Janet Jackson’s ‘Control’ Turns 30: Celebrating The Singer’s Classic Looks From The Era

With two lackluster albums and a failed marriage under her belt by 1984, Janet Jackson seemed destined for the type of pop purgatory that plagues a plethora of musical artists in today’s ever-changing landscape. Eager and ready to emerge from the shadow of her older brother, the youngest member of America’s first family of pop fired her father as her manger, enlisted the help of producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and crafted what many consider to be one of the greatest feminist pop albums, Control. And believe it or not, Janet’s seminal LP was released 30 years ago today, on February 4, 1986.

Abandoning the bubblegum soul that was present on her previous albums, Control contained a potent mix of pop, R&B and early flourishes of new jack swing that were fresh and innovative for radio at the time. On the nine-track LP, the pop legend showcased a fiery streak of confidence in songs that conveyed themes of independence (“Control,” “Nasty”) abstinence (“Let’s Wait Awhile”) and refusing to settle for less (“The Pleasure Principle,” “What Have You Done For Me Lately”).

Needless to say, Control resonated with listeners, topped the pop charts and become the first album by a female artist to send five singles into the Top 5 of the Billboard Hot 100. Not to mention, Janet brought a brand new wardrobe and slew of slick dance moves that set the precedent for many pop artists such as Beyonce, Britney Spears, Aaliyah, Rihanna and Justin Timberlake. In honor of the 30th anniversary of Janet’s landmark album, let’s take a fun look back at some of her most memorable moments during the Control era above.