Today in Madonna History: November 20, 1993

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On November 20 1993, Madonna – Live Down Under: The Girlie Show was broadcast on HBO. Live Down Under was the channel’s most watched original program of the year.

The November 20 show was to be filmed at the Sydney Cricket Ground and aired on HBO, however, severe weather conditions forced the cancellation of the show, so the November 19 show (which had been taped at the same venue the night before as a “safety show”) was aired instead.

The broadcast included the following songs:

The Girlie Show Theme
Rain / Just My Imagination / Singing in the Rain
Express Yourself
Deeper and Deeper
Why’s It So Hard
The Beast Within
Like A Virgin
Bye Bye Baby
I’m Going Bananas
La Isla Bonita
Justify My Love
Everybody is a Star / Everybody

Today in Madonna History: November 19, 1993

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On November 19 1993, the movie Dangerous Game premiered in New York City. Madonna shared top-billing with co-stars Harvey Keitel & James Russo in director Abel Ferrara’s gritty and experimental film about film-making. It was one of the first productions by Maverick Pictures, the film arm of Madonna’s multimedia company that was born in partnership with Warner Bros. the previous year. In some countries, the film was released under its original title, Snake Eyes, which could not be used in the U.S. due to a previous trademark on the name.

Given Maverick’s production involvement, it is perhaps unsurprising that the film’s credits include some names that should be familiar to many Madonna fans:

  • Madonna’s longtime manager and founding partner in Maverick, Freddy DeMann, as executive producer
  • Madonna’s assistant at the time, Missy Coggiola
  • her frequent costume designer, Marlene Stewart
  • her stylist, Hiram Ortiz–who not only styled her for the film but also appears as her stylist onscreen
  • Madonna’s then-future manager, now the late Caresse Henry–at the time an assistant to DeMann
  • songs by Maverick-signed music groups Proper Grounds & UNV
  • Madonna’s eldest brother, Anthony Ciccone, as locations production assistant

Unhappy with Ferrara’s final cut of the film–which was reported to have been drastically altered from the movie that had been pitched to the actors–Madonna did not attend the premiere and, in Ferrara’s view, killed the movie’s shot at achieving wider distribution after badmouthing it in the press. Ironically, Ferrara noted, the reviews of Madonna’s strong performance in the film (which was certainly more natural, raw & vulnerable than any of her previous big-screen appearances) are among the best she had received as an actress at the time.

Dangerous Game was re-released on Blu-ray in North America on November 17, 2015 by Olive Films. It includes both the theatrical and the “unrated” versions of the movie.

(Note: the clips used in the short preview above are from a low-resolution, compressed rip from DVD and do not represent the superior quality of the new high definition Blu-ray edition of the film.)

Today in Madonna History: October 11, 1993

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On October 11 1993, Madonna opened the North American leg of The Girlie Show at the SkyDome in Toronto, Canada.

The original Toronto date was October 11 (Thanksgiving Day in Canada), but due to overwhelming demand, a second show was added on October 12.

Madonna performed for 50,880 fans during the two Toronto shows.

The above two ads are the original Toronto Star ads from my (Jay’s) personal collection. Because the newsprint is so old I had to pump up the contrast on my scans to make them more visible. 

Here is the full itinerary for The Girlie Show:

September 25 – Wembley Stadium, London England
September 26 – Wembley Stadium, London England
September 28 – Bercy, Paris France
September 29 – Bercy, Paris France

October 01 – Bercy, Paris France
October 02 – Festhalle, Frankfurt Germany (cancelled)
October 05 – Park, Tel Aviv Israel
October 07 – Inonu Stadium, Istanbul Turkey
October 11 – Toronto Skydome, Toronto Canada
October 12 – Toronto Skydome, Toronto Canada
October 14 – Madison Square Garden, New York United States
October 15 – Madison Square Garden, New York United States
October 17 – Madison Square Garden, New York United States
October 19 – The Spectrum, Philadelphia United States
October 21 – The Palace, Michigan United States
October 23 – Olympic Stadium, Montreal Canada
October 26 – Juan Ramon Stadium, Bayamon Puerto Rico
October 30 – River Plate Stadium, Buenos Aires Argentina
October 31 – River Plate Stadium, Buenos Aires Argentina

November 03 – Estadio Do Morumbi, Sao Paulo Brazil
November 06 – Estadio Do Maracana, Rio De Janeiro Brazil
November 10 – Foro Sol (Sun Forum), Mexico City Mexico
November 12 – Foro Sol (Sun Forum), Mexico City Mexico
November 13 – Foro Sol (Sun Forum), Mexico City Mexico
November 19 – Cricket Ground, Sydney Australia
November 24 – Anz Stadium, Brisbane Australia
November 26 – Cricket Ground, Melbourne Australia
November 27 – Cricket Ground, Melbourne Australia
November 29 – Cricket Ground, Melbourne Australia

December 01 – Oval, Adelaide Australia
December 03 – Cricket Ground, Sydney Australia
December 04 – Cricket Ground, Sydney Australia
December 07 – Fukuoka Dome, Fukuoka Japan
December 08 – Fukuoka Dome, Fukuoka Japan
December 09 – Fukuoka Dome, Fukuoka Japan
December 13 – Tokyo Dome, Tokyo Japan
December 14 – Tokyo Dome, Tokyo Japan
December 16 – Tokyo Dome, Tokyo Japan
December 17 – Tokyo Dome, Tokyo Japan
December 19 – Tokyo Dome, Tokyo Japan

Today in Madonna History: September 4, 1993

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On September 4 1993, Madonna’s fifth single taken from her Erotica album, Rain, moved to #17 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the USA (after 7 weeks on the chart).

Rain is a gorgeous romantic moment from Madonna’s sorely under-appreciated Erotica opus. A slow and seductive rhyme base surrounded by cascading, sparkling, synths inspires a sweet and charming vocal…A wonderfully constructed, memorable tune that deserves as much attention (and airplay) as it can garner.”

– Billboard Magazine

Today in Madonna History: July 31, 1993

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On July 31 1993, the fifth single from Madonna’s Erotica album, Rain, debuted at #7 on the UK Singles Chart.

In Japan, a ten track Rain mini album or EP was later released to celebrate the single and the upcoming Girlie Show concerts.  As usual, Australia copied the release, but eliminated the obi-strip from their pressing.

The EP included the following tracks:

Rain (Radio Remix)
Waiting (Remix)
Up Down Suite
Rain (Album Version)
Bad Girl (Extended Mix)
Fever (Extended 12″)
Fever (Shep’s Remedy Dub)
Fever (Murk Boys Miami Dub)
Fever (Oscar G’s Dope Mix)
Rain (Video Edit)

Today in Madonna History: July 17, 1993

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On July 17 1993, Rain was released as a single in North America. It was the fourth and final North American single from the Erotica album.

Following a cold reception to Madonna’s previous North American single – the bleak-but-beautiful Bad Girl Rain was given a glossy makeover by French record producer Daniel Abraham to help ensure that it would receive a warmer welcome from radio programmers. The U.S. promotional CD that was serviced to radio by Maverick/Warner offered the choice between the sweetened “Radio Remix” (in full-length and edited form) or an edited album version, which was fittingly used in the song’s gorgeous music video. As her label had correctly predicted, radio indeed favored the smoother sound of the “Radio Remix” over the darker, more dynamic (and in our opinion – more interesting) production-work of the original mix. While not an all-out smash hit, Rain was the first single from the Erotica album to impact Billboard’s Hot AC chart, where it reached the Top 10, and it is generally viewed as an initial recovery step following the backlash Madonna had faced in the wake of the Sex book.

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Written and produced by Madonna & Shep Pettibone (unlike the majority of the tracks from Erotica, Tony Shimkin has not been added as co-writer, according to the Warner-Chappel publishing database), Rain was one of the earliest songs conceived during the Erotica album sessions. It appears as the first track on a two-cassette collection of demos from the album sessions submitted to the U.S. Library Of Congress for copyright registration. The infamously sought-after set is often referred to by fans as The Rain Tapes because of the song’s prominent placement in its sequencing and also due to the likely unintentional visual prominence of the song’s title in the handwritten sleeve notes that accompanied the tapes.

Rain US Cassette Maxi Single Inner Sleeve

The Rain maxi-single was perhaps most notable for its inclusion of a non-album track, Up Down Suite, which was for all intents and purposes a dub remix of album outtake, Goodbye To Innocence (which remained unreleased at the time, aside from some vocal samples used in a promo-only remix of Fever). A new remix (featuring Everlast) of the album track, Waiting, was also included on the North American maxi-single, while its original album version served as the single’s North American b-side.

With its poetically poignant and emotionally charged lyrics, percussive urgency and one of Madonna’s most ambitious uses of layered self-harmonization (not to mention it being accompanied by one of the most beautiful music videos ever created), it isn’t difficult to understand why Rain remains such an enduring fan favorite.

It’s strange
I feel like I’ve known you before
And I want to understand you
More and more and more
When I’m with you
I feel like a magical child
Everything strange
Everything wild

Waiting is the hardest thing
I tell myself that if I believe in you
In the dream of you
With all my heart and all my soul
That by sheer force of will
I will raise you from the ground
And without a sound you’ll appear
And surrender to me, to love