Today In Madonna History: October 25, 1994

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On October 25 1994, Madonna’s sixth studio album, “Bedtime Stories” was released by Maverick Records. The album was produced by Madonna with co-producers Nellee Hooper, Dave Hall, Dallas Austin and Babyface.

When the self-orchestrated media onslaught that accompanied the release of her previous album “Erotica” largely overshadowed the brilliant work it contained, Madonna took a decidedly subdued approach when it came to promoting “Bedtime Stories.” Interviews conducted for its release were mostly in print with a greater emphasis being placed on music – it seemed as though Madonna had little patience at the time for interviewers who insisted on turning her private life into headlines. 

Both a sense of defiance and a hint of impatience with society’s intolerance to her boundary-pushing provocations carried over into the work itself, most notably with album opener, “Survival” and the sardonically biting “Human Nature.” But such sentiments were balanced with songs that were perhaps more personal and more poetic than she had offered on previous albums, with the possible exception of “Like A Prayer”. Feelings of longing, loneliness and loss – along with early glimpses into spiritual rediscovery – are at the emotional heart of the record, with songs like “Love Tried To Welcome Me” and “Sanctuary” containing some of her most ambitiously inspired lyrics, expanding on written works by George Herbert, Carson McCullers and Walt Whitman. 

Perhaps the album’s most notable triumph is for Madonna as record producer, as she successfully manages to design an overarching flow that seamlessly bridges the styles of her various collaborators and co-producers. Indeed, “Bedtime Stories” is a body of work that is much more successful as a whole than it is broken down into individual tracks, which may explain why it is frequently overlooked in comparison to her more singles-driven albums of the previous decade. Even the record’s mega-hit, “Take A Bow” hasn’t maintained the traction in the realm of public consciousness that some of her earlier and later hits have managed to do. But when played from start to finish, “Bedtime Stories” remains surprisingly relevant through its subtleties and nuances – aptly demonstrating that even for Madonna, sometimes less is more.

“So here’s my question –
Does your criticism have you caught up
In what you cannot see?”

Today in Madonna History: October 24, 1987

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On October 24 1987, “Causing A Commotion” climbed to its peak position of number-two in the U.S. on the Billboard Hot 100. It remained in the runner-up spot for three weeks, with Michael Jackson’s “Bad” blocking it from the top for the first two weeks and Tiffany’s “I Think We’re Alone Now” overtaking it on the third.

The song was the second and final Madonna single from the Who’s That Girl soundtrack in North America, while some international markets were treated to a third single – the underrated ballad “The Look Of Love.”

Today in Madonna History: October 22, 1990

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On October 22 1990, Madonna was featured in a public service announcement on MTV’s “Rock The Vote” in which she was wrapped in the US flag and urged young people to register and vote; the ad caused a controversy with US Veterans of Foreign Wars who were enraged by Madonna’s provocative use of the American flag and said that it bordered on desecration.

Today in Madonna History: October 21, 1992

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On October 21 1992, Madonna’s “Sex” book was released by Warner Books, Maverick and Callaway Books.

The 128-page coffee table book of erotica and sexual fantasies was written by Madonna, with photographs taken by Steven Meisel and film frames shot by Fabien Baron.  The book was edited by Glenn O’Brien.

The spiral-bound, metal-covered book was wrapped in a silver mylar bag and included a copy of the “Erotic” CD single (an exclusive version of the “Erotica” song).  The package also included an 8-page comic book and it was priced at $49.95 US.

How old were you when you first bought or read through Madonna’s “Sex” book?

Today in Madonna History: October 20, 1992

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On October 20 1992, Madonna’s fifth studio album, “Erotica” was released by Maverick Records.

Music critic Sal Cinquemani commented on the album’s impact:

By 1992, Madonna was an icon—untouchable, literally and figuratively—and Erotica was the first time the artist’s music took on a decidedly combative, even threatening tone, and most people didn’t want to hear it. Erotica’s irrefutable unsexiness probably says more about the sex=death mentality of the early ’90s than any other musical document of its time. This is not Madonna at her creative zenith. This is Madonna at her most important, at her most relevant. No one else in the mainstream at that time dared to talk about sex, love, and death with such frankness and fearlessness.