Abdul’s hit single "Straight Up" released in 1988 became an instant classic, with its catchy beat and unique melody. It climbed to the top of the charts and stayed there for several weeks, earning Abdul her first Grammy Award nomination. Her debut album, Forever Your Girl, was released the same year and soon became a huge success selling over 7 million copies worldwide.
Her second album, Spellbound, released in 1991 cemented her place in music industry history. With hits like "Rush Rush," and "Promise of a New Day," her album also showcased her versatility as an artist, exploring themes of love and heartbreak through her music. The music video for "Rush Rush" features a young Keanu Reeves as the romantic lead opposite Abdul, evoking nostalgia for fans of both the music and the film industry.
Abdul's success in the music industry also opened up opportunities in television and film. She became a judge on American Idol, which aired from 2002 to 2009, and also starred in her own reality television show, Hey Paula. Her music has also been featured in countless films and television shows, including the popular dance movie “Step Up”, further cementing her legacy in pop culture.
Perhaps one of Abdul's greatest contributions to music is her groundbreaking dance choreography. Before becoming a singer, she worked as a choreographer for artists like Janet Jackson and the Jackson 5. Her dance moves have become iconic and are still emulated today by aspiring dancers.
Abdul's music career in the 1980s was defined by her infectious pop hits, catchy dance beats, and iconic music videos that were unlike anything seen at the time. She blazed a trail in the music world, breaking barriers and changing the face of pop music. Today, her music is still as popular as ever, remaining a beloved reminder of the neon-colored, big-haired, and leg-warmer-wearing era of the 1980s.