Whitney Houston would go on to sell 13 million copies in the U.S. alone, while achieving gold, platinum, or multi-platinum status in an additional 15 countries. It also garnered Whitney over 20 prestigious awards, including Grammy's, American Music Awards, and the People's Choice. But Whitney did not rest on her laurels. She kept the momentum going with her simply titled sophomore set, Whitney. I can still remember the excitement of seeing the premiere of the music video for "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)," the album's lead-off single. Although the tune and arrangement (courtesy of Narada Michael Walden) bore some similarity to "How Will I Know," the overall sound was considerably groovier and spunkier than the softer ballads with which many had begun to associate Whitney. The video added to that new energy with Whitney trying a few of her own dance moves and a fun supporting cast. As a second-grader, I called the local record shop with that same energy the day before the album's release to make sure there would be a copy for me when school was dismissed.
The happening of Whitney's concert at The Scope in Norfolk, Virginia forever immortalized my ninth birthday—as I'm sure it forever made a landmark of that day for all in attendance. While I was in school, my dad had stood outside the box office for hours to ensure good tickets—third row! The whole experience of a stadium concert was totally new and overwhelming for me, but I remember being in awe of the sheer elegance and power Whitney let shine through in that concert. It was as if the performances on the Whitney LP—"Love Will Save the Day," "Where Do Broken Hearts Go," and "Didn't We Almost Have It All"—were reflective of only one aspect of her vocal abilities. In concert, she presented another dimension with a further glimpse into her gospel upbringing via improvised melodies and unexpected phrasing. Paired with delightful glamour and refined stage mannerisms unscathed by negative forces in the music industry, her indisputable musical talent was magnified even further.
Whitney was the first-ever album by a female artist to debut at number one on Billboard's Top Pop Albums chart. When all was said and done, it moved nine million units in the U.S. and obtained platinum (or better) certification in ten additional countries. The follow-up album, 1990's I'm Your Baby Tonight, came close to duplicating this success; but it was by way of a notable career transition in 1992 through which Whitney would achieve her greatest success ever. Co-starring alongside Kevin Costner in the action film The Bodyguard, she recorded half of the movie's original soundtrack. A heart-wrenching cover of Dolly Parton's 1974 country hit, "I Will Always Love You" served as the theme song, breaking world records by staying at number one for fourteen weeks on Billboard's Pop Singles chart. She won Grammy's, MTV Movie, and Soul Train Music Awards—to name a few—in the process. The soundtrack's momentum continued for over a year after the movie's release with long-running hit singles such as "I Have Nothing," "Run to You," and "I'm Every Woman" (originally recorded by Chaka Khan).