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Paula Abdul

In the wake of Madonna's success, many dance-pop divas filled the charts, but out of them all, Paula Abdul was the only one who sustained a career. The former L.A. Lakers cheerleader and choreographer scored her first hit in 1989, when "Straight Up" shot to Billboard's number one spot, becoming the first of four U.S. chart-toppers from her 1988 debut, Forever Your Girl; the others were "Forever Your Girl," "Cold Hearted," and "Opposites Attract," each earning a gold certification from the RIAA. This success laid the groundwork for her second act as a judge on American Idol, the televised singing competition that began in 2002 and kept Abdul in the spotlight throughout the decade. Abdul began to make inroads in pop music when she was hired as an assistant dance director on the Jacksons' Victory tour, which led to a job choreographing Janet Jackson's videos for Control. Abdul's work on Jackson's videos helped make the album a hit, making her a sought-after choreographer. After working on The Tracy Ullman Show and videos for ZZ Top, Duran Duran, and the Pointer Sisters, Abdul began a recording career, releasing her debut album, Forever Your Girl, in 1988. The first two singles drawn from the record -- "Knocked Out" and "The Way That You Love Me" -- didn't crack the Top 40, but the release of "Straight Up" at the end of the year made her a superstar. Staying at the top of the charts for three weeks, "Straight Up" began a string of six number one singles (with "The Way That You Love Me" re-charting at number three in 1989) that ran through the summer of 1991. The last two of those singles, "Rush Rush" and "The Promise of a New Day," both came from her second album, Spellbound (a remix collection called Shut Up and Dance bridged the gap between the two albums in 1990). Released in the summer of 1991, Spellbound wound up going triple platinum and it racked up three additional hits: "Blowing Kisses in the Wind," which peaked at number six, "Vibeology," and "Will You Marry Me?" After a three-year hiatus, Abdul released her third album, Head Over Heels, in the summer of 1995. Although it wound up going gold, its only Top 40 hit was "My Love Is for Real," and Abdul quietly retreated from singing, working in television and film; notably, she choreographed the cheerleading sequences in Sam Mendes' Acadamy Award-winning 1999 film, American Beauty. Abdul returned to music in 2000 as the co-author of "Spinning Around," a hit for Kylie Minogue. Debuting at the top of the charts in Australia and the U.K., the single effectively relaunched Minogue's career. Abdul returned to the spotlight in 2002, when she became one of the three judges on American Idol. Cast as the voice of positivity next to the sour Simon Cowell and straight shooter Randy Jackson, Abdul's popularity surged. Apart from a hits collection called Greatest Hits: Straight Up!, an appearance on the Randy Jackson single "Dance Like There's No Tomorrow" in 2008, and her 2009 solo single "I'm Just Here for the Music," Abdul didn't release a full-length album during this decade. She left American Idol in 2009 but she didn't leave reality TV behind. In 2011, she was a mentor and coach on CBS' show Live to Dance and also reteamed with Cowell for a season of the American version of The X-Factor. Next up was a slot as a judge on an All-Star Dancing with the Stars and, in 2013, she moved over to So You Think You Can Dance, which was the gateway to appearing on the Australian version of that show later that year. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Stations Featuring
Paula Abdul

    Awesome '80s

    Awesome '80s
    6 songs

    Classic Hits

    Classic Hits
    2 songs

    Lite Hits

    Lite Hits
    1 song

    '90s Pop

    '90s Pop
    1 song

    Love Songs

    1 song

    Shuffle Hits

    1 song

    Gay Anthems

    1 song

Albums by
Paula Abdul

Top Songs by
Paula Abdul

  1.   Song
  2.   Straight Up
  3.   Cold Hearted
  4.   Opposites Attract
  5.   Forever Your Girl
  6.   Rush, Rush
  7.   The Way That You Love Me
  8.   Knocked Out
  9.   The Promise of a New Day
  10.   Blowing Kisses in the Wind
  11.   1990 Medley Mix: Straight Up/Knocked Out/Opposites Attract/Forever Your by Wild Pair
  12.   Vibeology
  13.   I Need You
  14.   So In Love
  15.   Go Away Little Girl
  16.   Daydream
  17.   Spellbound
  18.   That Same Old Feeling
  19.   Ruby Tuesday
  20.   Megamix Medley
  21.   Crazy Fool
  22.   One Day At A Time
  23.   Love Don't Come Easy
  24.   Michelle
  25.   Something Here In My Heart (Keeps A-Tellin' Me No)
  26.   Love Is Blue
  27.   Dance Like There's No Tomorrow
  28.   Crazy Love
  29.   State of Attraction
  30.   U
  31.   Rock House
  32.   Missing You
  33.   The Choice Is Yours
  34.   Crazy Cool
  35.   Suddenly You Love Me
  36.   Cast Your Fate To The Wind
  37.   Aria
  38.   Oh L'Amour
  39.   What Have They Done To My Song Ma
  40.   Purely By Coincidence
  41.   Where Did Our Love Go
  42.   Sad Sweet Dreamer
  43.   Already Tonight
  44.   Zip a Dee Doo Dah
  45.   Medley Mix (1990)
  46.   Way That You Love Me, The (Houseafire Edit)
  47.   Knocked Out (Pettibone 12")
  48.   Cold Hearted (Quiverin' 12")
  49.   On or the Other
  50.   [Untitled Track]
  51.   Star Spangled Banner
  52.   For He's a Jolly Good Fellow
  53.   Auld Lang Syne
  54.   America the Beautiful
  55.   Amazing Grace
  56.   Didn't I Say I Love You
  57.   [Untitled Track]
  58.   Good Night, My Love (Pleasant Dreams)
  59.   Oh Sheila
  60.   One or the Other
  61.   Will You Marry Me
  62.   My Foolish Heart
  63.   It's All About Feeling Good
  64.   Under the Influence
  65.   Ho-Down
  66.   Sexy Thoughts
  67.   My Love Is For Real
  68.   Ain't Never Gonna Give You Up
  69.   Straight up - Paula Abdul
  70.   If I Were Your Girl
  71.   I'm Just Here For the Music
  72.   Four Lessons: Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced
  73.   Bend Time Back Around
  74.   Next to You
  75.   Alright Tonight
  76.   Cry For Me
  77.   To You
  78.   Opposites Attract by The Wild Bunch
  79.   Ron's Introduction
  80.   Bend Time Back 'Round
  81.   Get Your Groove On
  82.   I Never Knew It
  83.   Female Lessons
  84.   Gary's Introduction
  85.   Funny How Love Can Be
  86.   Male Lessons
  87.   Paula & Randy's Introduction
  88.   Ben Time Back 'Round