Today In Madonna History: July 26, 1986

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On July 26 1986, “Papa Don’t Preach” spent its third and final week at number-one on the UK singles chart. It was certified Gold by BPI on August 1st, 1986 for shipment of over 500,000 copies, based on certification thresholds at that time. With a chart run extending for 15 weeks, the single ranked #8 overall in the UK’s year-end charts tally.

The song was a massive hit across Europe, topping the Eurochart for an incredible eleven week stretch from August 2nd through October 11th, 1986 when it was finally overtaken by none other than Madonna herself with the follow-up single, “True Blue.

Although “Justify My Love” is often cited as being the first-ever video single, it is interesting to note that it was actually not the first Madonna music video to be marketed commercially as a single. Possibly an attempt to cash-in on the success and controversy surrounding “Papa Don’t Preach” or more likely as a means of testing out new marketing possibilities for a hybrid laserdisc/cd format, Warner issued limited quantities of “Papa Don’t Preach” as a CD Video in the US, UK and Japan containing three audio tracks along with the music video. Perhaps anticipating the limited appeal of the format, Warner did not bother modifying the track-listing to include the appropriate b-sides in either the UK (“Ain’t No Big Deal“) or Japan (“Think Of Me“), instead opting to issue the US b-side (“Pretender“) on all three pressings. Stranger still was the release date – 1988 – two years after the standard single hit stores. Needless to say, this early attempt to market a music video single did not stir public interest the way it would in 1990, and the concept went into hibernation mode until Madonna gave audiences a video single they were willing to pay for.

Today in Madonna History: July 25, 2001

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On July 25 2001, Madonna performed the first of five sold-out concerts at New York’s Madison Square Gardens (July 25th, 26th, 28th, 30th and 31st). The set of shows were the second stop on the North American leg of the Drowned World Tour, and the seventh city visited on the full tour itinerary. The European leg consisted of only five cities, with numerous dates at each stop. Twelve cities were visited on the North American leg, all within the United States.

Being her only tour before or since to not include at least one Canadian date, many Canadian fans ventured across the border to catch a performance of the show. The Detroit dates in particular welcomed a large group of fans from Southern Ontario and the Greater Toronto area, while many Quebecers traveled to New York to see Madonna in concert, having waited nearly eight years since her previous tour.

After being graced with stops in Canada on each of her tours since, we hope that Madonna will also share the love with her loyal Australian fans by including some dates down under during her next tour!

Today in Madonna History: July 24, 1999

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On July 24 1999, “Beautiful Stranger” reached its peak position of #19 on the Billboard Hot 100. This was based on the strength of airplay alone, as Maverick Records opted to boost sales of the “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me” soundtrack album by not releasing the song as a physical single in the US. Had it been issued commercially, it would have easily given Madonna another Top 10 hit. The single was released in most major markets outside the US including Canada, Europe, Australia and Japan.

Today in Madonna History: July 22, 1985

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Power Station Studio C – where Like A Virgin was recorded

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Nile Rodgers – Power Station Studio C

Like A Virgin's RIAA Gold certification award

Like A Virgin’s RIAA Gold certification award

On July 22 1985, Like A Virgin was certified 5x Platinum in the US – the first solo album by a female artist to be certified for shipment of 5 million copies. The album remained a consistently strong catalogue seller well into the next decade, eventually earning a Diamond certification (the RIAA’s highest certification award) in 1998 for shipment of over 10 million copies in the US.

Today in Madonna History: June 8, 1992

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On June 8, 1992, Madonna began recording sessions for the Erotica album at Soundworks, New York, NY.

While the writing and recording of Madonna’s previous albums had typically unfolded rather quickly, Erotica marked a change of pace in the creation of a Madonna record. Songwriting sessions for the set had occurred sporadically throughout the previous year with co-producers Shep Pettibone and Andre Betts, in between movie projects and photo shoots for her upcoming coffee table book, Sex.

In contrast to the slick production qualities of the albums that preceded it, Madonna wanted Erotica to feature a darker, more gritty and less polished sound. This led to the decision to carry over many of the original demo vocals recorded during the songwriting process at Shep’s home studio to the final versions, with mainly lyrical additions/changes, musical overdubs, background vocals and final mixing taking place during the sessions at Soundworks.

One notable change that did occur in these final recording sessions was Madonna’s decision to swap her original lyrics for the song “Goodbye To Innocence” (which had gone through various incarnations in an attempt to keep the track off the cutting room floor) with the lyrics of the torch classic, “Fever.”  An earlier arrangement of “Goodbye To Innocence” with lyrics intact was later featured on the pro-choice compilation album Just Say Roe, while a dub version of the same arrangement was retitled “Up Down Suite” when it appeared as a b-side on the “Rain” maxi-single. Another rough demo of the same track (streaming above), which is referred to as the “Straight Pass” mix on its original submission for copyright registration, leaked to file sharing services in February, 2008.

Today in Madonna History: May 24, 1988

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On May 24, 1988, “Madonna – Ciao Italia: Live From Italy” was released on home video and laserdisc.

The release featured a combination of footage from her shows in Turin, Italy (September 4 1987), the tour’s final date in Florence, Italy (September 6 1987), along with additional clips from an earlier show in Tokyo (June 22 1987). The full Turin concert had been previously broadcast in Europe, while the complete Tokyo performance was issued exclusively in Japan on VHS and laserdisc six months prior to the release of “Madonna – Ciao Italia: Live From Italy”.