Today in Madonna History: September 27, 1994

secret photosessions outtake 2 Secret Outtake 550

On September 27 1994, “Secret” was released as the lead single from Bedtime Stories. Initially credited to Madonna & Dallas Austin upon its release, Shep Pettibone was later given a co-writing credit due to his involvement in the creation of an early demo version of the track entitled “Something Coming Over Me.” The demo – which has been described by the few who have heard it as having a club anthem vibe without the R&B overtones of the Austin version – was submitted by Pettibone to the Library Of Congress for copyright registration but has yet to leak. The released version was produced by Madonna & Dallas Austin, and is the only song on the album to feature Austin’s untouched production work. Austin’s other contributions to the album were either reworked with new production ( “Survival” ) or remixed ( “Sanctuary” ) by Nellee Hooper or Daniel Abraham ( “Don’t Stop” )‏.

To promote the release of “Secret,” Madonna made her virgin attempt at reaching out to fans and potential listeners via the burgeoning world wide web with a playful audio teaser:

“Hello all you cyberheads! Welcome to the 90’s version of intimacy…you can hear me, you can even see me, but you can’t touch me! Do you recognize my voice? It’s Madonna. Often imitated but never duplicated. Or should I say – often irritated? If you feel like it, you can download the sound file of my new single “Secret” from my new album Bedtime Stories which comes out next month. I just shot the video in New York and will be premiering an exclusive sample of it online, so check back soon. In the meantime, why don’t you post me a message and let me know what you think of my new song. And by the way, don’t believe any of those online imposters pretending to be me…ain’t nothing like the real thing! Peace out.”

While the North American single used only the instrumental version of “Secret” on its flip-side, many other markets, including European territories, were treated to an unreleased outtake from the Bedtime Stories sessions. Perhaps fearing that the distinctly American R&B influence of “Secret” may have had limited appeal in Europe, Warner made the strategic decision to include an added incentive for European fans to pick up the single – undoubtedly spurring an increase in the number of copies exported to North America in the process. Although non-album b-sides are a relatively rare occurrence in Madonna’s catalogue given the large number of singles she has released through the years, “Let Down Your Guard” (written and produced by Madonna & Dallas Austin) is particularly peculiar due to its labeling as a “Rough Mix Edit.” This disclaimer-like appendage seemingly suggests that either Madonna or her record label deemed it necessary to explicitly caution listeners that the song was not indicative of the more polished production work that would be featured on the Bedtime Stories album proper. Indeed, the idiosyncratic nuances of Austin’s production (with its tip-of-the-hat to early Prince material) is largely what makes “Let Down Your Guard” such an unguarded and enjoyable obscurity – rendering its disclaimer redundant.

Today in Madonna History: September 26, 2009

Celebration (US Maxi Cover) 550Celebration US Maxi CD & Inner Sleeve 550celebration US vinyl labels 2 550Celebration (US Insert Back) 550

On September 26 2009, “Celebration” became Madonna’s 40th number-one song on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs chart in the US.

The remixes by Benny Benassi in particular were so well received that Madonna chose to use his version for the song’s music video instead of the Oakenfold produced album version. During her 2012 MDNA Tour, Benassi’s remix of “Celebration” was featured again when it was used for the show’s closing number.

Following in the tradition of Shep Pettibone and William Orbit, Benassi was promoted from remixer to co-songwriter/producer status when Madonna agreed to collaborate with him on several tracks for her MDNA album, including the set’s second single “Girl Gone Wild.”

Today in Madonna History: September 23, 1992

Rock The Vote 1992 by Marina Schiano

On September 23 1992, Madonna was featured in a public service announcement titled “The Diva” for MTV’s Rock The Vote series.

The three-and-a-half-minute skit was directed by close friend Alek Keshishian (Truth Or Dare), who would later use a similar premise in his television ads for Madonna’s 1999 Max Factor campaign.

Today In Madonna History: September 18, 2001

II promo 550II promo 2 550

On September 18 2001, “Impressive Instant” was released as a promotional club single to DJs in the US. Written and produced by Madonna & Mirwais Ahmadzaï, the track is bright and uplifting in its content and composition. Originally intended to be the fourth single of the Music album, a commercial release was cancelled due to a disagreement between Madonna and her recording company.

Potentially fearing the track as being too experimental to garner significant airplay, Warner had instead showed interest in releasing “Amazing” as the fourth single. If hopes were that it would replicate the airplay success of her similar-sounding summertime hit “Beautiful Stranger” several years prior, Madonna was reportedly less enthusiastic about repeating herself. Promotional copies of “Amazing” were issued in Germany, Spain, Columbia and Israel before Warner seemingly pulled the plug on pushing the song – perhaps at Madonna’s insistence. In the end, the rift reportedly resulted in neither track being released commercially, making Music her first studio album (excluding I’m Breathless) to spawn only three commercial singles.

Remixes that had been commissioned for “Impressive Instant” by the late Peter Rauhofer were finally released to clubs as a promotional single at the tail end of her successful Drowned World Tour.

Official Peter Rauhofer promotional remixes of “Impressive Instant” :

  • Peter Rauhofer’s Universal Club Mix (aka Remix #1)
  • Peter Rauhofer’s Universal Dub
  • Peter Rauhofer’s Universal Radio Mixshow Mix
  • Peter Rauhofer’s Drowned World Dub
  • Peter Rauhofer’s Drowned World Dub Part 2
  • Remix #2

Today in Madonna History: September 14, 1984

1984 VMA 3 550ICONIX BRAND GROUP, INC. LIKE A VIRGIN ENSEMBLE1984 VMA 2 550

On September 14 1984, Madonna performed “Like A Virgin” and was nominated for Best New Artist Video (“Borderline”) at the 1st annual MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall, New York, NY.

Madonna recalled the infamous performance in a 2012 interview on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: “I was standing at the top of a wedding cake, as one does, and I walked down these steps, which were the tiers of a wedding cake. And I lost my shoe. I lost my white stiletto. And I thought, ‘Oh god, how am I going to get that? It’s over there and I’m on TV.’ So I thought well, I’ll just pretend I meant to do this and I dove on to the floor and I rolled around and I reached for the shoe. And, as I reached for the shoe, the dress went up. And the underpants were showing and uhm, I didn’t mean to…” To which Leno chided: “And it became the greatest night in television history.”

We’re not too sure about Madonna’s recollection of the performance. Looks like the shoes came off quite intentionally to us. Check out the video and let us know what you think!

Today in Madonna History: September 8, 1994

On September 8 1994, Madonna presented the award for Video of the Year at the MTV VMA’s. She was escorted onstage by David Letterman, poking fun at their supposed feud following Madonna’s infamous profanity propelled appearance on Letterman earlier that year.

The appearance was intended to generate buzz for her soon-to-be-released single, “Secret” and its accompanying album, Bedtime Stories.

Today in Madonna History: August 31, 2006

Confessions Tour

On August 31 2006, Madonna played the fourth of four sold-out dates at the Palais Omnisports de Bercy-Paris during her Confessions Tour. The show played to nearly 68,000 fans at the venue during its tour run.

Madonna has become quite familiar with the Palais Omnisports over the years, having played a combined total of 19 sold-out concerts at the venue between 1990 and 2009 for roughly 320,000 fans.

The venue was also used to film two of her shows – 1990’s Blond Ambition Tour and 2004’s Re-Invention Tour. Ironically, both films were used as part of documentaries – Truth or Dare and I’m Going To Tell You A Secret respectively. Since both documentaries focused equally on behind-the-scenes and on-stage content, only select performances could be featured in each. The complete shows for both tours filmed at the venue remain unreleased, much to the bewilderment of fans.