Saving All My Love For You

Album: Whitney Houston (1985)
Charted: 1 1

Songfacts®:

  • In this song, Whitney sings about loving a man who doesn't return her affections. Despite the advice of her friends and against her better judgment, she holds out for him, and he becomes her idealized lover. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
  • This was originally recorded by Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr., who released it on their 1978 album Marilyn & Billy. Although credited to the pair, McCoo did all the lead vocals. Her performance was pure acting: she and Davis had been married since 1969.

    The lyric was written by Gerry Goffin and the music by Michael Masser, who also produced it. The McCoo/Davis version didn't get much attention, but when Whitney Houston included it on her 1985 debut album, it found a huge audience. Houston went supernova after "Saving All My Love for You" was released as a single; it became the first of seven consecutive #1 Hot 100 hits for the singer, and also topped the R&B and Adult Contemporary charts. It was also her first #1 in the UK.
  • According to 1000 UK #1 Hits by Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh, Michael Masser heard Whitney at Sweetwater's in New York and was mesmerized by the way she performed one of his songs, "The Greatest Love Of All." He suggested another of his songs, "Saving All My Love For You," telling Whitney, "This is going to make women cry. It is a woman's song."

    But Whitney's mother, Cissy Houston, was unsure, not wanting her daughter to sing about adultery. Eventually, Whitney agreed to do the song, though the subject matter was even clearer in the video.

    Clive Davis instructed Masser not to make the record 'too black,' so it would appeal to black and white audiences. Masser included a sax solo from the veteran Tom Scott, but he did not complicate the arrangement as he wanted to showcase Whitney's voice.
  • Gerry Goffin said of this, "I loved the melody. It's a great tune and it could have been written in the '30s."
  • Houston won her first Grammy Award for this song, taking home Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in 1986.
  • The video was directed by Stuart Orme, who also worked on Phil Collins' "In The Air Tonight." The male lead in the video is Ricco Ross, who looks a lot like Jermaine Jackson. Houston and Jackson did two duets on her debut album: "Take Good Care of My Heart" and "Nobody Loves Me Like You Do." Jackson was married at the time, but according to the British newspaper The Sun, he and Houston had an affair, mirroring the subject matter of the song. The report claims that casting a Jackson look-a-like was Houston's way of sending a message.

Comments: 4

  • Hannah from Hopkinton, MaThe song was her first hit in the British Isles!
  • Grandesoba from Luanda, AngolaI thank God the fact that Whitney didn't listen to his mom regarding this song. Its so strong, so beautiful and its reality of lots of women in the world.
  • Jennifer Harris from Grand Blanc, MiPatrena James did this for the talent show on a American Idol on PS2,she did good.
  • Lalah from Wasilla, AkOne of my ultra-conservative coworkers adored this song until I told her it was about the "other" woman. At least she quit singing it. Whitney should have listened to her mom.
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