We all know La Toya Jackson, either through the Playboy covers, the psychic hotline, the tell-all book, the workout tape, or her crying her eyes out on Donahue. Though she has had more colorful TV appearances than can be countedand has always been surrounded by intrigueher fame has seemingly never been because of her musical efforts. That is the La Toya Jackson we don't know. Now that Janet is making a comeback ( akin to the Second Coming ), we asked the guys reissuing her Bad Girl album: Why La Toya?
Throughout most of the 1980s, Jackson's musical output, despite being finely-crafted pop and soul, had seen a mediocre response. It wasn't until her fifth album, You're Gonna Get Rockedlargely written and produced by '80s powerhouses Full Force ( Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam, Samantha Fox ) and Stock-Aitken-Waterman ( Kylie Minogue, Bananarama )that Jackson garnered any mainstream interest in her music.
Perhaps its release alongside her top-selling Playboy pictorial helped to propel sales, but regardless, label execs were eager to put Jackson back into the studio to work on her sixth LP. The albumBad Girl, as it came to be calledwas recorded in a matter of weeks, but by the time that Jackson was ready to release its first single, her label was floundering. The single stalled, failing to garner support from radio or music TV, leaving the album's release in limbo. Immediately after, Jackson left the label, taking the new material with her.
After a successful reissue of her first Teldec album in 2013 through UK label Cherry Pop, "There was a lot of discussion about further La Toya projects," says Vibe On Records co-founder Matt Emrick. In fact, Emrick and co-founder John-Ryan Griggs were set to release a compilation of previously-unreleased La Toya recordings in 2014, including covers of Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" and Little Eva's "Loco-motion," but quickly pulled the plug at the personal request of Jackson herself.
Eager to oversee the release of something La Toya-related, Emrick and Griggs worked her former labels A&R man, Sherman Heinig, to compile the bonus material necessary for making Bad Girl worth reissuing. "The fact that there are probably a million different versions of this album already available didn't really do us any favors," says Griggs. "We knew we had to dig up some quality stuff to make its release noteworthy."
The team spent a few months digging through boxes of items in storage, looking for any relevant material, including alternate mixes and edits. Then they shopped the project around to different labels, and it became clear that if Emrick and Griggs wanted a definitive edition of Bad Girl to exist, they would have to take it on themselves. "Everyone we talked to wanted to go on the cheap," Emrick says, adding, "but that's the way Bad Girl had always been treated. We wanted a nice product, a sleek booklet with a cohesive design reflecting the original vinyl, and beefed-up sound. No one we talked to could offer that."
Exclusive to the Vibe On's release is Rigger's Horizon Remix of the 1990 single, "Sexual Feeling." Produced by Tommy Boy remixer DJ Otis Brown, the track Kelly Osbourne once called "the most amazing song I've ever heard in my life" got a 2015 facelift. It seemed fitting.
For those dabbling in LaToya via her little sister, "There's a version of 'Sexual Feeling' where La Toya raps about teaching a man to please his woman," details Griggs. "It's an Italo-house mix of the track, not too far removed from Janet's 'Throb,' which totally ripped off this song three years later." It was originally intended to be the album's opener, but at some point was swapped out for a tamer version.
"A lot of fans ended up overlooking it," he adds. "We had to fix that."
Though they are still hard at work packing and mailing shipments of Bad Girl, Emrick and Griggs are hard at work seeking out their next project. "We've spoken with Julie Brown ( Earth Girls Are Easy ) about doing an expanded version of her 'Trapped In the Body of a White Girl' album, as well as a couple of other '80s acts," concludes Emrick. "We've got big plans for Vibe On. John and I are all about seeing forgotten pop music treasured, treated with respect and being made available to the masses."
Vibe On Records' two-disc deluxe edition of Bad Girl is available now from vibeonrecords.com and amazon.com .