As we were looking back on some of our favorite Whitney Houston tunes to put on this list, we were struck by the fact that all five of them were from the early part of her career.
We knew that “Saving All My Love” and “How Will I Know” were both early hits for Houston, who died Saturday at age 48. But if we hadn’t checked the dates on “I’m Your Baby Tonight” and her cover of Chaka Khan‘s “I’m Every Woman,” we would have guessed they were more recent than 1990 and ’93, respectively. That speaks to just how pervasive Houston’s work has been in pop culture over the past 25 years.
No, two of her signature songs — “Greatest Love of All” and “I Will Always Love You” — aren’t on this list. We’re not going to argue the power of either one, but we may have heard them a few too many times. The five below are ones that still have the ability to get in our head and stay there for a long time.
“Saving All My Love for You”
Houston’s first No. 1 single is a beautifully sung ballad whose maturity belies the fact that Houston was just 22 when it hit No. 1.
“How Will I Know”
The follow-up to “Saving All My Love” also hit No. 1 and is a more uptempo, youthful song about the rush and uncertainty of new love.
This is just a really good pop song.
“I’m Your Baby Tonight”
Maybe our favorite of all Houston’s songs. The propulsive beat and yearning in her voice combine for something special.
“I’m Every Woman”
The rare cover that holds up compared to the original, thanks mostly to the fact that Houston’s voice has every bit as much power as Chaka Khan’s.
What are your favorite Whitney Houston songs?