The Making of Janet Jackson’s ‘Control,’ 30 Years Later

The way our studio was set up back then was we had a control room where our mix board was and all that stuff, then there was a little lounge right outside with a couch. She was out there sitting and when I put it on, I could see her starting to move a little bit to it, then she got what we called “the ugly face.” The ugly face is something you get when something is really funky. She said, “Ooooh, who is that for?” I replied, “It can be for you, if you want it.” She said, “Oh. I want it.” That song turned into “What Have You Done for Me Lately.” The rest is history. It became the first single.

-Producer Jimmy Jam, at Red Bull Music Academy, reflecting on his and Terry Lewis’s work with Janet Jackson on her smash hit album, Control, released in 1986. The album included hit singles “What Have You Done for Me Lately,” “Nasty,” “Control,” “Let’s Wait Awhile,” and the No. 1 track “When I Think of You.”

Read the interview