"We signed Janet when she was 15, through her father, when she was on the show Good Times. While she sold some records off the strength of being on TV, we knew there was a great artist there. 'Control' was the record that broke Janet – one of those great moments where it all came together. [Producers] Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis had the unusual talent and energy she needed. It was amazing she could come up with a record like this at just the age of 18. I thought we'd sell two million copies, but I was wrong – we ended up releasing four or five big singles, and ended up doing seven million. From that, she emerged as a huge star."--Herb Alpert
"[A&M Records] allow me the creative freedom and the control that I need."--Janet Jackson, RPM July 12, 1986
"I've always wanted an identity of my own. That's the reason I did the Control album on my own and this record [Rhythm Nation 1814] on my own," Janet Jackson told Jefferson Graham.
Janet Jackson's father negotiated her first contract with A&M Records and produced the first two albums. Janet Jackson did a promotional tour of high schools to support her first album. Her message to the students was encouragement to stay in school. She told RPM of the first two albums, "I've usually been given a tape of a song...learned it and then gone into the studio and performed to a completely instrumental track."
Neither album Janet Jackson or Dream Street sold over 200,000 copies before Control was released. Jerry Moss introduced her to producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.
"Before we entered the studio we knew we wanted a different sound. I wanted it to be different from my previous albums."
"I knew it was a good album but I certainly didn't think it would do as well as it has."--Janet Jackson, RPM July 12, 1986
Control was recorded in November 1985 over two and one half weeks and released in January 1986. By July, it was double platinum in the U.S. It sold over 250,000 copies in one week during July 1986. A&M had a long-term marketing plan of more than one year for the album. The plan included a major market promotional tour of 13 cities in three weeks that included bisits to pop, black and AC radio stations, retailers, one-stops and some clubs. It was further supported by effort to attain crossover from black to pop radio and video. The third single "When I Think of You" became a 12-inch singles with new versions of the song. A&M worked with MTV to air the video, having MTv feature Jackson in its news coverage, its "New Video Hour," and "120 Minutes." A&M also negotiated Janet's appearance at the MTV Video Awards.
Control produced five Top 5 singles--the most from any A&M album.
When Control reached No. 1 on Billboard's Top Pop Album chart, it made Janet Jackson the second youngest artist in history to do so. Janet Jackson was the second artist in history to have five top five singles from one album, Control. She was the first artist to do so with all solo performances and the first to have the first five singles all reach the top five on the Billboard Hot 100 single chart. On Billboard's Hot Black Singles Chart, she had four singles reach No. 1. Three singles from Control were No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Dance/Disco Club Play chart.
In 1989 A&M released "Miss You Much" by satellite and Federal Express delivery of it to radio stations. "Miss You Much" was Billboard's Power Pick/Airplay record and it had the largest single point increase in one week of any record in the last three years. It was also her fastest breaking single on the Hot 100. Radio and Records named "Miss You Much" radio's No. 1 record of 1989.
Rhythm Nation 1814 sold three million copies in its first four months of release. The Rhythm Nation tour cost $2 million to produce.
When Janet left A&M Records in 1991, she was the label's best-selling artist. Forbes magazine estimated that Rhythm Nation sold 6 million copies and brought A&M about $45 million in revenues.
Rhythm Nation 1814 was ranked #275 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
- Chart Beat. Paul Grein. Billboard, July 5, 1986.
- Janet Jackson: From Fame to Control...! RPM, July 12, 1986.
- Janet's Secret to Success: 'Control." Jim Bessman. Billboard, August 16, 1986.
- Chart Beat. Paul Grein. Billboard, March 14, 1987.
- Fast Facts. Billboard, September 9, 1989.
- Jackson Rules Her Own 'Nation.' Jefferson Graham. USA Today, December 15, 1989.
- Please Don't Leave Us, Janet Jackson. Peter Fuhrman. Forbes, October 15, 1990.
- A&M Records' Greatest Hits. Matt Diehl. Rolling Stone, September 7, 2012.