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Whitney Houston


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Whitney Elizabeth Houston (August 9, 1963 - February 11, 2012) was an American singer, actress, producer, and model. At the time of her death, Houston was the most-awarded female act of all time, according to Guinness World Records. Her list of awards includes two Emmy Awards, six Grammy Awards, 30 Billboard Music Awards, 22 American Music Awards, among a total of 415 career awards as of 2010. Houston was also one of the world's best-selling music artists, having sold over 170 million albums, singles and videos worldwide.Inspired by prominent soul singers in her family, including her mother Cissy Houston, cousins Dionne Warwick and Dee Dee Warwick, and her godmother Aretha Franklin, Houston began singing with New Jersey church's junior gospel choir at age 11.  After she began performing alongside her mother in night clubs in the New York City area, she was discovered by Arista Records label head Clive Davis. Houston released seven studio albums and three movie soundtrack albums, all of which have diamond, multi-platinum, platinum or gold certification.
 
Houston was the only artist to chart seven consecutive No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hits ("Saving All My Love for You", "How Will I Know", "Greatest Love of All", "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)", "Didn't We Almost Have It All", "So Emotional" and "Where Do Broken Hearts Go"). She was the second artist behind Elton John and the only female artist to have two number-one Top Billboard 200 Album awards (formerly "Top Pop Album") on the Billboard magazine year-end charts. Houston's 1985 debut album Whitney Houston, became the best-selling debut album by a female act at the time of its release. The album was named Rolling Stone's best album of 1986, and was ranked at number 254 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Her second studio album Whitney (1987), became the first album by a female artist to debut at number one on the Billboard 200 albums chart. Houston's crossover appeal on the popular music charts as well as her prominence on MTV, starting with her video for "How Will I Know", influenced several African-American female artists to follow in her footsteps.
 
Houston's first acting role was as the star of the feature film The Bodyguard (1992). The film's original soundtrack won the 1994 Grammy Award for Album of the Year. Its lead single "I Will Always Love You", became the best-selling single by a female artist in music history. With the album, Houston became the first act (solo or group, male or female) to sell more than a million copies of an album within a single week period. The album makes her the only female act in the top 10 list of the best-selling albums of all time, at number four. Houston continued to star in movies and contribute to their soundtracks, including the films Waiting to Exhale (1995) and The Preacher's Wife (1996). The Preacher's Wife soundtrack became the best-selling gospel album in history. Three years after the release of her fourth studio album My Love Is Your Love (1998), she renewed her recording contract with Arista Records. She released her fifth studio album Just Whitney in 2002, and the Christmas-themed One Wish: The Holiday Album in 2003. In 2009, Houston released her seventh studio album I Look to You.
 
On February 11, 2012, Houston died of unknown causes in Beverly Hills, California. She was staying at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, in town for the 54th Grammy Awards the next day.

The discography of Whitney Houston, an American pop/R&B singer, consists of six studio albums, five compilations, a holiday album, two soundtrack albums, five box sets and six extended plays, as well as fifty-three singles released. Houston's recording debut was actually made in 1978 when she sang back-up (and partially lead) vocals for The Michael Zager Band's "Life's a Party." In the same year, Houston did background vocals on Chaka Khan's hit single "I'm Every Woman," a song she would turn into a larger hit for herself in 1993. During the next few years, she was also to make occasional guest appearances on other artists' records including singing on the track "Memories," her first full-lead-vocal recording, for the group Material on their One Down album, and the track "Eternal Love" for the Paul Jabara and Friends album. Among her recordings before the release of her debut album, two duet songs "Hold Me" (with Teddy Pendergrass) and "Take Good Care of My Heart" (with Jermaine Jackson) were both issued in 1984 and later included on the Whitney Houston album, which caused The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) to disallow her from competing for 1985 Best New Artist in the balloting.
 
In 1983, Houston signed a recording contract with Arista Records and began recording music for her self-titled debut album, which was released in February 1985. The album spent fourteen weeks at number one on the Billboard 200; a record for the most weeks at the top spot by a female artist of 1980s. It was certified 13× Platinum (Diamond) by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipments of over thirteen million copies in the United States, making her the first female artist to earn the ten-time-platinum mark. It also has sold 25 million copies worldwide and became the best-selling debut album of all time by a solo artist. The album's lead single was strategically selected in each region: "You Give Good Love" in the United States, "All at Once" in Benelux countries and Germany, and "Someone for Me (Remix)" in the United Kingdom. The album produced four US top 5 singles including three Billboard Hot 100 number-ones, "Saving All My Love for You," "How Will I Know," and "Greatest Love of All," making it the first album by a female artist and new artist to yield three No. 1 singles from one album. In May 1987, Houston released her second album, Whitney, and set remarkable chart records with it. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart of the June 27 issue, becoming the first album by a woman in Billboard history. Moreover, the album spawned four US number-one singles; "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)," "Didn't We Almost Have It All," "So Emotional," and "Where Do Broken Hearts Go," which established an unprecedented seven consecutive number one hits by a performer. The album's first single, "I Wanna Dance with Somebody," went to No. 1 in over a dozen countries and is Houston's second top-selling single with 4.2 million copies sold worldwide. The album was certified 9× Platinum by the RIAA and topped the charts in numerous countries around the world, having sold over 20 million copies globally. In fall of 1988, "One Moment in Time," recorded by Houston and used as the theme song for the US coverage of 1988 Summer Olympics, was a big hit worldwide, reaching the top 10 in many countries. Houston's third studio album, I'm Your Baby Tonight (November 1990), peaked at number three on the Billboard 200 chart and yielded two number-one singles; "I'm Your Baby Tonight" and "All the Man That I Need," selling 13 million units in markets around the world and being certified 4× Platinum by the RIAA. In February 1991, Houston released "The Star Spangled Banner" performance from Super Bowl XXV as a single, and made it Top 20 hit (re-peaked at number six in 2001 when the single was re-issued after 911 attacks), which was the first and only rendition of the US national anthem to achieve that feat since 1958 when the Billboard Hot 100 chart was first released. RIAA certified the single Gold in April 1991 (re-certified Platinum in 2001). According to Nielsen SoundScan, as of 2007, the single sold 1.2 million copies in the U.S. alone.
 
The Bodyguard, the soundtrack from her film debut, was released in November 1992. The album contains tracks by other recording artists but is considered a Whitney Houston album by the Billboard and the RIAA. The soundtrack topped the Billboard 200 for twenty non-consecutive weeks, the longest tenure by any album on the Billboard 200 chart in the Nielsen SoundScan era. It was also reached the number one on the albums chart in almost all countries. The album was certified 17× Platinum (her second Diamond album) in the United States and sold over 44 million copies worldwide, becoming the best-selling soundtrack album ever and one of the top 5 best-selling albums of all time. The lead single from the soundtrack, "I Will Always Love You," topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart for a then-record-breaking fourteen weeks and was certified 4× Platinum by the RIAA, making her the first and only female artist to reach the level before the digital single era. Like the soundtrack, the single peaked at number one on the charts in nearly every country and sold 12 million copies worldwide, becoming one of the best-selling singles of all time. The soundtrack also produced worldwide hit singles such as "I'm Every Woman" and "I Have Nothing." After Houston contributed to three songs including her eleventh number-one single "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)" on the seven-time-platinum album, Waiting to Exhale Soundtrack (November 1995), she released her second film's accompanying soundtrack, The Preacher's Wife in November 1996. The soundtrack was certified three times Platinum by the RIAA and became the biggest selling gospel album of all time, with worldwide sales of 6 million units. In 1998, she released her first studio album in eight years, My Love Is Your Love. The album failed to match the chart records of her previous albums, peaking at number thirteen, her lowest chart position on the Billboard 200 among her studio albums. But Houston went on to achieve multi-platinum status with 13 million selling album worldwide, being certified 4× Platinum in the United States. From late 1998 to early 2000, the album generated five smash hit singles; "When You Believe," "Heartbreak Hotel," "It's Not Right But It's Okay," "My Love Is Your Love," and "I Learned from the Best." Among the singles, in particular, "My Love Is Your Love" became one of her best-selling singles with sales of over 3 million copies worldwide.
 
Houston entered the 2000s with her first greatest hits compilation, Whitney: The Greatest Hits, released in May 2000. The double-disc was certified 3× Platinum by the RIAA, recognizing 1.5 million shipments throughout the United States. The album hit the top position on the UK Albums Chart and sold over 1.66 million copies in the UK alone. Also, it reached the top ten in many worldwide markets, selling 10 million copies globally. Just Whitney, released in December 2002, became her first album after renewing her contract with Arista for a record $100 million in 2001. The album failed to earn multi-platinum status, receiving only Platinum award in the US, and became her lowest-selling studio album to date. She released her first Christmas album, One Wish: The Holiday Album in November 2003. In September 2009, Houston returned the top position of the Billboard 200 with I Look to You, becoming her fourth number-one album on the chart; which was her first non-soundtrack number-one in 22 years, since 1987's Whitney. It also topped the album charts of several European countries and was certified Platinum by the RIAA.
 
According to the RIAA, Houston is top-selling R&B female artist of the 20th century, and the fourth best-selling female artist in the United States, with shipments of 55 million albums. As of 2010, her albums and singles, sold over 11 million and 7.8 million copies, respectively, in the UK alone. Whitney Houston is one of pop music's best-selling music artists of all-time, with more than 170 million combined albums, singles, and videos sold worldwide.

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