Today in Madonna History: April 6 1990

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On April 6 1990, Madonna’s Vogue maxi single was released.

Here is the allmusic.com review of the maxi single:

Vogue, the first single from Madonna’s Dick Tracy-inspired 1990 album I’m Breathless, was arguably one of her crowning artistic achievements (both song-wise and video-wise), one of the biggest all-time house music hits (spending three weeks atop the U.S. pop charts), and her second proper U.S. maxi-single release. The single includes four versions: the single version, the 12″ version, the Bette Davis Dub, and the Strike-A-Pose Dub. The song’s most definitive version, that being the album/video version, is not on the single. The single version, where she asks “what are you looking at,” begins with drumbeats and goes straight into the song, as opposed to the album version’s minute-long introduction. Besides the different intros, however, the rest is the same. The 12″ version is, naturally, quite longer, and just as good. The “Bette Davis Dub” begins with the extended album intro, but, save for the chorus and the “rap,” is virtually instrumental, as is the last mix, which cleverly uses samples from Like a Virgin. This disc’s main selling point is the fact that it’s a collection piece, and for collectors and diehards, it’s nice to have the single edit and 12″ mix. But if one is a casual fan, go with the album version.

Today in Madonna History: January 30, 1990

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On January 30 1990, Keep It Together was released in North America as the fifth and final single from Like A Prayer. It also received a commercial release in Japan, Australia, Ecuador and the Philippines, while some European markets opted to include it as the b-side to Madonna’s next single, Vogue.

As fate would ironically have it, Madonna’s soulful ode to remembering ones roots would turn out to be the last Madonna-performed single co-written and co-produced with longtime collaborator Stephen Bray, whom she had befriended (or by some accounts, dated) during her days as a student at the University of Michigan. A final collaboration written by the pair, Get Over – which is speculated to have been written as a potential new track for The Immaculate Collection but was instead given to fellow Warner recording artist Nick Scotti – was released as a single in 1993, after first appearing on the Nothing But Trouble soundtrack in 1991.

Although no music video was produced for Keep It Together, the maxi-single – jam-packed with memorable remixes by Shep Pettibone and DJ Mark “The 45 King” with Stephen Bray – made the single a must-have for fans around the world. And despite its exclusion from her greatest hits releases, Madonna’s show-closing (and show-stopping) performance of the song during her legendary Blond Ambition Tour – and its accompanying documentary Truth Or Dare – has also served to keep the song alive in the hearts and minds of fans.

Today in Madonna History: January 6, 1990

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On January 6 1990, Madonna’s Oh Father single peaked at #20 on the Billboard Hot 100 and completed her run of 16 consecutive Top 5 singles in USA.

Two years after her mother’s death, her father married the family’s housekeeper, Joan Gustafson. At this point, Madonna began to express unresolved feelings of anger towards her father that lasted for decades, and developed a rebellious attitude. She explained in the May 1989 issue of Interview magazine:

That rebellious attitude really came, I think, when my father remarried. Because for the three years before he married, I clung to him. It was like, OK, now you’re mine, and you’re not going anywhere. Like all young girls, I was in love with my father and I didn’t want to lose him. I lost my mother, but then I was the mother, my father was mine. Then he got taken away from me when he married my stepmother. It was then that I said, OK I don’t need anybody. No one’s going to break my heart again. I’m not going to need anybody. I can stand on my own and be my own person and not belong to anyone.

 

Today in Madonna History: December 13, 1990

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On December 13 1990, Blond Ambition World Tour Live was released exclusively on laserdisc by Pioneer Artists. It featured the final tour date, recorded on August 5th in Nice, France, which had been previously broadcast live on HBO.

The release was part of a special arrangement with Blond Ambition Tour sponsors Pioneer Artists as a means of promoting their struggling laserdisc format. The laserdisc went on to win a Grammy for Best Music Video – Long Form at the 34th Grammy Awards, which is notable for being Madonna’s first-ever Grammy win.

With the eventual demise of the laserdisc format, this landmark tour has never received a proper release on DVD or Blu-ray. Although widely bootlegged (in varying degrees of quality), it is currently unavailable to purchase in its entirety in any official form, much to the disappointment and frustration of fans. A 2012 Blu-ray release of the accompanying tour documentary Truth or Dare – which features a select number of performances from the tour filmed in stunning technicolour during her shows in Paris – failed to offer up any additional performances not already included within the documentary (a previous VHS release of Truth or Dare had included bonus performances of Hanky Panky and Like A Prayer).

Madonna’s current manager, Guy Oseary, and even Madonna herself, have acknowledged fans’ very vocal requests that the tour be properly released on an accessible format. Guy confirmed through his Twitter account in 2011 that a recent meeting with Warner had taken place concerning the reissuing of Madonna’s tours on DVD and that the talks were “a start”, but he also noted that the process would take time, as they did not know what footage remained available for a potential release, nor its condition. During a 2013 fan chat on Reddit when Madonna was asked about the possibility of a Blond Ambition Tour DVD release, she offered the terse response: “when I can find the tapes in the archives.”

Meanwhile, seemingly remastered audio/video footage of the Nice show mysteriously turned up on YouTube in 2013, along with the caption “Master submitted to Reliance Mediaworks in 2011. Full digital remaster, error correction, frame by frame color grading (RELM.NS) DTS-HD master audio from original stems (Nasdaq:DTSI).” The user uploading the footage appears to have created a YouTube account for the sole purpose of streaming the tour and does not reply to comments requesting further information on the source of the footage, making it difficult to ascertain its legitimacy. While there are noticeable signs of improvement in the audio mix, the video quality is inconsistent, with some shots showing improved colour grading and others appearing excessively dark and overly filtered. Whether the quality issues are the result of a highly compressed upload file or if they are evidence of its possible inauthenticity as an officially commissioned remaster are a matter of speculation.

Incidentally, Reliance MediaWorks’ parent company, Indian conglomorate Reliance ADA Group, is the major shareholder of IM Global, which provided financial backing and acquired international distribution rights for Madonna’s film W.E. in 2011.

The saga continues…

Today in Madonna History: December 11, 1990

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On December 11 1990, Madonna’s The Royal Box, a box-set which included The Immaculate Collection CD or cassette, VHS video, postcards and poster, was released.

Box sets seem to be a thing of the past.  Do you think Madonna will ever release another box set as great or greater than The Royal Box?

Do you wish Madonna had released more box sets when they were actually popular and sold well?