Today in Madonna History: April 5, 2003

american-life-music-video-april-5-1 american-life-music-video-april-5-2 american-life-music-video-april-5-3 american-life-music-video-april-5-4 american-life-music-video-april-5-5 american-life-music-video-april-5-6 american-life-music-video-april-5-7

On April 5 2003, an Australian interview aired that demonstrated Madonna’s quick change of heart regarding the American Life music video.

During the interview with Richard Wilkins, the following dialog takes place:

Wilkins: “You’re going to get all sorts of criticism I think.”

Madonna: “Why. Tell me why!”

W: “People are going to say it’s inappropriate to show bombs going off and planes bombing people.”

M: “Why? That’s on the news every five minutes! I’m just using news footage that’s already been seen by everyone.”

W: “I’m suggesting that some people are going to think maybe it’s ill-timed.”

M: “But in a way it’s perfect timing, because it’s what we are experiencing right now – so, it’s American life. It’s very current and appropriate I think.”

Wilkins may have convinced Madonna to go cold on the idea.

“Maybe I did, perhaps I caused her to think again,” he said. “She is very proud of the video, as she should be because it’s incredible.”

By the time the interview aired (a week later), Madonna had already pulled the American Life video and made a statement regarding her choice.

You can read the statement and watch the full music video here.

Today in Madonna History: January 25, 1989

madonna-like-a-prayer-pepsi-deal-1 madonna-like-a-prayer-pepsi-deal-2 madonna-like-a-prayer-pepsi-deal-3 madonna-like-a-prayer-pepsi-deal-4 madonna-like-a-prayer-pepsi-deal-5 madonna-like-a-prayer-pepsi-deal-6

On January 25, 1989, following eight months of negotiations, Pepsi announced that they had signed Madonna to a year-long endorsement contract, for which they would pay her $5 million. In return, Madonna would appear in a series of television commercials and Pepsi would sponsor the Like A Prayer World Tour, tentatively slated for later that year.

Pepsi was undaunted by Madonna’s image in the tabloids. “Her appeal is in her music and her acting. That’s where people’s interests are,” announced Pepsi spokesman Tod MacKenzie.

If the Like A Prayer World Tour had gone ahead as planned, do you think it would have been drastically different from Blond Ambition? What would have changed? Vogue and all the songs from Dick Tracy (or I’m Breathless) would have been omitted. What else? 

Today in Madonna History: January 21, 1992

gabriel_kevin_oliver_truth-or-dare-1 gabriel_kevin_oliver_truth-or-dare-2 gabriel_kevin_oliver_truth-or-dare-3 gabriel_kevin_oliver_truth-or-dare-4

On January 21 1992, a lawsuit was filed against Madonna by 3 ex-dancers: Oliver Crumes, Kevin Stea and Gabriel Trupin – they charged her with invasion of privacy, fraud and deceit, intentional misrepresentation, suppression of fact, and intentional infliction of emotional distress for exposing their private lives in her 1991 film documentary Truth or Dare.

In a commercial for MTV’s Rock the Vote campaign later that year, Madonna joked about the lawsuit, saying, “You’re probably thinking that’s not a very good reason to vote… So sue me! Everybody else does.”

In October 1994, after more than two years of litigation, the suit was withdrawn and an undisclosed settlement was reached.

Today in Madonna History: January 15, 1993

body-of-evidence-madonna-1 body-of-evidence-madonna-2 body-of-evidence-madonna-3 body-of-evidence-madonna-4 body-of-evidence-madonna-5 body-of-evidence-madonna-6 body-of-evidence-madonna-7 body-of-evidence-madonna-8 body-of-evidence-madonna-9 body-of-evidence-madonna-10

On January 15 1993, Body of Evidence was released across North America. The erotic thriller was produced by Dino De Laurentiis and directed by Uli Edel.  The film starred Madonna and Willem Dafoe, with Joe Mantegna, Anne Archer, Julianne Moore and Jürgen Prochnow in supporting roles.

The theatrical release for the film received the rare NC-17 rating (“No Children Under 17 Admitted”).

Sex was a game to her. She got off on the control. She always used to tell me it had to be her way.

When was the last time you watched Body of Evidence? Thoughts?

Today in Madonna History: January 13, 2012

madonna-lady-gaga-reductive-1 madonna-lady-gaga-reductive-2 madonna-lady-gaga-reductive-3 madonna-lady-gaga-reductive-4 madonna-lady-gaga-reductive-5

On January 12 2012, Cynthia McFadden asked Madonna, during a Good Morning America interview, for her opinion of the Lady Gaga song, Born This Way.

McFadden started by asking if Madonna felt that Lady Gaga was “copying” her. Madonna’s first reply was complimentary.  She called Gaga “a very talented artist” and said she admired her songwriting abilities.

Madonna went on to say, “I certainly think she references me a lot in her work. And sometimes I think it’s amusing and flattering and well done.”

Madonna said that Gaga’s work also appeared to be a “statement about taking something that was in the Zeitgeist, you know, 20 years ago and turning it inside out and reinterpreting it.”

Madonna continued, “There’s a lot of ways to look at it. I can’t really be annoyed by it …because, obviously, I’ve influenced her.”

But Madonna became coy when the conversation turned to Born This Way.

“When I heard it on the radio …I said ….that sounds very familiar.  It felt reductive.”

Pressed as to whether that was a good or bad thing, Madonna told Cynthia to “look it up”  – before smiling slyly and taking a sip from her tea cup.

Today in Madonna History: January 4, 1991

beast-within-1 beast-within-2 beast-within-3 beast-within-4

On January 4 1991, Madonna responded to a Rabbi’s accusation of anti-semitism for the song lyrics in the remix of Justify My Love, called The Beast Within.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies, accused Madonna of insulting Jews by using this Bible reference:

“I know your tribulation and your poverty and the slander of those who say that they are Jews, but they are not, they are a synagogue of Satan.”

In a letter sent to Madonna’s manager, Freddy DeMann, Rabbi Cooper said the Wiesenthal Center was outraged and wanted the quotation withdrawn. “The imagery of ‘Jew as Devil’ has led to untold violence against the Jewish people and slander against Judaism over the course of the last 2,000 years,” the rabbi wrote.

He charged that the phrase could “contribute to those who seek to promote anti-Semitism” and said that neo-Nazi groups had used such imagery to promote racist ideology among youth.

Madonna responded with this statement:

“I certainly did not have any anti-Semitic intent when I included a passage from the Bible on my record. It was a commentary on evil in general. My message, if any, is pro-tolerance and anti-hate. The song is, after all, about love.”

Rabbi Cooper said he took Madonna at her word.

“She was direct to the issue, she responded quickly and we’re relieved that she did so,” the rabbi said.

How did you feel about The Beast Within the first time you heard it? 

Today in Madonna History: December 7, 1990

jml-vhs-1 jml-vhs-2 jml-vhs-3

On December 7 1990, Madonna’s Justify My Love was released as the first-ever video single, priced at $9.98.

The music video was considered too sexually explicit for MTV and was banned from the network. Madonna responded to the banning: “Why is it that people are willing to go and watch a movie about someone getting blown to bits for no reason at all, and nobody wants to see two girls kissing and two men snuggling?”

On December 3, 1990, ABC’s Nightline played the video in its entirety, then interviewed Madonna live about the video’s sexual content and censorship. When asked whether she stood to make more money selling the video than airing it on MTV, she appeared impatient and answered, “Yeah, so? Lucky me.” She also expressed during the interview that she did not understand why the video was banned, while videos containing violence and degradation to women continued to receive regular airplay. The video was then released on VHS, and became a bestselling “video single” of all time.

Do you still have your VHS copy of Justify My Love?