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Whitney Houston Does Debby Boone hide

More on Whitney Houston's upcoming album. Antonio "L.A." Reid has personally selected Whitney's big ballad for the CD, and it's none other than "You Light Up My Life."

Yes, that's right, the very same 1977 hit that spent weeks and weeks at No. 1 and drove normal people crazy with its banality.

"If I told you that Whitney was going to record Dolly Parton's 'I Will Always Love You' and the only version you knew was Whitney's, you'd have said I was nuts then, wouldn't you?" This, from an Arista Records source who claims that Whitney will turn this old chestnut into something better than Debby Boone's treacly ballad.

Houston would not be the first to tackle composer Joe Brooks' work from the infamous flop movie of the same name. Lee Ann Rimes, Kenny Rogers and the late Lawrence Welk all gave it a shot at various times in the last 25 years.

In the movie, which is best forgotten, Didi Conn lip-synchs the song by the way. The vocal was supplied by Kasey Cisyk, a singer who died about six years ago. At the time of the film's release she got no credit for her warbling and the situation became something of a minor scandal.

There's a funny irony here, too. Debby's dad, Pat Boone, was guilty in the 1950s of stealing R&B songs like "Tutti Frutti" from Little Richard and re-recording them as hits. So Whitney doing a Boone number and having a bigger hit would be turnabout as fair play.

Still, word from the Houston camp initially is that there is a real divide about what kind of songs should be on Whitney's album. I was told by one from Houston's camp that "there are no other ballads on the record. L.A. is concerned about making a Clive Davis-like album. He's trying to ghettoize her."

But Arista sources disagree. "Whitney's album will sound like a Whitney album. There will be four or five ballads."

The album, which was originally unofficially announced for release on Sept. 17, has been moved to Nov. 5.

So far Houston has recorded with Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds and with two young producers from Miami whom husband Bobby Brown discovered.

But the usual suspects -- Rodney Jerkins, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, and Wyclef Jean -- have so far not heard a word from Houston or Brown. The latter seems particularly strange since Jean wrote Houston's title song and big hit "My Love Is Your Love" from her last album.

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