Deep 10: Whitney Houston's The Bodyguard — Original Soundtrack Album
The numbers are astounding: 20 weeks in the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 and more than 45 million copies sold worldwide. Released in November 1992, the soundtrack for The Bodyguard featured six new recordings by the inimitable Whitney Houston, who made her acting debut in the film portraying singer/actress Rachel Marron alongside co-star Kevin Costner, who portrayed her bodyguard Frank Farmer.
The album launched Houston to a new level of superstardom. Her signature, spellbinding rendition of "I Will Always Love You" earned Record Of The Year and Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female at the 36th GRAMMY Awards (the show opened with Houston's performance of the song), and The Bodyguard was named Album Of The Year.
While the soundtrack album endures as a monumental work, following are 10 lesser-known facts about the best-selling soundtrack of all time.
1. The Bodyguard script was originally written with Diana Ross in mind.
If a couple of Hollywood deals hadn't fallen through, the film might have had a very different soundtrack. Lawrence Kasdan wrote the script in 1975 as a vehicle for Diana Ross. Steve McQueen and Ryan O'Neal were both considered for the bodyguard role. When those negotiations broke down, the project was shelved until 1991, when Costner signed on as co-producer and leading man.
2. Houston's showstopping song was supposed to be the Motown ballad "What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted."
But as production got underway, a Paul Young cover of that song (originally recorded by Jimmy Ruffin) was featured in the 1991 film Fried Green Tomatoes. It was Costner who suggested the Dolly Parton song "I Will Always Love You" as a replacement (though it was Linda Ronstadt's cover he played for Houston). He also is credited for suggesting Houston begin her version singing a cappella.
3. There was never a feud between Houston and Parton.
When Houston's version of Parton's country chart-topper became a pop smash, some tabloids tried to drum up a feud between the two, but both denied any ill will toward the other. In fact, Parton co-presented Houston with her GRAMMY for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female. "When I wrote that song 22 years ago, I had a heartache," Parton said onstage while presenting with the song's producer David Foster. "But' it's amazing how healing money can be." In turn, Houston thanked Parton for writing the hit during her acceptance speech.
4. The first version of "I Will Always Love You" heard in the film is not sung by Houston (or Parton).
A cover by John Doe of punk band X can be heard playing on a jukebox as Costner and Houston dance in an early scene. (Doe's version, which skewed more country than rock, was not included on the soundtrack).
5. The second single from the soundtrack was also a cover of a previous hit.
Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson's "I'm Every Woman" was originally recorded by Chaka Khan for her 1978 debut solo album, Chaka. Houston's official video for the song featured a few clips from The Bodyguard, but also showed her and Khan singing together and included Houston's "Chaka Khan!" shout-out at the end of the track. In a way, this was Houston coming full circle as she sang backup vocals on Khan's 1980 album, Naughty.
6. The Bodyguard kept Kenny G's Breathless album (1992, No. 2) from reaching No. 1.
But the GRAMMY-winning saxophonist did have a piece of the top spot as his and Aaron Neville's duet "Even If My Heart Would Break" was included on The Bodyguard soundtrack.
7. The soundtrack also provided a major break to pub rocker/songwriter Nick Lowe.
Curtis Stigers' cover of Lowe's "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding" gave Lowe the biggest payday of his career — to the tune of more than $1 million, according to the songwriter. In a 1995 Los Angeles Times interview, Lowe said he was grateful for the windfall, but hadn't seen the film: "It seems terribly cheerless to say it, but I don't think it's the sort of thing I'd like very much."
8. "Run To You" was originally a breakup song.
Songwriters Allan Rich and Jud Friedman were thrilled when the demo they recorded was selected, but director Mick Jackson decided he wanted to use the song earlier in the film, when Houston and Costner's characters are falling in love. Rich and Friedman kept the song title but rewrote the lyrics to reflect a new love rather than a love gone bad.
9. "Run To You" and "I Have Nothing" competed against each other at the 36th GRAMMYs.
The songs went head-to-head for Best Song Written Specifically For A Motion Picture Or For Television for 1993. The same two songs were also nominated for Best Original Song at the 1993 Academy Awards. In both cases, the award went to "A Whole New World" from Disney's Aladdin.
10. Despite the soundtrack's success, the film was widely panned by critics.
The Bodyguard, which currently holds a 32 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, was listed as one of the 100 Most Enjoyable Bad Movies Ever Made in The Official Razzie Movie Guide. Still, Houston, Costner and the filmmakers got the last laugh. The Bodyguard grossed more than $411 million worldwide.
(Chuck Crisafulli is an L.A.-based journalist and author whose most recent works include Go To Hell: A Heated History Of The Underworld, Me And A Guy Named Elvis, Elvis: My Best Man, and Running With The Champ: My Forty-Year Friendship With Muhammad Ali.)