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

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.

Today in Madonna History: July 24, 1999

beautiful stranger single

On July 24 1999, “Beautiful Stranger” reached its peak position of #19 on the Billboard Hot 100. This was based on the strength of airplay alone, as Maverick Records opted to boost sales of the “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me” soundtrack album by not releasing the song as a physical single in the US. Had it been issued commercially, it would have easily given Madonna another Top 10 hit. The single was released in most major markets outside the US including Canada, Europe, Australia and Japan.

Today in Madonna History: May 16, 1994

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i'll remember canadian cd-maxi back disc

i'll remember canadian cassette single

i'll remember canadian singles chart

On May 16, 1994, Madonna’s “I’ll Remember (Theme From With Honors)” became the number-one single in Canada. The song remained at the top of the Canadian singles chart for five weeks before finally being dislodged on June 20th by All-4-One’s hit, “I Swear”. Incidentally, it was the same song that blocked “I’ll Remember” from reaching the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S., where it spent four weeks in its peak position of number-two.

Today in Madonna History: April 4, 1998

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On April 4, 1998, Madonna’s “Frozen” hit #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the USA.

Frozen” was the first single released from Ray of Light.

Lyrics:

You only see what your eyes want to see

How can life be what you want it to be

You’re frozen

When your heart’s not open

You’re so consumed with how much you get

You waste your time with hate and regret

You’re broken

When your heart’s not open

Mmm, if I could melt your heart

Mmm, we’d never be apart

Mmm, give yourself to me

Mmm, you hold the key

Now there’s no point in placing the blame

And you should know I suffer the same

If I lose you

My heart will be broken

Love is a bird, she needs to fly

Let all the hurt inside of you die

You’re frozen

When your heart’s not open

Mmm, if I could melt your heart

Mmm, we’d never be apart

Mmm, give yourself to me

Mmm, you hold the key

You only see what your eyes want to see

How can life be what you want it to be

You’re frozen

When your heart’s not open

Mmm, if I could melt your heart

Mmm, we’d never be apart

Mmm, give yourself to me

Mmm, you hold the key

If I could melt your heart