a revamped version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella became one of the most successful TV movies in history, winning seven Emmy Awards.

In 1998, she released her first non-soundtrack album in eight years with My Love is Your Love, yet another album that netted Whitney more top 40 hits including "Heartbreak Hotel" and "My Love Is Your Love".

Her double-disc greatest hits album netted her another 10 million sales worldwide in 2000 and in 2001, because of her worldwide success, Whitney Houston signed a record contract of $100 million for six records with Arista Records, the biggest contract in music history, a contract that would seem more synonymous with sports.

However, through all of the success, there were very serious problems. These problems surfaced in the infamous 2002 interview with Diane Sawyer that was one of the most watched interviews in primetime history.

The interest in the interview unfortunately didn't translate as well into album sales and, while the album did moderately well, was not the worldwide smash that Whitney was used to having. A holiday album released the following year didn't do very well either and continued Whitney's downfall.

However, rock bottom became the reality TV show Being Bobby Brown, a show which she was originally going to stay away from. The show displayed Whitney at her very worst, but in a way helped her realize what she'd become. Word had it that the couple went through the $100 million that had been given to Whitney and then some.

After fourteen years, Whitney and Bobby divorced in 2007, leading Whitney to focus back on her music. Clive Davis overlooked what would turn out to be Whitney's last album I Look to You, in 2009.

The comeback was relatively successful. becoming her first album since The Bodyguard soundtrack to go #1. The album received critical praise, however, the album's success was stunted with a much criticized performance on Good Morning America the week of the album release.

Last year, Whitney's problems with drugs and alcohol resurfaced as she went back to rehab. It was also announced that she was working on a remake of the film Sparkle, which had just finished shooting before her death.

In three years, two of the greatest performers of my generation are no longer with us. Rihanna said it best in tweet form when she said "There are no words. Just tears." May she finally be at peace. The Grammies will never be the same without Whitney or Michael there.

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