Tunes Du Jour Presents Janet Jackson

Janet Jackson has long been a force in the world of popular music, carving out a distinct legacy that spans decades. Her impact can be seen not only in her numerous chart-topping hits but also in the cultural shifts she helped to inspire through her music and public presence. From the assertive beats of “Rhythm Nation” to the smooth, sultry tones of “That’s the Way Love Goes,” Jackson’s versatility as an artist has made her a pivotal figure in shaping the sound and style of contemporary pop and R&B.

Starting her career at a young age under the watchful eyes of the public, Janet Jackson quickly emerged from the shadow of her famous brothers to forge her own path. With the release of her breakthrough album, Control, in 1986, she established herself as a powerhouse in the music industry. Hits like “Nasty” and “What Have You Done for Me Lately” showcased her assertive new persona and introduced the world to a young woman taking charge of her destiny both professionally and personally. This album not only solidified her place in the music industry but also became a cultural milestone, empowering a generation of listeners.

Jackson’s contributions to music extend far beyond her powerful voice and infectious beats. Her albums, particularly Rhythm Nation 1814, are noted for their social consciousness. With songs like “Rhythm Nation” and “State of the World,” she addressed pressing issues such as racism, poverty, and substance abuse. These tracks became anthems for social change, illustrating how pop music could be both entertaining and enlightening. The album’s commercial success, coupled with its profound messages, cemented Janet Jackson’s reputation as an artist with both substance and style.

Throughout her career, Jackson has amassed a multitude of accolades, reflecting her influence and success. She has received numerous awards, including Grammy Awards, American Music Awards, and Billboard Music Awards. Her innovative music videos and dynamic stage performances have also earned her the MTV Video Vanguard Award, recognizing her profound impact on the music video landscape.

Beyond her musical achievements, Janet Jackson is also known for her philanthropic efforts. She has supported a variety of causes, from AIDS research and cancer awareness to child education and poverty alleviation. Her involvement in these causes underscores her commitment to using her platform for positive change, further enhancing her legacy as not only an entertainer but also a humanitarian. Janet Jackson’s career is a testament to her enduring talent, her willingness to tackle significant social issues, and her generosity offstage. With a catalog of hits that have shaped the sound of modern music, and a heart dedicated to making the world a better place, Jackson’s contributions are both vast and profound. She remains a luminary in the music world, inspiring future generations to find their own voices and make their own impacts.

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist: 4-20-24

If you’re looking for a smooth soundtrack to unwind with, Luther Vandross has you covered. His smooth vocals and captivating stage presence made him a beloved and influential figure in R&B and soul music.

Early in his career, Vandross honed his skills not just as a singer, but as a songwriter and producer. He penned the uplifting “Everybody Rejoice/A Brand New Day” for the Broadway musical The Wiz, showcasing his talent for crafting memorable melodies. This period also saw him become a sought-after background vocalist, lending his voice to the recordings of icons like David Bowie, Stevie Wonder, Donna Summer, Todd Rundgren, Diana Ross, Ben E. King, Sister Sledge, Roberta Flack, Chaka Khan, Judy Collins, the J. Geils Band, Irene Cara, and Bette Midler. Not only did Vandross sing on Bowie’s “Fascination,” but they wrote the song together. This experience further solidified Vandross’ own artistic vision, which he would soon unleash on the world.

Before embarking on his solo journey, Vandross dipped his toes into the world of lead vocals. He fronted the disco group Change, belting out their hit “The Glow of Love.” He also sang lead for Bionic Boogie on their track “Hot Butterfly,” and even fronted a short-lived band simply called Luther.

Quincy Jones’ “Takin’ It To the Streets,” featuring Vandross as a lead vocalist alongside Gwen Guthrie, demonstrated his ability to shine even before his solo breakout. Later in his career, Vandross would seamlessly slip back into the role of collaborator, creating magic on duets with artists like Janet Jackson (“The Best Things in Life Are Free”) and Dionne Warwick (“How Many Times Can We Say Goodbye”).

The 1980s marked Vandross’ rise to stardom as a solo artist. Tracks like “Never Too Much” and “Here and Now” became instant classics, showcasing his ability to blend vulnerability with pure soulful power.

Throughout his career, Vandross racked up accolades. He’s a Grammy Award winner with eight statues to his name, and countless other awards solidify his place as a musical giant. But beyond the trophies, his true impact lies in the way his music continues to connect with listeners. Whether it’s a slow dance ballad or a roof-raising anthem, Vandross’ music offers a timeless blend of emotion and artistry. So next time you hear that velvety voice, take a moment to appreciate the work of a true musical great, who not only delivered unforgettable solo performances but also left his mark through songwriting, production, and collaborations across genres. Today’s playlist isn’t just a collection of Luther Vandross’ greatest hits – it’s a mix of some of those tracks alongside other gems that reveal the breadth of Vandross’ musical contributions. Prepare to be surprised at where he turns up. For example, those unforgettable “ba ba”s that open Stevie Wonder’s “Part-Time Lover?” That’s Luther!

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist: 2-12-24

I keep forgettin’ why I walked in this room
I keep forgettin’ where it was that I parked my car
I keep forgettin’ my Wifi password
I keep forgettin’ where my phone is, oh it’s in my hand

I keep forgettin’ what day of the week it is
I keep forgettin’ if turned the oven off or not
I keep forgettin’ if I fed those damn cats
I keep forgetin’ that I don’t have any cats to feed

I keep forgettin’ to schedule a haircut
I keep forgettin’ the last place I put my keys down
I keep forgettin’ my apartment doesn’t clean itself
I keep forgettin’ something else about some other thing

I haven’t forgotten that Michael McDonald was born on this date in 1952. You can hear him on a few songs on today’s playlist.

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist: 1-16-24

“I only make records when I feel I have something to say. I’m not interested in releasing music just for the sake of selling something.“       – Sade Adu 

Sade’s last album came out in 2010. The album preceding that one came out in 2000. 

Sade Adu, lead singer and namesake of the band Sade, was born on this date in 1959. A handful of Sade’s best tunes are included on today’s playlist.

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist: 12-17-23

Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong collaborated to write several hits for The Temptations, among them “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone,” “I Can’t Get Next To You,” “Psychedelic Shack,” “Ball Of Confusion,” and “Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me).” The latter was inspired by Strong’s crush on a woman who didn’t know he existed. It became The Temptations’ third number one single on the Hot 100. 

Lead vocalist on “Just My Imagination,” the late Eddie Kendricks of the Temptations was born on this date in 1939.

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