#179: State Of The World by Janet Jackson
Janet Damita Jo Jackson was born in 1966 in Gary, Indiana. She is the tenth and youngest child of the Jackson family. Her brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael became the Jackson 5. They received three Grammy Award nominations and later had three of their songs inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. The Jackson 5 (later named The Jacksons) charted four singles to number-one, and seven more singles into the Top Ten on the Billboard Hot 100. In 1973, at age seven, Jackson with brother Randy performed a skit on TV and a month later performed at the MGM Casino in Las Vegas. Janet started acting in the variety show The Jacksons in 1976. In 1977, she was selected to have a starring role as Penny Gordon Woods in the sitcom Good Times, starring Ester Rolle as Florida Evans, and John Amos as James Evans. Janet Jackson later starred in A New Kind of Family as Jojo Ashton.
In 1982, Janet Jackson released her debut self-titled album. It included the lead single “Young Love”, which made it to #6 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. A second album, Dream Street, was coined Bubblegum Soul. The single, “Don’t Stand Another Chance”, was her second to reach the Top Ten on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart in 1984. As well, that year she recorded a duet with Cliff Richard titled “Two to the Power of Love”. The single climbed to #7 on the singles chart in South Africa. In 1984-85, Janet Jackson was in the cast of the TV series Fame, in the role of Cleo Hewitt.
In early 1986, Janet Jackson released her breakthrough album, Control. It featured the debut single “What Have You Done for Me Lately”. It climbed to #4 on the Billboard Hot 100, and #5 in Vancouver. The single received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Rhythm and Blues Song. The followup, “Nasty”, peaked on the Hot 100 at #3 and in Vancouver at #6 on CKLG. A third single from the album, “When I Think Of You”, was a number-one hit on the Hot 100, but stalled at #13 on CFMI in Vancouver. Next, the title track, “Control”, became the fourth Top Ten single from the album on the Hot 100, peaking at #5. While in Vancouver, “Control” only received airplay but didn’t crack the Top 40. And a fifth track from the album, “Let’s Wait Awhile”, landed at #2 in the Billboard Hot 100. In Vancouver, the single stalled at #21.
In 1987, Janet Jackson teamed up with Herb Alpert to release a single titled “Diamonds”. The single was a #5 hit across the USA and peaked at #10 in Vancouver. While a sixth single from Control, “The Pleasure Principle”, was a #14 hit on the Hot 100 in the USA in 1987, it only got airplay on CKLG in Vancouver. Meanwhile, Control received a Grammy Award nomination for Album of the Year, as well as a Grammy Award nomination for Best R&B Vocal Performance (Female).
Janet Jackson next released her Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814 album in 1989. The lead single, “Miss You Much”, was a #3 hit in Vancouver and went to number-one on the Hot 100. The song gave Jackson her eighth Grammy Award nomination – this time for Best R&B Vocal Performance – Female. The followup single was the title track, “Rhythm Nation”. The dance tune had a social message protesting bigotry and fascism. It peaked at #2 on the Hot 100 and #7 in Vancouver. A third track from the album, the upbeat “Escapade”, peaked at #1 in Vancouver and on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming her third number-one hit single in the USA.
Her Top Ten streak continued as Janet Jackson charted dance club single, “Alright”, to #4 on the Hot 100, and #7 in Vancouver in June 1990. The single earned Janet Jackson a Grammy Award in 1991 in the category: Best R&B Vocal Performance – Female, as well as Best Rhythm and Blues Song. A fifth track from Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814, a sexy and silky ballad titled “Come Back To Me”, peaked at #2 in both Vancouver and the Billboard Hot 100.
At the 1990 Grammy Awards, Janet Jackson was nominated for Producer of the Year (Non-Classical). She also received Grammy nominations for Rhythm Nation 1814 in the categories Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist and Best Music Video – Long Form. The latter nomination won Jackson her first Grammy Award. On June 9, 1990, Janet Jackson made her debut appearance on stage in Vancouver at BC Place Stadium.
A sixth track from the album, “Black Cat”, climbed to #1 in both Vancouver and the Hot 100. The song was a mix of hard rock, heavy metal, glam, and dance-rock. The single garnered Jackson another Grammy Award nomination for Best Rock Vocal Performance – Female. Jackson continued to score with her fifth number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100, “Love Will Never Do (Without You)”. The single topped the pop chart in Vancouver in January 1991. With this, her seventh single from one album, Janet Jackson became the third woman in the Billboard Hot 100s history to have four number one hits from one album. She was preceded by Paula Abdul and Whitney Houston.
An eighth single release from Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814 album was “State of the World”.
“State Of The World” is a song about societal problems. These include a teenage mother of 15 who is a runaway, drugs, crime, people malnourished and starving, lack of safe places for children to play, and young and homeless children. The homeless child in the song’s lyrics has only one friend: the doll it carries to school.
“State Of The World” was not released as a single in the USA. Nonetheless, the track was a Top Ten hit in a number of radio markets. “State Of The World” peaked at #3 in Vancouver and New York City, #4 in Hartford (CT), #5 in Minneapolis/St. Paul and Arlington (VA) and #7 in Hamilton (ON).
In 1992, Janet Jackson and Luther Vandross recorded a duet for the film Mo’ Money. The single, “The Best Things In Life Are Free”, climbed to #10 on the Billboard Hot 100. The single earned Jackson her twelfth Grammy Award nomination, this time in the category of Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.
The following year, Janet Jackson released the album Janet. It featured six Top Ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100. These include number-one singles “That’s The Way Love Goes” – the Grammy Award winning Best R&B Song – and “Again” (Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song for closing credits in film Poetic Justice), and Top Ten hits “If”, “Because Of Love”, “Any Time, Any Place”, and “You Want This”. Janet debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 Album chart in May 1993. On February 11, 1994, Janet Jackson appeared in concert at the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver.
In 1995, Janet Jackson was featured in a duet with her brother Michael on “Scream”. The single came from the album HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I. For the album, as co-producer with brother Michael, Janet Jackson received a Grammy Award nomination for Album of the Year. “Scream” debuted and peaked at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100. “Scream” also earned Jackson two Grammy Award nominations, including a win in the Best Music Video Short Form category.
Also in 1995, Janet Jackson released a greatest hits album which included a new single, “Runaway”. The single climbed to #2 in Canada and #3 in the USA and New Zealand, #5 in Hungary, #6 in the UK, #8 in Finland, Scotland and Australia, and #10 in Denmark and Ireland.
In 1997 Janet Jackson released The Velvet Rope. Her debut single, “Together Again”, soared to #1 in Canada, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, and on the Billboard Hot 100. The single also went Top Ten in 14 more nations. “Together Again” sold over six million copies. A followup, “I Get Lonely” which featured Blackstreet, was a Top Ten hit in Belgium, Hungary, New Zealand, the UK and USA. “I Get Lonely” earned Jackson another Grammy Award nomination: Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.
A third track, “Got It ‘Til It’s Gone” was not released as a commercial single in the USA. However, it was a Top Ten hit in Australia, Denmark, Hungary, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, Taiwan and the UK; And #11 in France and Switzerland. “Got It ‘Til It’s Gone” won Janet Jackson a Grammy Award for Best Short Music Form Video. The song sampled the line from Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi” where Mitchell sings “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.” On August 8, 1988, Janet Jackson gave a concert at General Motors Place in Vancouver.
In 1999, Janet Jackson was a featured singer on the Busta Rhymes hit “What’s It Gonna Be?”, which peaked at #3 on the Hot 100. The Guinness Book of World Records in 2001 gave Janet Jackson an award for Most Expensive Special Effects in a Music Video ($2.4 million) for “What’s It Gonna Be?”
In 2000, Janet Jackson recorded a song included in the film Nutty Professor II: The Klumps. “Doesn’t Really Matter Anymore” climbed to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also made the Top Ten in Canada, Denmark, Italy, Poland, Spain, and the UK.
In 2001, Jackson released her seventh studio album, All For You. The title track was her tenth and last number-one hit in the USA. “All For You” won Jackson her fifth Grammy Award, this time for Best Dance Recording. A followup release from the album, “Someone To Call My Lover”, climbed to #3 on the Hot 100. It was her 26th and final Top Ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100. Her single earned Jackson yet another Grammy Award nomination: Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. On July 9, 2001, Janet Jackson performed in concert at General Motors Place in Vancouver.
In 2004 Jackson released her eighth studio album, Damita Jo. The album received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Contemporary R&B Album. A track from the album, “I Want You”, garnered Janet Jackson her 25th Grammy Award nomination: Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. Earlier on February 1, 2004, Janet Jackson performed at the Super Bowl. During her halftime performance, Justin Timberlake was reportedly supposed to remove a top layer of fabric from Janet Jackson’s bondage-inspired, “booby-trapped” ensemble. But he ripped off more than planned, accidentally broadcasting Jackson’s right breast, and its pierced nipple, to 143 million viewers across the globe. Though Jackson was exposed for less than 1 second, the blunder led to widespread controversy and an immediate crackdown on “indecency” in the media.
In 2006, Jackson released her ninth studio album, 20 Y.O. It earned her a final 26th Grammy Award nomination, this time for Best R&B Contemporary Album. The lead single, “Call Me” was a duet with Nelly, and a chart-topper on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs list. It was Janet Jackson’s 14th number-one hit on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
In 2007 Jackson starred in the comedy-drama film Why Did I Get Married? In 2010 Janet Jackson starred in the comedy-romance film Why Did I Get Married Too?
In 2008 Janet Jackson released her tenth studio album, Discipline. It debuted in the number-one spot on the Billboard 200 Album chart. The lead single, “Feedback”, cracked the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100. On September 10, 2008, Jackson performed in concert at General Motors Place in Vancouver.
On August 26, 2011, Janet Jackson gave a concert at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver. In 2015 the singer released her eleventh studio album, Unbreakable. To promote the album, Jackson appeared in concert at Rogers Arena in Vancouver on August 31, 2015. She returned to the venue two years later on September 26, 2017.
April 6, 2022
Ally Mauch, “Janet Jackson Thanks Fans After 1986 Album Control Tops Charts Again: ‘Really Appreciate You’: Janet Jackson’s hit album Control turned 35 last week,” People, February 13, 2021.
“Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814,” Rolling Stone, October 19, 1989.
Nick Levine, “Why Janet Jackson is pop’s most underrated legend,” BBC, June 24, 2019.
“Interview with Janet,” Parade, February 4, 2008.
Elizabeth Day, “‘I’ve finished talking about Michael. I’ve done it all my career.’ On the release of her 10th album, Discipline, Janet Jackson talks about her brothers, babies and why she never wants to grow up,” Guardian, February 10, 2010.
Brooke Kato, “Janet Jackson says painful ‘Nipplegate’ backlash is ‘tough to talk about’,” New York Post, January 11, 2022.
Timothy Mitchell, “The 6 most infamous wardrobe malfunctions,” New York Post, January 29, 2014.
“Janet Jackson Concert Dates – Canada,” setlist.fm.
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