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Song of the Day February 11: "I Will Always Love You" by Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston.jpeg
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, file
Associated Press
In this Feb. 13, 2011 file photo, singer Whitney Houston performs at the pre-Grammy gala & salute to industry icons with Clive Davis honoring David Geffen in Beverly Hills, Calif. The late Whitney Houston has earned her third diamond certified album, becoming the first Black artist to achieve the feat. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and Legacy Recordings announced that Houston's 1987 sophomore album, “Whitney," has reached diamond status, which is equivalent to selling 10 million albums.

Add Houston to the long list of talented singers who died too young. She was 48 years old when she died February 11, 2012. She died alone, in a bathtub in a Los Angeles hotel room.

Houston lived two lives. She was a once-in-a-generation singer whose voice turned songs to gold. Her private life was anything but golden. The tabloids splashed headlines of her drug use and spousal abuse.

Houston was the diva of the 1980s and 1990s. Guinness World Records crowned her the most awarded female artist of all time. Her first two albums, Whitney Houston, in 1985, and Whitney, in 1987, reached number one on the Billboard chart. She is the only person to have seven consecutive number one singles.

She starred in the movie “The Body Guard.” She recorded six of the songs for the movie. “I Will Always Love You” became the bestselling single by a female artist ever. She won a Grammy for Record of the Year. The “The Body Guard” soundtrack is the number-one-selling soundtrack of all time.

The life behind the tabloid headlines caught up with her by 2000. She divorced Bobby Brown. She couldn’t kick the drugs and alcohol. She went to Los Angeles to sing at a pre-Grammy party in February 2012 but never made it there. She was found face down in the bathtub of her Beverly Hilton bathroom. The official cause of death was drowning. The autopsy showed she had a medicine cabinet of drugs in her body. Some were legal, others weren’t.

A sad footnote: Her daughter Kristina Brown died three years later. She was found unresponsive in the bathtub at home. The autopsy showed she had taken some of the same kind of drugs her mom had when she died. She was 22.

Hear more "Song of the Day" music history Fridays at 8:45 a.m. and 4:45 p.m. on WGCU FM.