12/22/1986 at 01:00 AM EST
Her debut LP, Whitney Houston, was released on Feb. 14, 1985, went No. 1 on Billboard's pop charts ort March 8, 1986 and has now sold more than seven million copies in the U.S. How unusual is that? Here's a partial list of people who have released albums during the past two years that have not done as well as Houston's: Billy Joel, Madonna
, Cyndi Lauper, Dire Straits, Phil Collins, Eurythmics, Van Halen, David Lee Roth, Bob Seger, Daryl Hall, Run-D.M.C., ZZ Top, Paul McCartney and Robert Palmer. Here's a complete list of singers who, during the same time span, have sold more albums than Houston: ———.
Equally remarkable, the 23-year-old's success has been achieved without the aid of blue hair, gossip-sheet romances or soft-porn MTV videos. "God gave me a voice to sing with," says Houston, who got her start singing gospel. "And when you have that, what other gimmick is there?"