Today in Madonna History: July 24, 1999

beautiful stranger single

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

1984 steven meisel virgin cover colour (550)

Power Station - Studio C (550)

Power Station Studio C – where Like A Virgin was recorded

Nile Rodgers recording Like A Virgin - Power Station Studio C

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

erotica early lyrics 2 erotica diaries 2 erotica diaries 3 erotica diaries 1 erotica diaries 4 erotica diaries 5

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

madonna-ciao-italia-live-from-italy-vhs madonna-ciao-italia-live-from-italy-vhs-1 madonna-ciao-italia-live-from-italy-vhs-3Ciao Italia US Laserdisc CoverCiao Italia Japan Laserdisc Cover

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”.

Today in Madonna History: May 16, 1994

i'll remember canadian cd-maxi cover insert

i'll remember canadian cd-maxi back disc

i'll remember canadian cassette single

i'll remember canadian singles chart

On May 16, 1994, Madonna’s “I’ll Remember (Theme From With Honors)” became the number-one single in Canada. The song remained at the top of the Canadian singles chart for five weeks before finally being dislodged on June 20th by All-4-One’s hit, “I Swear”. Incidentally, it was the same song that blocked “I’ll Remember” from reaching the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S., where it spent four weeks in its peak position of number-two.