Chart Watch Extra: Whitney’s 50th Birthday
Whitney Houston would have turned 50 on Friday (Aug. 9). If Houston had lived to see this day, she would have much of which to be proud. You could make a strong argument that Houston set the template for the modern pop/R&B diva. She paved the way for Mariah Carey, Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Jennifer Hudson and many others.
Here are just a few of the records she set:
- In June 1987, Whitney became the first album by a female artist to enter The Billboard 200 album chart at #1.
- In April 1988, Houston became the first artist (male, female or group) to reach #1 on the Hot 100 with seven consecutive chart hits. (The old record of six was held jointly by the Beatles and Bee Gees.)
- In February 1993, “I Will Always Love You” became the first single in the “rock era” (which dates to 1955) to log 14 weeks at #1.
Houston headed The Billboard 200 for a total of 46 weeks, which is more than any other female artist since 1955. Her debut album, Whitney Houston, topped the chart for 14 weeks in 1986. Her sophomore album, Whitney, held the top spot for 11 weeks in 1987. The Bodyguard soundtrack stayed on top for 20 weeks in 1992-1993. Houston’s final studio album, I Look To You, spent one week on top in 2009.
Houston is the only female artist to release three albums that each logged 10 or more weeks at #1. The only other artists to achieve this feat are the Beatles and Elvis Presley (each of whom has four) and the Kingston Trio.
Houston had the #1 album of the year on Billboard’s year-end chart recaps twice. Whitney Houston was #1 for 1986. The Bodyguard soundtrack was #1 for 1993. Just two other artists, Elton John and 50 Cent, have had the year’s top album twice with different albums. (Two other artists, Michael Jackson and Adele, had the year’s top album twice with the same album.)
It’s hard to imagine now, but Whitney Houston was a sleeper hit. The album entered the chart at #166 and took 23 weeks to break into the top 10. Whitney got off to a much faster start. It was only the fifth album, and the first by a female artist, to debut at #1.