The Top 5 Whitney Houston albums reveal the voice that was capable of bringing down the house from the minute she debuted in 1985. Combining a pop shine with her soul and gospel roots, Whitney racked up 23 Top 10 hits over the years, an amazing feat considering that she only recorded seven proper albums in her lifetime. She’s the only woman in history to have more than one album spend at least 10 weeks at No. 1. In fact, she had three – her self-titled debut, the follow-up ‘Whitney,’ and ‘The Bodyguard’ soundtrack – which spent a combined total of 45 weeks, almost a full calendar year, in the top spot. These are PopCrush’s picks for the Top 5 Whitney Houston albums of all-time.

  • 5

    'I'm Your Baby Tonight'

    On her third album, 1990’s ‘I’m Your Baby Tonight,’ Houston branched out and began working with new collaborators, including Stevie Wonder, Luther Vandross, and the hot songwriting/production team of L.A. Reid and Babyface. The result was a heavier R&B sound on songs like ‘I Belong to You’ and the chart-topping title track. ‘All The Man That I Need’ may have been Houston’s finest vocal performance to that point in her career and impressed Vandross so much that he remade the song four years later.

  • 4

    'My Love Is Your Love'

    Whitney went more than six years between albums in the '90s. When she finally returned in 1998, she made a grand comeback with the four-times platinum 'My Love Is Your Love,' which carried more of a hip-hop flavor than her previous work, paired with emotional lyrics that offered more substance than much of the popular music of the time. The title track was a tale of devotion featuring Wyclef Jean and a cameo from Houston’s young daughter Bobbi Kristina. The empowering ‘It’s Not Right But It’s Okay’ and ‘Heartbreak Hotel,’ the latter featuring Kelly Price and Faith Evans, were tell-offs to cheating partners, while 'I Learned From the Best' proved that Whitney could still belt out the big ballads.

  • 3

    'The Bodyguard' Soundtrack

    If Whitney had performed every song on 'The Bodyguard,' it might be even more of a classic than it already is. But she had other commitments at the time - namely, starring in the film opposite Kevin Costner. The six tracks she contributed showed the singer at her very peak. Most artists would kill to have one song in their careers as good as 'I Have Nothing.' Yet that powerful ballad was only the third-best song on the album, behind the girl power anthem 'I'm Every Woman' and the epic 'I Will Always Love You,' which spent a then-record 14 weeks at No. 1. Houston showed off her versatility with the ballad 'Run to You,' the rock-meets-R&B track 'Queen of the Night,' and the gospel hymn 'Jesus Loves Me.'

  • 2

    'Whitney Houston'

    Houston’s 1985 debut album was not an instant success, debuting at No. 166 upon its release, but it took just a couple of months for listeners to catch on. Loaded with popular ballads like ‘You Give Good Love,’ ‘Saving All My Love for You,’ and ‘Greatest Love of All,’ the record ultimately became one of the most successful debuts in history. It also spawned the up-tempo chart-topper ‘How Will I Know,’ which remains one of her best pure pop songs. We can forgive the missteps – not one, but two duets with Jermaine Jackson – because ‘Whitney Houston’ was a revelation that had the world excited about an amazingly talented young performer with seemingly unlimited potential.

    Amanda Edwards, Getty Images
  • 1

    'Whitney'

    Whitney put to rest any silly concerns about a sophomore jinx with her stellar 1987 release. Infectious lead single ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)’ set the tone for a record that relied more heavily on dance-pop than its predecessor. ‘So Emotional’ – one of four consecutive No. 1 hits on the record – and the album track ‘Love Is a Contact Sport’ followed in a similar vein, while ‘Didn’t We Almost Have it All’ and ‘Where Do Broken Hearts Go’ satisfied those looking for slow, diva-style numbers. Its collection of enduring hit songs and its overall fun spirit make ‘Whitney’ our choice as the top Whitney Houston album.