Whitney Houston (album) – 1985

Whitney Houston is the eponymous debut album of American R&B and pop singer Whitney Houston. It was released on February 14, 1985, by Arista Records. The album initially had a slow commercial response, but began getting more popular in the summer of 1985. It eventually topped the Billboard 200 for 14 weeks in 1986, generating three number-one singles — “Saving All My Love for You”, “How Will I Know” and “Greatest Love of All” (a cover of “The Greatest Love of All”, originally recorded in 1977 by George Benson) — on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, which made it both the first debut album and the first album by a solo female artist to produce three number-one singles.The album topped the albums charts in many countries, including Canada, Australia, Norway and Sweden, peaking at number 2 in the United Kingdom, Germany, and Switzerland. The album was certified diamond for shipments of 10 million units or more on March 16, 1999, and later 13× platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America on July 29, 1999, making it one of the top 100 best-selling albums in the United States. It has sold over 25 million copies worldwide.

In 1986, at the 28th Grammy Awards, Whitney Houston received four nominations; including Album of the Year and won one, Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female for “Saving All My Love for You”. For the 29th Grammy Awards of 1987, the album earned one nomination for Record of the Year for “Greatest Love of All”. In 2003, the album was ranked number 254 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

In honor of its 25th anniversary, the album was reissued as Whitney Houston – The Deluxe Anniversary Edition on January 26, 2010, an expanded edition with five bonus tracks including the a cappella version of “How Will I Know” and the original 12-inch remixes, a booklet tracking the history of the original album, along with a DVD of live performances and interviews by Whitney Houston and Clive Davis.

After seeing Houston perform in a New York City nightclub, Clive Davis believed the singer had the potential to crossover and be the next big superstar. He signed her in 1983 and the two began work on her debut album. Initially Davis had a hard time finding songs for her. Even after elaborate showcases in New York and Los Angeles, many producers turned down the chance to work with her. During the time, rock bands and dance oriented acts were popular; many songwriters felt Houston’s gospel voice didn’t fit in the pop landscape. It took a year and a half for Jerry Griffith, then Arista’s A&R chief and had recommended Whitney to Davis, and Davis to amass suitable songs for the album. Finally the songwriter-producer Kashif offered to produce “You Give Good Love”. Jermaine Jackson, who had emerged from the shadow of his younger brother Michael, produced three songs. Narada Michael Walden came in to revise and then produce “How Will I Know”. And Michael Masser covered the pop side of the tracks, producing four of his own compositions, including “Saving All My Love for You” and “Greatest Love of All”, which had originally been recorded in 1977 by George Benson as “The Greatest Love of All” and was the main theme of the boxer Muhammad Ali biopic “The Greatest” in the same year. After two years of recording, the album was ready for release. Budgeted at $200,000, it finally cost almost $400,000.

The album received good response from major publications. Three major critics of the Los Angeles Times listed the album on their year end critics list. The album ranked #79 on Robert Hilburn’s list, #2 on Paul Grein’s list and #5 on Dennis Hunt’s list. In November 2003, the album was ranked #254 on Rolling Stone’s publication of the 500 greatest albums of all time, and ranked #46 on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Definitive 200 List in 2007. In addition, ranked #71 on Q magazine’s “100 Women Who Rock The World” in 2002 and took the #15 spot on Yahoo! Music’s 30 Most Significant Albums In Black Music History list in 2010, with Brandy’s comments on the album; “The first Whitney Houston CD was genius. That CD introduced the world to her angelic yet powerful voice. Without Whitney many of this generation of singers wouldn’t be singing.” In 2013, the album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame giving Houston her 1st Grammy Hall of Fame Award and her 7th Grammy Award>

The album was successful worldwide. In the United Kingdom, it peaked at number two on the albums chart, spending 119 weeks on the chart. It was certified 6× platinum for shipments of 1,800,000 units of the album by the British Phonographic Industry(BPI), becoming the fifth best-selling album of 1986. In Canada, the album reached the top spot on the albums chart and remained there for 17 weeks to become the longest stay at the summit by a female artist. On March 31, 1987, it was certified 10× platinum for sales of over one million copies, making it the best-selling album of 1986, and later Diamond by the Canadian Recording Industry Association(CRIA). Whitney Houston was also the 1986’s top selling album in Australia, staying at number one of the Kent Music Report albums chart for 11 weeks, the longest stay by a female artist at the time. It became the first time an African American artist had a number 1 album in Australia. In Japan, the album was ranked number two on list of the 1986’s best-selling album by a foreign artist, with a total of 450,000 units combined sales of LP, CD and Compact Cassette, only behind Madonna’s True Blue.[56] Besides, the album reached the number one on the albums chart in Norway for ten weeks and Sweden for six weeks, the number two in Germany, Switzerland, and the number three in Austria and New Zealand. Worldwide, Whitney Houston has sold over 32 million copies, becoming one of the best selling albums in the 1980s.According to the Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales data in 1991, as of 2009, the album sold over 1,038,000 copies in the United States.

The week ending of February 12, 2012, following Houston’s death on February 11, the album re-charted on the Billboard 200 at No. 72 with 8,000 copies sold.

Track listing

Writer(s) Producer(s) Length

1. “You Give Good Love” La La Kashif 4:36
2. “Thinking About You”
Kashif La La
Kashif 5:24
3. “Someone for Me”
Raymond Jones Freddie Washington
Jermaine Jackson 4:58
4. “Saving All My Love for You”
Gerry Goffin Michael Masser
Masser 3:58
5. “Nobody Loves Me Like You Do” (duet with Jermaine Jackson)
James P. Dunne Pamela Phillips
Jackson 3:47
6. “How Will I Know”
George Merrill Shannon Rubicam Narada Michael Walden
Walden 4:23
7. “All at Once”
Jeffrey Osborne Masser
Masser 4:01
8. “Take Good Care of My Heart” (duet with Jermaine Jackson)
Peter McCann Steve Dorff
Jackson 4:14
9. “Greatest Love of All”
Linda Creed Masser
Masser 4:53
10. “Hold Me” (duet with Teddy Pendergrass)
Creed Masser
Masser 6:02

Total length:



Lead vocal – Whitney Houston
Duet vocals – Jermaine Jackson, Teddy Pendergrass
Clarinet – John Barnes
Keyboards – Robbie Buchanan, Randy Kerber, Yvonne Lewis, Richard Marx
Bass guitar – Nathan East, Freddie Washington, Randy “The Emperor” Jackson
Synthesizer – Preston Glass, Greg Phillinganes
Drums – Ed Greene, John “J.R.” Robinson, J.T. Lewis, Steve Rucker
Background vocals – Cissy Houston, Jermaine Jackson, Julia Tillman Waters, Maxine Willard Waters, Oren Waters, Yogi Lee, Mary Canty, Deborah Thomas
Guitar – Paul Jackson, Jr., Dann Huff, Tim May, Ira Siegel, David Williams, Louie Shelton
Percussion – Bashiri Johnson, Joe Lala
Rhythm and string arrangements – Gene Page, Jr
Synth guitar – Corrado Rustici

Saxophone – Tom Scott, Ernie Watts, Premik Russell Tubbs


Executive producer: Clive Davis

Engineers: Michael Barbiero, Michael Mancini, Michael O’Reilly, Russell Schmitt
Mixing: Michael Barbiero, Michael O’Reilly, Bill Schnee
Arrangements: Gene Page Jr., Kashif, Narada Michael Walden
Art direction: Donn Davenport
Photographer: Garry Gross
Fashion stylist: Tiagi Lambert (Gown by Giovanne De Maura, Bathing Suit by Norma Kamali)
Makeup: Quietfire
Coordinator: Brenda Gorsky
Hair sylist: Jeffrey Woodly