Janet Jackson's Billboard Chart Accomplishments
As Janet Jackson celebrates her birthday on Wednesday (May 16) and prepares to receive the Billboard Music Awards Icon Award this Sunday, during the annual BBMAs broadcast on NBC, Billboard reflects on the chart-centered accomplishments that have helped to cement her legendary legacy.
Jackson, the youngest child of Joseph and Katherine Jackson, started her recorded musical journey with her 1982 self-titled album. Though the set and 1984's Dream Street had middling reception, she found her footing with her smash 1986 breakthrough LP, Control. From then, the pop and R&B superstar has powered to the top of the charts and into record books with an arsenal of smash hits, innovative and influential music videos and striking live performances.
Ahead of Jackson's coronation as the 2018 Icon Award winner, check out five of the diva's top Billboard chart honors.
Seven Top Five Hits From One Album: Jackson's fourth album, 1989's Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814, launched an unprecedented seven singles to the top five of the Billboard Hot 100 in 1989-91. Four of those titles -- "Miss You Much," "Escapade," "Black Cat" and "Love Will Never Do (Without You)" -- hit No. 1, while the title track and "Come Back to Me" reached the runner-up rank. "Alright," meanwhile, parked at No. 4.
3x5: Nation isn't Jackson's only album with a slew of hit singles. In fact, she's the only artist to boast three albums that each contain at least five top 10 Hot 100 hits. The tally began with Control, which spun off five top 10 hits: "What Have You Done For Me Lately" (No. 4), "Nasty" (No. 3), "When I Think of You" (No. 1, two weeks), the title track (No. 5) and "Let's Wait Awhile" (No. 6).
The aforementioned Nation housed seven top 10 Hot 100 smashes, and 1993's janet. maintained the hit parade. "That's the Way Love Goes" became her longest-running Hot 100 No. 1, with eight weeks in the top slot in 1993, while the set's "If" (No. 4), "Again" (a two-week No. 1), "Because of Love" (No. 10), "Any Time, Any Place"/"And On and On" (No. 2) and "You Want This"/"70's Love Groove" (No. 8) all booked time in the chart's upper tier.
First Woman to Debut in Top 10: Jackson became the first woman to debut a song directly in the Hot 100's top 10 when her duet with brother Michael, "Scream," started at No. 5 on June 17, 1995. The Jackson siblings became the second and third acts, after The Beatles, to enter the chart in the top tier.
Nearly three months later, on Sept. 16, 1995, Jackson became the first woman to post two top 10 debuts, as "Runaway" began at No. 6.
18 Top 10s in a Row: Of Jackson's career records, perhaps this will be the toughest for any artist to outdo. Between "Miss You Much" in 1989 and 1998's "I Get Lonely," Jackson logged 18 consecutive top 10 hits, passing Madonna's previous streak of 17 without missing the region. After nearly a decade of consistency, Jackson's record run ended via a featured role on Shaggy's No. 76 hit "Luv Me, Luv Me."
Here's a full rundown of Jackson's dominant stretch on the Hot 100:
Song, Artist (in addition to Jackson), Peak Position, Peak Date
"Miss You Much," No. 1 (four weeks), Oct. 7, 1989
"Rhythm Nation," No. 2, Jan. 6, 1990
"Escapade," No. 1 (three weeks), March 3, 1990
"Alright," No. 4, June 2, 1990
"Come Back to Me," No. 2, Aug. 18, 1990
"Black Cat," No. 1 (one week), Oct. 27, 1990
"Love Will Never Do (Without You)," No. 1 (one week), Jan. 19, 1991
"The Best Things in Life Are Free," Luther Vandross and Janet Jackson with BBD and Ralph Tresvant, No. 10, Jun. 13, 1992
"That's the Way Love Goes," No. 1 (eight weeks), May 15, 1993
"If," No. 4, Sept. 11, 1993
"Again," No. 1 (two weeks), Dec. 11, 1993
"Because of Love," No. 10, March 19, 1994
"Any Time, Any Place"/"And On And On," No. 2, June 25, 1994
"You Want This"/" 70's Love Groove," No. 8, Dec. 24, 1994
"Scream / Childhood," Michael Jackson & Janet Jackson, No. 5, June 17, 1995
"Runaway," No. 3, Oct. 21, 1995
"Together Again," No. 1 (two weeks), Jan. 31, 1998
"I Get Lonely," Janet featuring BLACKstreet No. 3, May 23, 1998
No. 1 Albums in the Last Four Decades: In 2015, Jackson topped the Billboard 200 with Unbreakable. The debut gave her a No. 1 in each of the last four decades, a mark matched only by Barbra Streisand, Bruce Springsteen and U2.
In addition to Unbreakable, Jackson earned two No. 1s each in the 1980s (Control, Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814), 1990s (janet., The Velvet Rope) and 2000s (All for You, Discipline).
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Twenty-five years ago, "That's the Way Love Goes," the first single from Janet Jackson's fifth studio album, Janet, kicked off an eight-week run on the Billboard Hot 100. The album would go on to generate six more number-one singles, with the R&B singer embarking on world tours and donning statement-making concert attire (canes, hats, and androgynous tailored suits) that would become the stuff of legend. Her elaborate stage shows, fusing elements of hip-hop, dance pop, and R&B, would incorporate heavily choreographed routines and intricate clothing that would cement Jackson as a cultural and style icon for years to come.
Now on her eighth concert tour, the international "State of the World" Tour to promote her 11th album, Unbreakable, Jackson's involvement in her shows span from her dancers' outfits and shoes to the clothing she wears for any specific song. On the singer's 52nd birthday, CR caught up with costume designer Robert Behar, who has worked with Jackson for over 13 years, to talk inspiration behind her latest concert looks.
How did you first meet Janet?
Her makeup artist at the time Fran Cooper introduced me to her. It was when she was receiving a GLAAD Award and we did her performance for the Bahamas right after that. For me, what was amazing is to work with her, and the focus is really, really intense. You get into this creative bubble and she’s there with you and she holds your hand and she’s personable and kind but also her vision is very clear. She makes it incredibly easy. Plus, she’s a very beautiful woman so you just kind of float with that. I’m incredibly lucky to be working with her.
What mood did you want for the clothing for this tour?
We always try to be innovative and 100-percent Janet. I wanted to make it a reflection of her. Her looks are always modern, always forward-thinking, so that’s what we start on and then we developed from there. I create sketches of ideas, do mood boards, and we dissect until we get to the diamond, so to speak.
Do you ever look back on old concert pictures for inspiration?
Once the tour’s done, it’s done. We don’t go back to those things. The only time we went back was for the BET Awards when she was given the Ultimate Icon: Music Dance Visual Award. I did an interpretation of the clothes for Ciara, Jason Derulo, and Tinashe, which was almost literal, but still a bit more modern. That was it, but when it comes to her tour, it’s always forward. I try to never look back. We want it to be different and something she hasn’t done before.
With this tour, there has been a lot of black-and-white as well as uses of different types of leather. What was the costume design process like?
I do research, which is inspired by the words "sensual," "effortless," "futuristic," "new," and "modern." I start searching image after image and I do an edit of those images to create a mood board. When we worked on this tour, it was about creating a vibe with the dancers. We call them the “kids.” It’s inspired by both fashion and the street, and with a futuristic element. We like different textures, so even though they're not wearing the same outfit, there's a theme to it. We did a black-and-white theme, where they wear a different outfit from the same collection. With Janet, we were very inspired by two designers she loves: Haider Ackermann and Rick Owens.
What does she like about those designers in particular?
With Haider Ackermann, it’s an understated sexiness. With Rick Owens, there’s more of a dramatic, futuristic sexiness without being in your face. There’s the comfort as well.
What was Janet’s input on the clothing?
Janet is one of those artists who is involved in every little detail of the show, from the costumes to the music. We look at pictures, we like certain details and emotions, and we start designing the clothes. I'll send her sketches and once we adjust them to what feels comfortable to us, then we’ll start making the clothes. She’s involved in the fittings, the hair, the makeup, and the wardrobe. Everything is shown to her one by one on each dancer, and everything is adjusted for the final result.
What's your favorite costume for this tour?
I like the opening costume: the short-sleeve coat with the cane and leather gloves. You can see the costume underneath, but not all of it. It’s the first one in my head and it’s the one we had the most time to work on. It’s a different attitude for her. It’s a very strong opening moment. I like the deconstructed look, but it's also very chic and very Janet.
How do you change up the looks for Janet with each concert?
We’ll experiment with different looks, but I like to see her wearing clothes in which she looks effortless. You still see Janet—you don’t see just the clothes. She’s chic and elegant, and she has an incredible eye for fashion, art, and music.
I’m very intuitive about writing. Anything can inspire me. This morning, I saw this lovely elderly Japanese woman walking down the streets of Hollywood wearing an adorable bonnet with bright red flowers. She might be a song. I remembered an especially painful chapter in my early life last night before going to bed. That might be a song. I woke up this morning and heard a bird chirping in a rhythm that captivated my heart. Maybe that will turn into a new groove. Like everyone else, my feelings are fluid. My ideas are fleeting. I like to keep it that way. I can’t decide in advance what a song or an album concept will be. I have to let those songs and concepts come to me rather than chase them down.