February 11, 2012 will forever be etched into the minds of ardent fans of Whitney Houston. Few of us could forget the mortifying news flooding across Twitter and later through all sources that Houston was found faced down in her bath tub at the Hilton Hotel. Shortly after, Houston was pronounced dead. Dubbed by her mentor and label Chief Clive Davis as the “greatest contemporary singer,” Whitney Houston is Guinness World Records most awarded female singer of all time. Over her three decade long career, Houston has had also made an impact with her inspirational songs. Her 1996’s “The Preacher’s Wife” Soundtrack is the best selling Gospel album of all time and she has had her mammoth share of GMA Dove Award and Gospel related wins. In remembrance of Whitney Houston’s second anniversary since her departure, we take a retrospective trip back to visit some of Houston’s finest inspiration moments:
10. “Step By Step” from the Soundtrack “The Preacher’s Wife”
Originally designated as a B-side for one of Annie Lennox’s single, Houston shows that she can take any sidelined material and transform it into a magisterial hit of epic proportions. Cutting loose on this uptempo about taking life one step at a time without being paralyzed by tomorrow’s worries, Houston whips her vocal magic making this sound like a gripping sermon that becomes a fixture of encouragement in our hearts. Added pleasure though is the vocal presence of the song writer Annie Lennox adding her stoic vocal contrast.
9. “You Light Up My Life” from the album “Just Whitney”
Released during Houston’s “crack is whack” era, her 2002 “Just Whitney” album was overshadowed by her infamous Diane Sawyer interview and her personal faux pas. Nevertheless, fans know what a gem “Just Whitney” was. Initially scheduled to be her red carpet entry back into the spotlight, this big ballad is a cover of Debby Boone’s immortal hit “You Light Up My Life.” Houston’s adds her Gospel touch making us think of her plea to God to re-light her nocturnal life again. Listening especially to her whisper to a roar rigor especially the way she builds and builds towards the song’s crescendo finale is itself a stunning experience.
8. “When You Believe” (with Mariah Carey) from the album “My Love is Your Love”
Ever since the 1990s, Mariah Carey has often been pitched as Whitney Houston’s rival. To put such rumors to cease, the two super powers came together to record what was the theme of the movie soundtrack “The Prince of Egypt.” Both Herculean voices come together for this over the top ballad that speaks of the power of faith, a theme so pertinent to the movie’s storyline of Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt.
7. “Count on Me” (with Cece Winan) from the Soundtrack “Waiting to Exhale”
If art imitates life, this is a prime example. Not only do the two women sing about a friendship that defies hardships and trails, Winan remained a faithful friend even through Houston’s most tumultuous times. Producer and the song’s co-writer Babyface makes this heart-warming ballad even more special with that added touch of lush strings that makes you feel so blessed to have real stormy-weathered friends.
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Remembering Whitney Houston: 10 of Her Most Inspirational Songs was originally published on praisecleveland.com