August 17, 2022

In The Quantity Ones, I’m reviewing each single #1 single within the historical past of the Billboard Scorching 100, beginning with the chart’s starting, in 1958, and dealing my method up into the current.

One evening in September of 1991, Keenan Ivory Wayans launched the world to each Jamie Foxx and Jennifer Lopez. These two introductions occurred within the span of about 40 seconds. Just a few new skills had simply arrived on In Dwelling Coloration, the revolutionary Fox sketch-comedy present that was simply beginning its third season. The present had just a few new forged members, like Keenan’s child brother Shawn, previously the present’s DJ, and the comic Steve Park. On the time, Foxx, who Keenan known as a “nation bumpkin,” was a lowly sketch comedian, whereas Lopez was the newest addition to the Fly Women, the present’s troupe of dancers. The longer term had loads of issues in retailer for these two new faces.

(Jamie Foxx’s highest-charting single as lead artist, the 2009 T-Ache collab “Blame It,” peaked at #2. It’s an 8. As a visitor artist, Foxx shall be on this column a few occasions, together with as soon as for the music that rhymes “Jennifer Lopez” with “4 children” and “Showbiz.”)

For the reason that early days of pop music, loads of individuals have freely crossed between the worlds of stage and display, balancing careers as singers and actors. Frank Sinatra received an Oscar for his performing. So did Cher. Elvis Presley spent many of the ’60s as a film star. John Travolta has been on this column as a singer. However each Jennifer Lopez and Jamie Foxx would develop into an entire new type of multi-hyphenate megastar — the type that does mainly all the things, that treats pop stardom as one thing like a model extension. Inside eight years of that In Dwelling Coloration introduction, Jennifer Lopez would develop into some of the well-known girls on the planet, and her debut single would spend 5 weeks at #1.

Jennifer Lopez comes from a strict Catholic household within the Bronx’s Fort Hill neighborhood. (On the time of J.Lo’s beginning, Zager & Evans’ “In The 12 months 2525” was the #1 music in America.) Lopez’s mother and father, each born in Puerto Rico, had spent most of their lives within the continental US. Her father was a pc programmer, and her mom was a homemaker who finally grew to become a kindergarten instructor. Jennifer went to Catholic faculty, the place she acted in musicals and performed loads of sports activities. She began taking dance classes when she was very younger, and she or he finally dropped out of faculty after a single semester to dedicate herself full-time to bounce. Her mom, livid at her resolution, kicked Jennifer out of the household condo.

Lopez’s leisure profession began off small. She acquired a gig as a singer in a musical revue that toured Europe, however she was the one individual within the revue who by no means acquired a solo. She performed just a few roles in regional musical productions. In 1990, she made her TV debut on a Yo! MTV Raps episode the place MC Hammer visited a dance studio. All she did on the present was stand subsequent to Hammer and stretch. She nonetheless made an impression. (MC Hammer’s highest-charting single, 1990’s “Pray,” peaked at #2. It’s a 5.)

Within the very early ’90s, Jennifer Lopez did background-dancer obligation for a New Children On The Block efficiency on the American Music Awards, and she or he additionally danced in movies for Doug E. Recent, EPMD, and Samantha Fox. (Puff Daddy, Lopez’s future boyfriend and collaborator, was additionally a dancer in that Doug E. Recent clip.) Rosie Perez, arguably the proto-J.Lo, was the choreographer for the Fly Women, and she or he seen Lopez when Lopez auditioned for the present. On In Dwelling Coloration, Lopez spent a yr as a Fly Lady, leaving on the finish of the present’s third season. Quickly afterwards, she was a dancer in Janet Jackson’s video for her chart-topper “That’s The Method Love Goes.” Lopez was presupposed to tour with Jackson as a backup dancer, too, however she backed out of that gig. She wished to strive performing as a substitute.

As a teen in New York, Jennifer Lopez had been forged in a small function as a teen in a bunch house within the 1987 film My Little Lady. She’d acted alongside James Earl Jones, and she or he wished to do extra of that. It may possibly’t be straightforward to maneuver from sketch-comedy dancing lady to critical actor, however it in all probability helps for those who’re some of the lovely individuals on the planet. Lopez landed a recurring function on the CBS drama Second Probabilities after which grew to become a part of the common forged of its short-lived spinoff Resort Malibu. In 1995, she acted within the indie drama My Household after which acquired an opportunity to interrupt out because the third a part of a Wesley Snipes/Woody Harrelson love triangle within the buddy flick Cash Prepare.

For the primary few years of her performing profession, Jennifer Lopez principally performed supporting roles, however she all the time popped — partly due to her heat, pure charisma and partly as a result of she was all the time method, method hotter than everybody else onscreen. I can bear in mind going to see U-Flip, the not-good 1997 Oliver Stone neo-noir, and holding my breath every time Lopez was onscreen. It’s a ridiculous film. Lopez performs a Native American femme fatale who’s married to Nick Nolte, and you may in all probability see at the least a few issues unsuitable with that sentence alone. However she simply melted my mind. It was ridiculous. A yr after that, Lopez starred alongside George Clooney in Steven Soderberg’s Elmore Leonard adaptation Out Of Sight. It’s simply some of the rewatchable motion pictures of your complete Nineteen Nineties, and she or he’s completely good in it.

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Earlier than U-Flip and Out Of Sight, although, Jennifer Lopez had her first true main function, and her expertise in that movie made her a film star and a pop star. In 1997, Lopez performed the Tejano star Selena Quintanilla-Pérez within the biopic Selena. This was not a straightforward gig. In her brief profession, the Texan-born Selena, who’d discovered to talk Spanish by singing in Spanish, had develop into a beloved determine in Mexican-American tradition. Selena was on the verge of a world breakthrough when she was shot useless by the president of her fan membership on the age of 23. (Selena’s solely Scorching 100 hit, the English-language single “Dreaming Of You,” peaked at #22 in 1995, after Selena’s homicide.)

Selena got here out when Selena’s loss was nonetheless a recent wound. Jennifer Lopez didn’t look that very like Selena, and she or he was really a few years older than the singer. Lopez was additionally a Puerto Rican lady from the Bronx, not a Mexican-American lady from Texas, in order that casting was not with out controversy. However Lopez is superb in Selena, and the movie completely hinges on her efficiency. A few of the film’s finest moments work as little love letters to the connection between pop star and viewers. The film makes use of Selena’s vocals, not Lopez’s, however Lopez would nonetheless sing in all of her live performance scenes. She liked the expertise. After capturing the scene the place Selena performs a live performance on the Houston Astrodome, Lopez got here offstage and informed Abraham Quintanilla, Jr., Selena’s father, that she wished to strive doing this herself.

After enjoying Selena, Jennifer Lopez made strikes in order that she might have that feeling for herself. She informed the LA Instances, “After I did Selena, all of it got here again once more, having that interplay with the followers and the general public, which you don’t get in motion pictures. I missed that very a lot.” Lopez employed Benny Medina, the high-powered music exec who’d been the inspiration for The Recent Prince Of Bel Air, as her supervisor, and she or he recorded a demo of a Spanish-language music known as “Vivir Sin Ti.” Sony Music boss Tommy Mottola had seen Lopez in Selena, and he was decided to signal her. He was simply as decided that she ought to sing in English.

Mottola arrange a gathering with Lopez, and he made certain that an entire lot of big-deal songwriters and producers have been in that assembly: Babyface, Rodney Jerkins, Walter Afanasieff, Cory Rooney. Lopez signed on, and so they set to work on her debut album On The 6, named for the subway line that Lopez used to journey from the Bronx to Manhattan. Mottola made Lopez a right away precedence, and the album’s credit are full of huge names: Gloria and Emilio Estefan, the Trackmasters, Lopez’s new boyfriend Puff Daddy. Large Pun and Fats Joe rapped on one music. On one other, Lopez sang a duet with Marc Anthony, a person who she would later marry after which divorce. (Marc Anthony’s highest-charting single, 2000’s “You Sang To Me,” peaked at #2. It’s a 6.)

Jennifer Lopez’s red-carpet therapy at Sony was just a little unconventional, since Lopez wasn’t precisely a educated singer. She’d been in musicals, and she or he’d flirted with making data earlier in her profession. There’d been some discuss of turning the Fly Women into a woman group, and Lopez briefly had an early-’90s deal at Big Information that went nowhere. However Lopez was now working with a few of the greatest names in pop and R&B, and she or he was plainly not an R&B singer. In some methods, you’ll be able to hear On The 6 as an costly experiment in methods to disguise a star’s vocal deficiencies whereas nonetheless showcasing her complete vibe.

“If You Had My Love,” the opening monitor and first single from On The 6, is an enchanting little corridor of mirrors. A lot of labor clearly went into the music. Rodney Jerkins, coming off of the blockbuster success of Brandy and Monica’s “The Boy Is Mine,” produced the monitor, and it exhibits all of his tips at work. Earlier than Lopez’s voice even exhibits up, the music dazzles — a prim little harpsichord line, dramatic strings busily sawing out a posh association, stuttering bass-pops, stumbling drum-patterns. Lopez occurred to reach at music in a second when producers like Jerkins have been setting up these hallucinatory futuristic tracks that would’ve turned an automatic voice program right into a star. This was good timing on her half.

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Rodney Jerkins didn’t have a hand in writing “If You Had My Love,” however loads of his collaborators did, together with his brother Fred Jerkins III. “The Boy Is Mine” co-writer LaShawn Daniels additionally had a hand in “If You Had My Love,” and Lopez acquired a songwriting credit score herself. The principle songwriter on most of On The 6 was “If You Had My Love” co-writer Cory Rooney, a New York native whose mother and father had each been within the early-’60s R&B group the Exciters. (The Exciters recorded the unique model of “Do Wah Diddy Diddy,” which grew to become a #1 hit for Manfred Mann in 1964. The Exciters’ highest-charting single, 1962’s “Inform Him,” peaked at #4. It’s a 9.) Cory Rooney had gotten his begin at Uptown Information. Working with the previous Fats Boys member Prince Markie Dee, Rooney had written and produced tracks like Mary J. Blige’s 1992 hit “Actual Love,” which peaked at #7. (It’s a ten. Mary J. Blige will finally seem on this column.)

In Fred Bronson’s Billboard Ebook Of Number one Hits, Cory Rooney says that he coached Jennifer Lopez to not overthink her singing: “I’d all the time inform her that that is no totally different from her performing job. Neglect approach. Simply shut your eyes and imagine in each phrase you’re singing. Don’t fear about the place you’re standing or something like that so far as positioning on the mic as a result of it’s the job of the engineer to seize your voice. Simply be you.” Good recommendation! There are moments on “If You Had My Love” the place Lopez reaches for R&B runs, and people moments don’t work; her voice merely isn’t as much as Mariah Carey-style theatrics. However she has presence, and presence goes a good distance.

As written, “If You Have My Love” is a type of problem. Lopez’s narrator is beginning off a relationship with any person new, and she or he provides this individual a warning, or perhaps an ultimatum. If she’s going to leap into this factor, she desires to be completely certain that her associate received’t cheat on her or disappear. Singing a music like that, Lopez needs to be each robust and seductive, and that’s precisely her display persona. That wasn’t an issue. The backup singers on “If You Had My Love” deal with loads of the melody, however Lopez has the perspective to tug the entire thing off.

I want the music was higher. The manufacturing is state-of-the-art late-’90s R&B flutter-gleam, and it does a reasonably good job presenting Jennifer Lopez as a reputable singer. The subject material hits that pop-music candy spot the place it’s susceptible and romantic and no-nonsense in that aspirational method. The central hook is robust sufficient to get caught in your head. However the music can also be overly repetitive and just a little too gradual. It’s a kind of tracks the place there’s no bridge, so we simply get the refrain repeated a pair extra occasions. Within the video, the music skids to a halt for a Latin-house dance-party interlude, and that half is full of life sufficient that I’d all the time really feel a critical power dropoff when the primary monitor got here again. “If You Had My Love” isn’t a superb music, however it’s strong. It really works in all of the ways in which it wanted to work.

Puff Daddy supposedly got here up with the concept for the “If You Had My Love” video, and Unhealthy Boy favourite Paul Hunter directed it. The clip provides a terrific little time-capsule picture of the circa-Y2K web, with future CSI: Miami star Adam Rodriguez sitting down at a pc to ogle Jennifer Lopez whereas she’s dancing round in sweatpants. Because the clip progresses, numerous totally different individuals tune in to look at Lopez, an early preview of the social-media surveillance state. To a few of them, like the 2 mechanics who ignore the automotive bursting into flames behind them, Lopez is an object of lust. To others, just like the little lady who dances alongside, Lopez is a few type of function mannequin. There’s additionally a second the place somebody throws an iMac in a swimming pool? I don’t know what’s happening there, however this looks as if a poor resolution. If you happen to acquired greater than 4 drops of water on a kind of late-’90s computer systems, it will immediately launch itself into God’s loving arms.

Naturally, the “If You Had My Love Video” was throughout MTV for months. They’d’ve been absolute chumps not to place a Jennifer Lopez music video into heavy rotation. Lopez didn’t seem in any motion pictures in 1999, and she or he put all her power into selling On The 6, doing issues like visiting Oprah together with her labelmate Ricky Martin to debate the hyped-up Latin pop increase. (Lopez and Martin are each of Puerto Rican descent, and so they each recorded for a similar label, however they didn’t have something in widespread, musically or in any other case, past that.) Within the press, Lopez’s camp insisted {that a} profitable document would make her an even bigger film star, and so they have been proper. The On The 6 press cycle made Lopez vastly all-around well-known in ways in which went past her film profession. A complete lot of the press protection appeared to revolve round Lopez’s ass, as if the world had by no means seen an exquisite lady who wasn’t toothpick-skinny. It was bizarre.

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As an album, On The 6 was successful however not a blockbuster. The LP finally went triple platinum, and it despatched yet one more single, the extraordinarily New York membership jam “Ready For Tonight,” into the highest 10. (“Ready For Tonight” peaked at #8. It’s a 7.) Through the On The 6 album cycle, Lopez’s media takeover hit its first actual speedbump.

One evening in late December of 1999, Lopez was at Membership New York together with her boyfriend Puff Daddy and his prolonged crew, and Puff acquired right into a combat with a man named Scar. After somebody threw a stack of money at another person, weapons got here out, and three individuals have been hit and injured. A girl acquired shot within the face, however she survived. Puff and Lopez fled the scene, however when their automotive was pulled over, police discovered a stolen handgun and arrested each of them. Lopez spent the evening in jail, reportedly handcuffed to a bench and sobbing uncontrollably, earlier than police dropped costs towards her. The New York press made it seem to be Lopez was the actual sufferer of the entire scenario.

Puff Daddy was finally acquitted of the fees towards him, however Shyne, the Unhealthy Boy rapper whose album launch they have been on the membership to rejoice, was sentenced to 10 years in jail for tried homicide, assault, and reckless endangerment. He served 9 earlier than being deported to Belize, changing to Judaism, and finally successful a spot in Belize’s Home Of Representatives. Loopy life. (Shyne’s highest-charting single, the extraordinarily onerous 2000 Barrington Levy collab “Unhealthy Boyz,” peaked at #57.) Lopez and Puff stayed collectively for a few months, however by the point Lopez wore an especially memorable costume to the 2000 Grammys, she was single.

“If You Had My Love” was the music that established that Jennifer Lopez might be a pop star, and Jennifer Lopez’s pop-star standing confirmed that normal celeb may very well be an entire lot extra vital to pop-stardom than straight-up vocal capability. Lopez wasn’t the primary to show that, and she or he wouldn’t be the final, however she could have been essentially the most profitable. The experiment labored swimmingly; Jennifer Lopez grew to become a full-on pop star. We’ll see her on this column once more.

GRADE: 6/10

BONUS BEATS: T-Ache didn’t find out about Auto-Tune from Cher’s “Consider.” As an alternative, T-Ache, an artist who will finally seem on this column, heard a break up second of robotized zero-setting glitch-voice on Rodney Jerkins’ Darkish Little one remix of “If You Had My Love,” which despatched him on a quest to determine how that sound had been made. Right here’s that remix:

BONUS BEATS: Right here’s Drake utilizing a pattern of the “If You Had My Love” hook on his 2017 monitor “Teenage Fever”:

(“Teenage Fever” peaked at #22. Drake will finally seem on this column.)

BONUS BONUS BEATS: Right here’s Melanie Martinez’s 2020 monitor “Mind & Coronary heart,” which is constructed on a pattern of “If You Had My Love”:

(Melanie Martinez’s highest-charting single is her cowl of the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Military,” recorded stay on The Voice in 2012. It peaked at #86.)

BONUS BONUS BONUS BEATS: Right here’s Queens drill rapper Shawny Binladen utilizing a decaying “If You Had My Love” pattern on his 2021 monitor “Gave You My All”:

THE 10S: 702’s “The place My Women At?,” an anthemic spaceship-rocker co-written and co-produced by Missy Elliott, peaked at #4 behind “If You Had My Love.” It’s essential to be taught the principles: It’s a ten.

In the meantime, The Backstreet Boys’ masterpiece, the mathematically good and lyrically inscrutable sparkle-pop hymn “I Need It That Method,” peaked at #6 behind “If You Had My Love,” changing into a sufferer of a chart system that also gave extra weight to songs that have been commercially accessible as singles. It’s your hearth, the one need, and it’s a ten.

The Quantity Ones: Twenty Chart-Topping Hits That Reveal The Historical past Of Pop Music is out 11/15 through Hachette Books. You may pre-order it right here.