expired 1991

5

On this day in music history: May 15, 1993 - “That’s The Way Love Goes” by Janet Jackson hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 8 weeks, also topping the R&B singles chart for 4 weeks on May 8, 1993, and topping the Club Play chart for 1 week on June 26, 1993. Written by Janet Jackson, James Harris III, and Terry Lewis, it is the sixth pop and ninth R&B chart topper for the youngest member of the Jackson musical family. After almost ten years recording for A&M Records, which produce four albums including the multi-platinum selling “Control” and “Rhythm Nation 1814”, Janet Jackson’s contract with the label expires in 1991. During that time she is approached by Virgin Records founder Richard Branson offers her a deal she is unable to refuse. Jackson signs a deal with the label estimated to be worth between $32 - 50 million. At the time it makes her the highest paid artist in the history of the music industry (until her brother Michael signs a new deal with Sony for $65 million one week later). With the deal signed, Janet returns to work with her longtime collaborators, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. One of the first things the duo give the singer is a demo tape for the track that becomes “That’s The Way Love Goes”. Based around a sample of James Brown’s classic “Papa Don’t Take No Mess”, at first Janet isn’t particularly enthused by it. But by the time she returns to Minneapolis after Christmas in January of 1993, she has a dramatic change of mind about it. She also comes up with idea of writing the lyrics with a more sultry tone, rather than the original theme of love gone wrong. Once they submit the album, Virgin is initially hesitant to release the laid back, down tempo track as the first single, preferring the song “If”. However, Jackson is adamant that “That’s The Way” be released first, and they comply with her wishes. Issued on April 12, 1993, the single is an immediate smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #14 on May 1, 1993, it rockets to the top of the chart two weeks later, becoming her most successful single ever. The single also wins a Grammy Award for Best R&B Song in 1994. “That’s The Way Love Goes” is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

So a couple days ago I was feeling the need to curl up in my room with tea and never leave, and this is a reasonable proposition when you have an electric kettle in your room but less so when there is no interesting tea.

I looked through the pantry in preparation for my ensconcement, and dug a little deeper towards the back than usual because all that’s left at the front is “herbal slimmers” which are invariably both disgusting and a menace to the inner ear. I came upon this pleasant box, in a flavor I’d not encountered before:

How lovely. The teabags looked fine, no interference from our occasional mothy pantry menaces:

It even had a little poem on the back:

Charming. Nice job, T. Harrison Robertson; you have too many “son”s in your name, and it’s not the highest art I’ve heard, but it’s lovely. But then something further down caught my eye:

That’s right. We’ve apparently had this tea for 25 years. It expired in July of 1991. I was yet four years old. We lived in Massachusetts. This tea has come with us on two long cross-country moves, and one shorter (but no less grueling) one. This tea predates the Linux kernel by a month. It predates a boy I’ve somewhat slept with by three months. This tea was in our pantry in Massachusetts, degrading slowly over time, before some of you were twinkles in your parents’ eyes.

I am probably going to drink some.