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Whitney Houston

R&B innovator Kashif Saleem dies at 59

R&B innovator Kashif Saleem dies at 59

When Kashif Saleem was sent the demo for a tender ballad called “You Give Good Love,” he felt it was a hit. The track had originally been destined for jazzy R&B singer Roberta Flack, whose assistant rebuffed the demo writer. 

But Saleem had a different singer in mind. He had seen a young artist by the name of Whitney Houston at the behest of Arista president Clive Davis and felt the song would be a knockout for her — and he was right. The single, released in 1985, became Houston’s first No. 1 R&B record, a crossover pop hit. 

Saleem, the influential R&B singer and producer behind Houston’s breakout single, as well as records from Barry White,...