Today in Madonna History: January 23, 1990

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On January 23 1990, Madonna’s Like A Prayer album was certified triple platinum for sales of 3 million units in the USA.

Producer Patrick Leonard talked to Billboard magazine about working with Madonna on Like A Prayer:

“She’d start writing lyrics and oftentimes there was an implied melody. She would start with that and deviate from it. Or if there was nothing but a chord change, she’d make up a melody. But, a lot of the time in my writing there’s a melody implied or I even have something in mind. But she certainly doesn’t need that.  She would write the lyrics in an hour, the same amount of time it took me to write the music, and then she’d sing it. We’d do some harmonies, she’d sing some harmony parts, and usually by three or four in the afternoon, she was gone.”

Today in Madonna History: December 17, 1990

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On December 17 1990, Madonna’s Justify My Love video was the subject of a feature by Steve Dougherty, in People magazine: Madonna Exposes, MTV Opposes: Is her new, naughty video art or just a Boy Toy marketing ploy? 

How does Justify My Love differ from other skin-with-a-beat videos? Let us count the ways. Here’s Madonna, in black bra, stockings and stiletto heels, putting the moves on her real-life boyfriend, model Tony Ward. Moments later she’s lip-synching with Parisian model Amanda Cazalet, 25, who is dressed like a Nazi hooker with suspenders that barely cover her nipples. Now Madonna, Cazalet and Ward are offering free instruction in a certain Kama Sutra technique while two very androgynous gents pat each other more affectionately than football players after a big play. All of which has left fans hot, censors bothered and fearless news programmers lined up to air the forbidden footage. The video single will be on sale before holiday shopping malls close; could it have been teed up better?

Today in Madonna History: December 15, 1990

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On December 15 1990, the LA Times printed a feature article by Robert Hilburn, about Madonna’s forth-coming laser-disc release of the Blond Ambition tour.

Can Madonna sell laser-disc players as well as she sells herself? Pioneer Artists, the nation’s leading distributor of music-related laser discs, hopes so. In a move virtually unprecedented in the video industry, Pioneer has just released Madonna’s Blond Ambition World Tour Live exclusively on laser disc. Normally, video packages of this nature are released on videocassette two to six weeks before they are released on laser-disc. In this case, however, Blond Ambition won’t be released on videocassette for at least a year.  Steven Galloway, president of Pioneer Artists, said he hopes the fact that an artist of Madonna’s stature would release a video only on laser disc will send a signal to millions of potential laser customers that the new format has finally come of age.

Galloway said that the laser exclusive with Madonna grew out of an agreement last spring for Pioneer, the electronics hardware and software giant, to sponsor her tour.

“I contacted her manager, Freddy DeMann, long before the tour started in hopes of getting the laser-disc rights to any video that was going to be shot in association with the tour,” Galloway said. DeMann was meeting with potential corporate sponsors at the time, Galloway said, and he asked if Pioneer would be interested in sponsoring the tour. The company apparently jumped at the opportunity.

“Madonna is the ideal artist to reach the new demographics that we are hoping to attract with the new, low-priced combination CD and laser players . . . the young, hip 18-35 audience,” Galloway said.

“Until these low-priced players arrived, laser discs were considered something just for the high-end market . . . a rich man’s toy. But that has changed and Madonna seemed the ideal artist to drive that point home.”

And what about the Blond Ambition package itself?

The video is based on the same concert in Nice that HBO broadcast live last summer, but the new, edited laser version offers much more of the vitality and charm of the show itself than the HBO special.

Today in Madonna History: November 27, 1990

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On November 27 1990, the MTV network announced it had banned Madonna’s Justify My Love video due to extremely strong displays of sexuality.

“We respect her work as an artist and think she makes great videos,” said MTV executives in a statement about the clip. “This one is not for us.”

“When I did my Vogue video…I’m wearing a see-through dress and you can clearly see my breasts,” Madonna told ABC’s Nightline in 1990. “MTV told me that they wanted me to take that out, but I said I wouldn’t and they played it anyways. So I thought that once again I was going to be able to bend the rules a little bit.”

Today in Madonna History: November 13, 1990

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On November 13 1990, Madonna’s The Immaculate Collection, greatest hits CD and video collection were released in North America.

SoulBounce.com says this about the insanely successful collection:

That The Immaculate Collection is the biggest selling compilation album by a solo artist OF ALL TIME is no big surprise when you factor in the consummate icon that is Madonna Louise Ciccone. That even her greatest hits album would set the bar for all greatest hits albums to follow it is a no-brainer given the astronomical number of bars she’s raised. Let’s set the stage, though: 1990 was a huge year for The Material Girl even prior to The Immaculate Collection. The movie Dick Tracy, which Madonna starred in with then-paramour Warren Beatty, and the movie’s soundtrack, I’m Breathless, which includes the Academy Award winning Stephen Sondheim ballad Sooner Or Later and Vogue, one of the biggest hits of Madonna’s career, were both released mid-1990 to much fanfare and many accolades. Madonna also embarked on a huge concert tour in the spring of ’90, the Blond Ambition World Tour, while simultaneously shooting her concert documentary, Truth or Dare. She had already solidified her place as the most successful female artist of the ’80s with three number one albums and seven number one singles. So it’s only fitting that The Immaculate Collection, which served as a venerable summary of Madonna’s entire career up to that point, closed out her mammoth year.

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The CD included the following hits:

Holiday
Lucky Star
Borderline
Like A Virgin
Material Girl
Crazy For You
Into The Groove
Live To Tell
Papa Don’t Preach
Open Your Heart
La Isla Bonita
Like A Prayer
Express Yourself
Cherish
Vogue
Justify My Love
Rescue Me

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The music video collection included the following clips:

Lucky Star
Borderline
Like A Virgin
Material Girl
Papa Don’t Preach
Open Your Heart
La Isla Bonita
Like A Prayer
Express Yourself
Cherish
Oh Father
Vogue
Vogue (live at the 1990 MTV Video Music Awards)

If you could change The Immaculate Collection, what would you do?

Today in Madonna History: September 19, 1990

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On September 19 1990, Madonna’s Hanky Panky was certified gold (for shipment of 500,000 units) in the USA.

During an interview with Rolling Stone, Madonna talked about getting a good “spanky”:

The spanking thing started because I believed that my character in Dick Tracy liked to get smacked around and that’s why she hung around with people like Al Pacino’s character. Warren Beatty asked me to write some songs, one of them, the Hanky Panky song, was about that. I say in the song ‘Nothing like a good spanky’, and in the middle I say, ‘Ooh, my bottom hurts just thinking about it’. When it came out everybody started asking, ‘Do you like to get spanked?’ and I said: ‘Yeah. Yeah, I do’.