When I Think of You

Album: Control (1986)
Charted: 10 1
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Songfacts®:

  • Control was a breakout album for Janet Jackson, featuring very assertive songs like "What Have You Done For Me Lately" and "Nasty." Her record company even turned down "How Will I Know," which went to Whitney Houston, because it didn't fit the tone of the album. "When I Think of You" was one of the lightest songs, but it was her biggest hit from the album and the first of her 10 US chart-toppers. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
  • Jackson was just 20 years old when this was released, but she had already put out two albums, including her self-titled debut in 1982. Growing up in a showbiz family, she was encouraged to perform at a young age and had matured a great deal by the time this song came out.
  • Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis wrote this song with Jackson and also produced the track. The duo helped out on many of Jackson's hits, fusing R&B and pop into a distinctive, but radio-friendly sound.
  • When this song hit #1, Michael and Janet Jackson became the first and only siblings to each have #1 solo hits in the United States. In the UK, where Janet never hit the top spot, that distinction goes to Daniel and Natasha Bedingfield.
  • This was the first Hot 100 #1 produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, who reached the top spot on that tally a remarkable 16 times. Their second #1 is one you probably wouldn't expect: "Human" by the British synth-pop group The Human League. That song went to #1 on November 22, 1986, just five weeks after "When I Think Of You" hit the top.
  • The video for this song was choreographed by Paula Abdul and directed by Julien Temple, who also directed the video for Jackson's "Alright." A few years later, Abdul broke through as a singer.
  • Before Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis teamed up with Jackson, they wrote most of the songs for the Control album for another singer: Sharon Bryant. The former Atlantic Starr vocalist wasn't interested in the tracks, so they were tucked away until the right person came along.
  • During the recording of this album, Terry Lewis became more than a producer and songwriter for Jackson - he became her personal chef. Jam remembered: "Terry cooked her some home-cooked meals because she was sick of eating hotel food." This was actually part of a tactic to help Jackson get comfortable with the team. "We spent a week getting her to open up to us," Jam recalled. "With artists you sometimes have to be a psychologist, a counselor, a masseuse - anything."

Comments: 3

  • Paul W from Central Ohio I understand that Janet had a big hill to climb as she was being compared to the Jackson 5 or Michael Jackson, yet she was determined to become a success. There are many celebrities who started at the bottom and make it with the right time, place and people.
  • Sony from Bangalore, IndiaThe reason I admire Janet is because she has created her distinct image which was difficult as her brother Michael was a super pop star. But with her hard work, determination and right career moves, Janet achieved a superior status. Hats off Miss Jackson!
  • Kent from Greensburg, PaJanet and Micheal are the two most successful of all the Jackson siblings both financially and chart wise. The other Jackson brothers and sisters are good but they will sadly never reach the peak that Janet and Micheal have gotten. Firing Joe as her manager probably was one of the best career move for Janet.
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