“Straight Up” is a 1988-1989 hit single by American singer Paula Abdul, which reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and brought her widespread public attention. It was written and produced by Elliot Wolff.
“Straight Up” was the third single released from her debut album Forever Your Girl, after “Knocked Out” and “The Way That You Love Me.” While the latter was enjoying success on the R&B charts, radio station KMEL in San Francisco started playing “Straight Up” from the album. The label decided to abandon “The Way That You Love Me” and refocus its attention on “Straight Up”. The strategy paid off, as “Straight Up” was followed by three more number-one hits from the same album.
One of the 12″ versions was remixed by LA “Powermixers” Chris Modig and Boris Granich, known for their special Power mixes at Power 106 during the 1980s.
The record spent three weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart from February 11, 1989 and was ranked fourth in the Top 100 hits of 1989. It was certified Platinum by the RIAA with sales of more than one million units. It reached number three in the UK and Germany.
After debuting at number 79 on the chart the week of December 3, 1988, the song became so popular that it ascended to the Hot 100 top 20 before a music video had even been shot for the song. The black and white video, directed by David Fincher and choreographed by Paula herself in mid-January 1989, won four 1989 MTV Video Music Awards for Best Female Video, Best Editing, Best Choreography, and the first Best Dance Video. The video features a special appearance by Paula’s friend, comedian Arsenio Hall, whose popular talk show had premiered a few weeks prior to the video shoot. Djimon Hounsou also made a special appearance. Released in February 1989, the video at the time went into very heavy rotation on MTV, and it also made Abdul known for her exceptionally creative and distinct videos.