There have been many artists throughout history that have helped further the evolution of R&B but there is a small class of singers that are held in especially high regard, to the point that we know them on a first name basis. One of those artists is the late and Whitney Houston.

Born in Newark, N.J., Houston got his start singing in church and quickly fell in love with performing live, getting her feet wet on the nightclub circuit by performing with her mother, Cissy Houston, who is an acclaimed gospel singer herself. After an audition with Arista Records CEO Clive Davis in 1983, Houston would go on to have the most illustrious careers in music history.

Releasing her self-titled debut in 1985, the album would be a smash, selling over twenty-five million albums worldwide and earning Houston the distinction of being the first female artists to yield three chart-topping singles. Houston's next album, simply titled Whitney, would also be a big seller, debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, the first by a female artist to do so. The collection would remain at the top of the chart for eleven weeks, signaling her stronghold over the ears of music fans across the world.

Houston may have dominated the '80s, but she would also be a force in the '90s, which she entered in a big way with her third album, I'm Your Baby Tonight. Released on Nov.6, 1990, the album would fail to achieve the earth-shattering success of her previous offerings, but yielded multiple chart-topping singles and go on to be one of the highest-selling albums of the year.

To commemorate the 25th anniversary of Houston's stellar effort, we take a look back at five songs from I'm Your Baby Tonight that are simply undeniable.

  • 5

    "After We Make Love"

    Whitney Houston slows down the tempo on the album with the ballad, "After We Make Love." Produced by Michael Masser, the track is powered by steady drums, piano keys, guitars, and sax horns, making for an elegant soundbed for Houston to flex her vocals over. Singing "I've been waiting such a long time for a love that's real to come my way / Gonna take some getting used to now that love is here" and whispering sweet nothings all over the track, Houston delivers yet again with this selection.

  • 4

    "We Didn't Know"

    Featuring Stevie Wonder

    Whitney Houston teams up with music legend Stevie Wonder for the high-profile duet, "We Didn't Know." Written and produced by Stevie Wonder himself, the song is a mid-tempo affair that sees the two icons belting their hearts out. "Since I don't know when we've been only friends / No more, but no less, our friendship we had at best," sings Houston before letting the piano-playing genius to enchant listeners with his vocals. Released as the sixth and final single from the album, "We Didn't Know" was a moderate hit, peaking at No. 20 on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and served as a magical moment for their respective fans.

  • 3

    "I'm Your Baby Tonight"

    To kick off her third album, Houston decided to lead-off with an uptempo club track, "I'm Your Baby Tonight." The song was co-written and co-produced by Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds and L.A. Reid and featured a B Side, titled "Feels So Good" that failed to appear on any Whitney Houston albums to date. Crooning "From the moment I saw you, I went out of my mind / Though I never believed in love at first sight," Houston proclaims her willingness to please her lover and shines on the chorus, promising "Whatever you want from me, I'm giving you everything / I'm your baby tonight." The song was a massive heat, skyrocketing to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and earning Houston a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female at the 33rd Grammy Awards in 1991.

  • 2

    "My Name Is Not Susan"

    Houston gets feisty on "My Name Is Not Susan," which sees the singer demanding a little respect from a loose-lipped lover. Singing, "One night, not long ago I fell for you too easy to let go / She was one from your past, one of the few / You said it didn't last," she prances all over the percussion-heavy track while making sure we never confuse her name for anyone else's under any circumstances. The song peaked at No. 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 Songs chart and has aged quite gracefully.

  • 1

    "All the Man That I Need"

    One of the better slow jams in Houston's catalog is "All the Man That I Need." Written by Dean Pitchford and Michael Gore and first recorded as "All the Man I Need" by Linda Clifford in 1982, Houston decided to take a crack at the song for her third album and the results were favorable. "I used to cry myself to sleep at night / But that was all before he came / I thought love had to hurt to turn out right / But now he's here, it's not the same, it's not the same," she sings, before delving into the resounding hook. Houston tops herself once again and cooks up a rendition that trumps the original with ease. The song became her ninth No. 1 song and another classic to put under her belt.


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