JacksonDespite what you might think from the title of this post, we are not poking fun at Randy "The Emperor" Jackson's look 20 years ago, back when the American Idol judge played with Journey and was Narada Michael Walden's right-hand man. The post is not a salute to his weight loss, either, as commendable as it is. This being the week Randy Jackson's Music Club, Vol. 1 hits the shelves of record stores and other retailers, we instead acknowledge Jackson's 30 years in the business with a semi-arbitrary timeline of his activities as a bass player, songwriter, producer, and A&R man. (The dawg of all dawgs has sometimes been credited with "inspiration," too.) Jackson's success is as much about range as it is longevity, from being a top-flight fusion and R&B session bassist -- you thought it was Louis Johnson or Bernard Edwards on those Billy Cobham and Stacy Lattisaw records? -- to accumulating enough clout to get -- or maybe even convince -- Anthony Hamilton and John Rich to do a Michael Buble song.


1977: Billy Cobham, Magic
1978: Pete & Sheila Escovedo, Happy Together
1980: Aretha Franklin, Aretha
1981: Angela Bofill, Something About You; Jean-Luc Ponty, Mystical Adventures
1982: Herbie Hancock, Lite Me Up
1983: Blue Öyster Cult, Revolution by Night; Stacy Lattisaw, Sixteen
1984: Stacy Lattisaw & Johnny Gill, Perfect Combination; Romeo Void, Instincts
1985: Narada Michael Walden, The Nature of Things; Zucchero, Zucchero & the Randy Jackson Band
1986: Journey, Raised on Radio; Lionel Richie, Dancing on the Ceiling
1987: Whitney Houston, Whitney; Michael Bolton, The Hunger
1988: Bob Dylan, Down in the Groove
1989: Madonna, Like a Prayer; Todd Rundgren, Nearly Human
1990: Sam Kinison, Leader of the Banned; Celine Dion, Unison (BANNER YEAR FOR RANDY)*
1991: Aldo Nova, Blood on the Bricks; Eddie Money, Right Here
1992: Mariah Carey, MTV Unplugged; Bruce Springsteen, Human Touch/Lucky Town
1993: Vasco Rossi, Gli Spari Sopra
1994: Richard Marx, Paid Vacation
1995: Bon Jovi, These Days
1996: Puff Johnson, Miracle
1997: Kenny Loggins, The Unimaginable Life
1998: Imogen Heap, I Megaphone; Jimmy Barnes, For the Working Class Man
1999: Rahsaan Patterson, Love in Stereo; IMx, Introducing IMx
2000: Gladys Knight, At Last
2001: *NSYNC, Celebrity
2002: Mariah Carey, Charmbracelet
2003: Kelly Clarkson, Thankful
2004: Van Hunt, Van Hunt
2005: Mariah Carey, The Emancipation of Mimi
2006: Zucchero, Fly
2007: Travis Tritt, The Storm; Shenkar, Open the Door
2008: Randy Jackson, Randy Jackson's Music Club, Vol. 1

*1990 is to Randy Jackson's legacy what 1959 is to Teo Macero's legacy... pretty much. In addition to Leader of the Banned and Unison, Jackson also had a hand in Stryper's Against the Law, Jon Bon Jovi's Blaze of Glory, Brent Bourgeois, Hall & Oates' Change of Season, Billy Idol's Charmed Life, Teena Marie's Ivory, Sara Hickman's Shortstop, Elton John's To Be Continued..., Bob Dylan's Under the Red Sky, Emmanuel's Vida, and and AND the one and only self-titled Dave Koz album. While American Idol could -- and should! -- do a "Music of Randy Jackson" night, the show could devote an entire round to Jackson's output from this single year.

In relative seriousness, aspiring contestants during the audition rounds should dispense with all the Mariah, Whitney, and Celine material for which Jackson was partly responsible and let rip with the unjustifiably dusty pages of the Randy Jackson Songbook -- songs like Sister Sledge's "Ooh, You Caught My Heart" (), Stacy Lattisaw's "Baby I Love You" () or "Feel My Love Tonight" (), or possibly Narada Michael Walden's "Take It to the Bossman" (). Amanda Overmyer clones excepted, Jimmy Barnes should be avoided.