Today in Madonna History: January 8, 1983

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On January 8 1983, Everybody peaked at number-three on the US Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart. It would remain locked in that position for three weeks before quickly descending. Then known as Hot Dance/Disco, it was Madonna’s first appearance on the chart that she continues to rule today, with a total of 43 number-one hits under her belt.

Long live the Dancing Queen!

Today in Madonna History: December 30, 1989

Dear Jessie CD Single_Cover Dear Jessie CD Single_Back Cover

On December 30 1989, Dear Jessie peaked at number-five on the UK singles chart. The track was released as the fourth single from Like A Prayer in Europe (with the exception of France which instead opted to service the North American/Japanese fourth single, Oh Father) and as the fifth single in Australia.

Dear Jessie was written and produced by Madonna and Patrick Leonard and was inspired by Leonard’s young daughter, Jessie, with whom Madonna had developed a special connection.

The psychedelia-infused reflection on childhood fantasy and innocence was particularly poignant within the context of the Like A Prayer album’s sequencing, with its segue into Oh Father offering a stark musical and emotional contrast that is perhaps one of the most effective in Madonna’s body of work.

Today in Madonna History: December 19, 1987

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On December 19 1987, Madonna’s haunting ballad The Look Of Love peaked at number nine on the UK Singles Chart. The third and final Madonna single from the Who’s That Girl soundtrack, it was released only in select European countries and in Japan.

The Look Of Love was written, produced and recorded by Madonna and Patrick Leonard during the second of a three-day studio session, with the title track of the soundtrack being written and recorded on the first day. Additional musicians were brought in for overdubs and mixing was completed for both tracks by the end of the third day.

Despite being a set-list staple on the Who’s That Girl tour – the song’s limited release, moderate chart success, along with the fact that it has not been included in any of Madonna’s subsequent retrospective collections has led to it being largely forgotten, although fans frequently cite it as an underrated gem.

In a 1991 interview with ICON magazine, background vocalist Niki Haris expressed fond memories of performing the track with Madonna during the 1987 tour:

“My favorite song ever to perform with Madonna was a song called The Look Of Love from the Who’s That Girl Tour [Niki sings: Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide…]. That is one of the greatest songs and Madonna sings it really great. That’s my favorite song of all time as far as singing with her.”

The single reached number six in Ireland, number eight in the Netherlands and number ten in Belgium, while it peaked outside the top-ten in Germany, Switzerland, France and Japan.

Today in Madonna History: December 3, 2005

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On December 3 2005, Confessions On A Dance Floor entered the Billboard 200 album chart at number-one with sales of of over 350,000. It was her third consecutive studio album to reach the top and her sixth chart-topping album overall in the US.

Internationally the album hit number-one in 40 countries, including Canada, the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Poland, Brazil and Australia.

Today in Madonna History: November 28, 2006

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On November 28 2006, Jump peaked at #20 on the Austrian Ultratop 40 singles chart. The song was the fourth international single from Confessions On A Dance Floor.

The maxi-single featured remixes by Stuart Price (under the pseudonym Jacques Lu Cont), Axwell and Junior Sanchez; an Extended Album Version and Radio Edit (the US vinyl edition also added the “unmixed” Album Version); and a previously unreleased b-side, History, written and produced by Madonna & Stuart Price.

Recorded during the Confessions On A Dance Floor sessions, the released version of History was in actuality an uncredited Stuart Price remix of the otherwise shelved original production. An alternate version of the Price remix streamed on Madonna’s official website for a brief period but has yet to surface in quality above streaming grade. More of the song’s history came to light when an incomplete clip of the final non-remixed version, as well as several complete demo takes (featuring nixed chorus lyric “I thought that we were related” instead of “Defined by our greed and hatred”), leaked online in 2007 and 2008 respectively.

While the remix of History is a sparse and stripped-down slice of electro-house that recalls some of Stuart Price’s earlier solo work as Les Rythmes Digitales, the pulsating urgency of the original production with its heedfully hopeful bridge make it the more definitive rendering of the song.

Today In Madonna History: August 30, 2012

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On August 30 2012, “Turn Up The Radio” jumped to the top position on the Billboard Hot Dance/Club Play Chart, earning her a record-extending 43rd number-one single on the chart.

Marking a sign of the times, the single and remixes were sold exclusively to digital retailers and were sadly not given a physical release on any format (aside from scarce promotional copies), in any country. This was the first time in Madonna’s career that an international commercial single was unavailable to record shops and collectors either through domestic distribution or as an import.

We hope that Interscope realizes that there are many old-school Madonna fans who still enjoy collecting physical releases – and we’re willing to pay for them. So what will it be Interscope? Would you like to earn some extra bucks with the singles from Madonna’s next album, or are you going to leave collectors with padded pockets?

Today in Madonna History: August 24, 1998

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On August 24 1998, “Drowned World/Substitute For Love” was released as the third single from Ray Of Light in most major markets outside North America. The song was written by Madonna, William Orbit and David Collins (Rod McKuen and Anita Kerr were also credited for sampled use of their composition “Why I Follow The Tigers” performed by The San Sebastian Strings) and was produced by Madonna and Orbit.

With the album’s title track being issued as the second single in North America a month after its release in other markets, it was decided to release “Drowned World/Substitute For Love” to fill the gap until her next international single release, “The Power Of Good-bye.” The single peaked at number-ten in the UK, at number-five in Italy and at number-one in Spain. Despite not being released in Canada, the song managed to reach number eighteen on the Canadian singles chart based solely on sales of the European import single, and without any promotion from radio or music video stations. Club play of the imported single, which featured remixes of both “Drowned World/Substitute For Love” and its b-side, “Sky Fits Heaven,” prompted a brief appearance by the latter on the U.S. Hot Dance/Club Play Chart, peaking at number forty-one.

The music video, filmed in London by director Walter Stern, caused a minor controversy due to scenes of Madonna’s car being chased by paparazzi on motorcycles, an image still fresh in the public’s mind at the time due the circumstances surrounding the death of Princess Diana. Liz Rosenberg denied that the scene had anything to do with the late Princess, adding that the video was about Madonna’s own experience and relationship with fame.

The song is often ranked as a fan favorite and seems to be highly-regarded by Madonna as well, considering her 2001 concert tour was named after the song and it was used as the show’s opening number. It was also performed during 2006’s Confessions Tour and appeared on her second greatest hits collection, GHV2. An early demo version of the song believed to be produced with Patrick Leonard titled “No Substitute For Love” leaked online in the early 2000’s. The demo contains similar lyrics but a completely different musical backing track and melody. The music that was used on the final version of the song was a previously composed instrumental track by William Orbit.

Famous faces, far off places
Trinkets I can buy
No handsome stranger, heady danger
Drug that I can try
No ferris wheel, no heart to steal
No laughter in the dark
No one-night stand, no far-off land
No fire that I can spark