Janet Jackson "What Have You Done For Me Lately?" Single (1986)
Janet Jackson "What Have You Done For Me Lately?" Single (1986)
Janet Jackson "What Have You Done For Me Lately?" Single (1986)
A&M Records

Janet Jackson "What Have You Done For Me Lately?" Single (1986)

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Details: Used 7" record, Janet Jackson's 1986 single "What Have You Done For Me Lately?" b/w "He Doesn't Know I'm Alive," on A&M Records. From Janet's 3rd album, "Control."

Description: "What Have You Done for Me Lately" is a song by American singer Janet Jackson from her third studio album, Control (1986). Jackson co-wrote the song with its producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. It was released on January 13, 1986, by A&M Records as the album's lead single. After two unsuccessful albums and a management change, the singer began developing a new album. "What Have You Done for Me Lately" was originally penned for one of Jam and Lewis's own records, but the lyrics were rewritten to convey Jackson's feelings about her recent divorce from James DeBarge in January 1985. It revolves around a woman's frustration with her partner in a relationship.

Critical reviews for "What Have You Done for Me Lately" were positive, with music critics believing it erased the former "pop-ingénue image" of Jackson's first two albums, reestablishing her as an "independent woman" figure. The song has been featured in critic lists as one of the greatest songs of all time and received a nomination for Best Rhythm & Blues Song at the 1987 Grammy Awards. The song peaked at number four on the US Billboard Hot 100 and was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). It also peaked at number two on the US Dance Club Songs and topped the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts. Outside of the US, it topped the singles chart in the Netherlands and peaked within the top ten in Germany, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

The accompanying music video for "What Have You Done for Me Lately" was directed by Brian Jones and Piers Ashworth and choreographed by singer Paula Abdul. In it, Jackson goes to a diner with her friends to talk about her relationship problems. The video won a Soul Train Music Award for Best R&B/Soul or Rap Music Video in 1987. The song was first performed live by Jackson at the 29th annual Grammy Awards in 1987. She has also performed it live in each of her concert tours, beginning with the Rhythm Nation World Tour 1990 through the State of the World Tour (2017). It has been included in each of Jackson's greatest hits albums Design of a Decade: 1986–1996 (1995), Number Ones (2009), and Icon: Number Ones (2010). "What Have You Done for Me Lately" has been sampled and covered by various artists, and is also regarded as one of Jackson's signature songs which helped establish her as a known artist."

Grade: VG (Cover) / VG+ (Record)


A1. What Have You Done For Me Lately?


B1. He Doesn't Even Know I'm Alive