Today in Madonna History: January 10, 1985

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On January 10 1985, Madonna began filming the Material Girl music video in Los Angeles, California.  The video was directed by Mary Lambert. Madonna met Sean Penn on the set.

In a 1987 interview with New York Daily News, Madonna talked about the concept for the video:

“My favorite scene in all of Marilyn Monroe’s movies is when she does that dance sequence for ‘Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend’. And when it came time to do the video for the song Material Girl, I said, I can just redo that whole scene and it will be perfect. Marilyn was made into something not human in a way, and I can relate to that. Her sexuality was something everyone was obsessed with and that I can relate to. And there were certain things about her vulnerability that I’m curious about and attracted to.”

Reflecting on the song, Madonna told author J. Randy Taraborrelli:

“I can’t completely disdain the song and the video, because they certainly were important to my career. But talk about the media hanging on a phrase and misinterpreting the damn thing as well. I didn’t write that song, you know, and the video was about how the girl rejected diamonds and money. But God forbid irony should be understood. So when I’m ninety, I’ll still be the Material Girl. I guess it’s not so bad. Lana Turner was the Sweater Girl until the day she died.”

Today in Madonna History: October 3, 1985

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On October 3 1985, Madonna’s second single from the motion picture “Vision Quest“, “Gambler” was released by Geffen Records in select markets.

Gambler” was entirely self-written by Madonna and produced by John “Jellybean” Benitez.

Gambler” was never released in the United States, but it went to #4 in the UK.  The single also reached the top-ten in the charts of Australia, Belgium, Ireland, Ireland, Netherlands and Norway.

The music video for the song is an excerpt from the film.

Madonna has performed the song only once, on her “Virgin Tour” in 1985.

Alex Henderson from Allmusic called the song “an ultra-infectious gem that, unfortunately, isn’t on any of the Material Girl’s CDs” and felt that “Gambler” should have been a big hit.  

Would you like to see Madonna perform “Gambler” on a future concert tour?

Today In Madonna History: August 2, 1985

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On August 2 1985, Madonna lost a court battle against director Stephen Jon Lewicki over the video release of A Certain Sacrifice. The low-budget indie film starring Jeremy Pattnosh and Madonna was shot sporadically over a two-year period in New York City between 1979 and 1981. The film also featured Madonna’s former Breakfast Club bandmate Angie Smit in a minor role.

Madonna was said to have been unhappy with the inclusion of several topless scenes in the film, although it has also been reported that despite instigating the court case, her lawyers did not present much of an argument during the proceedings, leading some to speculate that she had no serious interest in blocking the release of the film. After a limited number of screenings in New York in October 1985, the film was quickly issued on home video and laserdisc in order to capitalize on Madonna’s fame. In more recent years, the film has been reissued on DVD.

Lewicki was not the only person attached to the film who was attempting to hitch a ride on Madonna’s wave of success in the mid 1980’s. While it is unclear whether he was involved as an extra or behind the scenes, top Madonna mooch Otto Von Wernherr is also thanked in the film’s credits. It does not appear that any of his music was used in the film, which for once is actually unfortunate because Von Wernherr’s songs would have sounded right at home alongside the truly bizarre musical selections, including several by Pattnosh, that are showcased throughout A Certain Sacrifice.  Perhaps it was Lewicki’s fringe fetish that ruled out the possibility of using any of Madonna’s pre-Warner tunes in the film?