Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, musicians who grew up in Minneapolis and went on to write and produce massive hits for Janet Jackson and others, will be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame on June 15.
The institution has just announced its 2017 inductees — who also, notably, include Jay Z as the first rapper ever to be inducted. Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds; Robert Lamm; James Pankow and Peter Cetera of Chicago; and Max Martin will also be inducted this year; as will Berry Gordy, who deferred his induction from last year.
Aside from Prince, no one did more to popularize “the Minneapolis Sound” than Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. They were members of the Time before parting ways with Prince and establishing a production company and recording studio named after their band Flyte Tyme. (Strangely, Prince himself is not in the Songwriters Hall of Fame, despite the fact that it’s inducted contemporaries including Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and Jon Bon Jovi.)
Thanks to Jam and Lewis, some of the biggest pop hits of the ’80s and ’90s were recorded in Minneapolis. Most notably, a longtime collaboration with Janet Jackson produced several number one hits. The duo, who relocated their studio to California in 2005, have also created chart-topping hits with artists including Mariah Carey (“Thank God I Found You,” with Joe and 98 Degrees), George Michael (“Monkey”), and the Human League (“Human”).
With a total of 16 number ones, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis have more chart-toppers than any other songwriting and production team in pop history. They’ve also achieved the rare feat of having written and produced number one hits in three consecutive decades: the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s.