The Magicians: Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis - Page 2

Amid the success of the N.E. project, Jam & Lewis got back together with Janet Jackson to record her follow-up to ‘Control’. Once again the trio sat down to discuss what was going on in Ms. Jackson’s life, and where her thoughts were. The result was a socially conscious album named ‘Rhythm Nation’, released September 19, 1989. By this point, it was quickly becoming clear that commercially and creatively speaking, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis were definitely on a roll. Janet Jackson’s ‘Rhythm Nation’ album would go on to spawn seven top five singles, four of them reaching #1 on the Billboard pop chart – no other artist has yet to break this record. Additionally, Janet Jackson’s ‘Rhythm Nation 1814 World Tour’ remains the most commercially successful debut tour in history...

Into the 90s...

Even after New Edition went on hiatus at the end of the ‘Heart Break’ tour, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis played a major role in each member’s subsequent career. It was a Jam & Lewis idea for the remaining members of N.E. to form Bell Biv Devoe while the duo collaborated with their informal rivals, L.A. & Babyface on Johnny Gill’s solo project. Ralph Tresvant’s solo project was also helmed by Jam & Lewis, spawning the #1 hit, “Sensitivity”.

In the summer/fall of 1991, Jimmy & Terry formed the Perspective Records label with distribution on A&M. Perhaps sensing the winds of change at the end of the New Jack Era, Jam & Lewis began to produce music with a more “urban” focus. The first few releases from Perspective Records were a gospel group named the Sounds Of Blackness, and debut albums by two bands: Lo-Key, and Mint Condition. Mint Condition was probably Perspective Records’ biggest success story.

Terry Lewis wed former LaFace-associated artist Karyn White while co-producing the majority of her sophomore LP, ‘Ritual Of Love’. Then by the summer of 1992, Jam & Lewis had completed their work on the ‘Mo’ Money: Soundtrack’ released around the same time L.A. & Babyface’s ‘Boomerang: Soundtrack’ hit the streets. Janet Jackson and Luther Vandross performed the duet “The Best Things In Life Are Free” along with cameos from BBD and Ralph Tresvant. Ralph also scored his last major hit with “Money Can’t By You Love”, and Color Me Badd had a winner with the ballad “Forever Love”.

In 1993, Jam & Lewis unveiled their third collaboration with Janet Jackson, simply called ‘Janet’. The project’s first single “That’s The Way Love Goes” today remains Janet Jackson’s biggest hit, and proved an excellent way to reintroduce the superstar during the post New Jack Era. The duo also scored a minor hit in “La La Love” that year with Bobby Ross Avila, a solo artist signed to Perspective.

The Magic Continues...

While Jam & Lewis nurtured their decidedly more “urban” artist roster on Perspective (i.e. Solo, Krush, Ann Nesby, etc.) they still found time to work their magic in 1994 with Boyz II Men’s “On Bended Knee” from the ‘II’ album released that fall. Michael Jackson recruited the duo to work on the ‘HIStory’ album, and the result included “Scream”, the album’s first single -- and Michael’s first duet with his sister Janet.

In 1996, Jam & Lewis worked on New Edition’s reunion LP, and scored with the album’s second single, “Still In Love”. Then in 1997, the duo blessed Mary J. Blige’s third album with “Love Is All We Need”, and the megahit, “Everything”. Later that year, Janet Jackson returned with the ‘Velvet Rope’ album boasting an updated, post-Timbaland/Missy style that sounded nothing like anything Jam & Lewis had done before, compliments of newly-hired Flyte Tyme staff member, Alex Richbourg.

Meanwhile, Mint Condition seemed to be the only act on Perspective Records that was enjoying commercial success. By the time 1997 rolled around, the label (and it’s major label distributor A&M) had folded and was renamed ‘Flyte Tyme’. In 1998, the duo’s ‘How Stella Got Her Groove Back: Soundtrack’ (released on Flyte Tyme/distributed by MCA) failed to live up to Babyface’s 1995 ‘Waiting To Exhale: Soundtrack’; both films were based on novels by Terry McMillan. But by this time, the Cheiron Pop Era (The Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, *Nsync) was beginning to dominate popular music, while traditional R&B seemed to take a backseat until 2001.

Entering The New Millennium And Beyond...

In 1999, Jam & Lewis did some pop music production work on former ‘New Kid’ Jordan Knight’s solo debut, and in 2000 they also worked with Mariah Carey on her ‘Rainbow’ album (“Thank God I Found You”). Later that fall, Janet Jackson released “Doesn’t Really Matter” from the ‘Nutty Professor II: Soundtrack’, and by the spring of 2001, her ‘All For You’ album was unveiled for the world to enjoy. In August 2001, Usher returned with ‘8701’ featuring substantial production by Jam & Lewis, including the hit “U Remind Me”. Now in 2002, Jam & Lewis can be proud of their latest blockbuster hit, Mary J. Blige’s “No More Drama”...

In all, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis have scored over 25 #1 R&B singles, and over 15 #1 Pop hits. They have been nominated as Producers of the Year by the Grammy Awards SEVEN times. Jam & Lewis were awarded their own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and are considered the most successful production duo in contemporary music history.

Jam & Lewis’ latest work will be featured on upcoming albums by: Jordan Knight, Mya, TLC and Boyz II Men.


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