Born: May 16, 1966
Biography (via AllMusic): Janet Jackson didn’t merely emerge from the shadows of her famous brothers to become a superstar in her own right. Starting with her breakout 1986 album Control, she became one of the biggest pop stars of the ’80s. Through the early 2000s, she was able to maintain her stature with impeccable quality control and stylistic evolution. Her singles, expertly crafted with indelible pop hooks and state-of-the-art production, consistently set or kept up with trends in contemporary R&B, demonstrated by an exceptional run of Top 20 R&B singles that spans over 30 years. From platinum album to platinum album, Jackson’s image smoothly shifted as it projected power and independence. In turn, she inspired the likes of TLC, Aaliyah, Beyoncé, Britney Spears, and Rihanna, all of whom learned a few things from her recordings, videos, and performances.
Janet Damita Jo Jackson was born May 16, 1966, in Gary, Indiana. She was the youngest of nine children in the Jackson family, and her older brothers had already begun performing together as the Jackson 5 by the time she was born. Bitten by the performing bug, she first appeared on-stage with the Jackson 5 at age seven, and began a sitcom acting career at the age of ten in 1977, when producer Norman Lear selected her to join the cast of Good Times. She remained there until 1979, and subsequently appeared on Diff’rent Strokes and A New Kind of Family.
In 1982, pushed by her father into trying a singing career, Jackson released her self-titled first album on A&M. “Young Love,” written and produced by René & Angela and Rufus’ Bobby Watson, reached number six on Billboard’s R&B chart, but the album didn’t cross into the pop market. She was cast in the musical series Fame in 1983. The following year, she issued her second album, Dream Street, which didn’t sell as well as its predecessor. Upon turning 18, Jackson rebelled against her parents’ close supervision and eloped with a member of another musical family, singer James DeBarge. However, the relationship quickly hit the rocks and Jackson moved back into her parents’ home and had the marriage annulled
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