Taking Cover with Nippy

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Today marks what would have been Whitney Houston’s 50th birthday. But even though Houston is no longer physically with us, her once in a lifetime voice will never be silenced as younger generations are discovering and holding it in as much amazement as those before them. Dubbed “The Voice”,

Houston was mostly known for her unparallel vocal talents, but she did dabble in writing and producing. However, Houston’s artistry didn’t lie in the pen; it was in her voice and the way that she could take any song and bring it to life. There has never been and most likely will never be a performer whose voice was a perfect as Houston’s and who could also take a song to unreachable heights. Most of Houston’s classic songs are actually covers but many are unaware of this fact because once Whitney Houston touched your song, it became hers. In honor of the legend’s birthday here are some of her greatest covers. Some of the songs were recorded and released on her studio albums and others were just live treats.

“I Will Always Love You”
Originally recorded by Dolly Parton

Houston’s signature song was first a hit for Parton back in 1974. Released on the soundtrack to Houston’s acting debut, The Bodyguard, “I Will Always Love You” is one of the best-selling singles of all-time and topped the Billboard charts for 14 weeks. At this point, there is nothing that can be said for this classic that hasn’t already been noted.

“Saving All My Love For You”
Originally recorded by Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr.

This was Houston’s second single from her self-titled debut album and also her first single to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Houston won the Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and made her debut at the awards performing the song. Houston’s performance of the song was so incredible that she actually won an Emmy for her performance. Let that sink in for a moment. Whitney Houston won a prestigious award while performing a song that won her another prestigious award…..

“(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman”
Originally recorded by Aretha Franklin

There are not many people who could or should try and take on an Aretha Franklin song. Houston not only dared to but she simply sang the pure tee s*** out of the Franklin classic. As a dedication to new husband Bobby Brown, Houston delivered as he watched from the side of the stage.

“I Love The Lord”
Originally recorded by Richard Smallwood

Houston was reared in the church. Even in her mainstream hits you could always hear the influence of the church especially since she usually managed to sneak an “oh, lawd” in her ad-libs. This particular song was included on the soundtrack of Houston’s film The Preacher’s Wife.

“I’m Every Woman”
Originally recorded by Chaka Khan

In 1978 this song was a breakout success for Chaka Khan and helped to establish her as a solo artist. A young Houston alongside her mother, Cissy Houston, provided background vocals on the hit. Fifteen years later, Houston recorded the song for the soundtrack to The Bodyguard. Houston even gives Khan a shout out as the song fades.

“A Song For You”
Originally recorded by Leon Russel; made famous by Donny Hathaway

On her final studio album, I Look To You, Houston recorded a version of this timeless classic. But that version doesn’t come anywhere close to what she gave us during her Welcome Home Heroes with Whitney Houston: Live in Concert special back in 1991. Yes Nippy, little ole you!

“The Greatest Love of All”
Originally recorded by George Benson

Benson recorded the song in 1977 for the Muhammad Ali biopic The Greatest. Houston got a hold of this tune and poor George’s version hasn’t been heard from since. Some of my friends jokingly refer to this song as “the Dare song” as it was performed at everyone’s graduation from the drug awareness program.

“I Believe in You and Me”
Originally recorded by The Four Tops

Houston covered this song for the soundtrack to her film The Preacher’s Wife in 1996. The soundtrack features two different versions of the song. The unreleased version appears in the movie and was arranged by Houston and is quite frankly the better of the two.

“Sweet Thing”
Originally recorded by Chaka Khan

This is a recording of Houston covering another Khan classic while rehearsing for Saturday Night Live. What seems to be some light hearted fun for Houston practically puts to shame some artists very best. This woman…

“All The Man That I Need”
Originally recorded by Linda Clifford

Clifford’s version of the song failed to chart but Houston’s went all the way to number one on the Billboard Hot 100, R&B Singles, and Adult Contemporary Charts.

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