No one before and no one since has quite captured Whitney Houston’s kind of stardom. Nicknamed “The Voice,” Houston ascended by swift leaps and bounds after entering the industry in the early ’80s. Within a decade, she went from singing in her church choir to becoming the only person to ever release seven consecutive number one singles, a record she still holds. To this day, Houston’s first albums—her 1985 self-titled debut and 1987’s Whitney—are two of the biggest-selling records of all time.
A new biopic on the singer’s life, I Wanna Dance With Somebody, tries to detail Houston’s impact on the industry (and tragically, the industry’s impact on her). Naomi Ackie plays the star, but the vocals are all Houston. After all, how could even the most talented actor be expected to recreate Houston’s rare vocal, unencumbered and soaring? Her biggest hit may be her iconic cover of Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You,” but we decided to place the spotlight on 15 other Houston tracks that are worth spinning now, whether for the first or for the umpteenth time, before I Wanna Dance With Somebody hits theaters on December 23. This mix of covers and originals are as versatile and introspective as Houston herself, who died in 2012.