The 40 Best Whitney Houston Songs

Happy Birthday, Whitney! We miss you.

The 40 Best Whitney Houston Songs  - In a perfect world Whitney Houston would still be singing these songs, but as we celebrate the legendary singer’s 53rd birthday (August 9) we’re able to also look back at the music she left behind for us. Whitney’s songs are touchstones for other artists who aspire to just be a little close to her coveted vocal status, for those karaoke aficionados who can’t wait to sing along, or for the fans of memorable films Whitney’s vocals soundtracked. It’s been four years since Nippy’s early departure, but today as we celebrate her born-day, let’s look back at Whitney Elizabeth Houston's 40 best songs.— Jon Reyes & BET Staff (Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

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The 40 Best Whitney Houston Songs  - In a perfect world Whitney Houston would still be singing these songs, but as we celebrate the legendary singer’s 53rd birthday (August 9) we’re able to also look back at the music she left behind for us. Whitney’s songs are touchstones for other artists who aspire to just be a little close to her coveted vocal status, for those karaoke aficionados who can’t wait to sing along, or for the fans of memorable films Whitney’s vocals soundtracked. It’s been four years since Nippy’s early departure, but today as we celebrate her born-day, let’s look back at Whitney Elizabeth Houston's 40 best songs.— Jon Reyes & BET Staff (Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Shining Star - Throughout her career, Whitney has refreshed her style and shown that just like her music, she can look great and current in any decade. In the late '90s, she adopted a sleek bob, which she showed off with a green leather dress when she performed "It’s Not Right But It's OK" at the 1999 Brit Awards. She also wore the sassy look, complete with a black choker and one leather glove, in the music video for the song.(Photo: PA Photos /Landov 1999)

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40. "Queen of the Night" - In between belting out powerhouse ballads on the soundtrack to her breakthrough film The Bodyguard, Whitney returned to her sassy mid-'80s form with this rocked-out En Vogue-esque scorcher. (Photo: PA Photos/Landov)

Hat Trick   - Most artists could retire after seven consecutive number-one hits, but Whitney beat herself at her own game when she scored three simultaneous chart toppers in 1992: "I Will Always Love You," from the Bodyguard soundtrack, "I Have Nothing" and "I'm Every Woman."(Photo: Ebet Roberts/Redferns)

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39. "I Belong to You" - Whitney effortlessly takes on breezy, Loose Ends–inspired '80s R&B on this fifth single from her third album, 1990's quadruple-platinum I'm Your Baby Tonight.(Photo: Ebet Roberts/Redferns/Getty Images)

Her Story - Whitney?s rise from a middle-class home in Newark to the pinnacle of pop super-stardom is an inspiring tale of talent and hard work trumping long odds.    (Photo:  Dave Benett/Getty Images)

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38. "We Didn't Know" With Stevie Wonder - With Stevie Wonder singing, writing, producing and playing all the instruments, Whitney was in good hands on this upbeat 1992 song about friends-turned-lovers.(Photo: Dave Benett/Getty Images)

37. "My Name Is Not Susan" - Whitney is at her most spiteful on this new-jack swing single from her third album, teaming up with rapper Monie Love and producers L.A. Reid and Babyface to lash out at a stuck-in-the-past lover.(Photo: Arista Records)

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37. "My Name Is Not Susan" - Whitney is at her most spiteful on this new-jack swing single from her third album, teaming up with rapper Monie Love and producers L.A. Reid and Babyface to lash out at a stuck-in-the-past lover.(Photo: Arista Records)

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36. "Miracle" - Whitney Houston gets deep on her 13th Top 10 hit, subtly taking on abortion with the help of Babyface and L.A. Reid, who wrote and produced the song. (Photo: Arista Records)

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36. "Miracle" - Whitney Houston gets deep on her 13th Top 10 hit, subtly taking on abortion with the help of Babyface and L.A. Reid, who wrote and produced the song. (Photo: Arista Records)

35. "Hold Me in Your Arms" With Teddy Pendergrass - It all started here. The world got its first taste of The Voice on this 1984 heartwarming duet with Teddy Pendergrass, which showed up on his Love Language album and on her debut a year later. Right out the gate, she was already going note for note with a legend.(Photos: Hulton Archive/Getty Images; Reuters)

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35. "Hold Me in Your Arms" With Teddy Pendergrass - It all started here. The world got its first taste of The Voice on this 1984 heartwarming duet with Teddy Pendergrass, which showed up on his Love Language album and on her debut a year later. Right out the gate, she was already going note for note with a legend.(Photos: Hulton Archive/Getty Images; Reuters)

Whitney Houston - With the release of her self-titled debut album in 1985, there was no looking back for Whitney. Early hits such as "Saving All My Love for You" and "How Will I Know" made her an overnight superstar. (Photo: Paul Natkin/WireImage)

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34. "Love Is a Contact Sport" - Whitney Houston is funkier, sassier and more confident than ever on this uptempo highlight from Whitney, the nine-times platinum 1987 album that established her as a worldwide superstar.(Photo: Paul Natkin/WireImage/Getty Images)

33. "One Moment in Time" - The Olympics knew exactly who to call when they wanted an anthem for the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul, Korea: Whitney. She teams up with her then favorite collaborator, producer Narada Michael Walden, to deliver a muscular ballad every bit as grandiose, athletic and outsized as the games themselves.(Photo: Robert Wallace/WENN.com)

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33. "One Moment in Time" - The Olympics knew exactly who to call when they wanted an anthem for the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul, Korea: Whitney. She teams up with her then favorite collaborator, producer Narada Michael Walden, to deliver a muscular ballad every bit as grandiose, athletic and outsized as the games themselves.(Photo: Robert Wallace/WENN.com)

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32. "Million Dollar Bill" - Whitney's final hit — while she was alive, at least — finds her recapturing her youthful, party-starting early days over a sample from Loleatta Holloway's 1976 "We're Getting Stronger" looped up by producers Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys.(Photo: Frank Micelotta/PictureGroup)

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Her Realness - Anyone who knew Whitney knew that behind that pop sheen was a real person who'd tell it like it is. Some didn't see this side until her infamous on-air confrontation with Wendy Williams, and thought this showed an out-of-control Whitney. Maybe. But it also showed a person defending her right to privacy and to live a normal life, and we respected that.  (Photo:  PA Photos /Landov)

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31. "I Believe in You and Me" - Whitney's long proved she's the queen of covers, transforming semi-successful hits by other artists into her own epic, attention-grabbing chart-toppers. With this single from the 1996 movie The Preacher's Wife, in which Whitney starred opposite Denzel Washington, she totally redefines a Four Tops ballad with her virtuosic, high-flying performance.(Photo: PA Photos/Landov)

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30. "When You Believe" With Mariah Carey - There are countless songs that tell the listener to believe in oneself, but only this one, from the 1998 soundtrack to The Prince of Egypt, has two of the best to ever do it harmonizing with each other beautifully over a lush Babyface production.(Photos: Kevin Winter/Getty Images; Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

29. "Thinking About You" - Whitney knew how to counterbalance her pop grandiloquence with some good old-fashioned rhythm and blues from the very beginning, as shown on this funky Kashif-produced number from her seminal self-titled debut.(Photo: Larry Busacca/Retna Ltd.)

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29. "Thinking About You" - Whitney knew how to counterbalance her pop grandiloquence with some good old-fashioned rhythm and blues from the very beginning, as shown on this funky Kashif-produced number from her seminal self-titled debut.(Photo: Larry Busacca/Retna Ltd.)

28. "I Learned From the Best" - Whitney's voice always made love sound even more joyful and divine, but on this scornful 1998 hit, she proved she could show the other side of the coin just as skillfully. Revenge never sounded so good.(Photo: Arista Records)

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28. "I Learned From the Best" - Whitney's voice always made love sound even more joyful and divine, but on this scornful 1998 hit, she proved she could show the other side of the coin just as skillfully. Revenge never sounded so good.(Photo: Arista Records)

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27. "If You Say My Eyes Are Beautiful" With Jermaine Jackson - Jermaine played an instrumental role in launching Whitney's career, recruiting her for backup vocals early on and then producing three tracks on her smash debut. She returned the favor — and then some — by knocking this soaring duet from his 1986 album Precious Moments out of the park.(Photos: REUTERS/China Photos; Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)

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26. "I Know Him So Well" With Cissy Houston - So that's where she got it from. Whitney's angelic voice complemented her mother's husky vibrato beautifully on this 1986 duet, originally from the musical/concept album Chess, penned by former members of ABBA.(Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

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25. "Jesus Loves Me" - Just one night before she passed away, Whitney performed this classic Christian hymn with Kelly Price. But even before her tragic death, her uplifting, hopeful recording of the song on The Bodyguard soundtrack could bring tears to your eyes.(Photo: David Corio/Getty Images)

24. "Count on Me" - Whitney teamed up with fellow powerhouse CeCe Winans for this single from the Waiting to Exhale soundtrack, perfectly capturing the sisterly spirit that buoys the film.(Photo: Billy Stickland/ALLSPORT/Getty Images)

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24. "Count on Me" - Whitney teamed up with fellow powerhouse CeCe Winans for this single from the Waiting to Exhale soundtrack, perfectly capturing the sisterly spirit that buoys the film.(Photo: Billy Stickland/ALLSPORT/Getty Images)

23. "I'm Your Baby Tonight" - L.A. Reid and Babyface deliver a streetwise production that recalls Michael Jackson's Bad era for the title track and first single off Whitney's third album, giving her a perfect launchpad for one of the funkier, harder-edged performances of her career.(Photo: Arista Records)

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23. "I'm Your Baby Tonight" - L.A. Reid and Babyface deliver a streetwise production that recalls Michael Jackson's Bad era for the title track and first single off Whitney's third album, giving her a perfect launchpad for one of the funkier, harder-edged performances of her career.(Photo: Arista Records)

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22. "Step by Step" - Whitney will always be known for her ballads, but on this 1996 remake of an Annie Lennox B-side, she ably recalls her '80s uptempo prime with a result that's both spirit- and body-moving.(Photo: David Corio/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

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Waiting to Exhale & The Preacher's Wife - With her big-screen credentials in check, Houston followed up her star-making turn in The Bodyguard with back-to-back hits Waiting to Exhale, opposite Angela Bassett and Lela Rochon, and The Preacher's Wife, with Denzel Washington. Houston earned $10 million for the latter role, making her one of the highest paid actresses in Hollywood at the time.  (Photo:  Jan Persson/Redferns)

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21. "All at Once" - "All at Once," from Whitney's 1985 debut, was only released as a single overseas, but it's still a key moment in her career, one of her first massive, pop-diva ballads, paving roads for Mariah, Celine and others to drive down. The slow start, the big finish, the key modulation at the end, the impossible high notes — all the ingredients are there.(Photo: Jan Persson/Redferns/Getty Images)

20. "Heartbreak Hotel" With Faith Evans and Kelly Price - It had been eight years since her last album, but 1998's My Love Is Your Love showed that Whitney had no problem sounding as current and up-to-date as ever, and this ballad is perhaps the finest example. In one of her most vulnerable performances ever, she shined alongside two of the next generation's finest young divas.(Photos: Moses Robinson/Getty Images; REUTERS/Ethan Miller; Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

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20. "Heartbreak Hotel" With Faith Evans and Kelly Price - It had been eight years since her last album, but 1998's My Love Is Your Love showed that Whitney had no problem sounding as current and up-to-date as ever, and this ballad is perhaps the finest example. In one of her most vulnerable performances ever, she shined alongside two of the next generation's finest young divas.(Photos: Moses Robinson/Getty Images; REUTERS/Ethan Miller; Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Her Videos - Whitney?s 1980s music videos helped define the new medium, coupling her pop hits with gorgeous cinematography, awesome choreography and, of course, her effervescent charm and infectious smile.     (Photo by Paul Bergen/Redferns/Getty Images)

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19. "Why Does It Hurt So Bad" - Channeling the feelings of both her troubled marriage to Bobby Brown and the 1996 movie Waiting to Exhale — which starred Whitney and featured this song on the soundtrack — Ms. Houston delivers yet another heart-breaking classic with help from Babyface, who produced and wrote the song.  (Photo:Paul Bergen/Redferns/Getty Images)

Grammy Run - In 1989, she gave a stirring live performance of her song "One Moment In Time," to open the Grammys. Whitney looked angelic on stage in a white sweetheart neckline gown with crystal studs and capped sleeves. (Photo: CBS /Landov)

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18. "Love Will Save the Day" - Once again proving she can commandeer uptempo dance hits just as well as her signature belt-it-out ballads, an ecstatic Whitney makes this 1987 single leap from the speaker.(Photo: CBS/Landov)

Whitney Houston (August 9, 1963 - February 11, 2012) - The legendary Whitney Houston died on Saturday at the age of 48. The singer, who is set to star in the remake of the 1976 film Sparkle this year, leaves behind a tremendous wealth of music, including her record hits, "The Greatest Love of All," "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" and "I Will Always Love You." She is and always will be an icon. Check out what Houston's peers had to say about the shocking death of this R&B great.(Photo: Ebet Roberts/Redferns)

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17. "Run to You" - In case you haven't figured it out by now, Whitney could kill a ballad. Better than anyone else. Ever. This single from The Bodyguard is Exhibit A (or maybe Exhibit Z?), starting out softly and delicately before exploding with dramatic high notes at the end. (Photo: Ebet Roberts/Redferns/Getty Images)

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16. "I Have Nothing" - Whitney breaks both hearts and glass with her masterful performance here, yet another classic ballad from The Bodyguard soundtrack. Aspiring reality show contestants on American Idol and The X-Factor love taking this one on, but no one will ever come close to the original.(Photo: Arista Records)

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16. "I Have Nothing" - Whitney breaks both hearts and glass with her masterful performance here, yet another classic ballad from The Bodyguard soundtrack. Aspiring reality show contestants on American Idol and The X-Factor love taking this one on, but no one will ever come close to the original.(Photo: Arista Records)

Fresh-Faced - In the early '80s, Whitney Houston started working as a model after a photographer saw her perform with her gospel singing mother, Cissy Houston, at Carnegie Hall. Her girl-next door charm and gorgeous looks made her one of the most sought out models of that time.(Photo: dpa /Landov)

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15. "You Give Good Love" - Whitney's debut solo single was designed to establish her among Black audiences first, but her irrepressible vocal abilities — effortlessly switching between husky, from-the-gut tones to soft soprano trills — made this breezy song an unexpected crossover hit, peaking at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, a major feat for an unknown Black artist in the mid-'80s.(Photo: dpa/Landov)

Fashion Favorite - If '80s style could be summed up in pictures, Whitney could be a poster child. She fashioned some of the best trends of the decade, like this bold shoulder jacket she wore with high waist pants at a 1988 performance. And you can't forget her hair! Whitney's teased up tresses were always crafted into different styles that were popular at the time.(Photo: dpa /Landov)

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14. "Where Do Broken Hearts Go" - An ostentatious, classic Whitney power ballad, "Where Do Broken Hearts Go" gave Houston her seventh straight No. 1 hit and helped propel her sophomore album Whitney to record-shattering success. (Photo: dpa/Landov)

13. "All the Man That I Need" - Houston does it again on this single from I'm Your Baby Tonight, "Whitney-fying" yet another semi-hit ? in this case recorded previously by Linda Clifford and then Sister Sledge ? by converting it into one of her signature bombastic, chart-topping pop ballads.(Photo: Arista Records)

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13. "All the Man That I Need" - Houston does it again on this single from I'm Your Baby Tonight, "Whitney-fying" yet another semi-hit — in this case recorded previously by Linda Clifford and then Sister Sledge — by converting it into one of her signature bombastic, chart-topping pop ballads.(Photo: Arista Records)

12. "My Love Is Your Love" - After an eight-year break between albums, an in-control Whitney returned with this uplifting anthem for the world, the first single and title track from her fourth album, backed by a gorgeous reggae-esque Wyclef Jean production.(Photo: Arista Records)

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12. "My Love Is Your Love" - After an eight-year break between albums, an in-control Whitney returned with this uplifting anthem for the world, the first single and title track from her fourth album, backed by a gorgeous reggae-esque Wyclef Jean production.(Photo: Arista Records)

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11. "It's Not Right But It's Okay" - Whitney had a newfound bite and edge to her voice when she returned with her fourth album in 1998, which helped her nail this slinky Rodney Jerkins-produced anti-fidelity anthem with stone-cold precision.(Photo: Arista Records)

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11. "It's Not Right But It's Okay" - Whitney had a newfound bite and edge to her voice when she returned with her fourth album in 1998, which helped her nail this slinky Rodney Jerkins-produced anti-fidelity anthem with stone-cold precision.(Photo: Arista Records)

10. "So Emotional" - Undoubtedly influenced by Michael Jackson's mid- to late '80s rock-soul mash-ups, this 1987 hit, which shows Whitney breathlessly leaping from sultry come-ons to joyful shouts, gave her a sixth straight No. 1. (Photo: Arista Records)

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10. "So Emotional" - Undoubtedly influenced by Michael Jackson's mid- to late '80s rock-soul mash-ups, this 1987 hit, which shows Whitney breathlessly leaping from sultry come-ons to joyful shouts, gave her a sixth straight No. 1. (Photo: Arista Records)

"Exhale"  - After The Bodyguard, Whitney Houston returned to the silver screen as Savannah Jackson in the 1995 film Waiting to Exhale. With her return came a Grammy for Best R&B song in 1997 for the lead single for the film's soundtrack, Houston's "Exhale."

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9. "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)" - Whitney didn't have to shout glass-shattering high notes to deliver a knockout performance. On the first single from the soundtrack for Waiting to Exhale — and the third single ever to debut at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 — she sits back, relaxes and lets her beautiful tone and Babyface's thoughtful songwriting speak for themselves.(Photo: Arista Records)

8. "I'm Every Woman" - Whitney came full circle here, soulfully covering the 1978 Chaka Khan classic that she sang backup vocals on as a teenager and making it an inspirational anthem for a whole new generation of women worldwide.(Photo: Arista Records)

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8. "I'm Every Woman" - Whitney came full circle here, soulfully covering the 1978 Chaka Khan classic that she sang backup vocals on as a teenager and making it an inspirational anthem for a whole new generation of women worldwide.(Photo: Arista Records)

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7. "Saving All My Love for You" - This remake of a mostly forgotten 1978 Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. song has it all: her breathy come-ons, her trademark epic high notes, her delicate runs. That limitless talent, which made this song the first of her record-setting seven straight No. 1 hits, is already on full display here.(Photo: Arista Records)

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6. "How Will I Know" - The third single from her debut album, "How Will I Know" ? originally written for Janet Jackson, who rejected it ? is Whitney at her most irresistibly danceable and innocently joyful.(Photo: Arista Records)

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6. "How Will I Know" - The third single from her debut album, "How Will I Know" — originally written for Janet Jackson, who rejected it — is Whitney at her most irresistibly danceable and innocently joyful.(Photo: Arista Records)

5. "Didn't We Almost Have It All" - Houston is in perfect control of her one-of-a-kind instrument on this unforgettable, heart-rending ballad from her second album. The ride with you was worth the fall, Whitney.(Photo: Chris Polk/FilmMagic/Getty Images)

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5. "Didn't We Almost Have It All" - Houston is in perfect control of her one-of-a-kind instrument on this unforgettable, heart-rending ballad from her second album. The ride with you was worth the fall, Whitney.(Photo: Chris Polk/FilmMagic/Getty Images)

4. "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)" - This undeniable Whitney signature picks up where "How Will I Know" left off, perfecting its '80s dance-pop delirium and skyrocketing her sophomore album, Whitney, to a No. 1 debut ? a first for a female artist.(Photo: Arista Records)

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4. "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)" - This undeniable Whitney signature picks up where "How Will I Know" left off, perfecting its '80s dance-pop delirium and skyrocketing her sophomore album, Whitney, to a No. 1 debut — a first for a female artist.(Photo: Arista Records)

Her Performances - Whitney turned in some of the most memorable performances of all time during her 48 years with us. Her television debut on the Merv Griffin Show in 1983; ?The Greatest Love of All? at the 1987 Grammys; and of course, her legendary take on ?The Star-Spangled Banner? at the Super Bowl in 1991.(Photo: George Rose/Getty Images)

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3. "The Star-Spangled Banner" - Whitney's flawless performance at Super Bowl XXV in 1991 is without a doubt the definitive rendition of the national anthem. Arista Records was flooded with phone calls for days afterwards, prompting the company to release it as a single, with all proceeds going to the American Red Cross. Whitney was the first artist to make the national anthem a Top 10 hit and the first to take it to platinum. Whitney was already a star at this point, but this performance made her a legend.(Photo: George Rose/Getty Images)

2. "Greatest Love of All" - Whitney's superstar-making moment. Her glorious 1986 take on this transcendent song, originally recorded by Jane Olivor and then George Benson, is one of her greatest and earliest triumphs ? soaring, uplifting and heartbreaking all at the same time. (Photo: Arista Records)

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2. "Greatest Love of All" - Whitney's superstar-making moment. Her glorious 1986 take on this transcendent song, originally recorded by Jane Olivor and then George Benson, is one of her greatest and earliest triumphs — soaring, uplifting and heartbreaking all at the same time. (Photo: Arista Records)

1. "I Will Always Love You" - Whitney Houston's most iconic performance, "I Will Always Love You" is quite simply one of the biggest and boldest moments in American pop music history. From the delicate opening to the massive climax ? the power note of power notes ? Whitney is flawless. The song, a cover of a 1974 Dolly Parton single, launched the soundtrack to the 1992 film The Bodyguard to 17 million sales and made it the first album to push a million units in a week. No matter how or why Whitney left us, and no matter how she spent the last years of her too-brief time with us, we'll always remember her like this: singing of joy and pain, love and heartbreak, triumph and failure, like no one else.(Photo: Arista Records)

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1. "I Will Always Love You" - Whitney Houston's most iconic performance, "I Will Always Love You" is quite simply one of the biggest and boldest moments in American pop music history. From the delicate opening to the massive climax — the power note of power notes — Whitney is flawless. The song, a cover of a 1974 Dolly Parton single, launched the soundtrack to the 1992 film The Bodyguard to 17 million sales and made it the first album to push a million units in a week. No matter how or why Whitney left us, and no matter how she spent the last years of her too-brief time with us, we'll always remember her like this: singing of joy and pain, love and heartbreak, triumph and failure, like no one else.(Photo: Arista Records)