Monday, March 31, 1986

Prince’s Parade released


Prince & the Revolution

Released: March 31, 1986

Charted: April 19, 1986

Peak: 3 US, 4 UK, 11 CN, 8 AU

Sales (in millions): 2.11 US, 0.3 UK, 4.5 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: R&B/funk


Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Christopher Tracy’s Parade [2:11] (Prince, John L. Nelson)
  2. New Position [2:20]
  3. I Wonder U [1:39]
  4. Under the Cherry Moon [2:57] (Prince, Nelson)
  5. Girls & Boys [5:29] (8/4/86, 11 UK)
  6. Life Can Be So Nice [3:13]
  7. Venus de Milo [1:55]
  8. Mountains [3:57] (Prince, Wendy Melvoin, Lisa Coleman) (5/7/86, 23 US, 19 CB, 21 RR, 15 RB, 45 UK, 45 AU)
  9. Do U Lie? [2:44]
  10. Kiss [3:37] (Prince, arranged by David Z) (2/5/86, 12 US, 12 CB, 11 RR, 14 RB, 6 UK, 4 CN, 2 AU)
  11. Anotherloverholenyohead [4:00] (7/2/86, 63 US, 74 CB, 18 RB, 36 UK)
  12. Sometimes It Snows in April [6:48] (Prince, Melvoin, Coleman)

Written by Prince unless noted otherwise.

Total Running Time: 40:57

The Players:

  • Prince (vocals, instruments)
  • Lisa Coleman (backing vocals, keyboards)
  • Wendy Melvoin (backing vocals, guitar)
  • Dr. Fink (keyboards)
  • Mark Brown (bass)
  • Bobby Z (drums, percussion)
  • Sheila E. (backing vocals, drums, percussion)
  • Eric Leeds (saxophone)
  • Atlanta Bliss (trumpet)


3.887 out of 5.00 (average of 26 ratings)

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

Prince’s last album with the Revolution also served as the soundtrack to Under the Cherry Moon, a movie starring and directed by Prince. “Undaunted by the criticism Around the World in a Day received, Prince continued to pursue his psychedelic inclinations on ParadeAMG instead of the “guitar and rock elements of…1984 album Purple Rain,” WK which made him a superstar.

The album did restore some of the critical acclaim that had slipped with Around the World in a Day. NME and The Village Voice named Parade the album of the year. WK’s Quentin B. Huff said it “doesn’t sound like anything else in the Prince canon. The album is a blend of jazz, soul, and a certain French undercurrent, probably absorbed from the film being set in France.” WK The Sunday Times called its musical scope “stunning” WK and the Detroit Free Press called it “a confirmation of Prince’s place as a superior melodist, arranger, and player, as well as a celebration of his creativity.” WK

“The album sees Prince further diversifying musically, adding orchestrations to his music.” WK Although this was a regular-length release, it “has the sprawling feel of a double record,” which was the original plan. AMG “Prince & the Revolution shift musical moods and textures from song to song – witness how the fluttering psychedelia of Christopher Tracy’s Parade gives way to the spare, jazzy funk of New Position, which morphs into the druggy I Wonder U.”

Prince & Co. are “determined not to play it safe, even on the hard funk of Girls and Boys and Mountains, as well as the stunning Kiss, which hits hard with just a dry guitar, keyboard, drum machine, and layered vocals.” AMG The latter gave Prince his third #1 hit, although no other singles reached the top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100.

“All of the group’s musical adventures, even the cabaret-pop of Venus de Milo and Do U Lie? do nothing to undercut the melodicism of the record, and the amount of ground they cover in 12 songs is truly remarkable.” AMG

“Even with all of its attributes, Parade is a little off-balance, stopping too quickly to give the haunting closer, Sometimes It Snows in April, the resonance it needs. For some tastes, it may also be a bit too lyrically cryptic, but Prince’s weird religious and sexual metaphors develop into a motif that actually gives the album weight. If it had been expanded to a double album, Parade would have equaled the subsequent Sign ‘O’ the Times, but as it stands, it’s an astonishingly rewarding near-miss.” AMG

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Other Related DMDB Pages:

First posted 3/23/2008; last updated 8/22/2021.

Sunday, March 30, 1986

250 years ago: Bach's St. Matthew Passion premiered (March 30, 1736)

Last updated 11/20/2020.

St. Matthew Passion (Matthäuspassion), for soloists, double chorus, & double orchestra, BWV 244 (BC D3b)

Johann Sebastian Bach (composer)

Composed: 1729-1736

First Performed: March 30, 1736

Peak: -- US, -- UK, -- CN, -- AU

Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, -- world (includes US and UK)

Genre: classical > choral


  1. No. 1, "Kommt, ihr Tochter, helft mir klagen", Chorus
  2. "Da Jesus diese Rede vollendet hatte", Recitative for tenor
  3. "Herzliebster Jesu, was hast du verbrochen", Chorus

  4. a. "Da versammelten sich die Hohenpriester", Recitative for tenor
    b. "Ja nicht auf das Fest, auf dass nicht ein Aufruhr", Chorus
    c. "Da nun Jesus war zu Bethanien", Recitative for tenor
    d. "Wozu dienet dieser Unrat?", Chorus
    e. "Da das Jesus merkete, sprach er zu ihnen", Recitative for tenor & bass
  5. "Du lieber Heiland du", Recitative for alto
  6. "Buß und Reu' knirscht das Sundeerherz entzwei", Aria for alto
  7. "Da ging hin der Zwolfen einer, mit Namen Judas Ischarioth", Recitative for tenor & bass
  8. "Blute nur, du liebes Herz!", Aria for soprano

  9. a. "Aber am ersten Tage der süßen Brot'", Recitative for tenor
    b. "Wo willst du, daß wir dir bereiten", Chorus
    c. "Er sprach: Gehet hin in die Stadt zu Einem", Recitative for tenor & bass
    d. "Und die Junger taten", Recitative for tenor
    e. "Und sie wurden sehr betrubt", Recitative for tenor
    f. "Herr, bin ich's", Chorus
  10. "Ich bin's ich sollte büßen", Chorus
  11. "Er antwortet und sprach", Recitative for tenor & bass
  12. "Wiewohl mein Herz in Tranen schwimmt", Recitative for soprano
  13. "Ich will dir mein Herze schenken", Aria for soprano
  14. "Und da sie den Lobgesang gesprochen hatten", Recitative for tenor & bass
  15. "Erkenne mich, mein Hüter", Chorus
  16. "Petrus aber antwortete und sprach zu ihn", Recitative for tenor & bass
  17. "Ich will hier bei dir stehen", Chorus
  18. "Da kam Jesus mit ihnen zu einem Hofe", Recitative for tenor & bass
  19. "O Schmerz! hier zittert das gequalte Herz!", Recitative for tenor
  20. "Ich will bei meinem Jesu wachen", Aria for tenor
  21. "Und ging hin ein wenig, fiel nieder auf sein Angesicht", Recitative for tenor & bass
  22. "Der Heiland fällt vor seinem Vater nieder", Recitative for bass
  23. "Gerne will ich mich bequemen", Aria for bass
  24. "Und er kam zu seinen Jüngern und fand sie Schlafend", Recitative for tenor & bass
  25. "Was mein Gott will, das g'scheh' allzeit", Chorus
  26. "Und er kam und fand sie aber schlafend", Recitative for tenor

  27. a. "So ist mein Jesus nun gefangen", Duet for soprano & alto
    b. "Laßt ihn, haltet, bindet nicht", Chorus
    c. "Sind Blitze, sind Donner in Wolken verschwunden", Chorus
  28. "Und siehe, einer aus denen, die mit Jesu waren", Recitative for tenor & bass
  29. "O Mensch, bewein' dein' Sünde groß", Chorus
  30. "Ach, nun ist mein Jesus hin!", Aria for alto
  31. "Die aber Jesum gegriffen hatten", Recitative for tenor
  32. "Mir hat die Welt", Chorus

  33. a. "Und wiewohl viel falsche Zeugen herzutraten", Recitative for tenor & bass
    b. "Er hat gesagt: Ich kann den Tempel Gottes abbrechen", Recitative for alto & tenor
  34. "Mein Jesus schweigt", Recitative for tenor
  35. "Geduld, wenn mich falsche Zungen stechen", Aria for organ

  36. a. "Und der Hohepriester antwortet und sprach", Recitative for tenor
    b. "Er ist des Todes schuldig", Chorus
    c. "Da speiten sie aus in sein Angesicht", Recitative for tenor
    d. "Weissage uns", Chorus
  37. "Wer hat dich so geschlagen", Chorus

  38. a. "Petrus aber saß draußen im Palast", Recitative for 2 sopranos, tenor & bass
    b. "Wahrlich, du bist auch einer von denen", Chorus
    c. "Da hub er an, sich zu verfluchen und zu schworen sich verpflicht'", Recitative for tenor & bass
  39. "Erbarme dich, meine Gott", Aria for alto ["Have mercy, Lord"]
  40. "Bin ich gleich von dir gewichen", Chorus

  41. a. "Des Morgens aber hielten alle Hohenpriester Rat", Recitative for tenor & bass
    b. "Was gehet uns das an?", Chorus
    c. "Und er warfe die Silberlinge in den Tempel", Recitative for tenor
  42. "Gebt mir meinen Jesum wieder!", Aria for bass
  43. "Sie hielten aber einen Rat", Recitative for tenor & basses
  44. "Befiehl du deine Wege", Chorus

  45. a. "Auf das Fest aber hatte der Landpfleger", Recitative for tenor, soprano & bass
    b. "Lass ihn kreuzigen/Sie sprachen: Barrabam!", Chorus
  46. "Wie wunderbarlich ist doch diese Strafe!", Chorus
  47. "Der Landpfleger sagte: Was hat er denn Ubels getan?", Recitative for tenor & bass
  48. "Er hat uns Allen wohlgetan", Recitative for soprano
  49. "Aus Liebe will mein Heiland sterben", Aria for soprano

  50. a. "Sie schrieen aber noch mehr und sprachen", Recitative for tenor & bass
    b. "Lass ihn kreuzigen", Chorus
    c. "Da aber Pilatus sahe, dass er nichts schaffete", Recitative for tenor & bass
    d. "Sein Blut komme uber uns", Chorus
    e. "Da gab er ihnen Barrabbam los", Recitative for tenor
  51. "Erbarm' es Gott! Hier steht der Heiland angebunden", Recitative for alto
  52. "Können Tränen meiner Wangen", Aria for alto

  53. a. "Da nahmen die Kriegsknechte des Landpflegers Jesum zu sich", Recitative for tenor
    b. "Gegrüßet seist du, Jüdenkönig", Chorus
    c. "Und speieten hin an", Recitative for tenor
  54. "O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden", Chorus
  55. "Und da sie ihn verspottet hatten", Recitative for tenor
  56. "Ja! freilich will in uns das Fleisch und Blut", Recitative for bass
  57. "Komm, süßes Kreuz", Aria for bass

  58. a. "Und da sie an die Stätte kamen, mit Namen Golgatha", Recitative for tenor
    b. "Der du den Tempel Gottes zerbrichst", Chorus
    c. "Desgleichen auch die Hohenpriester spotteten sein", Recitative for tenor
    d. "Andern hat er geholfen", Chorus
    e. "Desgleichen schmahete ihn auch die Morder", Recitative for tenor
  59. "Ach, Golgatha, unsel'ges Golgatha", Recitative for alto
  60. "Sehet, Jesus hat die Hand uns zu fassen ausgespannt", Aria for alto & chorus

  61. a. "Und von der sechsten Stunde an ward eine Finsternis", Recitative for tenor & bass
    b. "Der rufet den Elias", Chorus
    c. "Und bald lief einer unter ihnen", Recitative for tenor
    d. "Halt laß sehen", Chorus
    e. "Aber Jesus schriee abermal laut", Recitative for tenor
  62. "Wenn ich einmal soll scheiden", Chorus

  63. a. "Und siehe da, der Vorhang im Tempel zerriß", Recitative for tenor
    b. "Wahrlich, dieser ist Gottes Sohn", Chorus
    c. "Und es waren viel Weiber da", Recitative for tenor
  64. "Am Abend, da es kuhle war", Recitative for bass
  65. "Mache dich, mein Herze", Aria for bass

  66. a. "Und Joseph nahm den Leib", Recitative for tenor
    b. "Herr, wir haben gedacht", Chorus
    c. "Pilatus sprach zu ihnen: Da habt ihr die Huter", Recitative for tenor & bass
  67. "Nun ist der Herr zur Ruh gebracht", Recitative for bass, tenor, alto & soprano
  68. "Wir setzen uns mit Tranen nieder und rufen", Chorus

Average Length: 168:40


4.065 out of 5.00 (average of 4 ratings)


About the Work:

“It is unclear exactly how many Passion settings Bach wrote: perhaps but not likely five, possibly three or four. Only two survive today; the second of these, the St. Matthew Passion dates from 1729. The Passions, Biblical texts set as large-scale musical works, were performed on Good Friday and told the story of Christ's Crucifixion, according to the Gospels.” AC

“The St. Matthew Passion is a work very different in character from its extant predecessor, the St. John Passion: the former is deeply devotional, introspective, and meditative in character, while the latter is more intensely dramatic, with more action in its narrative. The St. Matthew Passion is often compared with Bach’s monumental Mass in B minor in terms of both scope and piety. Performed at St. Thomas’ Church in Leipzig, the work sets a text by Christian Picander (who may have been the author of a hypothetical, now-lost 1725 Bach Passion). Another significant difference between the St. John and St. Matthew works lies in their respective texts: the St. John text is very short, beginning with Judas’ betrayal of Christ, and focusing on Christ’s trial before Pilate; the St. Matthew text, on the other hand, is very long, containing almost twice as many verses as the St. John text.” AC

“The St. Matthew Passion is also much grander musically, with its two four-part choirs and large orchestra of strings, flutes, oboes, harpsichord, and organ. Bach makes particularly poignant and varied use of his two choirs in this piece; they are heard representing the voices of different communities of believers, and also of the clamorous, derisive crowds at the Crucifixion. One celebrated aspect of the work is the way Bach uses the instrument groups to achieve various text-painting effects; a halo around Christ is suggested, for example, by the soft, sustained chords of a string ensemble, and Bach depicts the weariness of Christ on the road to Calvary with a deep pedal point. Like the St. John Passion, the St. Matthew Passion contains both Gospel text and hymn text, and both employ recitatives, arias, and choruses.” AC

“The similarities between Bach’s Passions and the Catholic oratorio genre are striking. The Passions are, like the oratorio, a kind of religious opera; as in that more overtly dramatic genre, arias serve as a vehicle for lyrical expression and recitatives to advance the textual narrative. The central figure, both musically and dramatically, in the St. Matthew Passion is the Evangelist (a tenor), who narrates the story. The nature of his purely narrative, non-participatory, role is made clear through his confinement to passages of recitative; he is never afforded the opportunity for more expansive lyricism. This mode of expression falls to the other vocal soloists, who adopt the personae of those involved in the drama and give them voice.” AC

“The score is best appreciated as a whole, in which context the dramatic sweep and spiritual conviction of the work are abundantly clear. However, there are a number of notable highlights that are frequently excerpted. These include the soprano aria Blute nur, du liebes Herz, the alto aria Erbarme dich, which incorporates an obbligato violin, and the bass aria Mache dich, mein Herze, rein.” AC

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Saturday, March 29, 1986

Dennis DeYoung charted with Back to the World

Back to the World

Dennis DeYoung

Charted: March 29, 1986

Peak: 108 US

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: rock


Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. This Is the Time [3:57] (6/28/86, 93 US, 32 AC)
  2. Warning Shot [4:27]
  3. Call Me [4:49] (3/15/86, 54 US, 5 AC)
  4. Unanswered Prayers [6:37]
  5. Black Wall [5:53]
  6. Southbound Ryan [4:43]
  7. I’m So Lucky [4:43]
  8. Person to Person [4:57]

All songs written by Dennis DeYoung.


3.288 out of 5.00 (average of 10 ratings)

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

Dennis DeYoung’s first solo album, Desert Moon, suggested he might do okay as a solo artist in his post-Styx career. The title cut followed the template he’d established with top-10 ballads like “Babe” and “Don’t Let It End” and gave him yet another top-10 hit. However, the follow-up single tanked at a mere #83 and the album failed to replicate the top-10, platinum-status of the five Styx albums that preceded it.

With his second solo outing, Back to the World, DeYoung turns in a stronger overall effort that seemed like it might have more commercial appeal. The lead single, Call Me, seemed like another surefire hit ballad. Alas, it didn’t even reach the top 40 on the Billboard pop charts. It was, however, a top-5 adult contemporary hit.

With an appearance in the movie The Karate Kid, Part II, the more uptempo This Is the Time felt like another potential hit. Unfortunately, it flopped as well, only reaching #93 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Still, the album felt like a stronger effort than its predecessor. Gone was the goofiness of songs like “Boys Will Be Boys,” replaced by more contemplative, serious-issue songs like Black Wall. Reminiscent of Billy Joel’s “Goodnight Saigon” from a few years earlier, DeYoung reflects on the perils of life as a Vietnam vet without having experienced the trauma himself. It felt like the kind of song that should have been a minor hit at album-rock radio, which had embrace so much of DeYoung’s work with Styx. It wasn’t.

Similarly catchy is Southbound Ryan. The song shows DeYoung’s fondness for looking back, but does so in an upbeat, less sentimental fashion. Of course, one man’s treasure is another man’s trash. All Music Guide’s Stephen Thomas Erlewine panned it as a “robotic rocker” AMG which “sounds as if it was designed for a dream Beverly Hills Cop II.” AMG

He similarly disliked “the Broadway-bound Person to PersonAMG and called Unanswered Prayers “a small-scale reworking of ‘Desert Moon.’” AMG Of course, he didn’t consider the latter a bad thing, as he praised the song as the highlight of the album, “graced by synthesized electric sitars.” AMG

He said “this record distills every bad mainstream production idea of 1986” AMG along with DeYoung’s “schmaltzy side” AMG and “razzmatazz that seems all the more overblown when it’s filtered through stacks of synthesizers.” AMG Fans of DeYoung’s music learned long ago that heavy doses of sentimentality comes with the territory. As for sounding of its time, that’s a popular criticism from critics who like to attack music for not aging well, but I don’t see the problem. Music is rarely created with longevity in mind and, as far as 1986 albums go, I think this works just fine.

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First posted 6/5/2021; updated 6/7/2021.

Monday, March 24, 1986

The Rolling Stones’ Dirty Work released

Dirty Work

The Rolling Stones

Released: March 24, 1986

Peak: 4 US, 4 UK, 2 CN, 2 AU

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.1 UK, 3.5 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: classic rock


Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. One Hit to the Body (Jagger/ Richards/ Wood) [4:45] (4/5/86, 28 US, 30 CB, 32 RR, 3 AR, 26 CN, 34 AU)
  2. Fight (Jagger/Richards/ Wood) [3:10]
  3. Harlem Shuffle (Nelson/ Relf) [3:26] (2/28/86, 5 US, 5 CB, 6 RR, 2 AR, 13 UK, 2 CN, 6 AU)
  4. Hold Back [3:53]
  5. Too Rude (Roberts) [3:13]
  6. Winning Ugly [4:33] (4/12/86, 10 AR)
  7. Back to Zero (Jagger/ Leavell/ Richards) [4:00]
  8. Dirty Work (Jagger/ Richards/ Wood) [3:53]
  9. Had It with You (Jagger/ Richards/ Wood) [3:20]
  10. Sleep Tonight [5:14]
  11. piano instrumental [0:32]

Songs written by Jagger/ Richards unless indicated otherwise.

Total Running Time: 39:13

The Players:

  • Mick Jagger (vocals, guitar, percussion)
  • Keith Richards (guitar, vocals, bass)
  • Ronnie Wood (guitar, backing vocals)
  • Bill Wyman (bass, guitar, synthesizer, percussion)
  • Charlie Watts (drums)


2.796 out of 5.00 (average of 22 ratings)

About the Album:

“The Stones’ music has sniffed at every trend from psychedella to disco, yet it’s…still basically the same warped Chicago blues they started with…plus a little reggae.” RS “This is the Stones album for the yuppie era, defining – and defying – the complacent nastiness of the mid-1980s.” RS Dirty Work is “more like a product than a statement.” RS “At its best, Dirty Work captures the friction between Mick and Keith during the album’s recording; at its worst, it’s simply a competent collection of hard rock, spiked with some unnecessary synthesizers.” AMG

At least part of the friction grew out of Jagger recording the solo album She’s the Boss. Keith Richards resented him recording an album outside of the band. Giving the next Stones’ album the title of Dirty Work “may have been code for the Glimmer Twins' then-strained relationship.” CD

The title cut is “addressed to some hypothetical ‘you’ who will ‘sit on your ass till your work is done’ by someone else, the song runs, ‘You’re a user, I hate ya.’ Is the song about the audience that depends on the Stones for its sleaze quotient? About the record company? Or the Stones themselves, well-documented users of people and substances?” RS

“As a whole, the album's music and lyrics just don’t stack up against Beggar’s Banquet, Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers, Exile on Main Street or Undercover; it’s solid, not spectacular…It sounds like it was made on deadline.” RS “Unlike most Stones tracks, which give the illusion of a live band bashing away, a few songs sound cobbled together on tape.” RS

This was the first Stones’ album from their lucrative deal with CBS Records. It “openly advertises its corporate character with art-directed MTV colors on its cover, the band’s first lyric sheet ever in the United States and a name coproducer, Steve Lillywhite, who joins Glimmer Twins Jagger and Richards.” RS He keeps the album from sounding “overly slick like Tattoo You; it’s got the old raunch.” RS

“Lillywhite doesn’t give the album the booming drum tone he’s known for, but the beat sometimes gets more metronomic than Charlie Watts’ usual bedrock thump.” RS The album also featured cameos from Don Covay, Jimmy Page Tom Waits, Bobby Womack, and Kirsty MacColl, Lillywhite’s wife.

There were a pair of covers on the album. Harlem Shuffle was originally a minor hit by Bob and Earl in 1964. The Stones released it as the lead single and it reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song “leers in the finely jaded tradition of ‘Stray Cat Blues.’” RS The band also continued their “love affair with reggae” CD in covering Too Rude, a song originally by Half Pint.

Fight and Had It with You seem left over from 1983’s Undercover, the Stones’ rudest, bleakest and most political statement on how sex meets violence. That album made connections between private S&M and public power madness; by contrast, Dirty Work< just plays its punch-her-out songs for shock value, taboo breaking by the numbers.” RSOne Hit to the Body, the album’s second single, repeats the ever popular equation of love and addiction.” RS Those three songs, as well as the title track, featuring Ron Wood collaborating with Jagger/Richards. “It shows in the wondrous snarl of guitar parts all over the album.” RS

Then there’s an anti-World War III number, Back to Zero, which features Chuck Leavell’s swaggering keyboards [and] a ballad for Keith Richards to sing, Sleep Tonight.” RS The latter, “which may be addressed to a drug casualty (or is it an ex-lover?), is just about as creepy as Keith Richards intends it to be.” RS

Overall, “Dirty Work could be better – more unified, less posed. But that’s judging it against the Stones catalog. On its own terms, Dirty Work has its share of memorable moments.” RS

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Other Related DMDB Pages:

First posted 3/23/2008; last updated 10/24/2021.

Saturday, March 8, 1986

Whitney Houston’s debut album hits #1 for first of 14 weeks

Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston

Released: February 14, 1985

Peak: 114 US, 16 RB, 2 UK, 117 CN, 111 AU

Sales (in millions): 13.0 US, 1.2 UK, 25.0 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: R&B/pop


Song Title (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to charts.

  1. You Give Good Love (2/22/85, 3 US, 1 RB, 4 AC, gold single)
  2. Thinking about You (1/11/85, #7a RB)
  3. Someone for Me
  4. Saving All My Love for You (6/29/85, 1 US, 1 UK, 1 RB, 1 AC, gold single)
  5. Nobody Loves Me Like You Do
  6. How Will I Know (11/22/85, 1 US, 5 UK, 1 RB, 1 AC, gold single)
  7. All at Once (3/24/85, --)
  8. Take Good Care of My Heart
  9. Greatest Love of All (3/18/86, 1 US, 8 UK, 3 RB, 1 AC, gold single)
  10. Hold Me (with Teddy Pendergrass) (6/2/84, 46 US, 44 UK, 5 RB, 6 AC)

Total Running Time: 46:54


3.958 out of 5.00 (average of 23 ratings)


(Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

While president of Arista Records, Clive Davis saw Whitney Houston performing in a night club in New York and believed she had the potential to be the next big superstar. He signed her in 1983, but it took a year and a half to find songs suitable for her debut album. WK

Even when the album was released, it wasn’t an immediate success. Two singles were released from the album before You Give Good Love caught fire, hitting #3 on the pop chart and reaching #1 on the R&B chart. After that, Saving All My Love for You and How Will I Know topped both charts, finally lifting the album to #1 – more than a year after its release. It was the slowest climb to #1 since Fleetwood Mac’s self-titled 1975 album took 58 weeks to reach the top. WK The former won a Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Performance – Female.

However, once it got there, Whitney Houston hung around, racking up 14 non-consecutive weeks at #1 on the Billboard album chart. It also landed at #1 in Australia, Canada, Norway, and Sweden. It was the biggest seller of 1986 WK and became one of the best-selling debuts of all time. WK Only Men at Work had more weeks at #1 (15) with a debut album (Business As Usual). WK

A third #1 song, The Greatest Love of All, a Grammy nominee for Record of the Year, helped propel the album to the top. The cover of a song first recorded by George Benson in 1977 was what All Music Guide’s Ron Wynn called “one her few legitimate soul workouts.” AMG Wynn said she otherwise was “an incredibly talented vocalist using only a minimum of her skills.” AMG

The album “marked her shift away from the experimental songs she did with the group Material and a move into heavily produced, very slick urban contemporary and adult pop. Although Houston had learned her craft working in New York nightclubs and singing in a Baptist church in Newark, she was steered into radio-friendly ballads that emphasized style over substance.” AMG

Liam Lacey of The Globe and Mail voiced a similar sentiment, saying “the arrangements frequently border on formulaic,” WK although she also praised “Saving All My Love for You,” The Greatest Love of All,” and “Hold Me” as “some of the loveliest pop singing on vinyl since the glory days of Dionne Warwick.” WK The Los Angeles Times said that “neither the frequent listless arrangements nor the sometimes mediocre material of this debut LP hides the fact that Houston is a singer with enormous power and potential.” WK Rolling Stone’s Don Shewey called her “one of the most exciting new voices in years” WK but noted that many of the songs on her debut “are so featureless they could be sung by anyone.” WK The Village Voice’s Robert Christgau called the songs “schlock” but complimented Whitney’s “sweet, statuesque voice.” WK

The album has been viewed as what All Music Guide’s Stephen Thomas Erlewine called “the foundation of diva-pop.” WK The Washington Post’s Allison Stewart said the album “provided a blueprint for the pop/dance/R&B-melding careers of Mariah Carey and others.” WK


A deluxe anniversary edition was released in 2010 which added five bonus tracks, including an a cappella version of “How Will I Know,” the original 12-inch remixes, and a DVD of live performances and interviews.

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First posted 3/25/2008; last updated 2/28/2024.