Whitney Houston's vocal talent lifted her to the top of the music charts with a catalog of hits such as "I Wanna Dance With Somebody," "Run to You" and her version of "I'm Every Woman" (originally recorded by Chaka Khan). With the ability to maneuver between high and low registers effortlessly, it's no surprise how Houston became an icon, commanding respect through her artistry, one hit after another.
Born to a musical dynasty, Houston's mother is Grammy-winning gospel vocalist Cissy Houston (who sang background for artists like Elvis Priestly and Aretha Franklin) and her father, John Russell Houston Jr., was an entertainment manager and army veteran. Her mother's cousin, Leontyne Price, is a renowned soprano with a Medal of Freedom and a National Medal of Arts to her name. Houston was also the cousin of Dionne Warwick, a six-time Grammy-winning recording artist who's sold more than 100 million records.
Houston was called to music at an early age, beginning as a background singer for her mother, who would open the industry's doors for her. As a teenager, Houston sang background vocals for Chaka Khan, and in 1984, Houston released her first single, "Hold Me," shortly after signing with Arista Records. Houston would go on to release a slew of Billboard hits including "Saving All My Love for You," "Didn't We Almost Have It All," and "Where Do Broken Hearts Go." She would also pivot to acting, starring in such movies as "The Bodyguard" in 1992, "Waiting to Exhale" in 1995, and "The Preacher's Wife" in 1996 alongside film legend Denzel Washington. It was "The Bodyguard" that gave audiences Houston's unforgettable rendition of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You." The soundtrack would become Billboard's bestselling soundtrack album of all time, selling 45 million copies globally.
Houston was a musical force to be reckoned with, but marital problems and personal demons would taint her image. Despite the public challenges she faced, however, Houston is still regarded as one of America's most talented vocalists of all time. For that reason, Stacker compiled a list of 16 significant events in the life of the late iconic singer and actress.
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