May 1993: Janet Jackson Hits No. 1 with "That's The Way Love Goes"

Janet Jackson
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Janet Jackson

With each album release, Janet Jackson reclaimed her title as the queen of reinvention. She asserted her dominance as she proclaimed, "This time, I'm going to do it my way" in 1986's Control. In 1989's Rhythm Nation 1814the singer demanded social justice through the breakthrough sounds of funk-pop. 

Four years later, Jackson would claim the throne as the queen of the bedroom with 1993's janetThis album would set the tone for sexual liberation for black women as the 27-year-old showcased her sexual maturity through a bed of intimate soul sounds.

The singer had broken records throughout her storied career, the most recent being her signing an unprecedented $25 million dollar record deal with Virgin Records. Within the 28 tracks establishing the singer's powerful sexual awakening, Jackson would continue to map herself in music history with the sweet, sultry and sexy hit "That's The Way Love Goes."

Released as the first single off janet, the song would not only establish a new era for the singer but would return Jackson back to the No. 1 spot on the charts for an eight-week run. From the song's creation to its lasting cultural impact, here are four facts about the definitive hit that you should know. 

4. Behind The Scenes

Jackson recruited longtime collaborators Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis in writing and producing the track. While some Virgin Records executives intended to release "If" as Jackson's first single off the album after hearing the trio work on the song, Jam and Lewis presented them with "That's The Way Love Goes" and the rest became history. 

"It set the tone for what the album is. In our minds it was always the first single," shared Jam to Rolling Stone.

3. Sex Ed Professor Janet 

The sensual and suggestive lyrics of the titillating R&B number were as gentle as Jackson's intentions for the song's smooth sound:  "Like a moth to a flame burned by the fire/My love is blind, can't you see my desire?"  The singer later reminisced to Rolling Stone, “I didn’t want to break down the door, just slip in through the side. We thought this easy-to-get-with groove—real gentle and real sexy—would be a warm way of kicking things off." By shifting the conversation on intimacy and women's needs, Jackson would break down the door for other female black artists to discover their sexual freedom. 

2. Accolades

The lead single would reign on high on Billboard's Hot 100, R&B and Dance Charts at No. 1 by May 1993. The song would also score Jackson a Grammy for Best R&B song and a nod for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, which she would lose to Toni Braxton with "Another Sad Love Song."

1. Jenny From the Block

Eagle eyed Jackson fans can find Jenny From The Block make an appearance as a backup dancer in the music video for the single. Watch the video below. 


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