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#ThrowbackThursday: “Opposites Attract” by Paula Abdul

Paula Abdul “Opposites Attract” Virgin Records

by Sean Smith

This past Tuesday Paula Abdul showed up on the Late Late Show and put on quite the performance with the help of host James Corden. The two teamed up to recreate Abdul’s classic music video for “Opposites Attract”.

Paula Abdul dawned a 1980s-esque white jumpsuit for the performance, while James Corden was adorned in a cat suit, complete with whiskers and tail, playing the role of the cartoon feline MC Skat Cat. The duo recreated many of the memorable scenes from the classic Abdul video while lip synching their way through the track. It was quite the impressive performance and you should definitely check out the video below. But in the meantime, let’s take a moment to remember the original release of Paula Abdul’s “Opposites Attract”.

In October of 1988 Paula Abdul released her debut album Forever Your Girl. While the first two singles released from the record, “Knocked Out” and “The Way That You Love Me”, performed decently well on the charts. the third single “Straight Up” sent sales of the album and Abdul’s star soaring. “Straight Up” was the singer’s first number one single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, but it would be far from her last. The fourth and fifth singles from Forever Your Girl, the title track “Forever Your Girl” and “Cold Hearted”, also reached the top spot on the Hot 100. The popularity of these three singles would ultimately push the album Forever Your Girl to the top of the Billboard 200 album chart some 64 weeks after the album’s initial release.

The sixth and final single to be released off of Forever Your Girl was “Opposites Attract”. This song, like the three singles prior, would also reach the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100. While the track would ultimately end up as a duet between Paula Abdul and a duo of male singers known as The Wild Pair, it was not originally intended be sung that way. Oliver Leiber initially wrote “Opposites Attract” to be sung from only one person’s perspective. In other words, the lines would have been sung in a “I like this, but you like that” fashion rather than the back and forth two person back and forth that we have become so fond of to this day. The idea to add The Wild Pair on the song was ultimately Leiber’s, as he had been working with the duo and thought that their funky and soulful sound would add something to the record.

As for the song’s now iconic video, the inspiration for Paula Abdul to dance with a cartoon cat named MC Skat Cat was actually born out of the Gene Kelly film Anchors Aweigh. In that film Kelly dances with an animated rodent named Jerry Mouse, of Tom & Jerry cartoon fame. Paula Abdul choreographed the dancing of MC Skat Cat and the animation was done by some animators who worked for Disney. The video won Paula Abdul a Grammy Award for “Best Short Form Music Video” in 1991.

So in light of Paula Abdul and James Corden teaming up to recreate the video earlier this week, we take a moment to remember the 1989 single “Opposites Attract” by Paula Abdul. Enjoy.

Paula Abdul Featuring The Wild Pair 

“Opposites Attract”

From Forever Your Girl 

Virgin Records

Paula Abdul Featuring James Corden 

“Opposites Attract” (Remake)

From The Late Late Show With James Corden 

CBS

Related Media 

Paula Abdul 

“Straight Up”

From Forever Your Girl 

Virgin Records

 

Paula Abdul 

“Forever Your Girl”

From Forever Your Girl 

Virgin Records

Paula Abdul 

“Cold Hearted”

From Forever Your Girl 

Virgin Records