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Medellíam
post Jul 26 2019, 10:39 AM
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Janet Jackson's Official Top 10 biggest albums revealed
26 July 2019 | By Rob Copsey

As Janet Jackson celebrates her legacy in 2019, we reveal her biggest albums in the UK for the first time.

With a career spanning four decades that includes era-defining albums and world-conquering singles, Janet Jackson is one of the most well-known popstars in the world. The fact that she supposedly had no interest in a music career as a child (the story goes that she wanted to be an entertainment lawyer or jockey) almost doesn’t bare thinking about.

2019 has seen Janet celebrate her legacy: In March she was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, a Vegas residency called Metamorphosis launched in May, in June she graced the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury and this month sees her reissuing her most celebrated albums on vinyl.

To mark the occasion, we’re revealing Janet’s biggest albums in the UK, based on Official Charts Company sales and streaming data. Look at Janet's Official UK Chart history in full here.

Control

Janet’s music career didn’t properly kick into gear until 1986, when she released Control; her first two albums – 1982’s Janet Jackson and 1984’s Dream Street – failed to make much of an impression critically or commercially. Control, however, was different; the album’s mood was one of strength in the face of adversity, inspired by severing business ties with her family and the annulment of her marriage to singer James DeBarge. It also marked her introduction to who would become her long-time collaborators Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.

The album spawned five Top 40s on the Official Singles Chart: its biggest hits in the UK were lead single What Have You Don’t For Me Lately? and Let’s Wait A While, both of which reached Number 3. The album was a slow-burner in the UK, missing the Top 40 in its first week and lingering around the lower half of the Top 100 for much of ’86. It was the album’s later singles, The Pleasure Principle and Funny How Time Flies, that sent it to a high of Number 8 in July 1987.

Control ranks as Janet’s fourth biggest album in the UK with approximately 324,000 chart sales (including pre-1994 panel sales). Control: The Remixes - released in 1987 in the wake of the album’s success - places eighth.

Rhythm Nation 1814

Following the success of Control (which has reportedly sold 14 million copies worldwide), Janet pulled the focus away from herself and shone a spotlight on a range of social issues on 1989’s Rhythm Nation 1814, including racism, global poverty and media control as well as romance. The album’s lead single Miss You Much and its ferocious choreography has become a point of reference for popstars ever since, while its industrial title track turned her into a role model for its socially conscious lyrics.

The record was an enormous success in America, with seven of its singles peaking within the Top 5 (four were Number 1s). Its impact wasn’t felt quite as strongly in the UK, but all seven singles did chart in the Top 40, the highest being the Number 15-peaking Black Cat. Rhythm Nation 1814 topped out at Number 4 on the Official Albums Chart and ranks as Janet’s fifth biggest album overall with an estimated 281,000 chart sales (including pre-1994 panel sales).

Janet

Prior to the release of Janet in 1993, her A&M label contract was due to expire, and the star became the subject of a major label bidding war. She eventually signed with Virgin for $40 million, which was then the biggest record deal ever (after Diana Ross’s $20 million signing with RCA in 1981). Expectations for the album were undoubtedly high, but if Janet was feeling the pressure, she didn’t show it.

The slinky R&B groove of lead single That’s The Way Love Goes displayed a softer, sexier side of Janet, and the result was her highest charting single to date as a lead artist in the UK, topping out at Number 2. The album yielded a further six Top 40 hits and became her first and only album to date to reach Number 1 in the UK, spending two weeks at the summit. With 437,000 chart sales, Janet ranks as her second biggest album.

The Velvet Rope

After a 1996 greatest hits album (more on that later), Janet returned with 1997's The Velvet Rope, considered by many as her strongest work. Blending subjects of depression (which she had reportedly been suffering from), domestic violence and homophobia with radio friendly R&B-pop, the album is often cited by artists who are switching up their image or going through a rebellious phase. The album’s fusing of genres is best showcased in its UK lead single, the trip-hop Got ‘til It’s Gone, which features rapper Q-Tip and Joni Mitchell and samples the latter's 1970 track Big Yellow Taxi.

A further three songs were released from The Velvet Rope, including Number 4 hit Together Again, while the album itself topped out at Number 6. Its popularity has endured over the years, ranking as her third biggest record with 367,000 chart sales.

Design of A Decade 1986-1996

Despite the title, this retrospective mostly focuses on the period of 1986-1991. That said, its two new songs, Runaway and Twenty Foreplay, were also hits in the UK, with the former reaching the Top 10. Such was her power at the time that even a re-release of The Best Things In Life Are Free with Luther Vandross, a Number 2 in 1992, managed a Top 10 re-entry to coincide with the record’s release. It’s Janet’s biggest album overall, with 529,000 chart sales in the UK.

Janet Jackson's Official UK Top 10 biggest albums

TITLE ARTIST PEAK YEAR
1 DESIGN OF A DECADE 1986-1996 JANET JACKSON 2 1995 529k
2 JANET JANET JACKSON 1 1993 437k
3 THE VELVET ROPE JANET JACKSON 6 1997 367k
4 CONTROL JANET JACKSON 8 1986 324k
5 RHYTHM NATION 1814 JANET JACKSON 4 1989 281k
6 ALL FOR YOU JANET JACKSON 2 2001
7 THE BEST JANET JACKSON 28 2009
8 CONTROL - THE REMIXES JANET JACKSON 20 1987
9 DAMITA JO JANET JACKSON 32 2004
10 UNBREAKABLE JANET JACKSON 11 2015

©2019 Official Charts Company. All rights reserved.
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tommie
post Jul 26 2019, 10:44 AM
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Surprised that even Design of a Decade hasn't sold double platinum, but she was never as big in the UK as in the US, same with Mariah.

ETA: And janet's period is ridicuously overshipped as it's double platinum, yet 150k+ from that. There must be so many copies still left in record shops and second hand stores.

The Best and All For You are certified Gold. I'd assume The Best is somewhere between 100-150k as it was certified in 2016, since All For You was certified the week of release it's sales must be above 100k+ and above The Best. Damita Jo was certified Silver upon release, so it's probably very overshipped. Control: The Remixes was certified Gold 20 days after release, but I think it's overshipped too.

ETA2: Unbreakable debuted with 7.5k (#11) and Discipline with 3.9k (#63). Unbreakable *might* have ended up with 15k sales by now. Maybe. Discipline and 20YO should be under 10k I assume.


This post has been edited by tommie: Jul 26 2019, 11:06 AM
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Tawdry Hepburn
post Jul 26 2019, 11:08 AM
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This is quite interesting for me, I didn't really have any idea about her album sales before.

Quite surprised she's never achieved a double platinum album before.
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tommie
post Jul 26 2019, 11:13 AM
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QUOTE(Tawdry Hepburn @ Jul 26 2019, 11:08 AM) *
Quite surprised she's never achieved a double platinum album before.


DoaD and janet. are Double Platinum, but obviously overshipped/overcertified.
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Medellíam
post Jul 26 2019, 11:18 AM
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QUOTE(tommie @ Jul 26 2019, 12:13 PM) *
DoaD and janet. are Double Platinum, but obviously overshipped/overcertified.

It's quite likely that her pre-1997 albums have been downgraded by the OCC compared to sales given at the time / estimates from chart experts.
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tommie
post Jul 26 2019, 11:23 AM
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QUOTE(Medellíam @ Jul 26 2019, 11:18 AM) *
It's quite likely that her pre-1997 albums have been downgraded by the OCC compared to sales given at the time / estimates from chart experts.


Probably the same for Control - The Remixes then since I doubt it would've sold anywhere near close to Gold, probably not even Silver for that matter.
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pippa
post Jul 26 2019, 11:34 AM
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I am surprised by the sales as i had thought some of her albums had much higher sales and thought she had at least 2 double platinum albums.
Design of A Decade will take a very long time to get to double platinum if ever at all.
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Jordan Lee
post Jul 26 2019, 11:50 PM
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I’m quite surprised too.

But thinking of it Janet’s a bit known by name and face but not really by music in the UK unfortunately. Like say if you were to stop someone in the street and ask them to name three Janet Jackson songs I think a lot of people from this country would struggle.

The people in the Glastonbury crowd looked like they had no idea who she was.

She’s a bit like Mariah in some ways as Mariah was undeservedly robbed in the UK compared to the US but Mariahs definitely more known as a musician I’d say like everyone at least knows Hero Without You and All I want for Christmas where as Janet lacked that big song in the UK IMO which I feel is why she never had that huge album.

But tbh those album sales aren’t that bad.


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Medellíam
post Jul 27 2019, 03:09 AM
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I agree with you, I think people would be hard pushed to name a Janet song. Even All For You, people would only maybe know it if you played it. Maybe Scream, but more because of MJ than Janet.
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Bjork
post Jul 27 2019, 06:53 AM
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I'd say older fans sure know THAT'S THE WAY LOVE GOES
or MISS YOU MUCH... and LETS WAIT AWHILE
Those were big hits in the late 80s/early 90s...
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tommie
post Jul 27 2019, 08:36 AM
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I think one of the things that screwed her over in the UK a bit was that the album that really solidified her status as a superstar in her own right in the US, Rhythm Nation 1814, is very much US-centric - not just soundwise, but with issues specifically dealing with (black) US history and (then) current day events. It just did not cross over well with the rest of the world, so it killed her momentum a bit. Of course, janet. picked some of the steam up again but then Design of a Decade followed and of course the RN1814 singles weren't that successful here so there was a huge gap there for people other parts of the world.
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Bjork
post Jul 27 2019, 10:24 AM
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I think Janet was her best era in the UK, she seemed super popular then and there
sure everybody over e30 years of age knows her as a singer not only as Jackos sister
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Jordan Lee
post Jul 27 2019, 01:47 PM
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Of her solo songs I’d say people my age would know Together Again or All For You if they were to be played. (I’m 24).

I actually sent one of my friends who’s only a few month older than me Together Again and she said I’ve always loved this song but I never knew it was Janet Jackson!! It could be possible other people out there know a handful of her songs at least but just don’t know who’s singing it!

In general though she was definitely under appreciated her for whatever reason. Does anyone really know why?

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Crazy Chris-tmas
post Jul 27 2019, 05:48 PM
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Never really got in to Janet but for me her best ever single was the catchy Together Again.

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sammy01
post Jul 27 2019, 05:53 PM
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Those are pretty pitiful album sales for such a big name.
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Crazy Chris-tmas
post Jul 27 2019, 06:00 PM
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QUOTE(sammy01 @ Jul 27 2019, 06:53 PM) *
Those are pretty pitiful album sales for such a big name.



Yes they are. She's nowhere near a million-seller is she?
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No Sleeep
post Jul 27 2019, 06:00 PM
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There's something very wrong with those sales. I thought they didn't certify based on shipments? Those sales definitely don't make sense looking at her chart runs

And janet. Remixed should be on this list, but it looks like they've combined it with the original album's sales? The sales should be much higher then considering combined they charted for 65 weeks.
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Michael Bubré
post Jul 27 2019, 06:09 PM
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They definitely used to certify based on shipments at least! I think it might have been changed to being sales-based now (although not 100% sure even of that).
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No Sleeep
post Jul 27 2019, 06:12 PM
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QUOTE(Bré @ Jul 27 2019, 07:09 PM) *
They definitely used to certify based on shipments at least! I think it might have been changed to being sales-based now (although not 100% sure even of that).


It still doesn't make sense, how can janet. have spent 65 weeks on the chart (2 at #1) and only sold that much? Whereas DOAD spent 24 weeks on the chart (0 at #1) and sold that much more?
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tommie
post Jul 27 2019, 06:23 PM
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QUOTE(No Sleeep @ Jul 27 2019, 06:00 PM) *
There's something very wrong with those sales. I thought they didn't certify based on shipments? Those sales definitely don't make sense looking at her chart runs

And janet. Remixed should be on this list, but it looks like they've combined it with the original album's sales? The sales should be much higher then considering combined they charted for 65 weeks.


Yes, they used to base it on shipments. There's plenty of albums that haven't sold past the mark they're certfied at - Spice Girls Forever being an example of this. It's sold 270k but is certified Platinum (300k+).

And on what positions did janet. spend those 65 weeks at? In what time of the year? Also, albums do sell even when they don't chart - I imagine Design of a Decade being a trickle seller until The Best was released in 2009...


This post has been edited by tommie: Jul 27 2019, 06:23 PM
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