The week brought with it the third anniversary of the untimely passing of pop icon Whitney Houston. Lauded as a stentorian vocal performer whose prowess knew few (if any) rivals, the diva’s 30 year career saw her become the standard for all singers to follow. From her self-titled debut album (released on this day in 1985) to 2009’s ‘I Look To You,‘ Houston sailed to the top of the charts with a discography of hits that includes many of the most memorable numbers imparted to pop music over the last three decades.
Interestingly, many people do not know that a great number of said memorable tunes lining her discography are, in fact, remakes. Borrowed from the likes of Diana Ross, Donnie Hathaway, Dolly Parton, The Isley Brothers, and many lesser known acts, Whitney’s catalog shines with a collage of covers that were done so well most assumed her versions were the originals.
Since February 2012 fans, celebrities, and more commemorate the anniversary of her death by sharing remakes of her top hits. But, now we’re coming to you – That Grape Juice faithful – to ask:
What’s Whitney Houston’s best remake (of other artists)?
Tuck in below to see our top 5 picks and sound off:
1. ‘I Will Always Love You’ (originally performed by Dolly Parton)
This was the obvious top pick right?
‘I Will Always Love You,’ found on the record-breaking ‘The Bodyguard’ soundtrack (1992), remains the best selling single by a female artist of all time and one of the best-selling overall. Spending a record-setting 14 weeks at #1, the tune became her signature number for its emotional delivery and powerful climax.
But, nearly 20 years prior, country legend Dolly Parton made the song a #1 hit on the country charts.
2. ‘I’m Every Woman’ (originally performed by Chaka Khan)
The ultimate female empowerment anthem, ‘I’m Every Woman’ – also found on ‘The Bodyguard’ soundtrack – comes as a fan favorite for Whitney’s fans for its similarity to ‘Always Love You’ (i.e. emotional delivery, powerful/sustained climax).
Also like our #1 pick, only the best of the best have dared attempt the song – including its original recorder, Queen of Funk Chaka Khan (whose can be heard getting a famous shoutout from The Voice at the song’s end). Chaka took the song to #1 on the R&B charts in the late 70s while Whitney took it to the top 5 of the Hot 100 with its revival.
3. ‘Saving All My Love For You’
Whitney Houston’s very first #1 hit came in 1985 courtesy of ‘Saving All My Love For You,’ found aboard her debut self-titled album. Though on paper the tune was indeed a ‘side chick celebration,’ Houston’s passionate delivery of the song veiled its content with a hint of innocence that made it seemingly acceptable.
Marilyn McCoo, the first singer to coo the line “I’m saving all my love for yoooooou…,” cannot boast the same.
4. ‘All the Man That I Need’
1990’s ‘All the Man That I Need’ is the song that saved the ‘I’m Your Baby Tonight’ album for many-a-diehard Nippy fan at the time. For, unlike her two previous efforts, the project saw her stray further than she ever had down rhythmic lanes of R&B and new jack swing.
But, under the supervision of Clive Davis, his leading lady would not completely abandon the ballads that brought her to pop’s pinnacle. Tapping the moderate 1981 Linda Clifford hit ‘All the Man That I Need’ for inclusion on ‘IYBT,’ Whit’s version not only soared to #1 but would actually lift the album’s second (and last) song to reach the Hot 100 peak. This was a first for Whitney as her two previous efforts lifted no less than three #1s each.
5. ‘Greatest Love of All’
If ‘I’m Every Woman’ is the ultimate women’s empowerment anthem, then ‘Greatest Love of All’ is the ultimate children’s empowerment anthem. Birthed from the same project that lent hits ‘How Will I Know,’ ‘You Give Good Love,’ and our #3 pick ‘Saving All My Love For You,’ ‘Greatest’ is one of Houston’s most covered tunes.
From local talent shows to the heights of ‘American Idol,’ the song has arguably been redone at more auditions than any of her other tunes – an interesting note to make since Whitney covered the song herself.
She may have taken it to #1 on the Hot 100 when she released it in 1986, but it was originally performed nearly a decade earlier by Grammy-winning jazz/R&B legend George Benson (who recorded it in honor of Muhammad Ali).
Now that you have our picks, vote and weigh in below to let us know:
What’s Whitney Houston’s best cover/remake?
Note: “Other” indicates song not listed in the poll