Straight Up by Paula Abdul Release Date: What You Need to Know!

The single “Straight Up” by Paula Abdul was released on November 22, 1988, and quickly climbed to the top of the Billboard Hot 100. The success of “Straight Up,” the album's third single, helped “Forever Your Girl” become a multi-platinum success, selling 12 million copies worldwide and spending 10 weeks at No. 1. Abdul was nominated for a Grammy in 1989 for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for “Straight Up.”

Released: 1988
Artist: Paula Abdul
Forever Your Girl
Funk, Disco, Reggae
MTV Video Music Award for Best Editing, MORE
MTV Video Music Award for Best Editing, MORE

Who is Paula Abdul?

Abdul, who was born on June 19, 1962, in San Fernando, California, was first motivated to pursue dance after seeing Gene Kelly in “Singin' in the Rain.” When she was 18 and a college freshman, she finally got the chance to dance professionally.

paula abdul straight up release date

Abdul was chosen from a pool of 700 hopefuls to join the Los Angeles Lakers cheerleading squad. One year later, due to her obvious aptitude, she was promoted to the role of head choreographer.

As a result of her success choreographing music videos for the Lakers cheerleaders in the 1980s, Abdul was approached by a who's who of popular music to work with artists including ZZ Top, Duran Duran, George Michael, The Jacksons, and Janet Jackson.

Abdul says that her favorite choreography is what she performed for Janet Jackson's “Nasty” (1984) and “When I Think Of You” (1986) music videos.

Paula Abdul's Rise to stardom

In 1988, with the release of “Forever Your Girl,” Abdul debuted as a solo artist. Her breakthrough hit “Straight Up” was driven by her audience's identification with its anxious lyrical content. In a memorable refrain, the singer asks, “Straight up, now tell me/Do you really want to love me forever/Or am I caught in a hit and run?” There is perhaps a no better method to get someone to clarify their relationship status than to ask, “…or are we just havin' fun?” when you've been getting conflicting signals from them.

paula abdul straight up release date

Hit singles including “Knocked Out,” “The Way That You Love Me,” “Forever Your Girl,” “Cold Hearted,” and “Opposites Attract” were also produced for the album. Abdul lost the Best Female Pop Vocal Performance award to Bonnie Raitt in 1989, but she did win a Grammy in 1990 for the music video for “Opposites Attract.”

Soon after selling over 30 million records from his last two albums, Abdul took a break from the music industry in the year 2000. Two years later, though, she was back in the spotlight alongside Randy Jackson and Simon Cowell on “American Idol.” She became a fast hit among viewers thanks to her upbeat attitude and genuine interest in the show's musical competitors. Since her departure from “American Idol” in 2009, she has served as a judge on “The X Factor” for a single season (2011) and on the Australian edition of “So You Think You Can Dance” in 2014.

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No matter where her career takes her in the future, Abdul will always be our go-to for a little extra motivation to get our groove on.

Paula Abdul's American Idol

Abdul began working on “American Idol,” a Fox singing competition show, as one of three judges in 2002. In contrast to her fellow judge Simon Cowell's aggressive demeanor, she was applauded for her sensitive and compassionate approach as a mentor and judge. Dramatic and furious on-air discussions ensued due to their contrasting presentation styles. Paula had a dual role on “American Idol” and “Entertainment Tonight,” where she covered the show's auditions.

For Abdul, it took 13 years before he returned to the charts with the single “Dance Like There's No Tomorrow,” released in 2008.


In July 2009, after eight seasons on “American Idol,” Paula left the show because of disagreements with the producers over her income. In addition to her $5 million annual salary, she reportedly wanted as much as $20 million to come back for another season. A new host, Ellen Degeneres, has taken her position.

Paula Abdul Straight Up