"We Are The World" wasn't the only thing to turn 25 this year. Another hallmark recording hit that milestone on Valentine's Day of this year, when Whitney Houston's eponymous debut logged in a quarter of a century. With all of the bad press that Whitney has been receiving in recent years (and days), we can't help but reminisce to a time when the young chanteuse was fresh on the scene and this album was a classic in the making.
The ironic part of Whitney Houston's rapid ascent up the Billboard
charts in 1985 with her debut was that it was done mostly singing slow
songs. With ballads like "You Give Good Love," "Saving All My Love for
You" and "Greatest Love of All" all reaching #1, and showcasing
Whitney's prodigious pipes, those who listened were left in awe, and
could do nothing less than bow down to the young diva.
There were two live performances, however, that went a long way in putting the 21-year old, straight out of the rough projects of Newark, New Jersey, on America's radar: one on the legendary Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson, where she serenaded the reigning king of late night with "You Give Good Love"; and then, on the David Letterman-hosted Late Night, where her rendition of "Saving All My Love for You" had the gap-toothed gabber's mouth agape, with him only able to kiss her hand and mumble superlatives.
Those two performances served as her moment to let the masses know what Cissy Houston's daughter could do. And she nailed it. What makes it that much more special is that 25 years later, after everything she's been through, after barely saving all of her voice for us, we can look back to that album--and those performances--and realize just how fortunate we are to have been around at the very beginning of the Whitney era. Long live Nippy!