Linda Creed was an American songwriter, who wrote some of the most successful Philadelphia Soul songs, of the 1970s with her writing partner, Thom Bell. Their songs were recorded by artists such as The Stylistics, The Spinners, Teddy Pendergrass and Dusty Springfield.
Linda’s lyrics for the song, 'The Greatest Love of All,' expresses her feelings about coping with her illness - about finding the strength to face the enormous challenges that she faced. She wrote about being strong and whether one wins or loses in life’s battles, one must pass that strength on to the new generation and help them to believe in themselves.
In 1986, Whitney Houston decided that she wanted to release a version of the song for her debut album. The founder of her label, Arista Records was initially against her doing so but eventually gave in. The song was used as the B-side of 'You Give Good Love.' Almost a year later, 'Greatest Love of All' (Whitney’s version has no the in the title), was released as a single in its own right.
Just a couple of weeks before Whitney Houston took the song to No.1, Linda Creed lost her fight with cancer. She died on April 10 1986. She was 37 and never knew just how successful her song became.
The following year, Linda’s family founded the Linda Creed Breast Cancer Foundation.
In 1992, she was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Whitney Houston’s music video to accompany the song was filmed at Harlem’s famous Apollo Theatre. In it, Whitney reminisces about her childhood, when she performed in a talent competition - being encouraged by her mother. Whitney’s own mother, the celebrated singer, Cissie Houston features in the video.
April 1987 saw a lawsuit filed against co-writer, Michael Masser. Gordon Lightfoot alleged that Masser had stolen 24 bars from his song, 'If You Could Read My Mind.' (In my opinion, you have to listen really hard to see a similarity between the two songs.) Lightfoot dropped the case, stating that he felt it was having a negative effect on Whitney Houston. His argument was with Masser not Whitney.
Whitney Houston’s version of Greatest Love of All has sold over 2.5 million copies around the world, many of them since her death in 2012.
Have a look at video below.