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.