Three years after music legend Whitney Houston left the stage, her legacy continues to influence the music industry, and her death still haunts the world. Reflect back on the career of a singer who earned the title, “The Voice.”
Houston’s rise to international stardom is often cited as one the largest influence for black artists being granted mainstream airplay, along with Michael Jackson. Her video of “How Will I Know” become the first music video by a black woman to receive heavy rotation on MTV. Her breakthrough success is said to have paved the way for other black female artists, including Janet Jackson and Anita Baker.
In her acting debut as the star of The Bodyguard (1992), Houston also performed for the film’s soundtrack. The most notable track included was Houston’s cover of Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You,” which became a worldwide success and one of the best-selling singles of all time.
Houston’s recognition in music history continues to stand as a monument of pop culture. Apart from being one of the best-selling music artists of all time, she is cited by the Guinness Book of World Records as being most awarded female artist of all time. Throughout her career, Houston won a total of 415 awards, including two Emmys, six Grammys, 22 American Music Awards and 30 Billboard Music Awards.
To this day, Houston holds the record as the artist with the most (seven) consecutive No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hits. Her second album, Whitney became the first album by a female artist to debut at No. 1.
Commonly referred to as simply “The Voice,” Houston’s remarkable talent remains one of the most celebrated worldwide, releasing seven studio albums, and contributing to four movie soundtracks, across a 24-year span.
On Feb. 11, 2012, Houston was found dead in a hotel bathtub at the Beverly Hilton at the age of 48. According to the official coroner’s report, Houston had died of an accidental drowning with heart disease and cocaine as contributing factors. Her death came as the music industry gathered for the 54th annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 12.
A private memorial service was held Feb. 18, 2012, at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey. Among those who performed were Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, and R. Kelly, with remarks made by Kevin Costner, Rickey Minor, cousin Dionne Warwick, her personal guard of 11 years Ray Watson and Houston’s longtime producer Clive Davis.
The details surrounding Houston’s death still haunt the industry as her only child, Bobbi Kristina Brown remains on life support in Atlanta, Ga. Bobbi Kristina was discovered face-down and unresponsive in a bathtub last month, Jan. 31, sharing eerie circumstances with her mother’s demise.