After seeing Houston perform in a New York City nightclub, Clive Davis believed the singer had the potential to crossover and be the next big superstar. He signed her in 1983 and the two began work on her debut album. Initially Davis had a hard time finding songs for her. Even after elaborate showcases in New York and Los Angeles, many producers turned down the chance to work with her.
It took a year and a half for Jerry Griffith, then Arista's A&R chief and the one who had recommended Whitney to Davis, and Davis to amass suitable songs for the album.
Finally the songwriter-producer Kashifoffered to produce "You Give Good Love". Jermaine Jackson, who had emerged from the shadow of his younger brother Michael, produced three songs. Narada Michael Walden came in to revise and then produce "How Will I Know". And Michael Masser covered the pop side of the tracks, producing four of his own compositions, including "Saving All My Love for You" and "Greatest Love of All", which had originally been recorded in 1977 by George Bensonas "The Greatest Love of All" and was the main theme of the boxer Muhammad Ali biopic "The Greatest" in the same year. After two years of recording, the album was ready for release. Budgeted at $200,000, it finally cost almost $400,000.
The album received good response from major publications. Three major critics of the Los Angeles Times listed the album on their year end critics list.
The first Whitney Houston CD was genius. That CD introduced the world to her angelic yet powerful voice. Without Whitney many of this generation of singers wouldn't be singing.
In honor of its 25th anniversary, the album was reissued as Whitney Houston – The Deluxe Anniversary Edition on January 26, 2010, an expanded edition with five bonus tracks including the a cappella version of "How Will I Know" and the original 12-inch remixes, a booklet tracking the history of the original album, along with a DVD of live performances and interviews by Whitney Houston and Clive Davis.
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