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In his American Idol days, judge Simon Cowell often scolded contestants (and that's putting it nicely) for tackling iconic songs without doing justice to the icons who made them famous. How fitting, then, that former American Idol star Jennifer Hudson was entrusted to pay the late Whitney Houston tribute at last night's Grammys by delivering a powerful performance of the Houston hit "I Will Always Love You."
Watching Hudson struggle to hold back tears as she belted out the ballad (originated by Dolly Parton), we were struck not only by the raw emotion of the moment, but by how enduring the song truly is—which is obviously how "I Will Always Love You" became such an immensely popular first-dance song. But it's not the only one. In honor of her passing last weekend, we rounded up our favorite Whitney Houston songs ideal for your own powerful, raw, emotional first-dance moments.
"The Greatest Love of All" and "One Moment In Time"
"The Greatest Love of All" is one of Houston's greatest songs of all, spending three weeks at #1 in 1986 and ranking as the singer's second-longest chart appearance. So what better song to inspire your own longevity as a couple?
Recorded for the 1988 Summer Olympics, "One Moment In Time" is Houston's anthem for perseverance and self-confidence—two qualities essential to a successful marriages and gold medals alike.
"My Love Is Your Love" and "You Give Good Love"
You're in good company if you choose "My Love Is Your Love" as your first dance song. The track rates third behind "I Will Always Love You" and "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" as Houston's most successful international single.
Although "You Give Good Love" was originally intended for Roberta Flack to sing, the song made its way onto Houston's debut album in 1985, putting the star on the scene. Some 25 years later, the song still proves that, whether with Flack's soulfulness or Houston's power, it knows how to make an impact.
"Saving All My Love for You" and "I Have Nothing"
"Saving All My Love for You" was Houston's first single to hit the top spot on Billboard's Hot 100 in 1985 and the song earned the star her first Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance—rather promising karma to pass along to your nuptials, don't you think?
Thanks to a little movie called The Bodyguard, you probably know all the words to Houston's "I Have Nothing" without even thinking. Imprinted in your memory from the 1993, lyrics like "I have nothing if I don't have you" make an obvious case for the song as a meaningful first dance track.
"I Believe In You and Me"
There's simply no easier way to tell your partner that you're in it for the long-haul than by dancing slowly by their side to tell them "I Believe In You and Me."
"I'm Your Baby Tonight"
Not one for gushing love songs? Houston was also a master of the upbeat ballad, like 1990's "I'm Your Baby Tonight," which became the singer's eighth hit to reach #1.
—Phillip B. Crook