Alongside his longtime partner Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis has produced and written some of the biggest songs in music history. Lewis was born November 25, 1956 in Omaha, Neb.
Lewis met Jimmy Jam in Minneapolis after the pair were enrolled in an Upward Bound program during high school. The two formed the group Flyte Time, which launched the career of band members Cynthia Johnson and Alexander O’Neal, later becoming The Time in 1981 when Morris Day joined the group. The Time went on to become Prince’s opening act on tour.
A stroke of bad luck ended up turning into good fortune for Jam and Lewis. Prince fired them from touring duties after they missed a date due to a snowstorm after taking a break to produce a track for The SOS Band. That song, “Just Be Good To Me” was a huge hit and jumpstarted a long run of other jams.
From the ‘80s and onward, Jam and Lewis crafted hit after hit, especially with Janet Jackson and her albums “Control,” “Rhythm Nation 1814,” and “Janet” – each spawning several high-charting singles. During this time, the pair also worked with New Edition, Ralph Tresvant, Johnny Gill, The Human League, Cherrelle, the aforementioned O’Neal and many others. In all, Jam and Lewis have produced 41 top 10 hits and have the most number one hits out of any songwriting and production team.
They don’t intent to slow down either, as Jam and Lewis are back in the studio with the aforementioned Day and are working on a project with Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds.
Terry Lewis turns 63 today.