On April 10 1985, Madonna’s Virgin Tour opened with 3 sold-out concerts at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle, Washington.
During a 2009 interview with Rolling Stone, interviewer Austin Scaggs asked Madonna regarding her feelings and emotions during the tour, since it was the first time she was playing in arenas. Madonna replied saying, “That whole tour was crazy, because I went from playing CBGB and the Mudd Club to playing sporting arenas,” she told the magazine. “I played a small theater in Seattle, and the girls had flap skirts on and the tights cut off below their knees and lace gloves and rosaries and bows in their hair and big hoop earrings. I was like, ‘This is insane!’ After Seattle, all of the shows were moved to arenas.”
Madonna had three shows in Seattle – April 10, 12 and 13 – and all three were sellouts by the time she took the stage that first night. The Beastie Boys opened for Madonna and they weren’t well received by the pro-Madonna crowd. The show was a year before “Licensed to Ill” was released.
Their 30-minute set got off to a bad start when one of the Beastie Boys declared himself King of the Paramount, and generally made the pro-Madonna audience feel like a swarm of hillbillies, P-I pop music critic Gene Stout wrote in his review.
“Dressed in what looked like a Boy George outfit, she looked reluctant, almost scared, and kept her eyes on the ground as she and her small entourage swept past a modest gathering of fans,” Stout wrote.
Madonna started the show with Dress You Up, followed with Holiday, and performed Borderline for the first time live as her seventh song. Madonna ended by debuting Material Girl as her encore.
On February 1 1985, Madonna’s music video for Material Girl premiered in the U.S. on MTV.
The Mary Lambert-directed clip was a tongue-in-cheek homage to Marilyn Monroe’s performance of Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend from the 1953 film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
On January 10 1985, Madonna began filming the Material Girl music video in Los Angeles, California. The video was directed by Mary Lambert. Madonna met Sean Penn on the set.
In a 1987 interview with New York Daily News, Madonna talked about the concept for the video:
“My favorite scene in all of Marilyn Monroe’s movies is when she does that dance sequence for ‘Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend’. And when it came time to do the video for the song Material Girl, I said, I can just redo that whole scene and it will be perfect. Marilyn was made into something not human in a way, and I can relate to that. Her sexuality was something everyone was obsessed with and that I can relate to. And there were certain things about her vulnerability that I’m curious about and attracted to.”
Reflecting on the song, Madonna told author J. Randy Taraborrelli:
“I can’t completely disdain the song and the video, because they certainly were important to my career. But talk about the media hanging on a phrase and misinterpreting the damn thing as well. I didn’t write that song, you know, and the video was about how the girl rejected diamonds and money. But God forbid irony should be understood. So when I’m ninety, I’ll still be the Material Girl. I guess it’s not so bad. Lana Turner was the Sweater Girl until the day she died.”
On March 23 1985, Madonna’s Material Girl hit #2 in the USA.
The US and UK 12″ singles included:
Side A: Material Girl (Extended Dance Remix) 6:05
Side B: Pretender 4:28
Material Girl also appeared on the 1990 greatest hits compilation, The Immaculate Collection, and on the 2009 greatest hits compilation, Celebration. The song was written by Peter Brown and Robert Rans, and Nile Rodgers produced the track.