The late Whitney Houston may have only appeared in front of the camera in four feature films during her lifetime, but when a soundtrack featured the singer, best-selling albums and awards followed in her wake.
Houston’s soundtrack contribution became synonymous with chart-topping albums, some among the best-selling of all time, so in her memory, we’re taking a look back at some of her most significant musical efforts in film and the records she broke in the process.
“I Wanna Dance With Somebody” on the “13 Going on 30” Soundtrack
Almost 20 years after its initial release, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” was re-released as part of the soundtrack for the 2004 Jennifer Garner film “13 Going on 30.” The album was made up mostly of the biggest hits of the late ’80s, including Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and Madonna’s “Crazy for You.” The soundtrack did not earn the awards or prestige of Houston’s other credits, but the song’s re-release brought it to a younger generation and reaffirmed its rightful place alongside the decade’s most influential singles.
“Exhale (Shoop Shoop)” from “Waiting to Exhale”
Houston’s second starring role resulted in another big soundtrack hit. The lead single from the album, “Exhale (Shoop Shoop),” sold more than 1 million copies and went platinum. The song earned four nominations at the 1997 Grammy Awards, including Song of the Year, and walked away with Best R&B Song. Written by Babyface, “Exhale (Shoop Shoop)” was just one of the many successful collaborations Houston would have with the famous producer.
“The Preacher’s Wife” Soundtrack
Houston’s last major film appearance before her death also brought about a record-breaking release for the artist. Houston performed all the songs on the soundtrack for “The Preacher’s Wife,” in which she starred opposite Academy Award winner Denzel Washington. The album itself went on to sell an estimated 6 million copies and became the best-selling gospel album of all time.
“When You Believe” from “The Prince of Egypt”
As one half of a duo that’s sure to go down in R&B history, Houston performed “When You Believe” off of the “Prince of Egypt” soundtrack with Mariah Carey. The song only found moderate success on the Billboard charts, but the biggest honor came Oscar night, when the writer of “When You Believe,” Stephen Schwartz, took home the Academy Award for Best Original Song in March 1999. Houston and Carey performed at the awards shortly before winning the honor.
“The Bodyguard” Soundtrack
Houston’s greatest musical contribution to film is also the album she’ll be most remembered for. The soundtrack for the 1992 film “The Bodyguard,” co-starring Kevin Costner, surpassed all expectations of motion-picture soundtracks up until that time and became one of the best-selling albums in history. Ranking fourth in sales, only behind Michael Jackson’s Thriller, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and AC/DC’s Back in Black, the soundtrack to “The Bodyguard” also took home the Grammy for Album of the Year. The most recognizable song of Houston’s career, a cover of Dolly Parton’s song “I Will Always Love You,” was the first of three singles from the album to break the Billboard top 20. Houston was the first female artist to have three songs on the list at the same time.
MTV News’ Sway and James Montgomery will be live from the Grammys red carpet tonight starting at 5 p.m. ET to get reactions from music’s biggest stars on the death of Whitney Houston. Watch reactions and remembrances at MTV.com.
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