Some things are worth the wait. On Oct. 7, 1989, Paula Abdul‘s debut album, Forever Your Girl, made music history when it completed the slowest climb to No. 1 on the Billboard 200.
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By the end of 1989, Abdul, then 27, was inescapable on the charts and on the radio. The former Laker Girl dominated the Billboard Hot 100 that year with three No. 1 singles from the album: “Straight Up,” the title track and “Cold Hearted.”
But though the album spent most of the year in the top 10 of the Billboard 200, it didn’t hit No. 1 until its 64th week — a record that still stands today.
Forever Your Girl would ultimately spend 10 nonconsecutive weeks at No. 1 and go on to sell 7 million albums in the United States, according to the RIAA. The album would tally a fourth No. 1 on the Hot 100 in 1990: “Opposites Attract,” with The Wild Pair, and contained another hit in the No. 3-peaking “(It’s Just) The Way That You Love Me,” making Girl one of the few albums to generate five top 10 Hot 100 hits.
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The album’s success would be momentarily tarnished in 1991, when backup singer Yvette Marine filed a lawsuit, alleging she had shared lead vocals on some of the songs (she ultimately lost the suit). In 1995, Abdul told Billboard the experience “hit like a brick,” adding, “That is my lead vocal on every single song.”
Following Forever Your Girl, the Grammy and Emmy winner released two more albums and, in 2002, became a TV star as a judge on the first eight seasons of American Idol.