Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The #91 Album of All-Time in the Rock Era--"Rhythm Nation 1814" by Janet Jackson

Rhythm Nation 1814 was the fourth album by Janet Jackson.  Jackson recorded it from September of 1988 to May of 1989 at Flyte Time Studios in Minneapolis, Minnesota and it was mixed at Flyte Time's location in Edina, Minnesota.  Rhythm Nation was produced by Jimmy Jam Harris III and Terry Lewis, who would produce many of Jackson's albums.  She wanted to make a concept album based on social injustice.
Rhythm Nation had huge chart strength--not only was it a #1 album (for four weeks) but showed considerable staying power at #2 for 10 weeks and #3 for 8 more weeks.  This album by Janet Jackson remained in the Top 10 for 34 weeks and it was on the album chart for a total of 108.  Clearly, it was one of the top albums of its time.  To date, it has sold 6 million copies.  The Track Rating came in at 8.92, around the middle range for the Top 100 albums.  The album also excelled in airplay, as no less than seven tracks reached the Top Five ("Miss You Much", "Rhythm Nation", "Escapade", "Alright", "Come Back To Me", "Black Cat" and "Love Will Never Do (Without You)", the only album in rock history to achieve that achievement.  That pretty much covers the top tracks in the album as they released them all as singles.  In addition, music videos from the album generated significant play on MTV, adding to the exposure.

Yet another factor that earned this album a spot in the Top 100 of All-Time is its honors--Rhythm Nation received nine Grammy nominations and won one for Best Music Video Long Form (for the song "Rhythm Nation").  Jackson 
captured seven Billboard Music Awards:  Top Hot 100 Singles Artist of the Year, Top Selling Album of the Year, Top Selling R&B Album of the Year, Top Selling R&B Albums Artist of the Year, Top Selling R&B Artist of the Year, Top Dance Club Play Artist of the Year and Top Hot Dance 12" Singles Sales Artist of the Year.  

Rhythm Nation 1814
1."Interlude: Pledge"  0:47
2.  "Rhythm Nation" (Janet Jackson, James Harris III, Terry Lewis) 5:31
3."Interlude: T.V."    0:22
4."State of the World" (Jackson, Harris, Lewis) 4:48
5."Interlude: Race"    0:05
6."The Knowledge"  (Harris, Lewis) 3:54
7."Interlude: Let's Dance" 0:03
8."Miss You Much" (Harris, Lewis) 4:12
9."Interlude: Come Back" 0:21
10."Love Will Never Do (Without You)--Harris, Lewis 5:50
11."Livin' in a World (They Didn't Make)" (Harris, Lewis) 4:41
12."Alright"  (Jackson, Harris, Lewis) 6:26
13."Interlude: Hey Baby" 0:10
14."Escapade" (Jackson, Harris, Lewis) 4:44
15."Interlude: No Acid" 0:05
16."Black Cat" (Jackson) 4:50
17."Lonely" (Harris, Lewis) 4:59
18."Come Back to Me" (Jackson, Harris, Lewis) 5:33
19."Someday Is Tonight" (Jackson, Harris, Lewis) 6:00
20."Interlude: Livin'...In Complete Darkness" 1:07

Herb Alpert, who was of course half-owner of A&M Records, played trumpet, horn and brass on the album. Julie Ayer, Carolyn Daws and Hanley Daws were on violin, David Barry played electric and 12-string guitar, Kathy Kienzle played Harp, Chris Brown was on bass guitar, Jimmy Jam played percussion, piano, drums and keyboards, Terry Lewis played bass and percussion, Jellybean Johnson played guitar and drums on the album, Jesse Johnson, Nicholas Raths and John McLain played guitar, Tamas Strasser and JohTartaglia played viola, Johnny Gill played percussion, Peter Howard and Joshua Koestenbaum contributed cello work. Richard Frankel was in chart of art and cover design for the album.

The album was released on September 19, 1989 on A&M Records.  And it is next in our countdown--#91 for All-Time, from Janet Jackson...

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