Whitney Houston is the most-awarded female artist of all time, having won Emmys, GRAMMYs, American Music Awards and many more, totaling 415 career awards. And, of course, she's one of the best-selling artists of all time, moving over 170 million albums, singles and videos worldwide.
Even in a career as illustrious as Houston's, there are definitive moments that stand out. From her iconic performance of "The Star-Spangled Banner" at 1991's Super Bowl to her appearance in the mega-selling movie (and soundtrack) for The Bodyguard. Here are our five favorites.
5. Houston's 1983 TV Debut on The Merv Griffin Show
Described as "elegant and sensuous" by the flattering host, the then unknown 19-year-old singer delivered a jaw-dropping rendition of "Home," an emotional ballad from the 1975 Broadway musical The Wiz, originally made famous by Stephanie Mills in the musical and then Diana Ross in the 1978 film version. Whitney wouldn't release her official debut single or self-titled debut album until two years later in 1985.
4. "Saving All My Love For You" at The 1986 GRAMMYs
Houston's cover of singer Marilyn McCoo's 1978 hit was the singer's second single from her eponymous debut album and earned her the first of six GRAMMY Awards (for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance) and an American Music Award for Favorite R&B/Soul Video. Her performance of the ballad at the 1986 GRAMMYs—equal parts sultry chanteuse and jazzy lounge-chic—won her an Emmy for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program.
3. "I Will Always Love You" at the 1994 World Music Awards
It's weird to think that Houston and Bodyguard co-star Kevin Costner had to fight to keep the 45-second a capella intro to "I Will Always Love You," which has become one of the song's most enduring and memorable features. The track, alongside other Houston hits like "I'm Every Woman" and "I Have Nothing," helped make The Bodyguard the most successful soundtrack in music history, selling more than 40 million copies worldwide. In 1994 Whitney was invited to sing the monster hit at the World Music Awards and absolutley killed it!
2. "One Moment in Time" at The 1989 GRAMMYs
Co-written by Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond, Jr.'s father, "One Moment in Time" became the temporary new National Anthem when Houston recorded it for the 1988 Summer Olympics. While it never hit number one, the song became indelibly linked to the games and remains one of Houston's most timeless recordings. Houston performed a rousing rendition the song at the 31st Annual GRAMMY Awards, receiving an immediate standing ovation.
1. "The Star Spangled Banner" at Super Bowl XXV
At the peak of her career in 1991, at just 28 years old, Whitney took center stage at the Super Bowl in Tampa and delivered a performance of "The Star-Spangled Banner" that, in many ways, summed up her career at that point: She was America's girl; a beautiful goody-goody with pipes of gold and a smile to die for. She hit the high notes with a powerful grace in what's truly a spine-tingling moment. The New York Giants beat the Buffalo Bills by one point (20-19) that year. But in our book, it was Houston that won.
Listen to all 40 Whitney Houston singles on our Spotify Tribute Playlist.