Nominees at the 36th Grammy Awards on March 1, 1994, included Mariah Carey, Billy Joel, Sting and Neil Young, but it was Whitney Houston who owned the night.
Houston’s smash hit “I Will Always Love You,” from the soundtrack to The Bodyguard, earned her record of the year, album of the year and best female pop vocal performance. Even “A Whole New World,” the perennially beloved ballad from Disney’s Aladdin, was no match for Houston’s powerhouse pipes. In fact, Houston’s only loss that night was in the female R&B vocal category, which Toni Braxton won for “Another Sad Love Song.”
Houston, then 30, also opened the ceremony with a stunning rendition of “I Will Always Love You.” Footage of that performance was replayed 18 years later at the 2012 Grammys, just one day after Houston’s untimely death at age 48.
Dolly Parton, who wrote the song and released the original version on her 1974 album Jolene, presented the best female pop vocal award with David Foster, who produced Houston’s track.
“On behalf of myself and the Internal Revenue Service, I’d like to thank Whitney for making my song such an enormous hit,” Parton quipped. “When I wrote that song 22 years ago, I had a heartache. But it’s amazing how healing money can be.”
Watch Houston accept all three major awards:
And watch her perform “I Will Always Love You” at the Grammys:
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