Today would have been Whitney's 51st birthday. Celebrate the music icon with this photo timeline of her illustrious career
August 9, 2014
Clive Davis Signs Whitney to Arista Records (1983)
As a teenager Whitney began performing in nightclubs with her mother and gospel singer, Cissy. After an Arista A&R rep convinced Clive Davis to take interest in Whitney, he promptly offered the budding star a worldwide record contract.
Whitney Performs on 'The Merv Griffin Show' (1985)
Whitney made her first televised appearance on 'The Merv Griffin show' performing one of the most moving numbers of her lifetime, "Home" from Broadway musical 'The Wiz.'
Merv Griffin Show
First #1 Hit, "Saving All My Love For You" (1985)
The second U.S. single off Whitney's eponymous debut album 'Whitney Houston' quickly rose to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and secured her spot in the pop music realm.
Whitney's Debut Album Goes Platinum (1985)
Whitney with Clive Davis celebrating her debut album receiving a multi-platinum sales award in 1985 in New York City.
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Whitney's Dance Hits Enlist the MTV Crowd (1985)
Subsequent singles such as "How Will I Know" received heavy airplay on MTV introducing Whitney to a broader audience. With these hits Whitney also became the first African American woman to receive consistent play on the network.
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First Grammy Win (1986)
Houston earned her first Grammy, Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female for "Saving All My Love for You" in 1986.
Ron Galella, Ltd./Wireimage
Record Breaking Success (1987)
Houston's sophomore album 'Whitney' became the first female solo album to debut in the #1 spot on the Billboard 200. The Grammy-winning lead single "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" and the following three all landed #1 spots, giving the singer seven #1 singles in a row. With this streak Whitney broke the record of six consecutive #1s previously held by The Beatles and The Beegees.
The Star Spangled Banner (1991)
Whitney breathed new life into the National Anthem when she performed it at Super Bowl XXV. Her rendition was so well received that when a single was released, it climbed to #20 on the U.S. Hot 100. The song was re-released after the 9/11 attacks with proceeds benefiting victims.
Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston Marry (1992)
Whitney married R&B singer Bobby Brown in 1992. The couple had only one child together, Bobbi Kristina. Rumors of drug usage and jail time tinged the marriage and the two finally divorced in 2006. In a 2009 interview with Oprah, Whitney admitted, "[doing drugs] was an everyday thing... I wasn't happy by that point in time. I was losing myself."
Whitney Enters Hollywood with 'The Bodyguard' (1992)
Whitney made her acting debut in 'The Bodyguard' co-starring Kevin Costner. The movie spawned her most iconic performance in "I Will Always Love You," a Dolly Parton original first recorded in 1974. To date the single has sold over 12 million copies worldwide.
Whitney Wins at Billboard Music Awards (1993)
Whitney won 11 of the 12 awards she was nominated for at the 1993 Billboard Music Awards.
Daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown is Born (1993)
Whitney gives birth to her only child, Bobbi Kristina Houston Brown on March 4th, 1993.
Ron Galella, Ltd./Wireimage
Awards! Awards! Awards! (1994)
Houston shows off the seven awards she won at the 21st American Music Awards. With total career awards in excess of 400, she is the most awarded female artist of all time.
Ron Galella, Ltd./Wireimage
Whitney Furthers Her Acting Career (1995-97)
With 'Waiting to Exhale,' 'The Preacher's Wife' (pictured above), and and a new rendition of Rodgers & Hammerstein's 'Cinderella,' Whitney proved that her talents extended past her vocal chords.
'My Love Is Your Love' (1998)
Houston released her first studio album in eight years, 'My Love Is Your Love' which went 4× platinum in the U.S and sold a total of 11 million copies internationally. The single "When You Believe," a collaboration with Mariah Carey featured on 'The Prince of Egypt' soundtrack won the Academy Award for 'Best Original Song.'
"Being Bobby Brown" (2005)
Whitney appears in Bobby's reality TV show, "Being Bobby Brown." The highly rated show ran for only one season as Houston did not agree to a second season.
Opening up to Oprah (2009)
In a tell-all interview, Houston opens up about her decision to divorce Bobby Brown and her new album. The latter that would go on to launch her final a comeback.
Courtesy of Harpo Productions
'I Look to You' (2009)
Whitney released 'I Look to You,' her first studio album to reach #1 since 'Whitney.' With a comeback in sight, Whitney embarked on her first world tour in 10 years. However, after cancelling many dates and giving inconsistent performances, the singer garnered many negative reviews.
Whitney's Final Roll (2011)
Filmed in 2011, 'Sparkle' marks Whitney Houston's fifth and final feature film role. The film was released 6 months after the star's death and is dedicated to her memory.
Last Performance (2012)
Whitney sang publicly for the last time, Thursday, February 9, 2012 at a pre-GRAMMY party. Along with fellow R&B singer, Kelly Price, Whitney performed the Christian standard, "Yes, Jesus Loves Me."
Whitney Houston Dead at Age 48 (2012)
On February 11, 2012 a music legend with a voice unrivaled has passed away. Whitney Houston was found dead in her room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, in Beverly Hills, California.