30 years of 'Whitney' - Celebrating the second studio album by Whitney Houston

June 2, 1987 - one of the most anticipated albums of the year hit the shelves, as Whitney Houston's sophomore eponymous studio effort embarked on a journey to create music history, exactly 30 years ago today.

By this time, Houston was already America's young new sweetheart, following the ground-breaking reception of her self-titled debut album released in 1985, which went on to sell over 30 million copies becoming the largest selling debut by a female artist in history and introducing a voice which was as powerful as it was tender, as poignant as it was joyous and as rugged as it was lustrous - that it was destined to redefine an era of Pop and RnB.

It was only natural for her second album to be surrounded with enormous expectations. And when it arrived, it didn't just meet them, but shattered them with all its prowess.

'Whitney' debuted at #1 on the Billboard's Top 200 Albums charts (called Top Pop Albums at that time) - a feat that had not been achieved by any other female artist before her and went on to match the lifetime sales of her enormously selling debut.




The album had an iconic run on the Billboard singles chart, with a series of 4 #1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 - which teamed with her 3 #1's from the previous album, created history by breaking The Beatles' record of most consecutive #1 singles. This also made her the first female artist to have four #1 singles from the same album.

Artistically, 'Whitney' stayed in-line with her debut album, with majority of the tracks composed by Michael Masser and Narada Michael Walden. Her voice, sounding even stronger than before, triumphed in soaring ballads like 'You're Still My Man' and was at its sultry best in the jazz-infused number 'Just The Lonely Talking Again.'

Masser, having worked with Houston before in her debut album, knew how to utilize the full potential of her gifted set of pipes - as shown in the Will Jennings penned ceiling-breaker of a ballad 'Didn't We Almost Have It All' - that showcased Whitney unleash her extraordinary belting abilities and the outburst of her soul.

The album's opening track, "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)", also the first single off the album - was written by George Merrill and produced by Narada, in an attempt to recreate the flavor of her first uptempo, 'How Will I Know' from her 1985 debut - which was also produced by the same writer and producer trio.



But 'Dance' went several notches above with its worldwide reception, topping the charts in 13 countries including US, UK, Australia, Italy and Germany, featuring one of the most memorable music video of the 80's.

Although, 'Didn't We Almost Have It All', the second single from the album, did not have an officially recorded video, Houston's performance of the song from her September 2, 1987 concert in Saratoga Springs, New York was circulated on MTV, Vh1 and BET helping her top the Hot 100 again. A performance which surpassed her own artistic achievements in the studio, and allowed the 24 year old singer to take it to new emotional depths.



Her third single from the album was the Walden-produced peppy uptempo 'So Emotional' - released later in October the same year and once again peaking the charts at #1 only to make way for her iconic feat of seven consecutive #1's, when her fourth single from the album, 'Where Do Broken Hearts Go' topped Billboard Hot 100 charts on April, 1988.

Interestingly, Whitney never wanted to record '..Hearts', as she felt it lacked any special message, but eventually agreed after being persuaded by her record CEO Clive Davis.

Apart from two more singles from the album, 'Love Will Save The Day' and a soul-baring duet with her mother, Gospel great, Cissy Houston, the album's B-side non-singles shone as brightly as the rest.

Whitney's sophomore album sealed her fate as one of the biggest pop-stars of the 1980's, not to mention her accomplishment as an artist which perhaps eclipsed the enormous commercial success.

She was already being ranked among the likes of Aretha Franklin and Barbra Streisand, with her gospel-infused vocals and live performances that over-shadowed her own studio recordings, establishing her as one of the greatest voices of all time.

It has been 30 years, since this landmark album made history and reestablished the very sound of female Pop records followed by an era filled with artists aspiring to recreate Houston's flair.

But there is no topping 'Whitney' as the first to break the barriers and open the doors - it's place is reserved in time as one of the most celebrated records in popular music history.

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