First up, here's Jimmy Jam on writing one of the key tracks from Janet Jackson's "Rhythm Nation 1814".
"Someone like Janet, who is a really good lyricist, comes up with great ideas, great melodies. Many times we will create a track for her and just give it to her and she’ll come back a couple of days later and go, okay here’s what I’ve got.
But I remember when we were working on Rhythm Nation, there was a song we did called Living In A World They Didn’t Make, which was very personal to her and she just couldn’t figure out lyrically what she wanted to do.
It was funny, because we were actually in the process – this was ’89 – we were in the process of building our second Flyte Time studios in Minneapolis and I remember Terry walked in with a bunch of carpet samples and drapery swatches and he said, "what do you think of these?"
And we said, "Terry, hold on a minute, we need a lyric, we’ve got this concept for a song, Living in a World They Didn’t Make – it’s about kids, how they basically have to pay for adults’ mistakes", blah, blah.
And Terry sits down and 10 minutes later, he’s got the whole song written and just hands it to Janet and he says, "is that what you’re thinking about?", and she said, "yeah."
Then he said;
"OK, now what do you think of this carpet sample?!"
More next week!