On July 27 1983, Madonna’s eponymous debut album was released by Sire Records. The record was renamed Madonna: The First Album for the 1985 international re-release of the album.
The album was released with 8 tracks (produced by John “Jellybean” Benitez, Mark Kamins and Reggie Lucas):
- Lucky Star
- Burning Up
- I Know It
- Think of Me
- Physical Attraction
Five singles were released from The First Album:
- Everybody (October 6 1982)
- Burning Up (March 9 1983)
- Holiday (September 7 1983 – UK)
- Lucky Star (September 8 1983)
- Borderline (February 15 1984)
“Madonna was unhappy with the whole album, so I went in and sweetened up a lot of music for her, adding some guitars to ‘Lucky Star’, some voices, some magic… I just wanted to do the best job I could do for her. When we would playback ‘Holiday’ or ‘Lucky Star’, you could see that she was overwhelmed by how great it all sounded. You wanted to help her, you know? As much as she could be a bitch, when you were in a groove with her, it was very cool, very creative.”
— John “Jellybean” Benitez talking about Madonna and the album.
On April 10 1985, Madonna’s Virgin Tour opened with 3 sold-out concerts at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle, Washington.
During a 2009 interview with Rolling Stone, interviewer Austin Scaggs asked Madonna regarding her feelings and emotions during the tour, since it was the first time she was playing in arenas. Madonna replied saying, “That whole tour was crazy, because I went from playing CBGB and the Mudd Club to playing sporting arenas,” she told the magazine. “I played a small theater in Seattle, and the girls had flap skirts on and the tights cut off below their knees and lace gloves and rosaries and bows in their hair and big hoop earrings. I was like, ‘This is insane!’ After Seattle, all of the shows were moved to arenas.”
Madonna had three shows in Seattle – April 10, 12 and 13 – and all three were sellouts by the time she took the stage that first night. The Beastie Boys opened for Madonna and they weren’t well received by the pro-Madonna crowd. The show was a year before “Licensed to Ill” was released.
Their 30-minute set got off to a bad start when one of the Beastie Boys declared himself King of the Paramount, and generally made the pro-Madonna audience feel like a swarm of hillbillies, P-I pop music critic Gene Stout wrote in his review.
“Dressed in what looked like a Boy George outfit, she looked reluctant, almost scared, and kept her eyes on the ground as she and her small entourage swept past a modest gathering of fans,” Stout wrote.
Madonna started the show with Dress You Up, followed with Holiday, and performed Borderline for the first time live as her seventh song. Madonna ended by debuting Material Girl as her encore.
On September 14 1984, Madonna performed “Like A Virgin” and was nominated for Best New Artist Video (“Borderline”) at the 1st annual MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall, New York, NY.
Madonna recalled the infamous performance in a 2012 interview on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: “I was standing at the top of a wedding cake, as one does, and I walked down these steps, which were the tiers of a wedding cake. And I lost my shoe. I lost my white stiletto. And I thought, ‘Oh god, how am I going to get that? It’s over there and I’m on TV.’ So I thought well, I’ll just pretend I meant to do this and I dove on to the floor and I rolled around and I reached for the shoe. And, as I reached for the shoe, the dress went up. And the underpants were showing and uhm, I didn’t mean to…” To which Leno chided: “And it became the greatest night in television history.”
We’re not too sure about Madonna’s recollection of the performance. Looks like the shoes came off quite intentionally to us. Check out the video and let us know what you think!
On June 16 1984, Madonna’s Borderline hit #10 on the Hot 100 in the USA.
On April 20 2010, The Power of Madonna – Glee episode (Season 1, Episode 15) aired on the Fox network.
When cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) demands that Madonna’s music be played over the school intercom system, Glee club director Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison) sets the club a Madonna-themed assignment, hoping to empower the female club members.
Glee: The Music, The Power of Madonna, an EP containing studio recordings of songs performed in the episode, was released on April 20, 2010. Its tracklist includes Express Yourself, a mash-up of Borderline and Open Your Heart, Vogue, Like A Virgin, 4 Minutes, What it Feels Like for a Girl, and Like a Prayer.
The iTunes edition features a bonus track, Burning Up, which was not performed in the episode.
Lynch received the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her performance in the episode.