Saturday, December 21, 2019

"Let's Wait Awhile" by Janet Jackson

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  2988
Date:  01/17/1987
Debut:  75
Peak:  2
Weeks:  19
Genre:  R&B, Pop

Pop Bits:  By this point in time, Jackson's Control album had spawned four gold-selling Pop Top 5 hits. With the album still selling well, it was decided that a fifth single would be released. This ballad was selected for the job. It ended up being the right choice with the song hitting #1 at R&B and #2 at both AC and Pop. Although it didn't reach the gold-level sales mark like her previous four singles, Pop chart-wise it was the second highest peaking of the bunch with only the #1 "When I Think of You" doing better. While she wouldn't be the first artist to get five Top 5 singles from one album, she would accomplish it faster with the LP's first five singles going Top 5. Her brother Michael was the first to get five Top 5 singles from one album (Thriller), but they were not consecutive. The first four singles from the LP went Top 5, but the next two singles peaked at #7 and #10. The title track would then get him his fifth Top 5 from the album.

ReduxReview:  This single came out at just the right time. A song about abstinence in the era of AIDS was appropriate and well-received. Although the lyrics were inspired by a conversation co-writer Melanie Andrews had with her boyfriend about waiting to have sex, the song resonated with people in a time of fear and uncertainty. It was a lovely track that was perfect for Jackson's voice and featured a production that was nicely restrained. The song was also a good contrast to the previous four singles' upbeat R&B/dance-pop. Jackson would go on to write a couple of follow-up songs to this one: "Someday Is Tonight" from Rhythm Nation 1814 and "With U" from 20 Y.O.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  This song was nearly the subject of a plagiarism lawsuit. Back when this song was released as a single, the road manager for the soft rock band America happened to hear it on the radio while driving his car. He thought the verse of the song was quite similar to the verse in the America song "Daisy Jane." That 1975 song was the band's follow up single to their big #1 hit "Sister Golden Hair." It would get to #4 at AC while reaching #20 at Pop. The song's writer, America member Gerry Buckley, was contacted and the similarities between the songs were enough for his camp to reach out to Jackson's camp. Unlike other recent plagiarism issues that ended up in court, Jackson and her team acknowledged the similarities and decided to reach a settlement with Buckley. It seems a financial agreement took place, but it did not include Buckley getting a writing credit on the song. Later reissues of the song and the Control album still listed the songwriters as Janet Jackson, Jam & Lewis, and Melanie Andrews. Jackson and Jam & Lewis would purposely revisit the America catalog later in 2001. They would sample the guitar riff heard in America's 1972 #8 hit "Ventura Highway" on the All for You album track "Someone to Call My Lover." That song would be the LP's second single and it would reach #3 at Pop. America member and songwriter Dewey Bunnell would receive a writing credit on the track.


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