Without Janet Jackson, there wouldn’t have been Aaliyah, Ciara, Britney Spears, or any pop princesses that have cult followings today. But considering who Miss Jackson is related to, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the cute little girl who played Penny on “Good Times” grew up to become a tour de force in pop culture.
The singer, songwriter, actress and dancer—first appeared on stage in April 1974, singing and doing impressions alongside her brother Randy in the Jackson family’s Las Vegas act and it kept getting better from there. In 1976, she appeared on “The Jacksons,” a summer replacement television show, then found her way to “Good Times” from 1977-79. She continued her television work in “A New Kind of Family,” “Different Strokes” and the teen drama “Fame.”
In 1982 she released her debut album, “Janet Jackson” under the guidance of her Michael Jackson. The album reached No. 84 on the pop charts and had three hit singles, including “Young Love” and “Give Your Love to Me.” The self-titled album sold about 250,000 copies, as did her follow-up, “Dream Street.”
Janet Jackson scored her first major success in 1986 with Control, which was produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. They sold eight million copies worldwide and featured two No. 1 singles, “What Have You Done For Me Lately” and the title track. It was also nominated for three Grammy Awards and 9 American Music Awards (won two of the latter) and introduced the world to Jackson’s new, sexier style, stage presence and dancing. It was this type of innovation that made her a star.
Janet Jackson’s story is well known but it never hurts to be reminded that she helped to pioneer the pop music scene for women and men. That’s why she’s ranked as one of the best-selling artists in the history of contemporary music.
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