Today in Madonna History: August 22, 2009

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On August 22 2009, Madonna scored her 55th Billboard Hot 100 hit with Celebration. The lead single from Madonna’s career spanning greatest hits collection of the same name debuted at #71.

Celebration was written and produced by Madonna, Paul Oakenfold and Ian Green, with additional writing from Ciaran Gribbin.

Billboard reviews Celebration:

Madonna’s latest single won’t start any new trends, but it does return the singer to her dance-floor roots. “Come join the party … ’cause everybody wants to party with you,” she sings on Celebration, the title track and one of a reported two new songs on her best-of set that’s due September 29. A notable assist comes courtesy of trance DJ/producer Paul Oakenfold, who co-wrote and co-produced the buoyant stomper. He supplies a surging beat that could easily have been lifted from the star’s Confessions On A Dance Floor period (Hung Up, Sorry) but can be traced even further back to her 1992 hit Deeper And Deeper. The melody, meanwhile, recalls her last single, 4 Minutes, in its urgency. Consider Celebration a score for Madonna’s retro-futuristic fan base and a nice bookend to her collection of chart glories.

Today in Madonna History: July 4, 2009

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On July 4 2009, the Sticky & Sweet Tour‘s 2009 extension began with the first of two sold out dates at London’s O2 Arena.

In January 2009, following the completion of European, North American and South American legs of the massively successful 2008 Sticky & Sweet Tour, it was confirmed that Madonna would extend the tour during the Summer of 2009 with a second European leg before concluding with two dates in Israel in September. The itinerary for the extension consisted largely of markets where Madonna either hadn’t previously performed or hadn’t visited in many years.

In a January 2009 interview with Billboard.com, Live Nation chairman Arthur Fogel commented on the extended run of the tour:

“It absolutely has not happened in the four tours I’ve been involved with, […] There has been talk [of extending] during each one, but it has never come to be. But with this one, she loves the show, she’s had a great time and she’s excited about playing new markets. […] We went to quite a few markets she has never played or hasn’t been to in 15-plus years. This [extension] is really a continuation of that in the sense of playing new and different markets. [The six-month break] is a long hiatus, but everybody was excited to continue. […] So we basically worked out the arrangements for all the performers, crew and equipment and we’ll be ready to go.”

The extension’s opening night and all subsequent dates featured three song changes to the original setlist: Holiday replaced Heartbeat, a guitar-heavy version of Dress You Up took the place of Borderline, and the non fan-favorite “rock version” of Hung Up was dropped in favour of a much more pleasing, club-ready mash-up of Frozen with I’m Not Alone by Calvin Harris (which also threw in snippets of Open Your Heart).

Madonna also included a special tribute to Michael Jackson during Holiday, as well as a quote attributed to him at the end of Frozen (the lyrics quoted from his song Man In The Mirror were in fact written by Madonna’s occasional backing singer, Siedah Garrett, if you want to get technical). At the time of his passing Jackson had been scheduled to begin a run of comeback concerts at the O2 Arena, beginning the week after Madonna’s shows at the venue.

(Thanks to Michael aka MykillICON for the video footage and pictures!)

Today in Madonna History: April 16, 2009

Madonna Stands Backstage With Her Back Up Singers

On April 16 2009, Niki Haris dismissed Madonna fallout rumours in Bay Windows, New England’s largest gay newspaper. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Niki, to start: why the fallout? Diva drama?

“Maybe there was some drama, but I didn’t buy into it. We were sisters for years. At the end of the day, really she is a gem and I’m so grateful. She threw my baby shower for me!” Haris gave birth to her daughter in 2003. It was shortly thereafter that Madonna launched her Re-Invention Tour, the first time she staged a show without Haris in over 15 years.

“People can talk all the crap they want, but we both knew by that last tour [Drowned World Tour, 2001],” says Haris. “I had broken my legs, learned how to walk again, how to dance again, and did that tour with really bad injuries. It was okay, but painful. Now, I was 41 and pregnant. … Of course, my ego was involved: ‘Oh, she don’t want me no more!’ But at the end of the day, she gave me the greatest gift. Because of her, I got to spend every freaking day with my kid, doing the music I love to do. I’m close to ‘the family’ still. She knows I love her and she loves me.”

Coincidentally, Madonna’s last two tours have featured similarly named singer Nicki Richards as a backing vocalist. Haris doesn’t mind.

“She can get Niki Two, if she wants to,” she chuckles.

Today in Madonna History: April 14, 2009

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On April 14 2009, Steven Meisel was featured in Vogue magazine, and the article described him as the man that taught Madonna about re-invention.

In the article, Madonna shared some nice thoughts on Meisel:

Even Madonna agrees that there is, indeed, “a great sense of mystery” about Meisel – so much so that after all these years she feels she still doesn’t really know him very well. “I know that I love him,” she says. “You get sucked into his aura. He knows things.”

She learned this from one of their first collaborations, which was for the cover of Like A Virgin. “Before I worked with Steven,” says Madonna, “I just showed up in the clothes I was wearing, stood in front of the lights, and got my picture taken. With Steven, a team of people descended on me, started to undress me. Someone grabbed my hair, another grabbed my face, another started helping me try on various bits of clothes, and they all seemed to be speaking a language I didn’t understand – the language of Steven Meisel.”

To hear Madonna talk about working with Meisel is like being let in on a long-held secret. She goes on, “Steven had a vision. He had done his research. He had very specific references. I really respected the care that he took with his work, how seriously he approached it, but at the same time he has a great sense of irony. He made me feel like I was part of something important. He treated each photo shoot like it was a small film and insisted that we create a character each time we worked but then would make fun of the archetypes we created. He was the first person to introduce me to the idea of reinvention.”

Today in Madonna History: September 29, 2009

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On September 29 2009, Madonna and Warner Bros. released Celebration: The Video Collection.  The greatest videos DVD collection accompanied the Celebration greatest hits collection.

Celebration: The Video Collection continued on from Madonna’s other video compilations The Immaculate Collection and The Video Collection 93:99.

Celebration: The Video Collection debuted at the top of the Billboard Top Music Videos chart.  It was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipment of 100,000 copies across United States.

The cover for Celebration: The Video Collection was created by street pop artist Mr. Brainwash who is best known for “throwing modern cultural icons into a blender and turning it up to eleven”.

The DVD collection was released in two different versions, both are double disc releases:

  • Keep case — DVD size packaging
  • DVD Digipak — CD size packaging

This video collection received mixed reviews from critics and fans when it was released.  Did you like this release or would you have made some changes to it?