The Best Things in Life Are Free

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"The Best Things in Life Are Free"
Janet Jackson The Best Things in Life are Free.png
Cover for the 1992 release
Single by Luther Vandross & Janet Jackson with special guests Bell Biv DeVoe & Ralph Tresvant
from the album Mo' Money soundtrack' and Design of a Decade: 1986–1996 (1995 re-release)
B-side
  • DMC Megamix (10:52)
  • 1995 re-issue
ReleasedMay 12, 1992 (1992-05-12) (U.S.)
July 20, 1992 (1992-07-20) (UK)
December 6, 1995 (1995-12-06) (European/Australian re-release)
Format7" single
RecordedFebruary – March 1992
Flyte Tyme Studios
(Edina, Minnesota)
Aire L.A. Studios
(Glendale, California)
Record Plant
(Los Angeles, California)
Genre
Length4:36 (Mo' Money soundtrack w/ BBD and Ralph Tresvant)
4:04 (1995 re-issue)
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis
Luther Vandross singles chronology
"Sometimes It's Only Love"
(1992)
"The Best Things in Life Are Free"
(1992)
"Little Miracles (Happen Every Day)"
(1993)
Music video
"The Best Things in Life Are Free" on YouTube
Janet Jackson singles chronology
"State of the World"
(1991)
"The Best Things in Life Are Free"
(1992)
"That's the Way Love Goes"
(1993)
Bell Biv DeVoe singles chronology
"Word to the Mutha!"
(1991)
"The Best Things in Life Are Free"
(1992)
"Gangsta"
(1993)
Ralph Tresvant singles chronology
"Money Can't Buy You Love"
(1992)
"The Best Things in Life Are Free"
(1992)
"Who's the Mack"
(1994)

"The Best Things in Life Are Free" is a Grammy-nominated duet between American singers Luther Vandross and Janet Jackson, recorded for the Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis-produced soundtrack to the 1992 American film, Mo' Money, starring Damon Wayans. The song was composed by Jam, Lewis, as well as Michael Bivins and Ronnie DeVoe. Additionally, the song was remixed by David Morales, Frankie Knuckles, and CJ Mackintosh.

It was later included on Vandross' compilations One Night with You: The Best of Love, Volume 2 and Lovesongs, as well as Jackson's own compilations Design of a Decade: 1986–1996 and Number Ones respectively.

In 1995, the song was re-released as the second single from Jackson's aforementioned Design of a Decade: 1986–1996 compilation album, exclusively in European countries, and included new remixes by Roger Sanchez, K-Klass and MK.

Background & Composition[edit]

In March 1991, Jackson signed an unprecedented $32 million contract with Virgin Records, the largest record deal at the time, although it was quickly exceeded by her brother Michael and his label, Epic Records.[1] Prior to her first release with Virgin, Jackson was asked by Jam and Lewis to record a song for the sound track to the feature film Mo' Money, released in 1992 by their label Perspective Records. Jon Bream of the Star Tribune reported: "For most movie soundtracks, producers negotiate with record companies, managers and lawyers for the services of big-name singers. Like the Hollywood outsiders that they are, Edina-based Jam and Lewis went directly to such stars as Janet Jackson, Luther Vandross, Bell Biv DeVoe, Color Me Badd and Johnny Gill."[2] It was the first all-new song Jackson recorded at the new location of Flyte Tyme Studios in Edina, MN, which was completed 2 months after wrapping up recording on her fourth studio album Rhythm Nation 1814 in May 1989 at the original Minneapolis studio.[3] She had done re-recordings and remixes there from 1989 to 1991.

"The Best Things in Life Are Free" is an R&B, dance-pop and house song with a "steady beat."[4] It is written in the key of F#m and their vocal ranges span from the low-note of F#3 to C#6.[4] The song is set in the signature of common time and has a moderate tempo of 120 pulsations per minute.[4] It follows the basic chord progression of B7m—C#7m—F#7.[4]

Critical reception[edit]

Billboard wrote about the song: "First peek into the hotly anticipated soundtrack to the film "Mo' Money" is a glittery, star-studded pop/jack affair. Vandross and Jackson vocally swerve and weave around each other like they've been singing together for years. Added flavor comes from guest raps by Bell Biv DeVoe and Tresvant. The true kudos, however, go to the masterful Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, who have crafted a slammin' track that would work no matter what."[5]

In the United Kingdom the song was released in August 1992 and peaked at #2 in the UK Singles Chart, spending 13 weeks in the chart. It became Jackson's first top ten hit in the UK since "Let's Wait Awhile" reached #3 in 1987. The song was remixed in 1995 and re-released, reaching #7. It was the remixed version that was included on international releases of Janet's compilation album Design of a Decade: 1986–1996.

It spent 5 consecutive weeks at #2 on the Australian Singles Chart, spending 18 weeks on the chart, And charting at #6 On the Year ends chart.[6]

Chart performance[edit]

In the United States, "The Best Things in Life Are Free" debuted at number 24 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 the week of May 30, 1992.[7] Three weeks later, the song peaked at number 10 for three consecutive weeks and ended at number 41 on the year-end chart.[8][9][10][11] The song also peaked at number one on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.[10][12]

In the United Kingdom the song was released in August 1992 and peaked at #2 in the UK Singles Chart, spending 13 weeks in the chart. It became Jackson's first top ten hit in the UK since "Let's Wait Awhile" reached #3 in 1987. The song was remixed in 1995 and re-released, reaching #7. It was the remixed version that was included on international releases of Janet's compilation album Design of a Decade: 1986–1996.

It spent 5 consecutive weeks at #2 on the Australian Singles Chart, spending 18 weeks on the chart, And charting at #6 On the Year ends chart.[13]

Music video[edit]

A music video was made for the song, although neither Vandross nor Jackson appear in it. Instead, the video features Mo' Money's stars Damon Wayans and Stacey Dash, at a carnival, lip-synching to the song; Damon's brother Marlon Wayans, who also appears in Mo' Money, has a cameo appearance in the video.

Also included on the track is Michael Bivins and Ronnie DeVoe of Bell Biv DeVoe. Ralph Tresvant also has a very brief spoken line. He appears solo on the song "Money Can't Buy You Love" from the soundtrack.

Track listings[edit]

Charts[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Fred Bronson 2003, p. 817
  2. ^ Jon Bream (1992-06-21), "On the Fast Track // Edina-based Producers Skip Hollywood Protocol in Lining Up Stars, Recording Movie's Soundtrack", Star Tribune, p. 01.F, ISSN 0895-2825
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 26, 2013. Retrieved November 30, 2011.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ a b c d Janet Jackson - The Best Things in Life Are Free Sheet Music (Digital Download). Musicnotes.com.
  5. ^ "Billboard: Single Reviews" (PDF). Billboard magazine. Retrieved 2018-01-25.
  6. ^ "ARIA Charts - End of Year Charts - Top 50 Singles 1992". Aria.com.au. Retrieved 2016-06-26.
  7. ^ "The Billboard Hot 100: Week Ending of May 30, 1992". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved 2012-05-13.
  8. ^ DeKnock, Jan (1992-06-12). "Kris Kross `Jumps' to new record". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2012-05-13.
  9. ^ DeKnock, Jan (1992-06-26). "Chart action slows as summer arrives". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2012-05-13.
  10. ^ a b c d "The Best Things in Life Are Free - Luther Vandross". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved 2012-04-04.
  11. ^ a b "Top Pop Singles 1992". Billboard. Nielsen Media Business, Inc. Retrieved 2012-04-02.
  12. ^ Joel Whitburn 2004, p. 811
  13. ^ "ARIA Charts - End of Year Charts - Top 50 Singles 1992". Aria.com.au. Retrieved 2016-06-26.
  14. ^ https://www.discogs.com/Luther-Vandross-And-Janet-Jackson-With-Special-Guests-BBD-Ralph-Tresvant-The-Best-Things-In-Life-Are/release/174496
  15. ^ https://www.discogs.com/Luther-Vandross-Janet-Jackson-With-Special-Guests-BBD-Ralph-Tresvant-The-Best-Things-In-Life-Are-Fre/release/2117581
  16. ^ https://www.discogs.com/Luther-Vandross-Janet-Jackson-The-Best-Things-In-Life-Are-Free/release/92977
  17. ^ https://www.discogs.com/Luther-Vandross-Janet-Jackson-The-Best-Things-In-Life-Are-Free/release/3988545
  18. ^ https://www.discogs.com/Luther-Vandross-Janet-Jackson-The-Best-Things-In-Life-Are-Free/release/3988545
  19. ^ "Luther Vandross and Janet Jackson - The Best Things in Life Are Free (song)". australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2012-04-04.
  20. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 56, No. 4, July 25, 1992". RPM. Archived from the original on January 17, 2016. Retrieved 2012-04-04.
  21. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 32 – 1992". Radio 538 (in Dutch). Top 40. Retrieved 2012-04-04.
  22. ^ "Hits of the World". Billboard. 1992-11-28. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 2012-04-04.
  23. ^ "The Irish Charts - All there is to know". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved 2012-04-04.
  24. ^ "Luther Vandross and Janet Jackson - The Best Things in Life Are Free (song)". Sverigetopplistan. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2012-04-04.
  25. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  26. ^ "South African Divas Singles". Geo Cities. Retrieved April 11, 2019.
  27. ^ "Luther Vandross and Janet Jackson - The Best Things in Life Are Free (song)". Sverigetopplistan. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2012-04-04.
  28. ^ "Luther Vandross and Janet Jackson - The Best Things in Life Are Free (song)". Sverigetopplistan. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2012-04-04.
  29. ^ "Chart Stats – Janet Jackson – That's The Way Love Goes". The Official Charts Company. Chart Stats. Retrieved 2012-04-04.
  30. ^ "ARIA Charts - End Of Year Charts - Top 50 Singles 1992". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 2012-04-02.
  31. ^ "End of Year Charts 1992". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
  32. ^ Christopher Dean (2011-04-07). "Australian Fun Countdowns: Accreditation Awards". Australianfuncountdowns.blogspot.com.au. Retrieved 2016-06-26.
  33. ^ "BPI Certified Awards". British Phonographic Industry. Archived from the original on 2009-09-24. Retrieved 2012-04-02.

References[edit]

  • Bronson, Fred (2003), The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits, Billboard Books, ISBN 0823076776
  • Dyson, Michael Eric (1993), Reflecting Black: African-American Cultural Criticism, University of Minnesota Press, ISBN 0816621411
  • Whitburn, Joel (2004), Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942–2004, Record Research Inc., ISBN 0898201608

External links[edit]