Today in Madonna History: August 1, 1990

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On August 1 1990, “Madonna In Concert” was taped by SACIS-RAI at Olympic Stadium in Barcelona, Spain on the second to last date of Madonna’s Blond Ambition Tour.

The special was broadcast in Spain, Italy, the UK and Australia. It also aired on Canada’s MuchMusic on September 10, 1990. After being heavily promoted by the channel in the weeks leading up to the broadcast, the special aired in an edited version during its prime time slot, followed by an uncensored airing at midnight.

In addition to its intended use for broadcast, the recording also served as an unused safety net for her HBO special from the final date in Nice, France a few days later.

Today In Madonna History: July 31, 2009

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On July 31 2009, “Celebration” – the lead single from Madonna’s third greatest hits album of the same name – was released to digital media outlets by Warner Bros. Records. The song was written by Madonna, Paul Oakenfold, Ian Green & Ciaran Gribbin and produced by Madonna & Oakenfold with additional production by Green.

Celebration” was one of two new songs written with Oakenfold for the hits collection. The other new track, “Broken,” was left off the album but was later issued on 12-inch coloured vinyl as an exclusive gift to members of Madonna’s official fan club. Oakenfold also contributed new production to “It’s So Cool,” an outtake from Madonna’s 2003 album American Life which was used as a bonus track for the deluxe digital download edition of the Celebration album.

Today in Madonna History: July 27, 1985

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On July 27 1985, Madonna’s “Into the Groove” debuted on the UK Singles Chart at number four.  It reached the top of the chart and stayed there for four weeks, and was present for a total of 14 weeks on the chart.  The song was Madonna’s first number-one single in United Kingdom.  During its stay at number-one, Madonna’s first UK hit “Holiday” was at number-two position. It made her the first female artist in UK chart history to hold the top-two positions of the chart simultaneously.

Today In Madonna History: July 26, 1986

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On July 26 1986, “Papa Don’t Preach” spent its third and final week at number-one on the UK singles chart. It was certified Gold by BPI on August 1st, 1986 for shipment of over 500,000 copies, based on certification thresholds at that time. With a chart run extending for 15 weeks, the single ranked #8 overall in the UK’s year-end charts tally.

The song was a massive hit across Europe, topping the Eurochart for an incredible eleven week stretch from August 2nd through October 11th, 1986 when it was finally overtaken by none other than Madonna herself with the follow-up single, “True Blue.

Although “Justify My Love” is often cited as being the first-ever video single, it is interesting to note that it was actually not the first Madonna music video to be marketed commercially as a single. Possibly an attempt to cash-in on the success and controversy surrounding “Papa Don’t Preach” or more likely as a means of testing out new marketing possibilities for a hybrid laserdisc/cd format, Warner issued limited quantities of “Papa Don’t Preach” as a CD Video in the US, UK and Japan containing three audio tracks along with the music video. Perhaps anticipating the limited appeal of the format, Warner did not bother modifying the track-listing to include the appropriate b-sides in either the UK (“Ain’t No Big Deal“) or Japan (“Think Of Me“), instead opting to issue the US b-side (“Pretender“) on all three pressings. Stranger still was the release date – 1988 – two years after the standard single hit stores. Needless to say, this early attempt to market a music video single did not stir public interest the way it would in 1990, and the concept went into hibernation mode until Madonna gave audiences a video single they were willing to pay for.