Grammy-winning record producer Clive Davis discovered Whitney Houston in 1983 at a nightclub performance in New York. He saw her star potential and signed her to his label, the now-defunct Arista Records.
Two years later, Houston’s self-titled debut album was released on Valentine’s Day. She was only 22, but impressed critics with her powerhouse voice on hits like You Give Good Love, Saving All My Love For You, and How Will I Know.
The album included Greatest Love Of All, a cover of a song originally recorded by George Benson in 1977 for a movie about the life of boxer Muhammad Ali. The song would become one of Houston’s biggest hits and earned a Grammy nomination for Record Of The Year.
Whitney Houston debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and produced three No. 1 singles. Houston made history as the first female solo artiste to achieve the feat, but the 1986 Grammys left her out of the Best New Artist field because of her 1984 duets with Jermaine Jackson and Teddy Pendergrass.
She did, however, win the Best Female Pop Vocal Performance award for Saving All My Love.
On February 11, 2012, Houston accidentally drowned in the bathtub of her guest room at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Los Angeles, California. She was 48. In an interview with Vanity Fair magazine in 2017, Davis reminisced on the time he first auditioned Houston.
“She was singing Home from the Broadway show The Wiz, and The Greatest Love Of All from The Greatest, the movie of eight years prior – ironically and coincidentally a song I had commissioned for that film. When I met Whitney Houston, those were the two songs that she was exposing as her gift.”