Today in Madonna History: October 21, 1992

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On October 21 1992, Madonna’s “Sex” book was released by Warner Books, Maverick and Callaway Books.

The 128-page coffee table book of erotica and sexual fantasies was written by Madonna, with photographs taken by Steven Meisel and film frames shot by Fabien Baron.  The book was edited by Glenn O’Brien.

The spiral-bound, metal-covered book was wrapped in a silver mylar bag and included a copy of the “Erotic” CD single (an exclusive version of the “Erotica” song).  The package also included an 8-page comic book and it was priced at $49.95 US.

How old were you when you first bought or read through Madonna’s “Sex” book?

Today in Madonna History: October 20, 1992

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On October 20 1992, Madonna’s fifth studio album, “Erotica” was released by Maverick Records.

Music critic Sal Cinquemani commented on the album’s impact:

By 1992, Madonna was an icon—untouchable, literally and figuratively—and Erotica was the first time the artist’s music took on a decidedly combative, even threatening tone, and most people didn’t want to hear it. Erotica’s irrefutable unsexiness probably says more about the sex=death mentality of the early ’90s than any other musical document of its time. This is not Madonna at her creative zenith. This is Madonna at her most important, at her most relevant. No one else in the mainstream at that time dared to talk about sex, love, and death with such frankness and fearlessness.

Today in Madonna History: October 15, 1992

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On October 15 1992, Madonna threw a “Sex” book pre-release party at New York City’s Industria Superstudio, and signed all the invitations under her alter ego”Dita”.

During the party, Madonna showed up dressed as Little Bo Peep and carried with her a stuffed toy lamb. 

Madonna’s publicist Liz Rosenberg showed concern at first worrying “what the parents of America’s impressionable teens will soon be thinking” but later said that it “all depends on your idea of lovemaking, which in Madonna’s case, should give new meaning to the word erotic.”

Both Waldenbooks and Barnes & Noble prepared corporate statements that their store managers could share with customers who were offended by “Sex. Both statements defended the right of bookstores to provide “diversity and choice” to customers and say censorship is not the role of bookstores.

Bookstore owner David Epstein stated that “The feeling of most people who have ordered the book is that Madonna is something special, that this is cutting-edge art, they’re not the kind of people who are buying it because it’s smut and dirty pictures. People are interested in it as art.”

Today in Madonna History: October 13, 1992

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On October 13 1992, the “Erotica” single was released. Originally credited to Madonna & Shep Pettibone, Pettibone’s partner Tony Shimkin was later granted co-writing credit for nearly all of the Pettibone collaborations on the album, including “Erotica.” The debut release to feature the imprint of the fledgling Maverick Records, the song was produced by Madonna & Pettibone.

As several leaked demo versions of the song can now attest, the track had gone through numerous incarnations before Madonna settled on lyrics that positioned her in the perspective of Dita – the alter-ego she had created for her Sex book. The song’s original chorus (“You thrill me…”) was reincorporated into the song when Madonna performed it during her 2006 Confessions Tour. Alternate verses were also used to create the track “Erotic,” which was included with the Sex book – these lyrics were also featured in a William Orbit remix that was included on the “Erotica” maxi-single.

French art director and photographer Fabien Baron designed the artwork for the single, the album and the Sex book. He also directed the “Erotica” music video, which included footage he had shot on Super 8mm during the making of the book. Baron recalled his first meeting with Madonna to discuss their potential collaboration in a 2009 interview with Hint Fashion Magazine:

“I met Madonna at her home on Central Park West to talk about working on her Sex book. It was very comfortable but very uncomfortable at the same time, which is a very interesting feeling. She’s very imposing and knows what she wants. She’s very informed and opinionated, which makes her genius. She takes you in and swallows you up — and you don’t mind it –  you actually enjoy it. There’s an unspoken seduction that goes on. I was young…she was young, too – and beautiful. That was an unforgettable era. She put that book out at the best moment. She timed it very well…she knows what she’s doing. And such drive. Some people want to lift stones to see what’s under them. She’ll be on a beach with millions of stones and want to lift every one of them.”

Today in Madonna History: October 2, 1992

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On October 2 1992, Madonna’s “Erotica” video premiered on MTV.

The “Erotica” video was directed by fashion photographer Fabien Baron, and featured a masked Madonna in a dominatrix costume. It also featured celebrities such as Naomi Campbell, Isabella Rossellini and Big Daddy Kane. The video was highly controversial, being aired by MTV a total of three times, before becoming Madonna’s second video to be banned, after “Justify My Love” in 1990.  

MTV spokeswoman Linda Alexander said, “The themes of the video are clearly aimed at a more adult audience. It is not appropriate for a general viewing audience”.

The footage of Madonna lip-synching the song in her S&M dominatrix costume was filmed on August 22, 1992 at The Kitchen in New York City, while the rest of the footage for the video was shot during the photo sessions for Madonna’s “Sex” book.  

In order to imitate the look of old home-made movies, the entire video was shot with Super 8 film.

Today in Madonna History: September 2, 1993

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On September 2 1993, Madonna opened the 1993 MTV Video Music Awards performing “Bye Bye Baby“.  She cavorted on stage with three scantily clad women in a brothel-style setting, dressed in tuxedos and top hats, in a choreographed, highly sexual routine.  According to choreographer Alex Magno, he wanted to do “Justify My Love” or “The Beast Within” on MTV, but Madonna decided that they might be too controversial for live television and abandoned the idea. Nevertheless, “Bye Bye Baby” was chosen and performed with the choreography they had been practicing for “The Girlie Show World Tour“, since it represented the whole idea behind the tour.  Louis Virtel from The Backlot ranked the performance at number eight on a list for “Madonna’s 11 Greatest VMA Moments”. He praised Madonna’s rendition of the song at the Video Music Awards, calling it “a hell of a VMA performance” and a “killer cinematic throwback”.

 

Today in Madonna History: July 19, 1994

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On July 19 1994, Madonna contributed “Goodbye to Innocence” to the benefit CD, “Just Say Roe“.

When Madonna went to record her vocals for “Goodbye to Innocence” during the recording of the “Erotica” album , she started singing Little Willie John’s song “Fever” instead of singing the original words. Shep Pettibone and Madonna decided to record it, as they felt it sounded good. As they did not know the words, Madonna called Seymour Stein from Sire Records, and within an hour, they had the Peggy Lee version, and the original version of the song.  “Fever” was the last to be recorded for the album, in August 1992, and it was finished within a month later.

Lyrics:

I don’t wanna say goodbye

There are some who believe that I owe them something
But they’re wrong, I owe nothing to no one but myself
And there are some who say they created me
But only my parents will have that acclaim
I took it from there, I am to blame

Say goodbye to anonymity
I have to (have to, have to) say goodbye
To privacy, but most of all
To innocence
To innocence
To innocence

My life is not a game that I play to entertain you
And if you can do it better, then you’re welcome to my fame
I’m not gonna waste my time correcting myths and rumors
You believe what you wanna believe

Say goodbye to anonymity
I have to (have to, have to) say goodbye
To privacy, but most of all
To innocence
To innocence
To innocence

I don’t wanna say goodbye
I don’t need a reason to cry
Kinda makes me wanna
Kinda makes me hafta

Stop and think about it
Stop and think about it
Stop and think about it
Do I want to?

I don’t (getting up and down)
I don’t (getting up and down)
I don’t (getting up and down)

Up-up, d-d-down, up-up-up

I don’t (getting up and down)
I don’t (getting up and down)
I don’t (getting up and down)

Up-up, d-d-down, up-up-up

Listen up
It always comes down to this
It always comes down to this

Some people have a snake at the base of their spine
That would suck out your life, that would take all your time
They’re called feeders
They’re not believers but you must not fear it
They’re takers

You know you better stop, stop and think about it

Your innocence
Your innocence
Your innocence

I don’t wanna say goodbye to innocence
I don’t need a reason to cry, innocence

Hold on to your innocence
Hold on (hold on, hold on), hold on to innocence
Hold on

Stop and think about it, say goodbye, think about it