Janet Jackson is kicking off her Unbreakable world tour in Vancouver on Monday night, but don’t call it a comeback. The singer/dancer/troublemaker had an amazing run of hit albums and singles in the ’80s and ’90s, but what has she done for us lately?
Well, Jackson has been hard at work on her 11th album due this fall (lead single “No Sleep” made a tiny dent on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart), and producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis have promised that the disc will sound nothing like any of her previous efforts. As for the tour, Jackson and her team have been tight-lipped about the details – fans were given a sneak peek at the shoes she plans to wear and not much else.
Before Jackson takes the Rogers Arena stage, we’ve crunched the superstar’s numbers and came up with some pretty interesting stuff. Nothing important – just some random trivia to impress your friends and annoy your co-workers with.
Janet is the youngest of nine kids, all of whom have scored at least one gold record (even Latoya!). She clearly loves the friendly competition between herself and her singing siblings: “Being from a famous family is a blessing,” she said. “I’m challenged to live up to the expectations. I’m happy, grateful for what I’ve inherited and excited about what I want to contribute.”
After releasing a couple of albums that went nowhere, Jackson dropped “Control” in February of ’86 and watched it become a massive success. She scored five Top 5 hits from the disc and when “When I Think Of You” topped the Hot 100, she and her brother Michael became the first siblings to ever score #1 songs as solo artists.
When the diva launched her Number Ones tour in 2011, a list of her tour demands leaked online. According to her tour rider, Jackson likes unscented candles (three to four inches in diameter), organic peanut butter, black towels and Huggies hand wipes. Alcohol is a big no-no, and anyone sharing the bill with Jackson is prohibited from mentioning her family onstage.
The singer didn’t hit it off right away with co-star Tupac Shakur (the rapper irked Jackson by refusing to take an HIV test before filming their love scene), but the two were friendly by the time filming was completed. Or so Shakur thought.
The stars made plans to hang out once the film wrapped, but Jackson disconnected her phone before that could happen. “I really thought I made a friend,” Shakur said. “But when the movie was over, it was like ‘this number has been changed.’ And it was the DAY AFTER the movie wrapped! I was like ‘damn’!”
The Golden Raspberry Awards (or “Razzies”) pay tribute to the worst films released each year. Jackson received the Worst New Star award in 1994 for her turn in Poetic Justice, but lost the Worst Actress prize to Madonna for her terrible performance in Body of Evidence.
Nobody remembers who won Super Bowl XXXVIII, but everyone remembers Nipplegate (aka the precise moment during the half-time show when Justin Timberlake snatched a piece of fabric from Janet’s costume to reveal her bare breast). Response to the incident was immediate and severe – the Federal Communications Commission fined CBS $550,000 for the stunt and Clear Channel Communications pulled the singer’s music from their radio stations.
Janet’s career has since rebounded but the legacy of Nipplegate continues – the incident became the most watched, recorded and replayed moment in TiVo history and the term “wardrobe malfunction” was eventually added to the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.
Jackson often enlists the help of her very famous friends when it comes to making her iconic music videos – Paula Abdul appeared in many of Janet’s Control-era clips while Jennifer Lopez has a bit part in “That’s The Way Love Goes.” Actor Djimon Hounsou appeared in Jackson’s “Love Will Never Do (Without You)” video in 1990 and later received Oscar nominations for his work in Blood Diamond and In America.
Through out the ’70s and early ’80s, Jackson enjoyed small roles on shows like Fame, Diff’rent Strokes and The Love Boat, but called her stint on Good Times “humiliating.” “I got the part when I was 10, we started shooting when I was 11 – I was developing early. On our first day of shooting, they bound my chest because they thought my breasts were too big.” The incident inspired Jackson to write a self-help book that deals with body issues called True You in 2010.
“Rhythm Nation 1814,” released in 1989, comes in at number 277 on the chart. The album was an immediate success, spawning a record seven top ten singles and earning the singer a Grammy. 1997’s “The Velvet Rope” fared a little better on the list, coming in at number 259.
There, now don’t you feel a little bit smarter? Tickets for Jackson’s show at Rogers Arena are still available here.