Each week here on VH1 Tuner, our VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown host Jim Shearer (@jimshearer on Twitter) will be sharing his Shearer’s Spotlight with us. Be sure to tune into the VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown tomorrow morning when it airs on VH1 at 9 a.m. ET/PT.
I’ve been on television a few times this week discussing the many chart and sales records held by the late Whitney Houston. There is no denying that numerical accolades help define an artist’s legacy, but so does the way their music affects people as they go about their every day lives. Here are five Whitney Houston songs that are significant in my musical journey:
5. “Million Dollar Bill”
Though I’ve been introducing music videos on television for over 10 years, up until a couple years ago I had never introduced a clip from Whitney Houston (my past VJ duties were mostly in the genre of rock). When Houston released I Look To You in 2009, her music video, “Million Dollar Bill,” was featured on the VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown. I remember giving Whitney an abundance of praise, although at the time it was popular to take jabs at her “train-wreck” lifestyle. A rep from Houston’s record label got in contact with me the following week and complimented my segment. I’m proud of the fact that I never took a cheap shot at either Michael Jackson or Whitney Houston during my time on television. When you get to their level, there is a certain amount of respect that’s earned, no matter what may unfold in their private lives.
4. “I Will Always Love You”
Though pop music was not my genre of choice in the ‘90s — especially since there was a band called Nirvana making its mark on pop-culture — I still wasn’t able to ignore the greatness of “I Will Always Love You.” As I entered college, I found it a testament to Houston’s one-of-a-kind voice, that many jocks, college-radio geeks, and hip-hop diehards proudly had The Bodyguard soundtrack on display in their dormitory CD racks.
3. “One Moment In Time”
A few years ago I produced and hosted a homemade web-show documenting my favorite hockey team, the Pittsburgh Penguins, as they went all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals. They eventually lost to the Detroit Red Wings in Game 6, and for the final episode of the season I made a highlight montage over Whitney Houston’s “One Moment In Time.” I initially used the song to be tongue-in-cheek, but upon seeing the images while hearing Houston’s voice, I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t a little choked up. The morning after Houston died, I listened to this track while driving to church, and, well, I’d be lying to you if I wasn’t a little choked up.
2. “The Greatest Love Of All”
Some people have the gift of hearing a song on the radio and being able to memorize it instantaneously. Unfortunately I am not one of those people. I have to see things in writing to be able to sing a song word-for-word. That’s why, for the longest time, “The Greatest Love Of All” was the only song I was able to sing from beginning to end. In grade school music class, out teacher passed out sheet music to this song, and I haven’t gotten it out of my head since. I believe that children are our future…
1. “How Will I Know”
In grade school my parents wouldn’t let me watch MTV, so one of the only times I could hear secular music was at our grade school’s annual skating party. I vividly remember hearing Motley Crue’s “Smokin’ In The Boys Room” and the Beastie Boys’ “Fight For Your Right To Party,” but “How Will I Know” was my favorite, giving me both hope and courage to one day asking a girl to skate with me during a slow song. This track always takes me back to that time.
[Photo: Getty Images]