Whitney Houston’s death was a shock to the music industry and fans all over the world. She passed away tragically young on February 11, 2012, one day before the 54th Annual Grammy Awards, where she was scheduled to perform. She was 48 years old.
Today, on her birthday, the singer would have been 56. To commemorate her legendary reign as a pop megastar, we’ve compiled seven of Houston’s most career-defining moments.
‘Whitney Houston’ (1985)
Released when she was 22 years old, Houston’s self-titled debut album catapulted her to pop stardom. Three of the album’s singles — “Saving All of My Love for You,” “Greatest Love of All,” and “How Will I Know” — reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. The album earned Whitney four Grammy nominations in 1986 — she went home with the Grammy for best female pop vocal performance for “Saving All My Love for You.”
‘The Bodyguard’ (1992)
‘The Bodyguard’ may have been Houston’s most resonating pop culture moment. In the film, she stars alongside Kevin Costner, and portrays a pop singer who hires a bodyguard to protect her against a stalker. Perhaps the biggest impact of the film was the standout soundtrack hit, “I Will Always Love You,” a re-recording of a 1974 Dolly Parton song of the same name, and the ballad of all ballads. The album went 17-times platinum, the highest-selling in history for any motion picture soundtrack.
‘My Love is Your Love’ (1998)
‘My Love is Your Love’ was Whitney’s fourth studio album. The record’s fourth single of the same name was a success worldwide. Though not as huge as some of Houston’s previous hits, the track peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US, number two in the UK, and number one in New Zealand. The song was a top ten release in two dozen markets around the world
Diane Sawyer Interview (2002)
In 2002, Whitney sat down for an interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer following several years of reports about her struggles with drug addiction, health problems and rocky marriage with Bobby Brown. Equal parts candid, vulnerable, and bizarre, the interview contains the now-infamous moment when Houston told Sawyer, “I make too much money to ever smoke crack. Let’s get that straight. Okay? We don’t do crack. We don’t do that. Crack is whack.”
‘I Look to You’ (2009)
If the Diane Sawyer interview was the start of a public battle with drug addiction that would afflict Houston for the next few years, her sixth studio album “I Look to You” represented the inspiring comeback from her long hiatus. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200.
‘Jesus Loves Me’ with Kelly Price (2012)
On February 9, 2012, just three days before her death, Houston attended a pre-Grammys party to celebrate singer Kelly Price’s nominations, where she performed “Jesus Loves Me” with Price. The duet was Houston’s last public appearance.
‘Higher Love’ (2019)
A previously unreleased song that was originally recorded in 1990, “Higher Love” was remixed by Kygo and released in June 2019. Of the remix, the Norwegian producer said, “I was trying to make it sound like something she would have done, but also something that’s my style.” This may not be the last new Whitney Houston we hear, either. Her estate has plans for a potential new album featuring previously unreleased material and a hologram