You Give Good Love

Album: Whitney Houston (1985)
Charted: 93 3

Songfacts®:

  • In the first single from her self-titled debut album, Whitney Houston has finally found what she's been looking for: someone who gives good love. But she almost didn't get the chance to record the song, which was her first #1 R&B chart topper and a surprise crossover hit on the pop chart. New York songwriter LaLa wrote the track for Roberta Flack, but got frustrated waiting to hear back from the singer, so she performed it live for Houston and her producer Kashif. LaLa recalled to Billboard magazine: "Before I ended the song, she picked up on the lyrics and was singing it along with me."
  • Arista Records president Clive Davis wanted this to be the single that would introduce Houston to black audiences, but he was surprised when it became a pop hit, too. He told the Los Angeles Times: "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."
  • Advice columnist Ann Landers lumped the song in with other Top 40 hits, like Cheap Trick's "Hot Love" and The Cure's "Let's Go To Bed," she deemed trashy based on their "sexually suggestive" titles.

    Houston responded to the allegations in a Chicago Tribune interview: "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."
  • Houston performed this on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.
  • The music video, directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, has Houston performing in a club where she piques the interest of a cameraman who begins filming her.
  • This was nominated for Grammy Awards in two categories: Best R&B Song and Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female. Aretha Franklin took home both prizes for "Freeway of Love."

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