Nasty (Janet Jackson song)

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US and European cover
Single by Janet Jackson
from the album Control
B-side "You'll Never Find (A Love Like Mine)"
Released April 15, 1986 (U.S.)
May 27, 1986 (UK)
Format 7" single, 12" single
Recorded September 1985;[1] Flyte Tyme Studios (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
Genre R&B, dance-pop, new jack swing


3:44 (7" Version)
Label A&M
Writer(s) James Harris, Terry Lewis, Janet Jackson
Producer(s) Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis
Certification Gold (RIAA)
Janet Jackson singles chronology
"What Have You Done for Me Lately"
"When I Think of You"
Alternative cover
UK cover
Audio sample
file info · help

"Nasty" is the second single from Janet Jackson's third studio album, Control (1986). Released in 1986, the single peaked at number three on Billboard Hot 100 and number one on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, and remains one of Jackson's signature songs. The line "My first name ain't baby, it's Janet – Miss Jackson if you're nasty" is a well-known catchphrase and has frequently been used in pop culture in various forms.

The song won for Favorite Soul/R&B Single at the 1987 American Music Awards. It ranked number 30 on VH1's 100 Best Songs of the Past 25 Years, number 45 on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of the 80s, and number 79 on Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Pop Songs. Britney Spears covered "Nasty", along with "Black Cat" during her ...Baby One More Time Tour and has paid homage to the song and video multiple times.[2]


The song was Jackson's autobiographical account of confronting abusive men who tried to force their hand on her.

The danger hit home when a couple of guys started stalking me on the street. They were emotionally abusive. Sexually threatening. Instead of running to Jimmy or Terry for protection, I took a stand. I backed them down. That's how songs like 'Nasty' and 'What Have You Done for Me Lately' were born, out of a sense of self-defense. Control meant not only taking care of myself but living in a much less protected world. And doing that meant growing a tough skin. Getting attitude.[3]

—Janet Jackson, Rolling Stone

On August 1999, Missy Elliott revealed she was working with Jackson on an updated remix for the song; its working title was "Nasty Girl 2000".[4][5] The following year, Elliott's close friend Aaliyah was added to the track, however due to undisclosed reasons the record was never released.[6]

Music video[edit]

The music video was directed by Mary Lambert and choreographed by Paula Abdul.

Live performances[edit]

Jackson sang "Nasty" live at the Grammy Awards of 1987, wearing an all-black outfit, along with Jam and Lewis and dancers.[7] Jackson has performed the song on all of her tours. It was first performed on the Rhythm Nation Tour in 1990.[8] On the Janet World Tour which happened in 1993 and continued throughout the two following years, the song was the second to be performed along with "Nasty", with the singer wearing gold jewelry.[9] The song was performed during a "frenzied" medley of "What Have You Done for Me Lately", "The Pleasure Principle", "Nasty" and "Throb" on the The Velvet Rope Tour in 1998.[10] The medley at the October 11, 1998 show in New York City, at the Madison Square Garden, was broadcast during a special titled The Velvet Rope: Live in Madison Square Garden by HBO. It was also added to the setlist at its DVD release, The Velvet Rope Tour – Live in Concert in 1999.[11] During the All for You Tour in 2001 and 2002, "Nasty" was performed in a re-worked version, during a medley with "Control" and "What Have You Done for Me Lately". According to Denise Sheppard from Rolling Stone, it was "another crowd favorite; perhaps best dubbed as the 'bitter' portion of the night", also adding that "this performer ­- who has been performing onstage for twenty-eight years -­ knows what the crowd comes for and gives it to them in spades".[12] The February 16, 2002 final date of the tour at the Aloha Stadium in Hawaii, was broadcast by HBO, and included a performance of it. This rendition was also added to the setlist at its DVD release, Janet: Live in Hawaii, in 2002.[13]

On September 9, 2006, Jackson went to France to perform "Nasty" and new single "So Excited" at NRJ's Back to School concert, as part of promotion for her ninth studio album 20 Y.O..[14] While on The Oprah Winfrey Show, she was interviewed and performed both tracks again. The show aired on September 25, a day before 20 Y.O.'s release in the United States.[15] A few days later, the singer performed on Today's Toyota Concert Series in Rockefeller Center, in New York City, to promote 20 Y.O. The setlist included "So Excited", "Call on Me" and "Nasty".[16] For her first tour in six years, titled Rock Witchu Tour, Jackson performed "Nasty" as part of it.[17] Jackson made a surprise appearance on the ninth season finale of American Idol in 2010 to perform a medley of "Nothing" and "Nasty" after joining the contestants to perform a rendition of her hit ballad "Again". She wore a black suit with red-lined sleeves.[18] It also added to her concert at Essence Music Festival in New Orleans, in July 2010, which she headlined.[19] It was also performed during her Number Ones: Up Close and Personal tour in 2011. John Soeder from commented, "Yet the emphasis was on high-energy dance numbers, including “Miss You Much,” “Nasty,” “When I Think of You” and other infectious blasts from the past, complete with pneumatic grooves and icy synthesizers. The net effect was akin to squeezing into an old pair of acid-washed jeans."[20][21]

In popular culture[edit]

"Nasty" is notorious for its line "No, my first name ain't 'baby', it's Janet! Miss Jackson if you're nasty!", which became frequently used throughout pop culture in various forms and is a memorable catchphrase.

Panic! at the Disco's single "Miss Jackson" is titled after Janet and references "Nasty" in the line "Miss Jackson, Are you nasty?" during its chorus. The song was released July 2013 as the lead single from their fourth album "Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die!".

In the fall of 1989, NBC aired a pilot movie, and later a 13-episode mid-season replacement series, called Nasty Boys about a group of North Las Vegas undercover cops and their unorthodox methods working in a narcotics unit. The theme music was Jackson's "Nasty", performed by Lisa Keith, though the lyrics were slightly changed to make the song more pertinent to the storyline.

In 1990, Cincinnati Reds relief pitchers Norm Charlton, Rob Dibble and Randy Myers, key figures in the Reds' "wire-to-wire" season and their subsequent World Series win, were nicknamed the "Nasty Boys".

USA Network used "Nasty" in a promo for the seventh season of the series Psych, with past snippets from the show put together to create the song's call and response portion.[22]

Britney Spears has paid homage to "Nasty" multiple times throughout her career.

  • Spears performed live covers of "Nasty" and "Black Cat" on the "Baby One More Time Tour".[23]
  • Britney yelling "Stop!" in the single version of "(You Drive Me) Crazy" pays homage to Janet saying "Stop!" in the "Nasty" music video. The single version of the song, titled the "The Stop! Remix", also references "Nasty". The chair routine in the song's music video pays homage to Jackson's "Miss You Much" video.
  • Spears' single "Boys", released as the fourth single from her Britney album, references "Nasty" in the line "get nasty", with the song being described as "cut-rate '80s Janet Jackson" by Entertainment Weekly.[24]
  • Spears also pays homage to the song in "Break the Ice", released as the third single from her fifth studio album "Blackout", in the line "I like this part", which references Janet saying "I love this part" in "Nasty". MTV commented, saying "Spears stops the song and sings "I like this part / It feels kind of good", mimicking Janet Jackson in "Nasty", while Spears' official site said she was "stopping the song à la Janet Jackson to say, "I like this part. It feels kind of good."[25][26]
  • The opening scene of Britney's "Ooh La La" video also pays homage to Janet's "Nasty" video, with MSN Music saying "The clip plays out like a more kid-friendly version of Janet Jackson's "Nasty" video, with Spears and her kids taking in a movie when mom is suddenly transported into the on-screen action."[27]

"Weird Al" Yankovic included the chorus in his polka medley "Polka Party."

The song was also used as an entrance theme for the wrestling Tag Team The Nasty Boys in their AWA career.

In 2013 the Glee Cast covered the song on the episode "Puppet Master" as a mashup with Jackson's own "Rhythm Nation".

Track listings[edit]

U.S., UK, and European 7" single
A. "Nasty" (Edit of Remix) – 3:40
B. "You'll Never Find (A Love Like Mine)" – 4:08
U.S. and European 12" single
Australian limited edition 12" single
A1. "Nasty" (Extended) – 6:00
B1. "Nasty" (Instrumental) – 4:00
B2. "Nasty" (A Cappella) – 2:55
U.S. and European 12" single – Cool Summer Mix Parts I and II
A. "Nasty" (Cool Summer Mix Part I) – 7:57
B. "Nasty" (Cool Summer Mix Part II) – 10:09
UK 12" single
A1. "Nasty" (Extended) – 6:00
B1. "Nasty" (Instrumental) – 4:00
B2. "You'll Never Find (A Love Like Mine)" – 4:08

Official versions/remixes[edit]

  • Album Version – 4:03
  • A Cappella – 2:55
  • Cool Summer Mix Part I – 7:57
  • Cool Summer Mix Part II – 10:09
  • Edit of Remix – 3:40
  • Extended – 6:00
  • Instrumental – 4:00


Organization Country Accolade Year Source
VH1 United States 100 Greatest Songs of the Past 25 Years 2003 [28]
VH1 United States 100 Greatest Songs of the 80s 2006 [29]
Rolling Stone United States 100 Greatest Pop Songs


Chart (1986) Peak
Australian Kent Music Report[30] 17
Austrian Singles Chart[31] 21
Belgian Singles Chart (Flanders)[32] 4
Canadian Singles Chart[33] 8
Dutch Top 40[34] 5
French Singles Chart[35] 99
German Singles Chart[36] 9
Italian Singles Chart[37] 14
Irish Singles Chart[38] 20
New Zealand Singles Chart[31] 8
Swiss Singles Chart[31] 8
UK Singles Chart[39] 19
US Billboard Hot 100[40] 3
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs[40] 1
US Hot Dance Club Songs[40] 2

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Britney Spears - Nasty Live From Baby One More Time Tour
  3. ^ Ritz, David (1993-09-16). Sexual healing (665). Rolling Stone. p. 38. ISSN 0035-791X. 
  4. ^ "The 411/Missy Elliott". The 411 Online. August 18, 1999. Retrieved March 15, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Missy Elliott To Team Up With Janet Jackson, 'N Sync". MTV News. MTV Networks. August 20, 1999. Retrieved March 15, 2013. 
  6. ^ Johnson, Richard. "More Trouble Dogs Ted 'Galpal'." New York Post. May 28, 2000. Print.
  7. ^ Whaley, Natelege. "10 Best Grammy Performances". The Boombox. AOL. Retrieved June 29, 2014. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ Arnold, Chuck (February 1, 1994). "She's Just Actin' Jackson". Philadelphia Media Network. Retrieved July 5, . 2014. 
  10. ^ Daly, Sean (July 10, 1998). "Live Report: Janet Jackson kicks off 1998 Velvet Rope tour". Rolling Stone (Jann Wenner). Retrieved June 5, 2014. 
  11. ^ The Velvet Rope Tour – Live in Concert (Laserdisc, VHS, DVD). Janet Jackson. Eagle Rock Entertainment. 1999. 
  12. ^ Shppard, Denise (July 10, 2001). "Ms. Janet Jackson Gets Nasty". Rolling Stone (Jann Wenner). Retrieved June 5, 2014. 
  13. ^ Janet: Live in Hawaii (VHS, DVD). Janet Jackson. Eagle Rock Entertainment. 2002. 
  14. ^ "Janet performing at the NRJ Back to School concert in France". Brown Sista. September 10, 2006. Retrieved August 16, 2014. 
  15. ^ "In Control". Retrieved August 16, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Janet Jackson Performs On ‘Today’". Popdirt. October 1, 2006. Retrieved August 3, 2014. 
  17. ^
  18. ^ "Janet Jackson wows American Idol final in clinging jumpsuit as she shows off her new slimline figure - Mail Online". Daily Mail. May 28, 2010. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  19. ^ Shriver, Jerry (July 3, 2010). "Janet Jackson jumps back in at Essence Music Festival". USA Today (Gannett Company). Retrieved June 16, 2014. 
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ Drusilla Moorhouse (2012-12-14). 'Psych': 'Nasty Boys' Shawn and Gus are back in new Season 7 promo. Zap2It. Retrieved 2013-01-27. 
  23. ^ "Nasty" - Live at "Baby One More Time Tour"
  24. ^ Browne, David (2001-11-12). "Britney (2001)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2011-02-11. 
  25. ^ Vineyard, Jennifer (2007-10-12). "Britney Spears' New Album, Blackout: A Track-By-Track Report". MTV. MTV Networks. Retrieved 2010-02-06. 
  26. ^ "Week 1 - Break the Ice History -". 2010-03-12. Retrieved 2013-08-06. 
  27. ^ "Britney Spears debuts "Ooh La La" music video". MSN Music. July 11, 2013. Retrieved July 15, 2013. 
  28. ^ Bootie Cosgrove-Mather (2003-06-10). VH1's 100 Greatest Songs. CBS. Retrieved 2011-04-16 
  29. ^
  30. ^ Kent, David (2003). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  31. ^ a b c "Janet Jackson – Nasty –". Retrieved February 22, 2009. 
  32. ^ "Janet in Belgium". MJJ Charts. Retrieved February 22, 2009. 
  33. ^ "RPM weekly magazine". RPM. Retrieved February 22, 2009. 
  34. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 33–1986". Radio 538 (in Dutch). Top 40. Retrieved February 22, 2009. 
  35. ^ "Janet in France". MJJ Charts. Retrieved February 22, 2009. 
  36. ^ " – Chartverfolgung – Janet Jackson – Nasty". Media Control (in German). Retrieved February 22, 2009. 
  37. ^ "Italian Charts". IFPI. Retrieved February 22, 2009. 
  38. ^ "The Irish Charts". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved February 22, 2009. 
  39. ^ "Chart Stats – Janet Jackson – Nasty". The Official Charts Company. Chart Stats. Archived from the original on July 10, 2013. Retrieved February 22, 2009. 
  40. ^ a b c "Janet Jackson > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Retrieved February 22, 2009.