Charlie's 80s Blog

This Day In Music, February 15th

On this day in 1986: Whitney Houston started a two week run at #1 on the U.S. singles chart with “How Will I Know.”

It was released on November 22, 1985 by Arista Records as the album’s third single. Composed by George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam, the song was originally intended for singer Janet Jackson, but she passed on it. Houston then recorded the song with altered lyrics and production from Narada Michael Walden. The lyrics speak about the protagonist trying to discern if a boy she likes will ever like her back.

“How Will I Know” received positive reviews from music critics. It became Whitney’s second #1 single on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, spending two weeks atop the chart and also became her first chart topper on the Canadian RPM Top 100 Singles chart. It also reached the top 10 in Australia, Sweden, Ireland, Norway and the United Kingdom, and the top 20 in the Netherlands, New Zealand and Switzerland.

The accompanying music video for the song features scenes of Houston dancing in a setting of video screens and colored partitions. The music video gave Houston exposure to the teens and MTV. It received two nominations at the 1986 MTV Video Music Awards; Best Female Video and Best New Artist, winning the Best Female Video category.

Here’s a look at the complete Top 20 on the U.S. singles chart from this day back in 1986:

1 5 HOW WILL I KNOW –•– Whitney Houston (Arista)-11 (1 Week at #1) (1)
2 4 WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH, THE TOUGH GET GOING –•– Billy Ocean (Jive)-12 (2)
3 2 BURNING HEART –•– Survivor (Scotti Brothers)-16 (2)
4 6 KYRIE –•– Mr. Mister (RCA)-9 (4)
5 1 THAT’S WHAT FRIENDS ARE FOR –•– Dionne & Friends (Arista)-15 (1)
6 3 I’M YOUR MAN –•– Wham! (Columbia)-12 (3)
7 9 LIVING IN AMERICA –•– James Brown (Scotti Brothers)-11 (7)
8 12 THE SWEETEST TABOO –•– Sade (Portrait)-13 (8)
9 15 SARA –•– Starship (Grunt)-8 (9)
10 10 CONGA –•– Miami Sound Machine (Epic)-18 (10)

11 16 LIFE IN A NORTHERN TOWN –•– Dream Academy (Warner Brothers)-12 (11)
12 18 SILENT RUNNING (On Dangerous Ground) –•– Mike + The Mechanics (Atlantic)-13 (12)
13 19 A LOVE BIZARRE –•– Sheila E. (Paisley Park)-14 (13)
14 7 SPIES LIKE US –•– Paul McCartney (Capitol)-13 (7)
15 21 SECRET LOVERS –•– Atlantic Starr (A&M)-8 (15)
16 11 GO HOME –•– Stevie Wonder (Tamla)-13 (10)
17 23 TARZAN BOY –•– Baltimora (Manhattan)-18 (17)
18 8 TALK TO ME –•– Stevie Nicks (Modern)-14 (4)
19 28 THESE DREAMS –•– Heart (Capitol)-5 (19)
20 14 SAY YOU, SAY ME –•– Lionel Richie (Motown)-15 (1)

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