You Give Good Love

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"You Give Good Love"
U.S. vinyl edition
Single by Whitney Houston
from the album Whitney Houston
B-side "Greatest Love of All"
Released February 22, 1985
Format 7", 12" single
Recorded 1984
Genre R&B, soul, quiet storm
Length 4:37
4:06 (Radio Edit)
Label Arista
Writer(s) La Forrest Cope
Producer(s) Michael Jones
Certification Gold (U.S.)
Whitney Houston singles chronology
"Thinking About You"
(1985)
"You Give Good Love"
(1985)
"All at Once"
(1985)
Whitney Houston track listing
"You Give Good Love"
(1)
"Thinking About You"
(2)

"You Give Good Love" is a song by American recording artist Whitney Houston, released as the lead single from her self-titled debut album, entitled Whitney Houston in the United States in February 1985 by Arista Records, and the second single from the album in the United Kingdom. The song was written by LaLa and produced by Kashif. When LaLa sent Kashif a copy of the song, originally offered to Roberta Flack, he thought it would be a better fit for Houston and told Arista he would be interested in recording with Houston. The song garnered mostly positive reviews from critics, but brought Houston a bit of notoriety when it turned up among several songs cited by advice columnist Ann Landers as having suggestive titles.

The release of "You Give Good Love" was designed to give Houston a noticeable position and standing within the black music market first, which topped the Billboard Hot Black Singles chart, but it also made an unexpected crossover pop hit, peaking at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, being in their first Top 10 chart. It was later certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The single was released officially in some countries such as Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and United Kingdom, but failed to make the top 40 in the countries except Canada, where it reached the top ten. The song won Favorite Soul/R&B Single at The 13th American Music Awards, and was nominated for Best R&B Song and Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female at the 28th Grammy Awards in 1986.

The music video for the song directed by Karen Bellone, shows Houston performing at a club and a photographer focusing his camera on her. Houston performed the song on various TV shows and awards ceremonies such as The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, The 1985 R&B Countdown and The 1st Soul Train Music Awards of 1987, as well as on her first three tours and select dates of The Bodyguard World Tour (1993–94) and My Love Is Your Love World Tour (1999). "You Give Good Love" is also featured on three of Houston's compilation albums, Whitney: The Greatest Hits (2000), Love, Whitney (2001) and The Essential Whitney Houston (2011).

Background[edit]

When songwriter/producer Kashif accepted Arista president Clive Davis' invitation to see a New York club performance by a young singer named Whitney Houston that he'd just signed to the label, he was disappointed. Her act was a lounge act and didn't appeal to Kashif. Davis continued to court Kashif sending him a videotape of Houston's performance on The Merv Griffin Show. LaLa, a writer signed to Kashif's music publishing company, sent him a demo of a ballad she had written titled "You Give Good Love." She'd sent it to her idol Roberta Flack first but she was rebuffed by her assistant with an angry "don't call us, we'll call you" retort. When Kashif heard the song, a light bulb came out in his mind that flashed "hit! hit!" Then he called Gerry Griffith, an Arista A&R man, and said that "I think I have a song for you." So Griffith and Houston drove to the New Jersey studio where Kashif was working to check it out. Griffith recalled that there was a demo of the song but LaLa wanted to sing it live with her piano playing. After LaLa finished the song, Griffith said "that's the song – that's what I've been looking for." It was the kind of tune that had the emotion that she could get into and sing her heart out.[1] The release of "You Give Good Love" was designed to give Houston a noticeable position and standing within the black music charts over there. Clive Davis later explained the thinking behind releasing the song as the debut single from the album:

"We wanted to establish her in the black marketplace first, otherwise you can fall between cracks, where Top 40 won't play you and R&B won't consider you their own. We felt that 'You Give Good Love' would be, at the very least, a major black hit, though we didn't think that it would cross over as strongly as it did. When it did cross over with such velocity that gave us great encouragement."[2][3]

Lyrics controversy[edit]

"You Give Good Love" brought Houston a bit of notoriety when it turned up among several songs cited by advice columnist Ann Landers as having suggestive titles. Landers, in her column for a reader who worried about the bad influence of song lyrics on children, wrote that "Some of the lyrics are sexually provocative. The titles tell the story," and called the song "pretty trashy stuff," citing the song's title as an instance along with "Hot Love" by Cheap Trick, "Let's Go to Bed" by The Cure, "Ready, Willing and Able" by Lita Ford, "You Shook Me All Night Long" and "Love at First Feel" by AC/DC, "Tease Me" by Junie Morrison, and "Fire Down Below" by Bob Seger.[4] Houston, in an interview with Chicago Tribune, gave some answers to Landers' comments, saying "She chose a few songs out of the Top 40 that she thought had suggestive titles as far as she was concerned, and it was one of them. I don't think that the title is suggestive at all. It didn't say anything but 'you give good love,' and it didn't say anything in the song that was sexual or outrageous. I think that Miss Landers just looked at the title and didn't view the song itself."[5] Houston, who described herself as a religious person, said that she hasn't given much thought to the controversy over questionable lyrics:

"The songs that I sing don't fall into that category, so I don't think about it at all. But I believe that music does influence people. It's a universal thing. Everybody listens to music and knows about it. I think that the lyrics can have a lot to do with influencing whoever you're singing to. I think that as far as children are concerned, parents should have control over what they listen to. If they don't want them to listen to records that are very sexual or explicit or outrageous, they should have control over that situation. As for adults, they're going to buy whatever kind of music they want to hear, so if they buy music with explicit lyrics, they must like it."[5]

Critical reception[edit]

Steve Peake of About.com, listing the song as the first of "Top 5 Whitney Houston songs of the '80s", praised Houston's vocal ability on the song highly, writing "One of Whitney Houston's signature gifts in the '80s was undoubtedly her ability to blend small amounts of soul into her slick adult contemporary pop ballads, just enough to make sure the music would appeal to urban audiences as well as mainstream pop fans. This song ["You Give Good Love"] is a great example of this, as Houston delivers a sufficiently soulful, passionate performance that rides in on a modest R&B groove perfect for after-dark encounters with the one you love, or at least somebody you kinda like. Though not a songwriter herself, Houston immediately displayed here an uncanny gift for selecting permanent pop melodies to which to apply her vocal precision."[6] Billboard, in its review of the single, called Houston's vocal on the song as "a voice of exceptional clarity and control."[7] Adam White, a performance reviewer of Billboard, in his writing of Houston's performance to promote her debut album at the Sweetwater's in New York, described the song as "the mellifluous, midtempo item."[8] Other critic of Billboard, Brian Chin commented that "the ecstatic single which may possibly be the classiest make-out song since 'Fire and Desire'."[9] While reviewing Houston's I Look to You album, Rashod D. Ollison from TheGrio.com stated that "You Give Good Love" is "effortlessly sexy."[10]

Awards and nominations[edit]

The song received a number of awards and nominations following its release. "You Give Good Love" won Favorite Soul/R&B Singles at the 13th annual American Music Awards, where Houston garnered a total of six nominations in Pop/Rock and Soul/R&B categories, on January 27, 1986.[11][12] The song received two Grammy nominations―Best R&B Song and Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female―but lost to "Freeway of Love" written by Jeffrey Cohen and Narada Michael Walden, performed by Aretha Franklin in both categories, at the 28th Grammy Awards, held on February 25, 1986.[13]

Chart performance[edit]

"You Give Good Love" was released as the first single from Houston's debut album Whitney Houston in February 1985. The single entered the Billboard Hot Black Singles chart (later Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs) at number 89 on the March 9 issue,[14] and on ninth week of its release, reached the top ten of the chart, the issue dated May 4, 1985.[15] Eventually, it hit the pole position of the chart, the issue date of May 25, 1985, and stayed atop for one week, becoming Houston's first R&B number-one single.[16] The song debuted at number 67 and number 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles and Hot Adult Contemporary charts, respectively, on the May 11 issue.[17][18] Eight weeks later the single reached the top ten on the Hot 100 chart, and in the following three weeks peaked at number three on the chart, the issue dated July 27, 1985, spending a total of 21 weeks on the chart.[19][20] On the Adult Contemporary chart, it reached a peak of number four in the July 20, 1985 issue.[21] It was ranked number 47 and number two on the Billboard year-end Top Pop Singles and Top Black Singles charts, respectively.[22][23] The single was certified Gold for shipments of 500,000 copies in the United States alone by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on December 6, 1995.[24] In Canada, the song debuted at number 95 on the RPM 100 Singles chart on the May 18 issue, and 14 weeks later peaked at number nine on the chart, the issue date of August 24, 1985.[25][26] It placed at number 76 on the RPM year-end Top 100 Singles chart of 1985.[27]

Worldwide, "You Give Good Love" was not released as the official single except some countries such as Australia, Japan, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Moreover, unlike in North America, the song failed to get enough attention to establish itself as a hit song in even their markets at the time of its release, because another songs from Houston's debut album―"All at Once" or "Saving All My Love for You"―got a better reaction than the song from the public and the media, particularly in Europe, and the early promotion for the album was also stratagemically focused on those of songs.[28] After all, the single didn't even make the Top 40 on the singles charts, peaking at number 58 in Australia,[29] 44 in New Zealand,[30] and 93 in the UK.[31]

Music video[edit]

Houston in the music video for "You Give Good Love", tells the story of a romance with a cameraman.

The music video for "You Give Good Love" was directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg and produced by Karen Bellone,[32][33] featured an off-duty cameraman entering a club that's being refurbished. Houston is on the stage rehearsing for a performance. Taken aback by her impressive singing, the man begins filming Houston as she performs. TIME commented that the video "tells the story of a romance with a cameraman ― and, more tellingly, with his adoring camera."[34] Liam Lacey of The Globe and Mail, in an interview with Houston, called it "the blatantly erotic video" and added "Houston and a photographer have a suggestive encounter (the photographer with his zoom lens, the singer with her microphone)."[35]

Live performances[edit]

Houston performing "You Give Good Love" at the 1st Soul Train Music Awards on March 23, 1987.

As a solo artist, Houston first promoted "You Give Good Love" alongside other tunes from her debut album Whitney Houston in the shows, arranged by Clive Davis for music critics to see Houston perform, at Sweetwater's club in New York, the place where Cissy Houston had been bringing Whitney along, on February 12–16, 1985.[8][36][37] She also performed the song on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson on April 5, 1985, which was her first National TV appearance since The Merv Griffin Show in 1983.[38] Houston lip-synced to the album version of the song on the syndicated TV special "The 1985 R&B Countdown" which aired on December 31, 1985.[39] She delivered a performance of "You Give Good Love" on the 1st Soul Train Music Awards, where Houston was nominated for two categories, at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium on March 23, 1987.[40] The performance is found in bonus DVD featured on Whitney Houston: The Deluxe Anniversary Edition, remastered to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its original release.[41]

In addition to her numerous performances for the song in TV shows as well as award ceremonies, the song was included in setlist on Houston's first three tours, Greatest Love Tour (1986), Moment of Truth World Tour (1987–88) and Feels So Right Japan Tour (1990). Additionally, the song was performed on select dates of her The Bodyguard World Tour (1993–94) and My Love Is Your Love World Tour (1999). Among her tour performances of the song, the Yokohama Arena live footage on January 7, 1990, was taped and later broadcast on Japanese TV channel.[42]

Live cover versions[edit]

Monica performed "You Give Good Love" as part of a tribute to Houston, the recipient of the Quincy Jones Award in that year, along with Ronald Isley, Terry Ellis and Kenny Lattimore at The 12th Soul Train Music Awards held on February 27, 1998.[43] Jennifer Hudson covered the song as one of the setlist during her first US tour with Robin Thicke in April – May, 2009.[44] Karen Rodriguez, one of Top 13 finalists on the tenth season of American Idol, auditioned on MySpace first and then in front of the judges in Los Angeles with the song in 2010.[45]

Track listing and formats[edit]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the album Whitney Houston liner notes.[52]

  • Kashif ― producer and arranger
  • LaLa ― songwriter
  • The players ― Bashiri Johnson, Kashif, LaLa, Yogi Lee, J.T. Lewis, Ira Siegal, Roy Wooten
  • Michael O'Reilly ― engineer and mixer
  • Whitney Houston ― vocals

Charts and certifications[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ed Hogan. "Song Review: "You Give Good Love"". Allmusic. Retrieved March 15, 2011. 
  2. ^ Paul Grein (June 8, 1986). "Houston Hits: Master Plan, Blind Luck". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 15, 2011. 
  3. ^ Seal 1994, p. 15
  4. ^ Ann Landers (July 7, 1985). "Hope your children outgrow trashy music". The Telegraph-Herald (Woodward Communications, Inc,). Retrieved March 16, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b Lynn Van Matre (September 29, 1985). "With Dionne, Cissy And Aretha In The Family, How Can Whitney Houston Fail?". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 11, 2011. 
  6. ^ Steve Peake. "Top 5 Whitney Houston Songs of the '80s". About.com. Retrieved March 11, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Reviews: New and Noteworthy – "You Give Good Love" by Whitney Houston". Billboard 97 (9). March 2, 1985. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved March 14, 2011. 
  8. ^ a b Adam White (March 9, 1985). "Talent in Action: Whitney Houston, Sweetwaters in New York". Billboard 97 (10). ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved March 14, 2011. 
  9. ^ Brian Chin (March 23, 1985). "danceTrax: Just for Yur Head". Billboard 97 (12). ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved March 14, 2011. 
  10. ^ Rashod D. Ollison (September 3, 2009). "With I Look to You who will wanna dance with Whitney?". NBCUniversal. Retrieved March 15, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Houston is Top Nominee in Music Award Showing". Jet (Johnson Publishing Company) 69 (18). January 20, 1986. ISSN 0021-5996. Retrieved March 15, 2011. 
  12. ^ "Entertainment: Whitney Houston Tells What God Gave Her". Jet (Johnson Publishing Company) 69 (22). February 17, 1986. ISSN 0021-5996. Retrieved March 15, 2011. 
  13. ^ Dennis Hunt (January 10, 1986). "'We Are The World' Scores In Grammy Nominations". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 15, 2011. 
  14. ^ "The Billboard Hot Black Singles chart listing for the week of March 9, 1985". Billboard 97 (10). March 9, 1985. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved March 14, 2011. 
  15. ^ "The Billboard Hot Black Singles chart listing for the week of May 4, 1985". Billboard 97 (18). May 4, 1985. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved March 14, 2011. 
  16. ^ "The Billboard Hot Black Singles chart listing for the week of May 25, 1985". Billboard 97 (21). May 25, 1985. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved March 14, 2011. 
  17. ^ "The Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart listing for the week of May 11, 1985". Billboard 97 (19). May 11, 1985. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved March 14, 2011. 
  18. ^ "Hits of the World". Billboard 97 (19). May 11, 1985. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved March 14, 2011. 
  19. ^ "The Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart listing for the week of July 6, 1985". Billboard 97 (27). July 6, 1985. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved March 14, 2011. 
  20. ^ "The Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart listing for the week of July 27, 1985". Nielsen Business Media, Inc. July 27, 1985. Retrieved March 14, 2011. 
  21. ^ "The Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary chart listing for the week of July 20, 1985". Billboard 97 (29). ISSN 0006-2510. 
  22. ^ a b "1985 The Year in Music & Video: Top Pop Singles". Billboard 97 (52). December 28, 1985. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved March 14, 2011. 
  23. ^ a b "1985 The Year in Music & Video: Top Black Singles". Billboard 97 (52). December 28, 1985. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved March 14, 2011. 
  24. ^ a b "RIAA certification for "You Give Good Love" single". Recording Industry Association of America. December 6, 1995. Retrieved March 14, 2011. 
  25. ^ "The RPM 100 Singles chart listing for the week of May 18, 1985". RPM (RPM Music Publications Ltd.) 42 (10). ISSN 0006-2510. 
  26. ^ a b "The RPM 100 Singles chart listing for the week of August 24, 1985". RPM (RPM Music Publications Ltd.) 42 (24). August 24, 1985. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved March 14, 2011. 
  27. ^ a b "The RPM Top 100 Singles of 1985". RPM (RPM Music Publications Ltd.) 43 (16). December 28, 1985. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved March 14, 2011. 
  28. ^ Kim Freeman (June 8, 1985). "Whitney Houston's Success Is Global". Billboard 97 (23). ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved March 15, 2011. 
  29. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (Illustrated ed.). Sydney: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  30. ^ "The RIANZ Singles Chart listing for the week of September 15, 1985". September 15, 1985. Retrieved March 15, 2011. 
  31. ^ ""You Give Good Love" chart performances on the UK Singles Chart". chartstats.com. August 24, 1985. Retrieved March 15, 2011. 
  32. ^ "Other works for Michael Lindsay-Hogg". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved May 22, 2011. 
  33. ^ "The Deluxe Anniversary Edition credits". Whitney Houston: The Deluxe Anniversary Edition (CD). Whitney Houston. United States: Arista Records. 2010. 88697 58903 2. 
  34. ^ Richard Corliss, Elizabeth L. Bland and Elaine Dutka (July 13, 1987). "Show Business: The Prom Queen of Soul". TIME (Time Inc.). Retrieved May 25, 2011. 
  35. ^ Liam Lacey (April 24, 1985). "A voice that can scale mountains". Globe and Mail (Canada). 
  36. ^ David Hinckley (May 30, 2005). "Nice Story, Solo Whitney, 1985". NY Daily News (Mortimer Zuckerman). Retrieved March 15, 2011. 
  37. ^ "Whitney Houston Makes Musical Debut in N.Y.". Jet (Johnson Publishing Company) 68 (12). June 3, 1985. ISSN 0021-5996. Retrieved March 15, 2011. 
  38. ^ ""You Give Good Love" live performance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in 1985". NBC. April 5, 1985. Retrieved March 15, 2011. 
  39. ^ Carolyn McGuire (December 31, 1985). "Tube Celebrates The New Year". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 15, 2011. 
  40. ^ Maurice Weaver (March 23, 1987). "'Soul Train' Awards Are a 1st For Black Music". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 15, 2011. 
  41. ^ "Whitney Houston (25th Anniversary Legacy Edition)". Amazon.co.uk. January 26, 2010. Retrieved March 15, 2011. 
  42. ^ ""You Give Good Love" live performance in Yokohama, Japan in 1990". YouTube. March 1, 2008. Retrieved March 15, 2011. 
  43. ^ Anita M. Samuels (March 14, 1998). "Badu Heads Soul Train: Singer Picks Up 4 Awards". Billboard 110 (11): 10. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved May 22, 2011. 
  44. ^ Richard L. Eldredge (April 16, 2009). "Peach Buzz: Hudson's polish defies young career". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved May 22, 2011. 
  45. ^ Luchina Fisher (February 4, 2011). "There's No Changing Steven Tyler's Stripes". ABC News (ABC News Internet Ventures). Retrieved May 22, 2011. 
  46. ^ You Give Good Love (Australian 12" Vinyl Single). Whitney Houston. Australia: Festival Records. 1985. X14236. 
  47. ^ You Give Good Love (UK 12" Vinyl Single). Whitney Houston. United Kingdom: Arista. 1985. ARIST 12625. 
  48. ^ You Give Good Love (Australian 7" Vinyl Single). Whitney Houston. Australia: Arista Records. 1985. K-9787. 
  49. ^ You Give Good Love (Japanese 7" Vinyl Single). Whitney Houston. Japan: Arista Records. 1985. 7RS-116. 
  50. ^ You Give Good Love (UK 7" Vinyl Single). Whitney Houston. United Kingdom: Arista Records. 1985. ARIST 625. 
  51. ^ You Give Good Love (US 7" Vinyl Single). Whitney Houston. United States: Arista Records. 1985. AS1-9274. 
  52. ^ "Whitney Houston album notes". Whitney Houston (CD). Whitney Houston. United States: Arista. 1985. ARCD-8212. 
  53. ^ "Hits of the World". Billboard 97 (36). September 7, 1985. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved March 15, 2011. 
  54. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Whitney Houston – You Give Good Love". Top 40 Singles.
  55. ^ "24, 1985/ Archive Chart" UK Singles Chart.
  56. ^ "Whitney Houston Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot 100 for Whitney Houston.
  57. ^ "Whitney Houston Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs for Whitney Houston.
  58. ^ "Whitney Houston Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Adult Contemporary for Whitney Houston.
  59. ^ "South Korea Gaon International Chart (Week: February 12, 2012 to February 18, 2012)". Gaon Chart. January 5, 2013. Retrieved January 5, 2013. 
  60. ^ "1985 The Year in Music & Video: Top Adult Contemporary Singles". Billboard 97 (52). December 28, 1985. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved March 14, 2011. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Seal, Richard (1994), Whitney Houston: One Moment in Time, Britannia Press Publishing, ISBN 0-9519937-8-X 

Further reading[edit]

  • "Whitney Houston" article in Ashyia Henderson Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 28, Gale Group 2001 reproduced on Biography Resource Center Thomson Gale 2005
  • "Whitney Houston" article in Contemporary Newsmakers 1986, Gale Research 1987 published on Biography Resource Center Thomson Gale 2005

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Fresh" by Kool & the Gang
Billboard Hot Black Singles number-one single
May 25, 1985
Succeeded by
"Rock Me Tonight" by Freddie Jackson