On this day in music history: January 10, 1987…

On this day in music history: January 10, 1987 – “Control” by Janet Jackson hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week, topping the Club Play chart for 3 weeks on December 20, 1986, also peaking at #5 on the Hot 100 on January 24, 1987. Written by James Harris III, Terry Lewis and Janet Jackson, it is the third R&B chart topper for the R&B/Pop superstar from Gary, IN. In the process of preparing to work with Janet Jackson on her third album, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis talk to the singer about her life and where she wants to go in her career. Being the youngest child in a family of nine children, and growing up in the shadow of her older brothers immense fame, Janet is looking to establish an identity and independence apart from her famous family. The inspiration for what becomes the title track of the album is born out of these conversations. Jimmy, Terry and Janet write “Control” together, with Jam and Lewis composing the music, with Janet contributing lyrics. While playing the drum machine manually, Jam unintentionally switches to a different sequence, causing the machine to go random and creating a breakdown. The producers like the “mistake” so much that is left in and repeated two more times during the song. After recording her lead vocal, Janet along with friend Melanie Andrews, Lewis and Marquis “Hami Wave” Dair perform the background vocals. “Control” is released as the fourth single on October 21, 1986, becoming another huge hit. It is supported by highly memorable video directed by Mary Lambert and choreographed by Paula Abdul, both of whom had previously worked with Jackson on the clip for “Nasty”. The video also features actress Ja’net DuBois playing Janet’s mother, having previously played her adopted mother on the hit sitcom “Good Times”. It also features Jam & Lewis, Jerome Benton and former Time and Family drummer Jellybean Johnson performing with the singer during the staged live performance sequence. Filmed at the Grand Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles, the clip features an alternate version of “Control” re-recorded and re-sung in places to give the song a more live feel (also released as a 12" single) than the LP and single versions. With fans recruited to be the audience believing that they would be treated to a “Janet Jackson concert” are somewhat disappointed to find out that is a video shoot and not an actual show. Sitting through the multiple takes necessary to get proper segments filmed and correct camera angles, the crowd grow restless and agitated. A representative from Jackson’s label A&M explains to the crowd what is going on, they calm down and the filming is completed without incident. “Control” becomes the fourth consecutive single to reach the top five on both the R&B and pop singles charts. Three weeks after it tops the R&B chart, Jackson performs the song on the 14th Annual American Music Awards. “Control” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.