Control (Janet Jackson song)

Control (Janet Jackson song)
Single by Janet Jackson
from the album Control
B-side "Fast Girls", "Pretty Boy"
Released October 21, 1986
Format 7" single, 12" single
Recorded August 1985;
Flyte Tyme Studios
(Minneapolis, Minnesota)
Genre Dance-pop, R&B, New jack swing
Length 5:53 (album version)
3:26 (single version)
Label A&M
Writer(s) James Harris III, Terry Lewis, Janet Jackson
Producer Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis
Certification Gold (RIAA)
Janet Jackson singles chronology
"When I Think of You"
"Let's Wait Awhile"

"Control" is the fourth single from Janet Jackson's third album Control. The song was written by Jackson, James Harris III, and Terry Lewis and produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. Its arrangement, built upon complex rhythmic tracks, showcased state-of-the-art production. The song is about Jackson wanting to finally take control of her life. Jackson sings, "When I was seventeen, I did what people told me." Now she is an adult who wants to make her own decisions in life. The spoken intro of "Control" was sampled on Kylie Minogue's song "Too Much of a Good Thing", from her 1991 album Let's Get to It.

In 1988, the song won a Soul Train Music Award for Best R&B/Soul or Rap Music Video, beating out her brother Michael, Whitney Houston, and Jody Watley.

Jackson has performed the song on many of her tours, including Rhythm Nation 1814 Tour, The Velvet Rope Tour, All for You Tour, and Rock Witchu Tour. It was also included in her current tour, Number Ones: Up Close and Personal. The only tour that it was not included on was the janet. Tour.

In 2011, the song was included in Dance Central DLC setlist to be played using Kinect for the Xbox 360. The song is also listed in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame's list of 500 songs that shaped rock and roll.


Chart performance

Released in 1986, the single peaked at number five on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, becoming Jackson's fourth consecutive top five hit on the chart; it also peaked at number one on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and the Hot Dance Club Play charts. The song captured a pivotal moment off the album by showcasing a female streak of independence. It was the 37th biggest Hot 100 single of 1987, the fifth biggest Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs single of 1987, and the ninth biggest-selling 12" single of 1987. In the UK it missed the top 40, peaking at number 42.

Music video

Jackson performing in the "Control" video.

The music video, directed by Mary Lambert, starts off with Jackson fighting with her parents because she wants to move out of the house. Her father is deadset against it. She then leaves the house and is greeted, in her driveway by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Jellybean Johnson, and Jerome Benton. They take her to a concert hall to perform, on her first gig, her single "Control" where she shows that she wants to be "the one in control". The video version of the song is different from the album version. The nine-minute video was made available on the iTunes Store on April 27, 2007. Ja'net Dubois, who co-starred on Good Times with Jackson in the 1970s, plays her mother in the video. Paula Abdul choreographed the video.

The live footage was recorded at the Grand Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles.

Track listings

U.S. and European 7" single
A. "Control" (Edit) – 3:26
B. "Fast Girls" – 3:18
U.S. and European 12" single
A1. "Control" (Extended Version) – 7:33
B1. "Control" (Dub Version) – 5:55
B2. "Control" (A Cappella) – 3:55
UK 7" single
A. "Control" (Edit) – 3:26
B. "Pretty Boy" – 6:32
UK 12" single
A1. "Control" (Extended Version) – 7:33
A2. "Control" (Edit) – 3:26
B1. "Control" (Dub Version) – 5:55
B2. "Pretty Boy" – 6:32
Australian 12" single
A1. "Control" (Video Mix) – 7:33
B1. "Control" (Dub Version) – 5:55
B2. "Control" (A Cappella) – 3:55

Official versions/remixes

  • Album Version – 5:53
  • A Cappella – 3:56
  • Design Of A Decade US Edit – 5:15
  • 7" Edit – 3:26
  • Extended Mix – 7:33
  • Dub Version – 5:55
  • Video Mix – 6:02
  • Video Mix Edit – 4:35


Chart (1986/1987) Peak
Australian Singles Chart[1] 82
Belgian Singles Chart (Flanders)[2] 20
Canadian Singles Chart[3] 20
Dutch Top 40[4] 12
New Zealand Singles Chart[5] 16
UK Singles Chart[6] 42
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[7] 5
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs[7] 1
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play[7] 1

End of year charts

End of year chart (1987) Position
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[8] 37

Chart procession and succession

Preceded by
"Brand New Lover" by Dead or Alive
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play number-one single
December 20, 1986 – January 3, 1987
Succeeded by
"Musique Non Stop" by Kraftwerk
Preceded by
"Girlfriend" by Bobby Brown
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs number-one single
January 10, 1987
Succeeded by
"Stop to Love" by Luther Vandross


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