So, several of us on the site have been talking about doing an article on the best work of Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis. I think the reason we haven’t gotten it started yet is because it’s such a daunting task. Since their days in the Time, this Minneapolis twosome has been racking up the writing and producing credits for…well, everybody. A quick sampling of the artists that have benefited from their golden ears: Alexander O’ Neal, Mariah Carey, Karyn White (who was Mrs. Terry Lewis for a time), New Edition (as well as Johnny Gill and Ralph Tresvant as solo artists), Luther Vandross, Mint Condition, Sounds of Blackness, Rod Stewart, Jessica Simpson, George Michael, and of course, the collaborator with whom they’ve had the most success, Janet Jackson.
Janet’s “Control” was the album that sent Jam & Lewis into the stratosphere in terms of success, and it rightfully won them the 1986 Grammy Award for Producer of the Year. Coming off of two relatively unsuccessful albums, “Control” officially gave a second Jackson sibling megastar status, and it also pushed black music into a new era. Youthful and street-savvy, the album set the tone for artists like Mary J. Blige, proving that black women didn’t need to rock evening gowns and sing ballads to be successful.
So many cool things about this clip-from presenter Michael McDonald’s grey mullet, to co-presenter Brian Wilson’s struggles with the teleprompter (this was during the Eugene Landy years) to Jimmy Jam’s luxurious and lengthy perm-man, I kinda miss the Eighties.