Black Music Month Spotlight: Jimmy Jam And Terry Lewis
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on MadameNoire February 7, 2017.
Call me ignorant but until I watched the New Edition biopic, I had no idea that they produced “Can You Stand The Rain.” Then watching some old YouTube interviews, I heard their names in connection with a gospel artist who I’ll mention later. I knew their working relationship with Janet Jackson runs deep but I was wondering just how many songs, songs that I know and love, were these two behind? Turns out, quite a bit. You’ll be amazed scrolling through their extensive Wikipedia page. But the songs that stuck out to me, the ones that are in my iTunes collection, are listed on the following pages. Check them out.
4 Seasons of Loneliness – Boyz II Men
Since they worked so closely with New Edition, it would only make sense that they collaborate with the group Michael Bivins discovered. What’s so impressive though is the fact that they were working with them years after they broke into the business.
Anatomy 1 on 1- Mya
This is, by far, my favorite song from the all together awesome album Moodring. Genius.
Bad Girl- Usher
People stay sleeping on this song. Confessions was full of slow jams and other “get the drawers” type tunes. But “Bad Girl” will get you moving.
Be Blessed- Yolanda Adams
Nothing wrong with using your talents for the lord.
Chanté’s Got A Man- Chanté Moore
It makes sense that Chanté’s biggest hit would come from this duo.
Come On- Barry White
Barry White is a legend. His music has spanned decades. When he dropped some new stuff in the ’90’s, he wanted to work with the best to make sure he lived up to his impeccable standard.
Encore- Cheryl Lynn
I love me so Cheryl Lynn. I spent my entire sixth-grade year bumping her music on my Discman before and after school each day. This song goes hard.
Everything I Miss At Home- Cherrelle
You know it!
Everything Is Gonna Be Alright- Sounds of Blackness
Sounds of Blackness had a presence in my house every Sunday morning.
Give It To You- Jordan Knight
By the time I was buying my own music, New Kids on The Block was over. But I do remember this Jordan Knight jam.
Higher Than This – Ledisi
Yaaasss! I love Ledisi’s voice and this was one of the first songs I heard from her. It’s currently on my phone in my portable iTunes collection.
I Wish I Wasn’t- Heather Headley
Heather Headley had a couple hits when she first burst onto the scene. And Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis were behind this ballad.
Just Be Good To Me- S.O.S. Band
Never Knew Love Like This – Alexander O’Neal and Cherelle
When two dynamic duos partner, magic happens.
No More Drama- Mary J Blige
This has to be Mary’s signature song.
On Bended Knee- Boyz II Men
I’ve loved this song since even before my Girl Scout Troop sang it for the camp talent show. Classic stuff.
Open My Heart- Yolanda Adams
This is the gospel song that I was surprised to learn Jimmy Jam and Terry produced. It was Yolanda Adams’ most successful song, going platinum several times over, topping even the secular charts. The entire album ended up winning her a Grammy.
Optimistic- Sounds of Blackness
You know you’ve created a classic when kids have created an entire dance challenge around the song, decades later.
Rub You The Right Way- Johnny Gill
Of course he would continue to work with the boys from New Edition.
Saturday Love- Cherrelle and Alexander O Neal
Lightening can strike twice.
Seduction – Usher
Not only did they provide a dance track, they prodvided this sensual track too.
Thank God I Found You – Mariah Carey, Joe & 98 Degrees
Love this one!
That’s What It’s Made For – Usher
And another one.
The Best Man I Can Be Ginuwine, R. L., Tyrese & Case
Had to close out a movie about friendship with some of R&B’s strongest singers partnering for this duet.
The Right Kinda Lover – Patti Labelle
Love the concept for this song and video, where Patti is trying to choose the right boo.
U Remind Me- Usher
One of Usher’s greatest hits.
When You Talk about Love- Patti Labelle
This song introduced Patti to a new demographic.
Your Home Is In My Heart- Boyz II Men and Chanté Moore
I absolutely loved this song from the How Stella Got Her Groove Back” soundtrack. The musical duo also contributed their talents to a couple of other songs on the album.
Did any of the songs on this list surprise you?