Our Top 10 Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis Songs list looks at legendary songwriters and producers. They have written songs since the 80s and continue to dominate the charts today. This dynamic duo is responsible for some of the biggest hits in pop, r&b and adult contemporary music. They are responsible for writing hits for artists such as Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, New Edition, Boyz II Men, George Michael, Michael Jackson, Prince, Spice Girls, Alexander O’Neal, Cherrelle, Eric Benet, Beyonce, Sounds of Blackness, Toni Braxton, Patti Austin, Barry White, Ann Nesby, El DeBarge, Gwen Stefani, Sting, Karyn White, Yolanda Adams, Heather Headley, Chaka Khan, Usher, Johnny Gill, Cheryl Lynn, Rod Stewart, Vanessa Williams, Mary J Blige, S.O.S Band, The Time, Earth, Wind & Fire, Aretha Franklin, Chante Moore, Mya, Jessica Simpson, Jordan Knight as well as many others. They have written over 40 Top 10 hits.
Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis have worked in the music business for a long time. They have written so many hits for various artists. You have most likely heard their songs at some point in your lives. The have written chart toppers for a plethora of artists. It was a challenge to come up with only 10 songs by the musical maestros. They have so many songs that could have made this list. We had to narrow the choices down by basically flipping coins to do it. We proved we were up for the challenge and came up with our list. Our Top 10 Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis Songs list will feature their best songs.
# 10 – Human – The Human League
The first song on our Top 10 Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis Songs list is “Human” by The Human League. The song is from the album Crash. The song has a pop and soul sound. The confessional song is about a man who confesses to cheating on his girlfriend. He claims he did it to fill the emptiness he felt when they weren’t together. He lets her know that no one else could take her place. He knows his excuse isn’t a good one, but it’s the only excuse he has. He says that he’s only “human.” As the song progresses, it turns out that she ends up cheating on him too. She uses the same excuse that she’s “human.”
There aren’t that many songs around where both parties admit to cheating. Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis get an A+ for originality for this track. People don’t usually write songs about both people cheating in a relationship. Songs are usually about one person cheating on someone. They begin the song with the man apologizing for hurting the woman he loves. They wrote a plot twist because she ends up admitting to cheating as well. The man and woman say they are “human” and make mistakes. Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis wanted to work with the Human League. The Human League wanted to work with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis because of their work with singer Janet Jackson. They made the right decision to work with this group. The song made it to number one on the Hot 100 charts.
# 9 – Monkey – George Michael
The next song on our Top 10 Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis Songs list is “Monkey” by George Michael. The song appears on the album Faith. The metaphoric song is about substance abuse. If you read our Top 10 George Michael Songs list, you know that we included “Monkey” on our list. We decided to include it on our Top 10 Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis Songs list too. This funky song is a metaphor about drug use. He is involved with someone who takes drugs. He asks the person if they would choose him or the “monkey.” He asks his lover to choose between him or the drugs. His relationship with his lover is tainted because the lover is hooked on drugs.
Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis came up with a creative way to talk about drug use. People weren’t talking about drugs so freely during the height of this song so they had to find another way to talk about it. It would be easy to write this song off because of title. They wrote a deep message about drug use and how it can hurt a relationship. This isn’t the type of song the dynamic duo usually writes so this gave them a chance to step outside of their comfort zone and create something new. They came up with a track that mixed rock and pop music. The sound worked for George Michael’s new sound, but it was different for Jam & Lewis. The song worked for the trio because it became it reached number one on the Hot 100 charts.
# 8 – Can You Stand the Rain – New Edition
The alluring song is from New Edition’s album Heartbreak. The song has an r&b beat. This song also appears on our Top 10 New Edition Songs list. This tender song is about questioning whether a relationship can survive through thick and thin. Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis wrote a song about what happened with the group while they were on tour. The group said how hard it was to be on tour because it took them away from the people they love. They believed that the women in their lives didn’t have faith in them that they wouldn’t cheat. Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis wanted to use weather analogies to talk about getting through anything.
Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis were responsible from changing New Edition’s style. They helped the group transition from teen idols to adults. They wrote several hits for the group, but there’s something about this song that stands out for them. This track can still be heard on Quiet Storm radio. The track was sampled and remade by other artists. The song appeared in the movie The Best Man’s Holiday. The guys in the movie imitated New Edition’s routine from their video. The song has been a fan favorite and we tip our hats to Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis for writing such an iconic song.
# 7 – He Don’t Know Nothing ‘Bout It – Babyface
The seductive song is from the album Jam & Lewis Volume 1. The song has an r&b sound. The sultry song is about a man who tries to convince a woman to get rid of the loser she’s with and be with him. He feels she hasn’t been treated right and he wants to be her man. He feels that she should find a new man because he doesn’t have a clue about how to treat her. He wants her to open her heart and her eyes and see that he’s the one for her. He will treat her better than her boyfriend ever could. He explains what is wrong with her man.
“He Don’t Know Nothing ‘Bout It” is history in the making. Anyone who is a fan of 80s – 90s r&b and pop music know this is musical royalty. Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis and Babyface dominated the charts with the songs they have written and produced for similar artists. They never had the chance to work on a song together. This track gave the trio their chance to create magic together. Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis created a song that catered to Babyface’s style of writing. In fact, the song is more Babyface’s area than it is their area, but this song works for them. Fans of their music were waiting for this collaboration to happen, and it finally did. The music is sensual and is reminiscent of Babyface’s songs from the 90s. The song is the perfect blend of their excellent production and romantic lyrics.
# 6 – Romantic – Karyn White
The steamy song by Karyn White is from the album Ritual of Love. The song has a New Jack Swing sound. The sexy song is about a woman who wants to get “romantic” with the man she loves. She wants to have a seductive evening with her lover. She commands him to turn the lights down so they can be “romantic” with each other. She doesn’t want to have raunchy sex. She wants it to be tender and “romantic.” The song is provocative without being dirty. This is the perfect track to play if you want to spend time with your lover.
The duo gave Karyn White a track that she could sink her teeth into. The song gave the “Superwoman” singer a chance to get sensual. She was coming off the success of her debut album so she needed a song that would keep her from hitting the sophomore slump. She looked to Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis to give her another song that would make her popular the way “Superwoman” did. They went to work and came up with this banger. The guys were getting a lot of attention for their work with Janet Jackson. This song has hints of the tracks they wrote for Janet Jackson throughout the song. You may find yourself thinking of Janet Jackson songs while you’re listening to it. They helped her reach number one on the charts.
# 5 – U Remind Me – Usher
The next song on our Top 10 Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis Songs list is “U Remind Me” by Usher. The song appears on the album 8701. If you read our Top 10 Usher Songs list article, you know this track made an appearance on that list. The track has an r&b sound. The reluctant song is about a man who sees a woman that he’s interested in dating. He has a problem because she looks like the person he used to date. He decides not to pursue anything with her because she reminds him of an ex-girlfriend. He had a bad breakup with her so he couldn’t start anything new with her. It’s hard for him to look at the girl without seeing her face. He thinks about the bad things his former lover did to him in the past.
Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis produced an excellent track. The musical production is on point. The song has the makings of a big hit. The music is infectious and suits Usher’s style wonderfully. The beat is slick and will have you on the dance floor in no time. The drumbeat drives the song. You won’t be able to sit still listening to this banger. This is the type of track you can listen to while you’re at a cookout or just chilling out for the day. The trio managed to make a song that was different and fresh. The song could still get the party started today. The song peaked at number one on the Hot 100 charts as well as the r&b and hip-hop charts.
# 4 – Scream – Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson
The aggressive song by Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson is from his album HIStory: Past, Present and Future Book 1. The song has an r&b, pop and rock sound. The bitter song is about how the tabloids treat people. The tabloids tell lies about celebrities all of the time. Michael Jackson was constantly attacked by the media so he wanted to sing a song that address everything he had to deal with because of them. Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson were arguably two of the biggest stars of pop music. This is a historic song because it’s the first and only time Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson recorded a duet. This track was the first time Michael Jackson worked with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.
This song is history in the making. It’s a moment Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson’s fans were waiting forever to see. The four artists did an incredible job with this track. They threw everything into this song. This song represents a few genres so fans of r&b, pop and rock will enjoy it. Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis produced the song with the siblings. Janet Jackson wanted her writing team on board for the track. The song is like the music Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis created for Janet Jackson. The melody is like Janet Jackson’s hit “Rhythm Nation.” Michael and Janet Jackson sing the song with grit in their voices. They are angry with the media, and they want the world to know it. Everyone did a fantastic job on this track.
# 3 – On Bended Knee – Boyz II Men
The apologetic song is by Boyz II Men and it appears on their album II. The song has an r&b beat. The pleading song is about a man who wants his ex-girlfriend to take him back. He is on bended knee pleading with her to forgive him and come back to him. The narrator doesn’t go into detail about what happened in his relationship. He just wants her to come back to him so he could marry her. He’s sorry and can’t live without her. This is the type of song that will make you feel emotional while you hear it. If you hurt someone in your life, you will agree with the group for wanting to be “on bended knee.”
Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis were inspired to write this song after they heard “End of the Road.” They wanted a song like that sound. They noticed that none of the songs on Boyz II Men’s album were like that one. The songwriting team decided to include a track like “End of the Road” on the album. They believed that Boyz II Men shined on songs like this one. The duo liked working with Boyz II Men. They liked how the group were able to harmonize without their help. Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis went on to write another song on the album. The song went to number one on the Hot 100 charts. “On Bended Knee” made history because they unseated their song for the number one spot. “I’ll Make Love to You” was number one until “On Bended Knee” was released. They were the first group since The Beatles to accomplish that feat.
# 2 – Thank God I Found You – Mariah Carey, Joe and 98 Degrees
The loving song is by Mariah Carey, Joe and 98 Degrees and appears on Mariah Carey’s album Rainbow. The song has a pop beat. The sweet song is about falling in love again after being single for a long time. The singers talk about how the people changed their lives. They are filled with gratitude because they found the loves of their lives. If you’ve been single for a long time, you will be grateful to meet that special someone. This song gives you hope that you will find that special someone even if you have been alone for years. Mariah Carey wrote this song for her boyfriend singer Luis Miguel.
Mariah Carey, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis wrote a beautiful song. Their relationship was established for the first time when they were tapped to work on her Rainbow album. She worked with them because her relationship with her former songwriting partner went sour. They proved they were worthy of working with her because this song is outstanding. Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis pushed Mariah Carey and company to give this song their all. Their production is spot on with this track. The music never dominates the singers so they are free to do what they do best. They pour their hearts out on this song. The song went on to reach number on the Hot 100 charts and the r&b and hip-hop charts. The song sold over 687,000 copies.
# 1 – That’s the Way Love Goes – Janet Jackson
The number one song on our Top 10 Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis Songs list is Janet Jackson’s “That’s the Way Love Goes.” The song is from the album Janet. The song has an r&b and pop sound. The ravishing song is about a woman who is ready to be with the man she wants. She is ready to be intimate with her man. She takes charge in the relationship and lets him know what she wants. She wants him to touch her in places she hasn’t been touched before. This was the first single from the Janet album. This song helped Janet Jackson introduce her new sexy sound to the audience.
If you are familiar with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis’ musical catalog, then you know there was no way to write our list and not include anything by Janet Jackson. She is one of their most popular clients. The trio have created outstanding hits over the years. This track gave the trio a chance to do something different with her sound. She tempted the seductive fates on her previous albums, but she pushes the envelope on the Janet album. She is riskier than she’s ever been before. Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis helped her write this sexy song. They gave her room to express herself without drowning her out with a big musical production. The duo allowed her to shine brightly on the song. This is one of her biggest hits in the United States. It was one of the longest hits in 1993.
Top 10 Jimmy Jam And Terry Lewis Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
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