SAN RAFAEL (CBS 5)  – Some Bay Area music-makers are taking the death of Whitney Houston especially hard because they played major a role in the singer’s early hits.

At the time George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam wrote “How Will I Know,” Houston was a relative unknown just creating her first album. The song was originally meant for Janet Jackson, but then Merrill and Rubicam heard Houston sing their lyrics.

“We just basically sat down and wrote what we thought would be a good song,” recalled Rubicam.“It was clear as soon as I heard it over the phone with George…we just went, ‘Oh my god.’”

Houston, and producer Narada Michael Walden, would turn their words into hits. It was in Walden’s San Rafael studio that 7 of Houston’s number 1 hits were produced. The proof adorns the walls at Tarpan Studios.

Walden worked closely with Houston from her first album through the monstrous success of the ‘Bodyguard’ soundrack.

“We are so grateful to have been a part of her legacy,” Walden said via Facebook.

Merrill and Rubicam said the end for Houston came too soon for the young girl that they knew, but she gave them memories that they’ll never forget.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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