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Throwback Thursday: Material x Whitney Houston "Memories"

Lenny Kravitz, Grace Jones, Lauryn Hill, Lion Babe, Thundercat, SZA & More Rock The Afropunk Festival 2015 in Brooklyn, NY.Material "One Down" LP cover with overlaid photo of Whitney Houston

August 9, 2012 would have marked Whitney Houston's 49th birthday.  As we all know, the singer/actress tragically passed earlier this year just one day before the Grammy's. To honor Ms. Houston on her birthday, we're taking it back to the where it all started...

In 1982, producer Bill Laswell's experimental project, Material released their One Down album, which featured an impressive who's-who of guest musicians including Nile Rodgers and Tony Thompson of Chic, and Nona Hendryx. "Memories," a ballad near the end of the LP's second side featured the debut lead vocal of one Whitney Houston.  The song, originally penned by Hugh Hopper of prog-rock masters Soft Machine (and source of Common's "Nag Champa" sample) in the '60s, also featured jazz legend Archie Shepp on tenor saxophone.

While it may not be Whitney's finest recorded moment,  "Memories" is a fitting introduction to Houston's one-of-a-kind voice, which would go worldwide three years later with the release of her self-titled debut album in 1985.  Curiously enough, "Memories" would later be covered by neo-prog rockers The Mars Volta.