Twenty-seven years ago, an artist hit the airwaves with an album that would introduce the world to a future legend in R&B and pop music. The artist was Whitney Houston. She was a Seventeen Magazine cover girl, the daughter of singer Cissy Houston and the niece of the legendary Dionne Warwick. Houston’s image was squeaky clean so it was hard to believe that there would be any controversy tied into “You Give Good Love,” the first single from her self-titled, debut album. In 1985, advice columnist Ann Landers included Houston’s single along with other “extremely provocative” songs of the day that “promoted sexual promiscuity.” (Really, “You Give Good Love?”) One wonders if Ms. Landers actually listened to the lyrics of the song rather than lumping the title into the pile with others like AC/DC’s “Love At First Feel” and The Cure’s “Let’s Go To Bed.” Of course, the song controversy is an extremely minor footnote in what became a ground breaking single for Houston. “You Give Good Love” was a worldwide hit, shooting to the top of the R&B chart and the top five on both the adult contemporary and pop chart. It also earned an American Music Award for Favorite Soul/R&B Single and received two Grammy Award nominations. Not bad for a song that was originally intended to just introduce Houston to the R&B audience. It’s been almost six months since Houston’s untimely death, but she continues to live on through her music and in our memories.
Montrose Cunningham is an independent funk/rock/soul artist and devoted music aficionado residing in Dallas, Texas. When he isn’t digging through the crates–digital and analog–he’s jamming with his band or hanging with his daughter, sometimes at the same time. Purchase his latest release “Inertia” at www.MontroseMusic.com, visit him on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter @MontroseC.