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The 5 Best Whitney Houston Live Performances

From her first TV appearance in 1983 to her famous "Star-Spangled Banner" and more, relive some of the legendary vocalist's most impressive performances on what would have been her 54th birthday

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TV Debut With "Home" on 'The Merv Griffin Show' (1983)

Even in a career as illustrious as Whitney Houston's, there are definitive moments that stand out above the rest. Here are some of our favorites.

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singer delivered a jaw-dropping rendition of "Home," an emotional ballad from the 1975 Broadway musical The Wiz, originally made famous by Stephanie Mills in the musical and then Diana Ross in the 1978 film version.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.

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"All The Man That I Need" from 'Welcome Home Heroes' (1991)

Following her iconic Super Bowl performance in 1991, Whitney Houston decided to put on a special concert to honor the troops fighting in the Gulf War, their families, and all members of the U.S. military. The concert took place on the Naval Air Station in Norfolk, Virginia. Welcome Home Heroes With Whitney Houston aired first as a major HBO special, and was later released on VHS (and much later on DVD). While the entire concert is amazing, you can tell from the crowd's rowdy, ecstatic reaction that this particular performance was a stand-out.

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"I Will Always Love You" at The 36th GRAMMYs (1994)

After a year dominating the charts and airwaves with the seminal hit, Whitney Houston opened the 36th GRAMMY Awards in March 1994 with this show-stopping performance of "I Will Always Love You." It's easy to see (and hear) why Whitney swept the awards that year, winning Album of the Year for The Bodyguard soundtrack, plus Record of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for "I Will Always Love You."

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"The Star-Spangled Banner" at Super Bowl XXV (1991)

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.

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"One Moment in Time" at The 31st GRAMMYs (1989)

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.

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