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Whitney Houston in concert

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The late great Whitney Houston would have turned 59 today, but her incredible musical legacy has left an unforgettable mark on fans worldwide.

Houston was born in Newark to gospel singer Cissy Houston on August 9, 1963. The incredible singer grew up surrounded by music and honed her craft with some of the greats, too. She is the cousin of the legendary Dionne Warwick, and her godmother was Aretha Franklin, the iconic “Queen of Soul.” With help for her mother and extended family, Houston primed her vocal chops as a choir singer at New Hope Baptist Church throughout the late 60s and 70s. “Whitney’s mother and cousins nurtured her passion for gospel music since birth,” according to a biography on Houston’s website.

Her legendary singing career quickly skyrocketed at a young age. The star first appeared as a backup singer on Chaka Khan’s hit song “I’m Every Woman” in 1978. Months later, Houston’s life changed after she gave a stellar performance at a New York nightclub. Arista Records exec Clive Davis signed the rising star on the spot after he watched her tear down the venue with her soaring vocals.

Houston made history with a slew of hit songs and iconic awards before her untimely passing in 2012. We miss you dearly, Whitney! In honor of the star’s birthday, let’s take a look back at five of her most career-defining moments.

5 Times Whitney Houston’s Legendary Talents Made History  was originally published on

1. Whitney Houston’s Eponymous Album Debuts With A Bang

Whitney Houston's Eponymous Album Debuts With A Bang Source:Getty

Houston’s debut album “Whitney Houston” was released in March 1985. The groundbreaking project spawned three hit number 1 singles: “Saving All My Love For You,” “How Will I Know,” and “The Greatest Love of All.”

According to CNN, the album sold “more than 12 million copies” across the U.S, instantly setting a record as one of the biggest selling debut albums by a solo artist.

2. The Star’s Second Album “Whitney” Goes Platinum

The Star's Second Album "Whitney" Goes Platinum Source:Getty

Houston’s second album, “Whitney,” also made historical feats. The album soared to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 charts after its release, helping the singer to go nine times platinum. 

In 2020, Houston became the first black artist to have three albums gain certified diamond status. The star earned the award for her debut album, Whitney and The Bodyguard soundtrack.

3. Houston Makes History Following Her Acting Debut In “The Bodyguard”

Houston Makes History Following Her Acting Debut In "The Bodyguard" Source:Getty

The iconic singer made her acting debut when she starred alongside Kevin Costner in “The Bodyguard” in 1992. Houston made history with the film’s soundtrack, too. Her remake of Dolly Parton’s classic “I Will Always Love You” exploded the charts following its release. The song went 17 times platinum. The album became the biggest-selling motion picture soundtrack in history.


4. Houston Makes The Guinness Book Of World Records

Houston Makes The Guinness Book Of World Records Source:Getty

Houston earned a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records after becoming the most awarded female artist. The R&B and Pop icon garnered 400 awards throughout her career, including six Grammy Awards, two Emmy Awards, 16 Billboard Music Awards, and 22 American Music Awards.

5. Houston Breaks Records During Her Super Bowl XXV Performance

Houston Breaks Records During Her Super Bowl XXV Performance Source:Getty

In 1991, Whitney Houston blew the audience away when she sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” in front of a packed audience at Super Bowl XXV. The iconic singer made history when 79 million people tuned in to watch her unforgettable performance!

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