Happy 52nd birthday to one of the true luminaries of the Minneapolis music scene, James "Jimmy Jam" Harris. He, along with his high-school friend Terry Lewis, helped shape the sound of the Twin Cities (and beyond) throughout the '80s and into today, producing numerous hits for both Michael and Janet Jackson, Boyz II Men, Usher, the Human League, Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, Gwen Stefani, and countless others.
[jump] Harris and Lewis formed the fledgling funk band Flyte Tyme, which eventually morphed into the Prince project the Time, which helped put the Minneapolis R&B music scene on the map along with the persnickety Purple One. But once they left the Time, Harris and Lewis found far greater success as a top-notch production team, winning the first of their many Grammy Awards for producing Janet Jackson's breakthrough album Control in 1986 (which they performed on as well).
From there, the duo became innovative stalwarts in the pop music industry, and they went on to produce many subsequent hits that helped shape and define the music landscape of the 80s and 90s. They have manned the dials on an astounding 16 #1 Hit Singles, and have produced 25 #1 Songs on the R&B charts, becoming one of the most successful production duos in modern music.
And perhaps one of the most enduring and inspiring things about the duo is that, despite all of their success, they have remained a dedicated and loyal production duo, guided by their unfailing ear and their undying love of music. Jimmy Jam has also recently served as Chairman of the Board of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, and is currently serving as Chairman Emeritus of the organization where he continues to guide the direction of modern music today.
So happy birthday, Jimmy Jam! Thanks for all of the hits--keep 'em coming.