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: August 24, 1998

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On August 24 1998, “Drowned World/Substitute For Love” was released as the third single from Ray Of Light in most major markets outside North America. The song was written by Madonna, William Orbit and David Collins (Rod McKuen and Anita Kerr were also credited for sampled use of their composition “Why I Follow The Tigers” performed by The San Sebastian Strings) and was produced by Madonna and Orbit.

With the album’s title track being issued as the second single in North America a month after its release in other markets, it was decided to release “Drowned World/Substitute For Love” to fill the gap until her next international single release, “The Power Of Good-bye.” The single peaked at number-ten in the UK, at number-five in Italy and at number-one in Spain. Despite not being released in Canada, the song managed to reach number eighteen on the Canadian singles chart based solely on sales of the European import single, and without any promotion from radio or music video stations. Club play of the imported single, which featured remixes of both “Drowned World/Substitute For Love” and its b-side, “Sky Fits Heaven,” prompted a brief appearance by the latter on the U.S. Hot Dance/Club Play Chart, peaking at number forty-one.

The music video, filmed in London by director Walter Stern, caused a minor controversy due to scenes of Madonna’s car being chased by paparazzi on motorcycles, an image still fresh in the public’s mind at the time due the circumstances surrounding the death of Princess Diana. Liz Rosenberg denied that the scene had anything to do with the late Princess, adding that the video was about Madonna’s own experience and relationship with fame.

The song is often ranked as a fan favorite and seems to be highly-regarded by Madonna as well, considering her 2001 concert tour was named after the song and it was used as the show’s opening number. It was also performed during 2006′s Confessions Tour and appeared on her second greatest hits collection, GHV2. An early demo version of the song believed to be produced with Patrick Leonard titled “No Substitute For Love” leaked online in the early 2000′s. The demo contains similar lyrics but a completely different musical backing track and melody. The music that was used on the final version of the song was a previously composed instrumental track by William Orbit.

Famous faces, far off places
Trinkets I can buy
No handsome stranger, heady danger
Drug that I can try
No ferris wheel, no heart to steal
No laughter in the dark
No one-night stand, no far-off land
No fire that I can spark

Today in Madonna History: August 21, 2000

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 “Hey Mr. DJ, put a record on, I want to dance with my baby.”

On August 21 2000, Madonna’s “Music” single was released.  “Music” was the lead single from her eighth studio album of the same name.  It was written and produced by Madonna and Mirwais Ahmadzaï.

Music” peaked number one in 22 other countries, including Australia, Canada, Italy, New Zealand, Norway and the United Kingdom.  The song reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100. “Music” was the longest running number-one single on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart for the decade (five weeks).  The song was the second most successful dance single of the decade in the United States, behind Madonna’s own “Hung Up” (2005). “Music” was the last number one hit on the Canadian RPM singles chart.

Today In Madonna History: July 31, 2009

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On July 31 2009, “Celebration” – the lead single from Madonna’s third greatest hits album of the same name – was released to digital media outlets by Warner Bros. Records. The song was written by Madonna, Paul Oakenfold, Ian Green & Ciaran Gribbin and produced by Madonna & Oakenfold with additional production by Green.

Celebration” was one of two new songs written with Oakenfold for the hits collection. The other new track, “Broken,” was left off the album but was later issued on 12-inch coloured vinyl as an exclusive gift to members of Madonna’s official fan club. Oakenfold also contributed new production to “It’s So Cool,” an outtake from Madonna’s 2003 album American Life which was used as a bonus track for the deluxe digital download edition of the Celebration album.

Today in Madonna History: April 17, 2001

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On April 17, 2001, “What It Feels Like for a Girl” – the third single from “Music” was released by Maverick Records. The song was written by Madonna, Guy Sigsworth and David Torn, who was credited later, while production was handled by Madonna, Guy Sigsworth and Mark Stent. The spoken intro, recited by Charlotte Gainsbourg, is an excerpt from the 1993 film The Cement Garden.

Lyrics:

Girls can wear jeans
And cut their hair short
Wear shirts and boots
Cause it’s okay to be a boy
But for a boy to look like a girl is degrading
Cause you think being a girl is degrading
But secretly
You’d love to know what it’s like
Wouldn’t you?
What it feels like for a girl

Silky smooth
Lips as sweet as candy, baby
Tight blue jeans
Skin that shows in patches

Strong inside but you don’t know it
Good little girls they never show it
When you open up your mouth to speak
Could you be a little weak

Do you know what it feels like for a girl
Do you know what it feels like in this world for a girl

Hair that twirls on finger tips so gently, baby
Hands that rest on jutting hips repenting
Hurt that’s not supposed to show and
Tears that fall when no one knows
When you’re trying hard to be your best
Could you be a little less

Do you know what it feels like for a girl
Do you know what it feels like in this world for a girl
Do you know what it feels like for a girl
Do you know what it feels like in this world
What it feels like for a girl

Strong inside but you don’t know it
Good little girls they never show it
When you open up your mouth to speak
Could you be a little weak

Do you know what it feels like for a girl
Do you know what it feels like in this world for a girl
Do you know what it feels like for a girl
Do you know what it feels like in this world for a girl

In this world
Do you know
Do you know
Do you know what it feels like for a girl
What it feels like in this world

Today in Madonna History: April 10, 1985

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On April 10, 1985, the third single from “Like a Virgin“, “Angel” was released by Sire Records.

Written by Steve Bray and Madonna, it was one of the first songs developed for the project and, according to Madonna, was inspired by a girl who is saved by an angel, and she falls in love with Him.

Lyrics: 

Why am I standing on a cloud
Every time you’re around
And my sadness disappears
Every time you are near

Bridge:

You must be an angel
I can see it in your eyes
Full of wonder and surprise
And just now I realize

Chorus:

Oooh you’re an angel
Oooh you’re an angel
Oooh you’re an angel
In disguise, I can see it in your eyes

Walking down a crowded avenue
Other faces seem like nothing next to you
And I can’t hear the traffic rushing by
Just the pounding of my heart and that’s why

(bridge)
(chorus, repeat)

You’re an angel
You’re an angel, baby
You’re an angel
You must be an angel

Now I believe that dreams come true
‘Cause you came when I wished for you
This just can’t be coincidence
The only way that this makes sense is that

(chorus, repeat)

You’re an angel
You’re an angel, baby
You’re an angel
You must be an angel, baby

Clouds just disappear