Today in Madonna History: April 29, 1998

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On April 29 1998, Madonna made an unannounced appearance at the 9th annual Rainforest Foundation Benefit Concert at New York City’s Carnegie Hall, where she performed Frozen with the East Harlem Violin Project, while wearing a Versace dress.

Jon Pareles from The New York Times felt that during this performance Madonna had “turned herself into America’s answer to Björk”.

Later that night, she wore a cowboy hat and joined various artists in a rendition of The Beatles’ With A Little Help From My Friends and Twist & Shout.

Today in Madonna History: April 28, 2003

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On April 28 2003, Madonna graced the cover of People Magazine: Madonna’s Real Life

Here’s a snippet of the article that went with the cover:

Once a naughty material girl, the pop icon has turned into a doting mom and devoted wife. But she’s still making waves. Visitors to Madonna’s $6.5 million Beverly Hills mansion on a recent afternoon could stroll through and behold master-works by Picasso, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo and…resident artist Lourdes Leon, age 6. Alas, Lourdes belongs to the enfant terrible school of art, which has her famous mom clenching her teeth in frustration. “My daughter spilled black paint on the bedroom rug,” says a stressed Madonna. “We’re not really sure how it happened. She was left alone for two minutes, and, well, it’s not pretty.” So where is her husband, British film director Guy Ritchie? “He’s upstairs, working on a script,” she says. “I’m much more the disciplinarian of the house, although Guy is getting more involved.” Then, flashing a playful grin, she adds, “I’d have to fire him as a dad if he didn’t get more involved. I can’t be the hard one all the time.”

Today in Madonna History: April 26, 1994

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On April 26 1994, The Girlie Show – Live Down Under was released by Warner-Reprise Video on VHS and laserdisc.

The concert – recorded on November 19, 1993 at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Australia – was a re-edited version of the concert special that had aired live on HBO. It was directed by Mark “Aldo” Miceli, who directed the live screens on Madonna’s 1990 and 1993 tours, as well as the Blond Ambition Japan Tour 90 VHS/laserdisc release. The Girlie Show – Live Down Under was nominated for a Grammy in 1995 for Best Long Form Music Video and was also one of the first concerts to be commercially issued on DVD in 1998.

Today in Madonna History: April 25, 1988

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On April 25 1988, Spotlight was released as a single by Warner-Pioneer. Issued exclusively in Japan, it was the only commercial single release from the remix album You Can Dance. The song was written by Curtis Hudson, Madonna and Stephen Bray and was produced by Stephen Bray. Madonna wasn’t given a co-producer’s credit on the track – odd considering it was a leftover from the True Blue album sessions, for which she co-produced every song. The track was remixed by John “Jellybean” Benitez for its inclusion on You Can Dance.

In a 2012 interview with writer Justin Kantor, Curtis Hudson recalled the circumstances surrounding the creation and release of Spotlight:

“During the time right after Holiday, when we’d go to her place and write, I presented Spotlight. I gave her a complete song, Spotlight. I had actually written it in case Warner Bros. asked her for another Holiday. She said she loved it and felt spiritual about it. But she didn’t use it or contact me again about it. It sort of popped up out of nowhere when she was getting ready to do You Can Dance. Her lawyer contacted our manager and said we needed to talk. We went over and met with him. She and Stephen Bray had already done the song; but I hadn’t even heard the version they had done.They took the demo I had given her and worked it into a different song. They gave me credit since I had the original song copyrighted. I would’ve collaborated and made changes. But I was told, ‘Well, she’s too busy. She’s overseas doing a movie.’ I was okay with it, though, because they gave me credit. But the original song had a certain magic, and the changes took that essence away. The original Spotlight was another Holiday—the rhythm, the basic groove. I think they were trying to get away from that sound. Sometimes artists don’t want their sound to be identified with specific writers.”

Today in Madonna History: April 24, 2007

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On April 24 2007, Liz Rosenberg posted an article on remembering Madonna’s very first single that started it all:

It may seem like only yesterday but 25 years ago on April 24, 1982, Sire Records honcho Seymour Stein released a single called Everybody on Warner Bros. Records by an unknown singer from Rochester, Michigan by the name of Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone. To say the world would never be the same is an understatement. The song went on to become a huge dancefloor hit and was heard all over the radio in the Summer of 1982. That little girl from Michigan would go on to become one of the most famous entertainers and cultural icons in history – selling close to 200 million records and remaining a star of enormous magnitude and influence for the next 25 years. She’s just getting started. Long Live the Queen and Happy Anniversary to Madonna.

The announcement came as a surprise to many fans who had always understood the release date of Everybody to be October 6, 1982. While the erroneous April date was likely just a simple mistake on Liz’s part, the lack of any official retraction/correction to the post has led to much confusion about the single’s release date in the years since, with the press often assuming the April date to be factual given its reputable source. However, the sequencing of the catalogue numbers for both the promotional and commercial releases of Everybody, as well as its charting chronology, offer clear evidence that its originally reported release date of October 6, 1982 is in fact the accurate one.