Release date: November 17, 1992
Record label: Arista
The Bodyguard is a fine movie, and, in 2013, an essential viewing experience for Whitney Houston fans, as it lets you watch the performer in her prime, singing her life out, exuding a complex confidence, and looking gorgeous. She owns all of her scenes. She's untouchable. (And is anything more badass than the scene when Kevin Costner's character cuts the scarf with his samurai sword? Just describing it, I'm shocked by its strangeness and beauty.)
Still, if all of the prints and VHS/DVD copies of the movie were to vanish overnight, we would still have the soundtrack, and that would be enough to sustain us. On the strength of its many hit singles, The Bodyguard became the best-selling movie soundtrack of all time, selling over 45 million copies.
When you bought this on cassette with your mom at Sam Goody in 1992, you bought it for Houston's house rendition of Chaka Khan's "I'm Every Woman," her new-jack "Queen of the Night," and you bought it for "I Will Always Love You." Not to get all Patrick Bateman on you, but her cover of Dolly Parton's country classic is a perfectly schmaltzy ballad raised to Olympian heights by Houston's vocals. Her voice is clear as glass, expressive to the point of tears. Oh, you don't like saxophone solos and cheesy modulations? Too fucking bad. This is Whitney Houston, and there's no denying her. —RS