Much like our ‘Retro Rewind’ and ‘From the Vault’ segments, readers of That Grape Juice know what avid music lovers we are – especially of hits past. So in a quest to re-spin the gems and jams of yesterday we introduced a new retrospective segment – ‘TGJ Replay’.
Unlike its ‘Rewind’ and ‘Vault’ predecessors, ‘Replay’ looks to dust off and showcase albums (and eras) from a library of pop music hits. Today, we put the spindle on the star-studded, 7x platinum (U.S.) soundtrack to the 90s ultimate chick flick ‘Waiting To Exhale’…
If ever any album proved itself a hitmaking factory – shipping chart-topper after chart-topper – it would be 1995’s ‘Waiting To Exhale’ soundtrack. Accompanying the highly successful (critically and commercially) film of the same name, the Babyface-produced venture assembled some of R&B’s top female performers for an unmatched collection of hits.
Calling upon the likes of the film’s star Whitney Houston, Mary J. Blige, Chaka Khan, Aretha Franklin, Toni Braxton, Brandy, and so many more, the album was kicked off by Houston’s ‘Exhale’ (seen above). Certainly combatting high expectations given the mega success of her previous soundtrack (1992’s ‘The Bodyguard’), the song was an instant smash – debuting at #1 (the third single in history to ever do so). Landing the pop diva her 11th (and final) number one single, the song quickly led the soundtrack to follow suit.
On the hems of follow-up singles ‘Sittin’ Up In My Room’ and ‘Not Gon’ Cry’ performed by Brandy and Mary J. Blige respectively, the album quickly shot to an impressive #2 debut – only to rocket to the top spot the next week.
While the movie went on to dominate box offices, its soundtrack showed no signs of slowing down its steamroll of competiton affront Billboard charts as well. Following the blockbusters lent by Houston, Brandy, and Blige, songs ‘Count On Me’ (Houston, Winans) and Toni Braxton’s ‘Let It Flow’ were called upon to be the fourth and fifth single.
Like their predecessors, they too went straight to Billboard’s upper rankings with ‘Flow’ making the biggest splash at #1.
To match its overwhelming commercial acclaim, the album’s critical acclaim saw it dominate the next year’s Grammys with a whopping eleven nominations. Including Album of the Year and Song of the Year, despite only Houston walking away with Best R&B Song for “Exhale (Shoop Shoop)”, what viewers remember most was the live performance medley of the album’s biggest hits:
The album’s biggest success story is surprisingly not the diva domination listed on its credits as much as it is the one name behind the scenes – Babyface. A true testament to his unyielding hitmaking power, the only song that does not bear his name as original producer was Chaka Khan’s ‘My Funny Valentine’.
And, as Aretha Franklin’s ‘Hurts Like Hell’ as well as Houston’s own ‘Why Does It Hurt So Bad’ being just a few of the other gems launched from the album to commendable chart successes, it is safe to say that, due in great part to Mr. Edmonds, this soundtrack was a juggernaut of hits (selling over 16 million worldwide to date).
As fans wait with great anticipation for the long-awaited ‘Waiting To Exhale II’, we music lovers await its accompanying soundtrack with equal excitement. While we do not expect it to top the original by any means, we do look forward to seeing what talents will be picked to craft its follow-up.