When it comes to game changers in the music industry, Janet Jackson undoubtedly has to be one of the first women that comes to mind. The Gary, Indiana native turns 57 today. Click inside to check out a gallery of our favorite photos of Damita Jo that show that she’s aged like fine wine.
As the youngest of ten children, Janet’s upbringing was nothing like other children’s. While she was still very young, her older brothers (The Jackson 5) signed a deal with Motown Records. This led to the family moving to Los Angeles, California. Initially, Janet had aspirations to become a horse racing jockey or entertainment lawyer, planning to support herself through acting. Entertainment quickly took the forefront though, as a seven year old Janet (and her brother Randy) debuted at the MGM Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. Jackson would then go on to act in the variety show The Jacksons in 1976. The following year she was selected to star in the CBS sitcom Good Times as Penny Gordon Woods. Her work on the show eventually earned her other roles on shows such as A New Kind of Family, Diff’rent Strokes and Fame.
Joseph Jackson arranged a contract for her with A&M Records when she was just sixteen. Unfortunately, her first two albums (Janet Jackson and Dream Street) didn’t perform nearly as well as planned. Consisting of primarily bubblegum pop music, both albums failed to chart in the top 50 of the Billboard 200. The shift in Janet’s career came when she terminated business affairs with her family. For her third album Control, she teamed with superstar songwriting and production duo Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. Together, they achieved crossover appeal and created a strong foundation with the urban market. The album soared to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 after selling over ten million copies worldwide. Jackson got her first No. 1 hit on the Billboard 100 hit with ‘When I Think Of You.’ Control was lauded for fusing dance pop and industrial music with hip-hop and R&B undertones. The videos that accompanied the album became very popular on MTV, helping transition the channel from mostly rock programming to a broader, beat-driven musical mix. With the success of Control, Janet solidified herself as a dominant pop figure.
Since Control, Janet has released eight more albums (Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814, janet., The Velvet Rope, All for You, Damita Jo, 20 Y.O., Discipline and Unbreakable). With over 100 million records sold worldwide, Jackson is one of the one of the world’s best-selling music artists. She has an impressive eleven American Music Awards, five Grammy Awards, ten MTV Video Music Awards and 11 Billboard Music Awards under her belt on top of Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations. Throughout her illustrious career, she has been praised for her innovative, socially conscious and sexually provocative records. Her uncanny sound and untouchable choreography catapulted her rise to prominence while simultaneously breaking gender and racial barriers in the process. Her lyrics, which oftentimes focused on social issues and lived experiences, built her reputation as a role model for youth. On her special day, we want to give an all-time great her flowers. HAPPY 57TH JANET JACKSON!
CONTROL: Celebrating Janet Jackson’s 57th Birthday With Our Favorite Photos That Prove She’s Aged Like Fine Wine was originally published on globalgrind.com