Today in Madonna History: September 27, 2002

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On September 27 2002, the theme and title-track for the twentieth film in the James Bond franchise, Die Another Day, received its world premiere on New York radio station Z100. The song had been due to hit the airwaves on October 10th, but when Z100 got their hands on the track ahead of schedule they immediately added it to their heavy rotation playlist. Other stations quickly followed suit, prompting an early but very strong debut at #41 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S. and becoming the chart’s highest first-week entry of the year.

Die Another Day was written and produced by Madonna and Mirwais with string arrangement by the late, great Michel Colombier. After being introduced to Madonna through Mirwais, Colombier arranged strings for Madonna’s 2000 hit Don’t Tell Me, scored her film Swept Away and arranged the American Life tracks Nothing Fails and Easy Ride. Colombier sadly lost a brief battle with cancer in 2004, leaving behind a legacy of celebrated collaborations with the likes of Serge Gainsbourg, Prince and Joni Mitchell, to name only a few.

Madonna’s Bond theme was first performed during 2004’s Re-Invention Tour, where it became a visual showstopper with its ambitious and impressively executed tango-influenced choreography.

Today in Madonna History: September 6, 1989

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On September 6 1989, Madonna performed Express Yourself  at the 6th annual MTV Video Music Awards at the Universal Amphitheatre, Los Angeles, CA. The Express Yourself music video picked up awards for Best Direction, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, while Like A Prayer won the Viewer’s Choice Award.

Serving as a sneak preview for 1990’s Blond Ambition Tour, the performance marked the first of many to feature the vocal trio of Madonna, Donna De Lory and Niki Haris. De Lory and Haris had previously toured with Madonna during the 1987 Who’s That Girl Tour, but had been joined by a third background vocalist, Debra Parsons. The pair would be more heavily featured as vocalist/dancers from this point forward, rather than simply band members who rarely left the confines of their microphone stand.

It was during rehearsals for the 1989 VMA performance that Niki Haris brought voguing to Madonna’s attention, and stylized poses were then fittingly incorporated into the performance’s choreography.

Today in Madonna History: July 25, 1990

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On July 25 1990, Blond Ambition Japan Tour 90 was released on VHS and LaserDisc by Warner-Pioneer, exclusively to the Japanese market.

Recorded in Yokohama, Japan on April 26 1990, the show had originally aired as a live television special in Japan. Due to high winds impacting the outdoor stadium during the concert, no stage curtains were used in the performance, allowing viewers the ability to see some of the normally hidden set changes in the darkened background.

It was the only official VHS release of the tour worldwide due to a sponsorship contract which granted Pioneer rights to issue the tour exclusively on LaserDisc in other regions. For this reason, copies of the Japanese VHS were in high demand from fans in other countries that shared the Japanese NTSC video format, with imported copies selling for approximately $100 USD.

Today in Madonna History: July 18, 2004

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On July 18 2004, Madonna played the first of three sold-out dates at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre during her Re-Invention Tour. Playing to a combined total of over 52,000 fans, the shows were the only Canadian stop on the tour and marked her first concerts in Canada in eleven years.

At the second show Madonna proclaimed to those in attendance that they were the best audience of the tour thus far, while the final Toronto date saw Madonna in an uncharacteristically playful mood. Interrupting the show’s normally swift progression between Papa Don’t Preach and Crazy For You, she joked about the infamous 1990 threats of arrest and whipped the audience into a cheering frenzy with her self-described “unprofessional” behaviour.

Today in Madonna History: July 15, 1992

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On July 15 1992, Truth Or Dare was re-released on VHS in the U.S. and Canada, priced for retail purchase. The new edition featured bonus performances of Hanky Panky and Like A Prayer filmed in Paris, following the film’s credit roll.

While bonus features were a relatively uncommon addition to VHS releases, even more unusual was the omission of these same special extras from all other releases of the film, including the subsequent DVD and Blu-ray editions – formats that would normally include any bonus content available. The most likely explanation is that the extra footage has been lost. A recent interview by with the film’s director Alek Keshishian appears to support this when he noted that neither he nor Madonna’s management have been able to locate the whereabouts of any of the film’s outtakes.

The original 1991 VHS release of the film, which had been priced for the rental market at nearly $100 per copy, featured alternate packaging and no bonus content.