Charlie's 80s Blog

This Day In 80s Music, May 17th

On this day in 1986: Whitney Houston started a three week run at #1 on the U.S. singles chart with ‘Greatest Love Of All’, the singer’s third U.S. #1.

The song was written by Michael Masser, who composed the music, and Linda Creed, who wrote the lyrics. It was originally recorded in 1977 by George Benson, who made the song a substantial hit, peaking at #2 on the U.S. R&B chart that year, the first R&B chart top-ten hit for Arista Records. The song was written and recorded to be the main theme of the 1977 film ‘The Greatest’, a biopic of the boxer Muhammad Ali, and is performed during the opening credits. Eight years after Benson’s original recording, the song became even more well known with a version by Whitney Houston, whose 1985 cover (with the slightly amended title “Greatest Love of All”) eventually topped the charts, peaking at #1 in the United States, Australia, Canada and on the US R&B chart in 1986.

Clive Davis, founder of Houston’s label Arista Records, was initially against Houston recording the song for her debut studio album, ‘Whitney Houston’, but he eventually gave in after persuasion from Houston and Masser. It was released as the B-side to the single ‘You Give Good Love’, a previous Top 5 hit by Houston. The song, eventually released as a single in its own right, on March 18, 1986, was the seventh release from Houston’s debut album, and spent three weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in May of that year.

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

1 3 GREATEST LOVE OF ALL –•– Whitney Houston (Arista)-8 (1 Week at #1) (1)
2 1 WEST END GIRLS –•– Pet Shop Boys (EMI-America)-12 (1)
3 4 WHY CAN’T THIS BE LOVE –•– Van Halen (Warner Brothers)-10 (3)
4 5 WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR ME LATELY –•– Janet Jackson (A&M)-13 (4)
5 11 LIVE TO TELL –•– Madonna (Sire)-6 (5)
6 6 YOUR LOVE –•– The Outfield (Columbia)-14 (6)
7 7 TAKE ME HOME –•– Phil Collins (Atlantic)-10 (7)
8 8 BAD BOY –•– Miami Sound Machine featuring Gloria Estefan (Epic)-11 (8)
9 10 IF YOU LEAVE –•– Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark (A&M)-11 (9)
10 2 ADDICTED TO LOVE –•– Robert Palmer (Island)-15 (1)

11 13 ON MY OWN –•– Patti LaBelle & Michael McDonald (MCA)-9 (11)
12 14 I CAN’T WAIT –•– Nu Shooz (Atlantic)-11 (12)
13 15 SOMETHING ABOUT YOU –•– Level 42 (Polydor)-14 (13)
14 17 ALL I NEED IS A MIRACLE –•– Mike + The Mechanics (Atlantic)-9 (14)
15 19 IS IT LOVE –•– Mr. Mister (RCA)-8 (15)
16 20 BE GOOD TO YOURSELF –•– Journey (Columbia)-6 (16)
17 12 KISS –•– Prince & The Revolution (Paisley Park)-13 (1)
18 21 MOVE AWAY –•– Culture Club (Virgin)-7 (18)
19 9 HARLEM SHUFFLE –•– Rolling Stones (Rolling Stones)-10 (5)
20 22 NEVER AS GOOD AS THE FIRST TIME –•– Sade (Portrait)-8 (20)

On this day in 1987: A fire destroyed Tom Petty’s house in Los Angeles, the cost was estimated at $800,000.

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