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"How Will I Know"
Single by Whitney Houston
from the album Whitney Houston
Released November 1985
Format CD single
Cassette single
7" single
Recorded 1984
Genre Dance-pop, R&B
Length 4:36
Label Arista
Writer(s) George Merrill
Shannon Rubicam
Producer Narada Michael Walden
Whitney Houston singles chronology
"Saving All My Love for You"
(1985)
"How Will I Know"
(1985)
"Greatest Love of All"
(1986)

"How Will I Know" is the third hit single from Whitney Houston's self-titled first album. The single was released in November 1985 and was written by George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam of Boy Meets Girl fame, who wrote it for Janet Jackson[1]. The song is an electric dance tune about the singer wondering if a guy she likes feels the same way about her. Houston became a staple on MTV with the release of this hit single.

Contents

Chart information

On the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, "How Will I Know" reached the #1 spot on February 15, 1986, becoming Houston's second number-one single and third top five single from the same album. The single displaced "That's What Friends Are For" by Houston's cousin Dionne Warwick, thus becoming just the third time (and first time by female artists) in history for relatives to replace each other at number one on the Hot 100. It remained at number one for two weeks, and spent fifteen weeks in the top forty. It was ranked #6 on Billboard's top year end pop charts. [2] The song performed extremely well on other Billboard charts as well, climbing to number one on the Adult Contemporary, Hot Black Singles, and Hot Dance Club Play charts, showing Houston's success was not limited to any single genre. Internationally, the single made Houston a noticeable star, reaching number five in the United Kingdom. The song may be heard in its original version, or in an extended percussion intro version (such as in the music video). Later copies of Houston's debut album contain the latter version.

Chart (1985) Peak
position
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[3] 28
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[4] 1
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[5] 12
New Zealand (RIANZ)[6] 19
Norway (VG-lista)[7] 2
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[8] 2
Switzerland (Media Control AG)[9] 11
United Kingdom (Official Charts Company)[10] 5
US Billboard Hot 100[11] 1
US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs[12] 1
US Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs[13] 3
US Billboard Adult Contemporary[14] 1

Music video

The music video for "How Will I Know" was directed by Brian Grant and is set against a fantasy, vividly colored background, with dancers in black outfits and wearing French-style makeup. The video is recognized for the animated paint dripping down the screen. In the video, when Houston sings "I'm asking you 'cause you know about these things", there's a brief screencap of singer, close family friend, and godmother Aretha Franklin. Notable, too, is that the melody of "How Will I Know" closely samples the chorus melody of Aretha's earlier 1985 hit, "Who's Zoomin' Who", which was a relatively popular hit and also produced by Narada Michael Walden, hence her paying homage to her as well.

Track listing

U.S. Vinyl, 7"
  • A How Will I Know 4:10
  • B Someone For Me 4:57
Germany Vinyl, 12", Maxi-CD
  • A How Will I Know [Dance Remix] 6:35
  • B1 How Will I Know [Instrumental Version] 4:42
  • B2 How Will I Know [LP Version] 4:28
Germany Vinyl, 12"
  • A How Will I Know [Dance-Mix] 6:10
  • B1 Saving All My Love For You 3:55
  • B2 How Will I Know [Dub Mix] 5:36

Cover versions

  • The first stanza of the song was sampled in LMC vs. U2's dance hit, "Take Me to the Clouds Above".
  • Kelly Clarkson, who was influenced by Houston, sang the song in her concerts.
  • Houston's cousin, Dionne Warwick, covered the song on Solid Gold in 1985.
  • South African singer Dube covered the song in 1989 for his album Slave.
  • Hit the Lights covered the song with their extended iTunes release of Skip School Start Fights in 2008.
  • Lemonheads frontman Evan Dando has covered the song live on at least 2 occasions.
  • Lucie Jones on the 6th series of The X Factor performed the song on the second live show for Diva Week. She received relatively positive comments for her performance from the three present judges (Louis Walsh was absent from the show that night), some finding that a spark was missing from her performance.

In pop culture

References

  1. ^ "How Will I Know by Whitney Houston". Songfacts. http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=5940. Retrieved 2008-11-12.  
  2. ^ TOP 20 POP SINGLES FOR 1986. Newsday. December 28 1986. Pg 19.
  3. ^ Ö3 Austria Top 40 Whitney Houston - How Will I Know Austriancharts.at Austriancharts.at Hung Medien
  4. ^ Billboard Whitney Houston Album & Song Chart History Canadian Hot 100 for Whitney Houston Billboard
  5. ^ Stichting Nederlandse Top 40 Houston&jaar=undefined&maand=undefined&week=undefined top40 top40.nl Stichting Nederlandse Top 40
  6. ^ RIANZ Whitney Houston - How Will I Know charts.org.nz charts.org.nz Hung Medien
  7. ^ VG-Lista Whitney Houston - How Will I Know Norwegiancharts.com Norwegiancharts.com Hung Medien
  8. ^ Sverigetoplisttan Whitney Houston - How Will I Know Swedishcharts.com Swedishcharts.com Hung Medien
  9. ^ Media Control AG Whitney Houston - How Will I Know Swisscharts.com Swisscharts.com Hung Medien
  10. ^ Official Charts Company Chart Stats - Whitney Houston - {{{song}}} Chartstats.com Chart Stats
  11. ^ Billboard Whitney Houston Album & Song Chart History Billboard Hot 100 for Whitney Houston Billboard
  12. ^ Billboard Whitney Houston Album & Song Chart History Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Songs for Whitney Houston Billboard
  13. ^ Billboard Whitney Houston Album & Song Chart History Billboard Hot Dance/Club Play for Whitney Houston Billboard
  14. ^ Billboard Whitney Houston Album & Song Chart History Billboard Adult Contemporary Songs for Whitney Houston Billboard
Preceded by
"That's What Friends Are For" by Dionne & Friends
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
February 15, 1986 – February 22, 1986
Succeeded by
"Kyrie" by Mr. Mister
Preceded by
"Do Me, Baby" by Meli'sa Morgan
Billboard Hot Black Singles number-one single
March 8, 1986
Succeeded by
"Your Smile" by René & Angela
Preceded by
"The Sweetest Taboo" by Sade
Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks number-one single
February 15, 1986
Succeeded by
"Sara" by Starship
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