Today in Madonna History: October 16, 2002


On October 16 2002, Billboard released their review of Madonna’s Die Another Day:

The theme to the latest James Bond instalment, Die Another Day, is certainly a far cry from the melodic musings of Shirley Bassey, Nancy Sinatra, Paul McCartney, and even Duran Duran. Die Another Day in many ways picks up on the heels of Madonna’s inventive, experimental Music — thanks to her reunion with writer/producer Mirwais Ahmadzai — with a predominance of squiggly blips and zaps and enough effects on Madonna’s vocal to render it practically non-human. It’s an odd number, somewhat disjointed, a bit nonsensical, and not so much melodic as a highly stylized jam — but one must never underestimate the motivations of the long-and-lasting Madonna; and sure enough, with repeated listening, there are enough clever goings on and a hook that sinks into the consciousness to make this a captivating journey. James Bond purists may find themselves fitful that the traditional melodrama that marks such theme songs is remiss here, but radio jumped on the track weeks ahead of its official release, which will certainly fan the flames of publicity for the upcoming flick, out Nov. 22 in the U.S. On the horizon: an onslaught of remixes. Score another bull’s-eye for Madonna.

Today in Madonna History: September 30, 1995

On September 30 1995, Billboard magazine featured an exclusive interview with Madonna in a piece by Timothy White to promote her upcoming ballads collection, Something To Remember.  Focusing primarily on the connection between Madonna’s introspective ballads and the loss of her mother, the article (which appears in an abridged version below) was titled “‘Something’ In the Way She Grieves.”

“Listening to this record took me on my own journey,” says Madonna with a sad smile, shifting on the couch in her apartment overlooking Central Park. “Each song is like a map of my life. I don’t really listen to my records once I’ve done them, I’m onto the next thing. And I think most of the time when my records come out, people are so distracted by so much fanfare and controversy that nobody pays attention to the music. But this is, for the most part, a retrospective, and I just wanted to put it out in a very simple way. The songs, they choke me up, and I wrote them. Isn’t that weird? I can’t tell you how painful the idea of singing Like A Virgin or Material Girl is to me now. I didn’t write either of those songs and wasn’t digging deep then. I also feel more connected emotionally to the music I’m writing now, so it’s more of a pleasure to do it.”

Madonna has included three new songs on Something To Remember: a moody cover of Marvin Gaye’s 1976 hit I Want You, which was suggested and subsequently produced by Nellee Hooper and features Massive Attack, and two bittersweet serenades (You’ll See and One More Chance), co-created with David Foster during the third weekend of September in a whirlwind writing/recording session. Shortly after this talk, she was to leave for London to start recording the music for the film version of Evita, the musical that was the toast of Broadway in 1979–the year Madonna wrote her first song in the basement of a dormant Queens, NY synagogue.

“I remember calling up my father back in Detroit and making him hear it on the tape recorder over the phone,” she confides, blushing. “He said, ‘Oh, that’s very nice.’ I felt proud. The song was called Tell The Truth.”

A self-assessed “roller-coaster Catholic,” Madonna grew up sharing the middle bunk in a three-tier bed with two of her sisters. “I didn’t have any free time as a child,” she says. “My mother died of breast cancer when I was 7, and then my father remarried when I was 10. I had a lot of responsibility, taking care of my younger brothers and sisters.”

Like her siblings, Madonna was obliged to study music, specifically piano. “But I couldn’t sit still, and I begged my father to let me take dance lessons,” which served as a means of escape. Madonna was in the church choir and acted in school musicals, while sharing her mother’s mantra-like habit of idly intoning her favorite tunes. “As a teenager, I loved Aretha Franklin’s A Natural Woman, and in high school I worshiped Joni Mitchell and sang everything from Court And Spark, my coming-of-age record.”

But her pivotal developmental trial was the death of her mother, and as Madonna passes this fall afternoon discussing the themes behind her often acutely wistful ballads, she ultimately says, “My mother is part of a lot of my music.”

Although love songs, such as Live To Tell, One More Chance and I’ll Remember, also invoke the early fever of a failed marriage to Sean Penn, tensions with a stepmother who could not replace her lost parent, or later relationships that fell short, a larger phantom overshadows each mourning of life’s missed linkages.

“I think about my mother and a certain emptiness–a longing–in my songs. There are tragic, traumatic moments where I think ‘I wish that I could call my mother.’ It’s this primal thing that has been a springboard for the work I do.”

How did she learn her mother was gone?

“I was at my grandmother’s house. The phone rang, and it was my father, and he told my grandmother that my mother had died. I’d just seen her in the hospital. The rest of the day I blocked out–I probably went outside and played. I was majorly into denial and didn’t really understand. And it unfortunately wasn’t something that my father ever really prepared us for or discussed afterward. I suddenly developed a strange throwing-up disease, where every time I would leave the house, I would throw up. If I was away from my father, I threw up. It was a nervous condition.”

In recent years, when Madonna was under attack for her frank Erotica album and Sex book, the artist says she drew strength from her late parent’s nonjudgmental “fervor” for fulfilling one’s personal vision: “She had an unbelievable level of tolerance and forgiveness. She was tremendously religious in a really passionate–almost sexual–way, like she was in love with God. If you read the letters she wrote, even when she was sick and dying, she was completely happy about everything. It was frightening, there was just that faith of hers. My mother loved to take care of people. My older brothers and I were sometimes brutal to her, and she never complained.”

It sounds like the materfamilias had an essential serenity. “Exactly,” says her daughter. “And I could probably use more of it in my life.”

A brisk September breeze catches the leafy scent rising from the freshly mowed lawns of Central Park, the tangy end-of-season smell betokening the coming solstice. Madonna shivers slightly as she sips the last of her tea.

“I think my mother made people angry, because they couldn’t shake her beliefs,” she concludes in a near whisper. “And she was just 32 when she died–just a baby, Madonna Louise. So basically, I’m here to take her place.”

Today in Madonna History: March 10, 2015


On March 10 2015, Madonna’s thirteenth studio album, Rebel Heart, was released in North America and select other countries. The album was released in Australia and Germany on March 6; in France, New Zealand, Sweden and the UK on March 9; and in Japan on March 11.

The standard edition of the album includes the following tracks:

  1. Living for Love
  2. Devil Pray
  3. Ghosttown
  4. Unapologetic Bitch
  5. Illuminati
  6. Bitch I’m Madonna (featuring Nicki Minaj)
  7. Hold Tight
  8. Joan of Arc
  9. Iconic (featuring Chance the Rapper and Mike Tyson)
  10. HeartBreakCity
  11. Body Shop
  12. Holy Water
  13. Inside Out
  14. Wash All Over Me

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The deluxe edition includes these additional tracks:

  1. Best Night
  2. Veni Vidi Vici (featuring Nas)
  3. S.E.X.
  4. Messiah
  5. Rebel Heart

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The super deluxe edition includes the 19 tracks included in the standard and deluxe editions, but also includes these tracks:

  1. Beautiful Scars
  2. Borrowed Time
  3. Addicted
  4. Graffiti Heart
  5. Living for Love (Paulo & Jackinsky Full Vocal Mix)
  6. Living for Love (Funk Generation & H3drush Dub)

Additional versions with exclusive bonus tracks were also released.

Today in Madonna History: January 21, 2015


On January 21 2015, Madonna’s publicist Liz Rosenberg released the following press release for Rebel Heart:

NEW YORKJan. 21, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Madonna’s 13th studio album Rebel Heart will be released March 10th on Interscope Records. Six of the album’s songs were released over the holiday following a leak of unfinished cuts from the Material Girl’s highly anticipated collection of new songs. Upon their release, several of those songs debuted at No. 1 on iTunes in 49 countries. Two additional songs will be available with a preorder of the album on iTunes on February 9th. Fans that preordered Rebel Heart in December will have the two additional songs automatically delivered to them. To preorder Rebel Heart visit

Rebel Heart explores two very distinct sides of my personality, the rebellious renegade side of me and the romantic side of me” commented Madonna recently in Billboard. The new album features collaborations with Nicki Minaj, Kanye West, Nas, Chance the Rapper and Mike Tyson and was recorded in NY, LA and London. Producers include Madonna, Diplo, Kanye West, Billboard, Avicii, DJ Dahi and Blood Diamonds, Ryan Tedder, Toby Gad, and Ariel Rechtshald.

Madonna who has received 8 Grammy Awards® will perform on the 57th Annual Grammy Awards® on Sunday, February 8th.

The six released cuts of Rebel Heart have already received critical acclaim:

“They won’t experience Madonna the celebrity or Madonna the fashion statement but the Madonna who has kept us listening for decades: Madonna the musician,” – Jon Pareles  NY Times

“It’s great to see the music icon back on top where she belongs. Everything out so far is genius.”  The Sun, UK

“The best tracks fit perfectly into her history of impeccably-produced pop,” Jim Farber, NY Daily News

Four remixes of the single Living for Love were serviced last week to to DJs and clubs and are currently available on Madonna’s Youtube channel.

The four new mixes include:

Offer Nissim Living for Drama Remix 7:15:

Dirty Pop Remix 4:58:

THRILL Remix 5:11:

Mike Rizzo’s Funk Generation Club 7:03:

Track List for Rebel Heart

01 – Living For Love
02 – Devil Pray
03 – Ghosttown
04 – Unapologetic Bitch
05 – Illuminati
06 – Bitch I’m Madonna (Feat. Nicki Minaj)
07 – Hold Tight
08 – Joan Of Arc
09 – Iconic (Feat. Chance The Rapper & Mike Tyson)
10 – HeartBreakCity
11 – Body Shop
12 – Holy Water
13 – Inside Out
14 – Wash All Over Me
15 – Best Night
16 – Veni Vidi Vici (Feat. Nas)
17 – S.E.X.
18 – Messiah
19 – Rebel Heart


Today in Madonna History: December 22, 1984

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On December 22 1984, Madonna’s Like A Virgin single hit #1 in the USA.  It was her first number one single in the USA, and it remained at number one for six weeks.

In 2000, Like A Virgin, was honored by Rolling Stone and MTV, as the fourth song on their list of the 100 Greatest Pop Songs. It was voted ten on VH1’s 100 Best Songs of the Past 25 Years. The song was listed at ninety-five on Billboard’s Hot 100 All-Time Top Songs. In 2003, Madonna fans were asked to vote for their Top 20 Madonna Singles of All-Time, by Q magazine. Like A Virgin was allocated the fifth spot on the list.