The Deluxe Anniversary Edition
I came of age in the days of AM radio. I can still remember listening to Casey Kasem counting down the Top 40 hits on Sunday nights before FM radio, the Internet, blog radio, and terms like market segmentation became part of our lexicon. In the space of twenty or so minutes, you could hear a song by Barbara Streisand, Journey, The Bee Gees, and maybe something by Johnny Cash as well.
I like to think growing up in the '70s made me more open minded as a person because we had to listen to everything that was played on the radio. We didn’t have the choice to opt out or create our own digital world of favorites the way teenagers do today. My theory is not born out of reality, however, because my twenty-one-year-old niece is much more culturally aware and sophisticated about the world than I was at her age.
As I was listening to this deluxe anniversary edition of Whitney Houston’s greatest hits, I felt some nostalgia for those seemingly less complicated days of my youth. Nostalgia is a powerful emotion because you find yourself remembering an idealized time of your life that is lost forever. I couldn’t help but remember how Houston ruled the airways for most of the '80s and part of the '90s with her powerful renditions of songs like “The Greatest Love of All,” “You Give Good Love,” “Saving All My Love for You,” “Hold Me,” and “How Will I Know.”
Houston was a child prodigy. She began singing at a very young age (she’s the daughter of soul singer Cissy Houston and the cousin of singer Dionne Warwick, so I guess the singing genes run in the family) and her career took off when she was barely out of her teens. She was discovered by the legendary Clive Davis while performing in a New York nightclub.
Houston is a groundbreaking crossover artist who appeals to all demographics with her gospel influenced, pop-soul musical style. She is the only artist with seven consecutive multi-platinum albums. Her cover of Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” is the highest-selling single of all time. She was also the first African American woman to receive regular play on MTV; her “How Will I Know” video paving the way for such artists as Janet Jackson and Anita Baker.
Although Houston is one of the greatest female singers of her generation, I never followed her career that closely, but I am aware of the personal and professional highs and lows she has experienced over the years. As I listened to her effortlessly belting out some of her trademark hits on this album, I found myself revisiting memories of where I was when I first heard a particular song. Houston's music, like her life, has become indelibly linked with our triumphs and tribulations. When I think of Whitney Houston and how she continues to endure despite her setbacks, I can’t help but root for her all over again.