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