Step by Step (Annie Lennox song)

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"Step by Step"
B-side to "Precious" by Annie Lennox from the album Diva
Released 1992
Genre Pop
Length 4:46
Label RCA
Writer Annie Lennox
"Step by Step"
Single by Whitney Houston
from the album The Preacher's Wife: Original Soundtrack Album
Released 24 February 1997
Format
Recorded 1996
Genre
Length 4:12
Label Arista
Writer(s) Annie Lennox
Producer(s) Stephen Lipson
Whitney Houston singles chronology
"I Believe in You and Me"
(1996)
"Step by Step"
(1997)
"My Heart Is Calling"
(1997)
Music video
"Step by Step" on YouTube

"Step by Step" is a song written and originally recorded by singer Annie Lennox, later a cross over pop hit by R&B/pop singer Whitney Houston. The song served as the second single from Houston's 1996 soundtrack album, The Preacher's Wife.[1] Lennox's recording originally appeared as the B-side to her 1992 single "Precious" Largely, Houston's version replaces Lennox's verses with new lyrics and omits portions from the bridge as well. Annie Lennox also provides background vocals in Houston's rendition.

Background[edit]

In an interview for The Nation, Houston said that "Annie sent me this really beautiful, spiritual song and it fit the groove of the album right away".[2]

Critical reception[edit]

Billboard called it "one of the shining moments on the soundtrack to The Preacher's Wife" and described it as "a rousing, gospel-kissed chugger", adding that "[i]t's been too long since Houston has cut loose on an uptempo number, and she whips through this jam with engaging ease".[3] Entertainment Weekly in its review for The Preacher's Wife soundtrack wrote "Best among the non-gospel fare, [...] [is] Step by Step, a house throbber penned by Annie Lennox, represents an admirable departure but gets tripped up by a pallid Inspirations R Us lyric and perhaps too much of its author's stamp."[4] According to J. D. Considine of The Baltimore Sun "Step by Step" is "a slick, synth-driven number that recalls the '80s-style sparkle of her early hits" and "certain to spend many weeks in the Top 10".[5] In its review for the dance single for "Step By Step", Billboard called it an "uplifting anthem" in which "Houston cuts loose with stirring gospel fervor".[6] Bob Waliszewski of Plugged In called it "aerobically upbeat", adding that the song "embraces the challenges of living day by day"[7] While reviewing The Preacher's Wife album, Cary Darling of The Orange County Register noted that Houston "turns in a credible, danceable take on Annie Lennox's "Step by Step"" and that "the Teddy Riley remix digs a deep new jack groove."[8] The Miami Herald wrote that "Step by Step" is a "punchy dance/ pop number" and its "bass-rumbling remix seems a natural for clubs".[9]

Following Houston's death in 2012, Entertainment Weekly published a list of her 25 best songs and ranked "Step by Step" at number 13 because: "The Preacher's Wife wasn't a masterpiece, but for gospel lovers, its soundtrack was [...] [a]nd its Annie Lennox-penned second single — an ode to not biting off more than you can chew, set to a churchy dance beat — peaked at a respectable No. 15 on the pop charts."[10] It was placed at number five on Idolators list of "Whitney Houston’s 10 Best Songs That Radio Forgot" because the song "teaches us that we can overcome any obstacle".[11] BET placed it at number 22 in their list of "The 40 Best Whitney Houston Songs" because "she ably recalls her '80s uptempo prime with a result that's both spirit- and body-moving".[12]

Chart performance[edit]

After its release, "Step by Step" reached number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in the U.S.[13] Houston's single charted successfully across the globe, reaching the Top 20 in over 45 countries. It was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. It was also successful in Europe and peaked number ten on the composite European Hot 100. In the United Kingdom, the song was released in late 1996 as the first single from The Preacher's Wife soundtrack. It peaked at number six and was certified silver by the British Phonographic Industry. In February 2012, after Houston's passing, it re-entered the UK singles chart at number 83.[14] As of 2012, the song had sold 235000 copies in the United Kingdom.[15] In Australia, it peaked at number 12 and spent 15 weeks on the chart. It was certified gold by the Australian Recording Industry Association. In Austria it peaked at number six and spent 16 weeks on the chart.

Music video[edit]

The video shows mainly Houston wearing a brown raincoat and dancing to the song on a center stage while other dancers join her as the song develops.[16] Houston's footages are intercut with scenes of a youth center, being restored by youngsters after a fire.[16] The video was directed by Paul Hunter.[16]

Live performances[edit]

After its release, "Step by Step" has been performed on all of Houston's tours: Pacific Rim Tour (1997), The European Tour (1998), My Love Is Your Love World Tour (1999), Soul Divas Tour (2004) and Nothing but Love World Tour (2009–2010). It was also performed in her HBO special Classic Whitney Live from Washington, D.C. in 1997.

Track listings and formats[edit]

  • CD single
  1. "Step By Step" (Album Version) — 4:12
  2. "Step By Step" (Teddy Riley Remix) — 4:32
  • CD Maxi Single
  1. "Step By Step" (Tony Moran Remix) — 10:22
  2. "Step By Step" (Junior's Arena Anthem Mix) — 11:50
  3. "Step By Step" (Soul Solution Diva Vocal) — 8:47
  4. "Step By Step" (K-Klass Remix) — 10:08
  5. "Step By Step" (Teddy Riley Remix) - 5:00
  6. "Step By Step" (Album Version) - 4:07

Personnel[edit]

Charts and certifications[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ MTV News Staff (1997-02-26). "Whitney Houston Gets Help From Annie Lennox". MTV News. Retrieved 13 June 2014. 
  2. ^ "The Gospel According to Whitney". The Nation. January 5, 1997. Retrieved 13 June 2014. 
  3. ^ "Billboard Magazine - Reviews & Previews - p.68". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 15 February 1997. Retrieved 15 August 2011.  (Transcription of original review at Classic Whitney.com)
  4. ^ Willman, Chris (29 November 1996). "Diva la Différence". Entertainment Weekly. 
  5. ^ J. D. Considine (28 November 1996). "'Preacher's Wife' lacks gospel fire". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 7 August 2011. 
  6. ^ "Billboard Magazine - Reviews & Previews - p.85". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 11 January 1997. Retrieved 7 August 2011.  (Transcription of original review at talk page)
  7. ^ Waliszewski, Bob. "The Preacher's Wife Soundtrack – Plugged In Online Album Reviews". Plugged In. Focus on the Family. Retrieved 17 August 2011. 
  8. ^ Cary Darling (3 December 1996). "ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK The Preacher's Wife Arista". The Orange County Register. Retrieved 17 August 2011.  (Transcription of original review at Whitney-Fan.com)
  9. ^ Cohen, Howard (December 15, 1996). "Soundtrack Short Of Heaven-Sent". The Miami Herald. Retrieved 13 June 2014. 
  10. ^ Anderson, Kyle; Goldblatt, Henry; Greenblatt, Leah; Rahman, Ray (17 February 2012). "Whitney Houston: Her 25 Best Songs". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 1 August 2012. 
  11. ^ Daw, Robbie (21 February 2012). "Whitney Houston’s 10 Best Songs That Radio Forgot". Idolator. Retrieved 21 December 2013. 
  12. ^ "The 40 Best Whitney Houston Songs". BET.com. BET Interactive, LLC. Retrieved 13 June 2014. 
  13. ^ "Step by Step - Whitney Houston". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved 24 August 2011. 
  14. ^ a b Lauren Kreisler (14 February 2012). "27 Whitney Houston tracks on course to re-enter Official Singles Chart". The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  15. ^ "Whitney Houston | Official Top 20". MTV UK. MTV Networks. Retrieved 28 December 2013. 
  16. ^ a b c "Whitney Houston " Music Videos - Step by Step". MTV. MTV Networks (Viacom International Inc.). 7 February 1997. Retrieved 3 December 2011. 
  17. ^ a b The Preacher's Wife: Original Soundtrack Album (CD album). Whitney Houston. Arista. 1996. 07822-18951-2.  Album booklet
  18. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Whitney Houston – Step By Step". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  19. ^ "Whitney Houston – Step By Step – Austriancharts.at" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  20. ^ "Ultratop.be – Whitney Houston – Step By Step" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  21. ^ "Ultratop.be – Whitney Houston – Step By Step" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  22. ^ "RPM Top Singles." RPM. Library and Archives Canada.
  23. ^ "RPM Adult Contemporary Tracks." RPM. Library and Archives Canada.
  24. ^ http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/rpm/028020-119.01-e.php?brws_s=1&file_num=nlc008388.3192&type=1&interval=24&PHPSESSID=s8kb47g6avekvbaptfmh2ur9e6
  25. ^ "Billboard Magazine - Hits Of The World - p.39". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 8 March 1997. Retrieved 7 August 2011. 
  26. ^ "Whitney Houston: Step By Step" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland.
  27. ^ "Lescharts.com – Whitney Houston – Step By Step" (in French). Les classement single.
  28. ^ "Whitney Houston – Step By Step". Officialcharts.de. GfK Entertainment.
  29. ^ "Irishcharts.ie - Search the charts > Step by Step". Irish Recorded Music Accosiation. Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  30. ^ "Billboard Magazine - Hits Of The World - p.54". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 15 February 1997. Retrieved 7 August 2011. 
  31. ^ http://www.top40.nl/whitney-houston/whitney-houston-step-by-step_7939
  32. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Whitney Houston – Step By Step" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  33. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Whitney Houston – Step By Step". Top 40 Singles.
  34. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. p. 900. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. 
  35. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Whitney Houston – Step By Step". Singles Top 60.
  36. ^ "Whitney Houston – Step By Step – swisscharts.com". Swiss Singles Chart.
  37. ^ "Billboard Magazine - Hits Of The World - p.66". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 11 January 1997. Retrieved 7 August 2011. 
  38. ^ "Whitney Houston Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot 100 for Whitney Houston.
  39. ^ "Whitney Houston Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs for Whitney Houston.
  40. ^ "Whitney Houston Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs for Whitney Houston.
  41. ^ "ARIA Charts – End Of Year Charts – Top 100 Singles 1997". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 31 May 2011. 
  42. ^ "Austriancharts.at - Jahreshitparade 1997". Hung Medien. Retrieved 17 August 2011. 
  43. ^ "Ultratop.be - Rapports Annuels 1997" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved 17 August 2011. 
  44. ^ "RPM '97 YEAR END ...Top 100 Adult Contemporary Tracks". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. December 15, 1997. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  45. ^ "Top40.nl - Single Top 100 Van 1997". Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 1 March 2012. 
  46. ^ Pennanen, Timo (2006). Sisältää hitin: Levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972. Finland: Otava. p. 62. ISBN 951-1-21053-X. 
  47. ^ "1997 Year-end Charts - Hot Dance/Club-Play Singles". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 31 December 1997. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  48. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 1997 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. 
  49. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Whitney Houston; 'Step by Step')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. 
  50. ^ "British single certifications – Whitney Houston – Step by Step". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Step by Step in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Click Go
  51. ^ "American single certifications – Whitney Houston – Step by Step". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH

External links[edit]