The Unlikely Place Whitney Houston Filmed ‘So Emotional’ Music Video

Whitney Houston is lauded as one of the most successful and greatest singers of all time. She broke numerous records on the Billboard charts, and also was successful in worldwide tours. Much of her success can be attributed to the genius of Clive Davis’ marketing strategy, which includes him thinking outside the box. A perfect example of his different way of thinking is the location chosen for where Houston shot the music video for “So Emotional.”

Whitney Houston sings on stage; Houston shot her 'So Emotional' music video in a small town
Whitney Houston | Dobbie/Fairfax Media via Getty Images

Whitney Houston filmed the music video for ‘So Emotional’ at a small arena in Bethlehem, PA

“So Emotional” is the third single from Houston’s sophomore album, Whitney. The single was preceded by “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and “Didn’t We Almost Have It All.” The single was released in Oct. 1987, and unlike her previous music videos, Houston’s team chose an odd location to film the visual. 

Source: YouTube

The music video shows Houston performing in front of thousands at a concert, with Houston donning a Black leather jacket, a white T-shirt, and denim jeans. As it turns out, the music video was shot at Lehigh University’s Stabler Arena in Bethlehem, PA in front of 2,500 fans. The Morning Call’s 1987 feature on the shoot reports that fans were admitted by free tickets given away at area record stores in the days leading up to the shoot. The video was shot while Houston was on a short break during her Moment of Truth World Tour.

“So Emotional” made history as the first music video to be filmed at the arena. Houston rehearsed for 17 days at the arena over the summer of ‘87 to prepare for the taping. Fans of all ages flocked to the shoot for their chance to get a glimpse of the star, and to hopefully have their faces featured in the video.

How well did ‘So Emotional’ do on the charts?

Houston had been on a roll with back-to-back No. 1 hits since her debut release in 1985. Her record label had to ensure they kept up steam with her sophomore album release. And as it turns out, the momentum was there.

Source: YouTube
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“So Emotional” peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming her her sixth consecutive No.1, as well as a dance chart hit. Her first five No. 1 hits were “Saving All My Love for You,” “How Will I Know,” “Greatest Love of All,” “I Wanna Dance with Somebody,” and “Didn’t We Almost Have It All.”

“So Emotional” was eventually declared the sixth-best charting song of the year. It was the fourth most-played song on the club charts. 

The single helped her sophomore album sell millions

Because of the release of her next single, “Where Did Broken Hearts Go,” all singles from Whitney peaked at No. 1 on the US Hot 100, making Houston the first female artist to achieve four No. 1 hits from one album. She also became the first to earn seven consecutive No. 1 hits, surpassing the Beatles and the Bee Gees, who each had six consecutive No. 1 hits.

Houston made out good on the award circuit as well, earning a Grammy award for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female for “I Wanna Dance with Somebody.”

Whitney became one of the greatest-selling albums of all time. It was certified diamond in 2020, selling over 10 million copies.