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? 

Today in Madonna History: December 7, 1990

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On December 7 1990, Madonna’s Justify My Love was released as the first-ever video single, priced at $9.98.

The music video was considered too sexually explicit for MTV and was banned from the network. Madonna responded to the banning: “Why is it that people are willing to go and watch a movie about someone getting blown to bits for no reason at all, and nobody wants to see two girls kissing and two men snuggling?”

On December 3, 1990, ABC’s Nightline played the video in its entirety, then interviewed Madonna live about the video’s sexual content and censorship. When asked whether she stood to make more money selling the video than airing it on MTV, she appeared impatient and answered, “Yeah, so? Lucky me.” She also expressed during the interview that she did not understand why the video was banned, while videos containing violence and degradation to women continued to receive regular airplay. The video was then released on VHS, and became a bestselling “video single” of all time.

Do you still have your VHS copy of Justify My Love?

Today in Madonna History: December 1, 1990

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On December 1 1990, Madonna was named one of the 10 “Women Of The Year” by Glamour magazine.

The cover photo was taken by Patrick Demarchelier.

Madonna was furious that Glamour removed the gap between her teeth without first asking for her permission.

The gap between Madonna’s front teeth is iconic.  Wouldn’t you be annoyed if someone removed your freckles, or changed your eye colour without asking you?

What do you think of Photoshopping photos or magazine covers?

Today in Madonna History: November 9, 1990

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On November 9 1990, Madonna began filming the “Justify My Love” video at the Royal Monceau Hotel in Paris, France, directed by Jean-Baptiste Mondino.

During a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) segment in September 2013, Madonna told her fans that she considers “Justify My Love” to be her favourite Madonna music video.

Is “Justify My Love” the steamiest music video that you’ve ever seen?

Today in Madonna History: November 6, 1990

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On November 6 1990, Madonna’s “Justify My Love” single was released as the first single from “The Immaculate Collection“, Madonna’s first greatest hits collection.

In the United States, “Justify My Love” peaked at number one for two weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. It also topped the Billboard Top 40 Tracks and Billboard Hot Dance Club Play charts.

 

Today in Madonna History: October 22, 1990

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On October 22 1990, Madonna was featured in a public service announcement on MTV’s “Rock The Vote” in which she was wrapped in the US flag and urged young people to register and vote; the ad caused a controversy with US Veterans of Foreign Wars who were enraged by Madonna’s provocative use of the American flag and said that it bordered on desecration.