Much like our ‘Retro Rewind’ and ‘From the Vault’ segments, readers of That Grape Juice know what avid music lovers we are – especially of hits past. So in a quest to re-spin the gems and jams of yesterday we introduced a new retrospective segment – ‘TGJ Replay’.
Unlike its ‘Rewind’ and ‘Vault’ predecessors, ‘Replay’ looks to dust off and showcase albums (and eras) from a library of pop music hits. Next up? We ode birthday girl Janet Jackson’s (who turns 47 today) classic breakthrough album ‘Control‘.
More Miss Jackson (if ya nasty) below:
Despite tasting her own level of solo sucess on the acting front in the 70s and early 80s, 1985 was not seeing Janet -the youngest of the famed musical family The Jacksons – sing a similar tune about her ailing music career.
After the disappointing sales of her self-titled debut and its follow-up ‘Dream Street’, the year saw her return to the studio to rework the formula mixed to launch her to fame without the burden of her surname.
Watching the mega-success of brother Michael Jackson’s top selling ‘Thriller’ album and moderate success of brother Jermaine, coupled with a number of personal failures (see: annulled marriage to James Debarge, decision to sever ties with father Joseph as manager), purportedly provided the fuel for the burgeoning starlet’s quest for solo stardom.
That fuel would go to on fill Janet’s very own vehicle to notoriety – 1986′s ‘Control’.
Her third offering, the album would act as a commodious lyric and sonic departure from her two previous offerings while being the first to see her work with then up-and-coming producers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis. A rhythmic collection of hip hop, R&B, funk, pop, and the then-uncoined ‘New Jack Swing’, ‘Control’ served as music lover’s inaugural look at the young girl grown up.
A collection of declarations, the album birthed anthems like that of its namesake, ‘Nasty’, and ‘What Have You Done For Me Lately’.
‘What Have You Done For Me Lately’
Despite its #102 debut in February 1986, the album would go on to roost atop the Billboard 200 on the wings of the singer’s dynamic stage performances and groundbreaking Paula Abdul-choreographed music videos.
Tunes like ‘When I Think Of You’ and the legendary ‘Pleasure Principle’ would receive glowing reviews from fans and critics alike for their high octane choreography and cinematic story-telling. Instantly drawing comparison’s to the genre’s frontrunners Michael Jackson and Madonna.
‘When I Think Of You’
The critical acclaim didn’t stop there, however. The next year’s Grammy Awards saw the diva nab four nominations: Album of the Year, Best R&B Song for “What Have You Done for Me Lately”, Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and Non-Classical Producer of the Year for Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. This, in conjunction with earning a record-breaking twelve nominations from the American Music Awards (four wins), six Billboard Music Award wins, and a host of other industry recognitions.
The acclaim helped establish the youngest Jackson as a force to be reckoned with and was the first of many steps out of being “Michael Jackson’s younger sister”.
‘What Have You Done For Me Lately’ (live at 1987 Grammys)
‘Control’ (Live at 1987 American Music Awards)
By the time the dust settled and the young diva was en route of finishing its follow-up ‘Rhythm Nation’, the album was setting and/or breaking records on every side – most notably crowning Janet the first female artist to produce six top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 from a single album. Such success helped the album reach over 14 million in worldwide sales to date.
Not only establishing her dominance over the-then emerging music video culture, but also establishing her independence from the Jackson family.
‘Let’s Wait Awhile’
We use this post to ode one of our favorite divas and extend a very Happy Birthday wish to Miss Janet Damit Jo Jackson.