Today in Madonna History: April 20, 1992

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On April 20 1992, Madonna signed a $60 million, seven-year contract with Time Warner Inc. as a joint venture to form a new multi-media entertainment company: Maverick.

Madonna was made CEO of Maverick (her own record and music publishing company), which included TV, film, merchandising and book publishing divisions.

The contract re-negotiated and extended Madonna’s contract with Sire Records: a $5 million advance per album & a 20% royalty rate for her next seven albums. The future recordings would all be released by Maverick/Sire Records.

Today in Madonna History: April 19, 2003

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On April 19 2003, Madonna.com was hacked by some “fans” that didn’t agree with her anti-download policy.

Madonna’s official website was hacked and replaced by a page with links to download the complete American Life album as well as some remixes. The hack occurred only days after Madonna tried to combat illegal trading of songs from her American Life album, by flooding the Internet with fake MP3s.

The hacker defaced the homepage with the words, “This is what the fuck I think I’m doing” — a response to MP3s circulated to confuse file traders that included only a tape-looped message from Madonna herself saying, “What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” MP3s of every song from American Life were posted along with the hackers’ message.

Madonna.com was taken offline for an nearly fifteen hours after the hack.

Today in Madonna History: April 16, 2009

Madonna Stands Backstage With Her Back Up Singers

On April 16 2009, Niki Haris dismissed Madonna fallout rumours in Bay Windows, New England’s largest gay newspaper. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Niki, to start: why the fallout? Diva drama?

“Maybe there was some drama, but I didn’t buy into it. We were sisters for years. At the end of the day, really she is a gem and I’m so grateful. She threw my baby shower for me!” Haris gave birth to her daughter in 2003. It was shortly thereafter that Madonna launched her Re-Invention Tour, the first time she staged a show without Haris in over 15 years.

“People can talk all the crap they want, but we both knew by that last tour [Drowned World Tour, 2001],” says Haris. “I had broken my legs, learned how to walk again, how to dance again, and did that tour with really bad injuries. It was okay, but painful. Now, I was 41 and pregnant. … Of course, my ego was involved: ‘Oh, she don’t want me no more!’ But at the end of the day, she gave me the greatest gift. Because of her, I got to spend every freaking day with my kid, doing the music I love to do. I’m close to ‘the family’ still. She knows I love her and she loves me.”

Coincidentally, Madonna’s last two tours have featured similarly named singer Nicki Richards as a backing vocalist. Haris doesn’t mind.

“She can get Niki Two, if she wants to,” she chuckles.

Today in Madonna History: April 15, 1991

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On April 15 1991, Madonna and Michael Jackson were featured on the cover of People magazine as The Oddest Couple.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

It may have been just a one-night stand, but when Pop’s Billion Dollar Boy and the Queen of Steam strutted their stuff at the Oscars, they were, for one brief moment, the brightest star couple of all.

As anyone burdened with stardom knows, finding a date for the Oscars can be an enormo pain. After all, really famous folk simply can’t be seen with some sweet nobody who waves “Hi Mom” at the camera and spends the evening worrying about credit-card approval at Spago.

And so it was, when Madonna and Michael Jackson, Earth’s top pop stars, faced the who-is-famous-enough-to-be-seen-with-me quandary, they hit on the perfect solution. Since they were already planning a duet for Michael’s upcoming album, Dangerous, and since they both happened to be on all Hollywood’s collagen-enhanced lips anyway—he for his ballyhooed “billion-dollar” contract with Sony, she for her upcoming, already controversial self-ploitation film, Truth or Dare-why not date…each other?

Big dates can also become big disasters, however. So a week before the Oscars, the couple met at L.A.’s Ivy restaurant to plan and, perhaps, trade makeup tips. By Oscar night, all was ready. Michael looked positively legendary in gold-tipped cowboy boots, a blinding diamond brooch and—in a dramatic sartorial departure—two gloves. Madonna, awash in peroxide and pluck, diverted at least some of the attention from her low-cut, pearl-encrusted Bob Mackie gown with $20 million in diamonds, on loan from jeweler Harry Winston. They entered L.A.’s Shrine Auditorium and promptly collected their well-deserved Best Seat honors—front row, two on the aisle.

Today in Madonna History: April 14, 2009

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On April 14 2009, Steven Meisel was featured in Vogue magazine, and the article described him as the man that taught Madonna about re-invention.

In the article, Madonna shared some nice thoughts on Meisel:

Even Madonna agrees that there is, indeed, “a great sense of mystery” about Meisel – so much so that after all these years she feels she still doesn’t really know him very well. “I know that I love him,” she says. “You get sucked into his aura. He knows things.”

She learned this from one of their first collaborations, which was for the cover of Like A Virgin. “Before I worked with Steven,” says Madonna, “I just showed up in the clothes I was wearing, stood in front of the lights, and got my picture taken. With Steven, a team of people descended on me, started to undress me. Someone grabbed my hair, another grabbed my face, another started helping me try on various bits of clothes, and they all seemed to be speaking a language I didn’t understand – the language of Steven Meisel.”

To hear Madonna talk about working with Meisel is like being let in on a long-held secret. She goes on, “Steven had a vision. He had done his research. He had very specific references. I really respected the care that he took with his work, how seriously he approached it, but at the same time he has a great sense of irony. He made me feel like I was part of something important. He treated each photo shoot like it was a small film and insisted that we create a character each time we worked but then would make fun of the archetypes we created. He was the first person to introduce me to the idea of reinvention.”

Today in Madonna History: April 10, 1985

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On April 10 1985, Madonna’s Virgin Tour opened with 3 sold-out concerts at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle, Washington.

During a 2009 interview with Rolling Stone, interviewer Austin Scaggs asked Madonna regarding her feelings and emotions during the tour, since it was the first time she was playing in arenas. Madonna replied saying, “That whole tour was crazy, because I went from playing CBGB and the Mudd Club to playing sporting arenas,” she told the magazine. “I played a small theater in Seattle, and the girls had flap skirts on and the tights cut off below their knees and lace gloves and rosaries and bows in their hair and big hoop earrings. I was like, ‘This is insane!’ After Seattle, all of the shows were moved to arenas.”

Madonna had three shows in Seattle – April 10, 12 and 13 – and all three were sellouts by the time she took the stage that first night. The Beastie Boys opened for Madonna and they weren’t well received by the pro-Madonna crowd. The show was a year before “Licensed to Ill” was released.

Their 30-minute set got off to a bad start when one of the Beastie Boys declared himself King of the Paramount, and generally made the pro-Madonna audience feel like a swarm of hillbillies, P-I pop music critic Gene Stout wrote in his review.

“Dressed in what looked like a Boy George outfit, she looked reluctant, almost scared, and kept her eyes on the ground as she and her small entourage swept past a modest gathering of fans,” Stout wrote.

Madonna started the show with Dress You Up, followed with Holiday, and performed Borderline for the first time live as her seventh song. Madonna ended by debuting Material Girl as her encore.

Today in Madonna History: April 9, 1995

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On April 9 1995, Madonna’s Bedtime Story single peaked at number five in Australia, where it stayed in that position for three weeks. It fell out of the top ten in the fifth week, and eventually exited the charts after a total run of nine weeks, falling to 44 on its last week in the charts.

Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine praised the song, claiming that the song had unfulfilled potential and that it “could have been the next Vogue“.