Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis: Our Life in 15 Songs - Rolling Stone
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Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis: Our Life in 15 Songs

The chart-topping producers on Janet Jackson smashes and more

Jimmy Jam; Terry LewisJimmy Jam; Terry Lewis

Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis in 1990

Layne Kennedy/Corbis

Janet Jackson's eleventh album Unbreakable marks a milestone for the singer, reuniting her with producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, the duo behind nine of her 10 Number One hits between 1986 and 2001. It's their first album-length collaboration since 2006, and is meant as a return to the energy and attitude of their first five albums together, which introduced career-defining songs like "What Have You Done For Me Lately," "Control," "Got 'Til It's Gone" and "That's the Way Love Goes."

 "The best compliment to me, whether or not you like the new record, is  'Wow, it sounds like Janet,'" says James "Jimmy Jam" Harris III of the new album. "That means there must have been some records that didn't sound like Janet."

For more than three decades, Jam and Lewis have been phenomenally successful pop and R&B producers. Rolling Stone caught up with the duo at their studio/workshop on the outskirts of Los Angeles to talk about 15 pivotal songs from their career as producers, songwriters and musicians who've cut records with Janet and Michael Jackson, Prince and the Time, Mary J. Blige, Usher and more.


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