Jackson’s Rhythm Nation

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Rhythm Nation 1814

On 28th Oct 1989, Janet Jackson started a four-week run at No.1 on the US album chart with Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814, only one of three albums to produce seven top ten US singles (the other two being Thriller by Michael Jackson and Bruce Springsteen’s Born In The USA).

Seven top ten singles! From one album!

Most act’s dream of having seven top ten singles during their career let alone from one album. And I wouldn?t mind, but out of the other two acts to achieve this feat, talk about keeping it in the family, it’s Janet?s brother Michael.

All three albums were released in the ’80s when the music market was a totally different beast. No computers, no digital downloads, and for the first few years of the decade, no CDs! (The first CDs went on sale in November 1982 and were mainly classical recordings.) So, these were still the days of the public making a visit to their local record store and buying a vinyl single. Oh, the memories!

So what made these three albums so popular at the time and so good that the record companies were in the enviable position to release most of the album as singles? Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814 was released at the peak of her career; four of the singles were US No. 1’s: “Miss You Much”, “Escapade”, “Black Cat” and “Love Will Never Do (Without You)”. Both radio and MTV loved Janet. Jackson received nine Grammy nominations for the album, winning Best Music Video, Long Form for “Rhythm Nation” in 1990.

The commercial success of Jackson’s album became part of an important turning point for black women in the recording industry. Prior to the 1980s, black artists were often segregated, being limited to disco, soul, and rhythm and blues charts and radio airplay. As such, one important struggle for black women had been in their ‘crossover’ from dance music to white-dominated pop and rock. While the dominance of female superstars on the mainstream charts had been led by Madonna, artists such as Janet, Tina Turner, and Whitney Houston all reached superstar status with the help of MTV.

So Janet ended the decade as a massive global superstar, something her brother Michael had also achieved in the ’80s. His sixth studio album Thriller had been released on November 30, 1982, as the follow-up to his critically and commercially successful 1979 album Off the Wall. Thriller became and currently remains the best-selling album of all time, with over 100 million copies sold worldwide.

Maybe Michael had was partly responsible for his sister’s success. Thriller enabled Jackson to break down racial barriers via his appearances on MTV and meeting with President Ronald Reagan at the White House. The album was one of the first to use music videos as successful promotional tools – the videos for “Thriller”, “Billie Jean” and “Beat It” all received regular rotation on MTV.

And let’s not forget Bruce. Released in June 1984, Born in the U.S.A. was the best-selling album of 1985 in the United States (and also Springsteen’s most successful album ever). “Dancing in the Dark”, “Cover Me”, “I’m on Fire”, “Glory Days”, “My Hometown” along with “Born in the U.S.A.” all expressed signs of hope in the daily fight of the standard American in following the American Dream. The album had a pop-flavoured, radio-oriented sound that helped Springsteen to extend his popularity and appeal to mainstream audiences.

These were indeed very different times – no iTunes, no X Factor (thank God), no reality TV. Radio was still the dominant force delivering and making hits, backed with the new visual format of the video and the rising popularity of MTV. You heard it, you read about it and you saw the video? and then if you liked it, you parted with your hard-earned cash. No free downloads, no Spotify. Just great music.

Important Dates In The Life Of Janet Jackson:

On this day in music
22 Dec 2005
Janet Jackson was the most-searched name during 2005 according to Google, the singer topped a list of searches with people looking for pictures from her infamous ‘wardrobe malfunction’ at the 2004 Super Bowl when she exposed her right breast. Wardrobe Malfunction
5 Feb 2004
Janet Jackson's right breast became the most searched-for image in net history, Jackson's breast was seen by millions on TV after Justin Timberlake pulled at her bodice during a duet. Search engines reported a big jump in searches for Janet Jackson and Super Bowl, as people turned to the web for images of the event. Wardrobe Malfunction
2 Feb 2004
TV network CBS apologised for its broadcast of the American Super Bowl after Janet Jackson was left exposed when Justin Timberlake ripped her top. The pair had been performing a raunchy half-time duet when one of Jackson's breasts was exposed as Timberlake pulled at her top. CBS quickly cut away from the scene but was still flooded with calls from angry viewers about the half-time entertainment, produced by MTV. Timberlake insisted it had been an accident saying "I am sorry that anyone was offended by the wardrobe malfunction during the half-time performance of the Super Bowl."
1 Aug 2002
A new book 'Show the Girl the Door' written by a former tour manager disclosed some strange demands by female acts. It revealed that Shania Twain would travel with a sniffer dog in case of bombs. Jennifer Lopez liked her dressing room to be all white, including carpets flowers and furniture. Cher would have high security rooms for her wigs. Janet Jackson would have a full medical team on standby including a doctor nurse and throat specialist and Britney Spears would demand her favourite Gummie Bear soft sweets.
5 Jun 2001
Officials in Singapore threw out an appeal against a ban on Janet Jackson's latest album, ‘All For You’. They decided that the lyrics of the album, particularly one song, ‘Would You Mind’, were "not acceptable to our society". The record was initially outlawed because of its "sexually explicit lyrics", including "I just wanna touch you, tease you, lick you, please you, love you, make love to you." EMI were attempting a compromise by trying to persuade Jackson's management to delete ‘Would You Mind’ from the album.
26 Apr 2001
Destiny's Child were at No.1 on the UK singles chart with 'Survivor', Janet Jackson was at No.1 on the US chart with 'All For You' and Shaggy and Ricardo RikRok Ducent had the Australian No.1 single with 'It Wasn't Me'
31 Dec 2000
Janet Jackson's estranged husband filed a lawsuit against the singer claiming that Jackson, who had sold more than 40 million records, promised to share equally any assets acquired after their relationship began in 1987.
20 Aug 2000
Janet Jackson went to No.1 on the US singles chart with 'Doesn't Really Matter'. Nelly started a five week run at No.1 on the US album chart with 'Country Grammar'.
18 May 1993
Janet Jackson released Janet. The album’s first week sales of 350,000 was the highest for a female artist at that time. The album went on to sell over 14 million copies worldwide. It’s one of only seven albums to have Six Top Ten Hits in the Billboard Hot 100 charts.
15 May 1993
Janet Jackson started a eight week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with 'That's The Way Love Goes', her sixth US No.1, a No.2 hit in the UK.
26 May 1990
For the first time ever the Top five positions on the US singles chart were held by female artists; Madonna was at No.1 with 'Vogue', Heart were at No.2, Sinead O’Connor No.3, Wilson Phillips at No.4 and Janet Jackson was at No.5.
1 Mar 1990
Janet Jackson played the first night on her 120-date Rhythm Nation world tour at the Miami Arena in Florida. As part of the show Jackson's had a live panther on-stage, but after concerns were raised over safety of the crowds and several incidents of the panther urinating on the stage Jackson axed the cat from the show in the summer leg of the tour.
28 Oct 1989
Janet Jackson started a four week run at No.1 on the US album chart with 'Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814'. Only one of three albums to produce seven Top-ten US singles, (the other two being Thriller by Michael Jackson and Bruce Springsteen's Born In The USA).
25 Oct 1986
For the first time in the history of the Billboard Hot 100, the top three spots were held by female solo acts. Cyndi Lauper's 'True Colors' held down the No.1 position, followed by Tina Turner's 'Typical Male' at No.2 and Janet Jackson's 'When I Think Of You' at No.3.
11 Oct 1986
Janet Jackson started a two week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with 'When I Think Of You', her first US No.1, a No.10 hit in the UK.
5 Jul 1986
Janet Jackson started a two-week run at No.1 on the US album chart with 'Control'. The album featured the hit singles: 'What Have You Done for Me Lately', 'Nasty', 'Control', 'When I Think of You', and 'Let's Wait Awhile'.
7 Jul 1984
Bruce Springsteen went to No.1 on the US album chart with 'Born In The USA'. The album went on to spend a total of 139 weeks on the US chart. Its also one of three albums (Michael Jackson's Thriller and Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814) to produce seven Top-ten US singles.
4 Jun 1984
Bruce Springsteen released the album, 'Born In The USA', which became the best-selling album of 1985 in the United States (and also Springsteen's most successful album ever). The album produced a record-tying string of seven Top 10 singles (tied with Michael Jackson's Thriller and Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814).
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