The greatest love of all

By Patipat Kittichokwattana

Do you know who’s named ‘the voice?’ It’s not a TV program but Whitney Houston. She was an American singer who had brilliant and emotional voices that make you dive deep into the heart of the songs. When I first heard her songs ‘Saving all my love for you’ and ‘Greatest love of all’ from her first album in 1986, that’s very long time ago, I felt in love with her sweet, melodic, and powerful voices.

From that day, this talented singer had continued to sing the world’s song hits onward, for instance ‘One moment in time’, ‘Miracle’, ‘It’s not right but it’s okay’, ‘Million Dollar bill’ and so forth. She also became a star in several films especially ‘The Bodyguard’ in 1992, together with well-known soundtrack album comprised of famous songs such as ‘I will always love you’, ‘I’m every woman’, and ‘I have nothing’. Sadly, she passed away in 2012.

One song I guess you can remember well is ‘Greatest love of all’. It is the most popular among people who are either in love or broken heart. Perhaps the beautiful melody and lyrics together with the wonderful voice of Whitney Houston remind us the taste of love.

But this song was originally written for the man who refused to get in the Vietnam War and fought against the prejudice legal system. The man who changed his name and religious and willing to lost everything but retained the most important thing ‘dignity’. He was ‘Cassius Clay’ or ‘Muhammad Ali’.

The original version was first released in 1977, sung by George Benson-the jazz guitarist. This song was composed to be the main theme in ‘The Greatest’, abiographical movie of heavy weight boxing champion ‘Muhammad Ali’. Interestingly, at that time, this song was an underground theme for black people. Children of black elementary school have sung this song daily as their personal anthem.

The second and most well-known version was released in 1986 in the first album of Whitney Houston. Unlike the previous version, she differently interpreted the song in the way of soul and R&B. The sound seemed more electronic and showed off her astonishing voice. It’s remaining a message of black people’s pride and further to the children and family issues.

You can feel differences of love between these 2 versions. Though the later made it to the top of the Billboard chart, but I prefer the prior one. Since it was made to be the movie’s theme song, it was interpreted and orchestration in bold and conviction feeling. It sent messages of love for humankind, anti-war, fighting against inequality, and the dignity to be protected. Not the meaning from lyrics that people commonly understand.

I here in recommend you listen to both versions and find out its differences. Don’t worry if you disagree with me because beauty is in the eyes of beholder. As long as we are talking the same thing, the beauty of love, that’s OK.

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Patipat Kittichokwattana is PaddyNews writer