On May 6 1998, Ray of Light was released by Maverick Records. The title track from her seventh studio album was issued internationally as the album’s second single.
Ray Of Light is based on a track called Sepheryn by Curtiss Maldoon, and was included on their 1971 self-titled album. In 1996, Christine Leach, Maldoon’s niece, recorded her version of the track with William Orbit. Leach said she had always loved Dave Curtiss and Clive Maldoon’s work and noted that Sepheryn had a dream-like quality. Leach revised the chorus melody while Orbit provided new music for the song. After Madonna heard Leach’s version of the track, she immediately took to it and began reworking its lyrics.
Maldoon said he “couldn’t believe it” after he heard it, and was pleased with what Madonna had done with his original composition. Madonna said about the song: “It’s totally out of control. The original version is well over 10 minutes long. It was completely indulgent, but I loved it. It was heartbreaking to cut it down to a manageable length.”
Madonna’s original unedited version was set to be included on a remix album titled Veronica Electronica that was initially discussed as a follow-up to Ray Of Light, but plans for the collection apparently never made it past the drawing board.
On January 2 1999, Madonna’s The Power Of Good-Bye single peaked at #14 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart in the USA.
Your heart is not open so I must go
The spell has been broken, I loved you so
Freedom comes when you learn to let go
Creation comes when you learn to say no
You were my lesson I had to learn
I was your fortress you had to burn
Pain is a warning that something’s wrong
I pray to God that it won’t be long
Do ya wanna go higher?
On December 31 1999, the following Madonna videos were included in the Much Music: Top 100 Videos Of The Century includes Express Yourself #3, Ray Of Light #8 and Like A Prayer #47.
Do you think more of Madonna’s videos should have been included in the tally? Which videos?
On November 27 1999, Madonna: The Video Collection 1993-99 hit #3 on the Billboard Top Music Videos chart.
Heather Phares from Allmusic gave the release five out of five stars and said:
“Madonna’s Video Collection: 1993-1999 adds to her status as one of the best represented artists on DVD. Though it doesn’t offer much in the way of DVD-specific features, the artistry of directors like Mark Romanek, Stephane Sedaoui, David Fincher, Jean-Baptiste Mondino, as well as Madonna herself, is on full display with videos like ‘Take a Bow’, ‘Bedtime Story’, ‘Human Nature’, ‘Frozen’, and ‘Ray of Light’. All in all, it’s a worthwhile collection of memorable videos from one of pop’s trendsetters.”
On November 14 1998, Madonna was the subject of a press conference at the Grand Hotel in Stockholm, Sweden – her first visit to Sweden in 8 years.