Today in Madonna History: December 9, 1989

On December 9 1989, Madonna was featured in a two-page spread in Billboard magazine, paid for by her record company and management, congratulating her on being named Artist of the Decade by Musician magazine.

Madonna’s September 1989 performance of Express Yourself at the MTV VMA’s perfectly encapsulates the sentiments expressed in the tribute. As her only live performance that year, it only hinted at Madonna’s next mission: to revolutionize the concert touring industry.

Today in Madonna History: December 8, 1992

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On December 8 1992, Deeper and Deeper was released by Maverick Records as the second single from Erotica.  The song was written by Madonna, Shep Pettibone & Anthony Shimkin and was produced by Madonna & Pettibone.

“Someone said that romance was dead
And I believed it instead of remembering
What my mama told me
Let my father mold me
Then you tried to hold me
You remind me what they said
This feeling inside
I can’t explain
But my love is alive
And I’m never gonna hide it again”

Today in Madonna History: December 7, 1990

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On December 7 1990, Madonna’s Justify My Love was released as the first-ever video single, priced at $9.98.

The music video was considered too sexually explicit for MTV and was banned from the network. Madonna responded to the banning: “Why is it that people are willing to go and watch a movie about someone getting blown to bits for no reason at all, and nobody wants to see two girls kissing and two men snuggling?”

On December 3, 1990, ABC’s Nightline played the video in its entirety, then interviewed Madonna live about the video’s sexual content and censorship. When asked whether she stood to make more money selling the video than airing it on MTV, she appeared impatient and answered, “Yeah, so? Lucky me.” She also expressed during the interview that she did not understand why the video was banned, while videos containing violence and degradation to women continued to receive regular airplay. The video was then released on VHS, and became a bestselling “video single” of all time.

Do you still have your VHS copy of Justify My Love?

Today in Madonna History: December 6, 1994

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On December 6 1994, Madonna’s Take a Bow was released (as a physical single).  Take A Bow was selected to be the second single from Madonna’s sixth studio album Bedtime Stories.

The ballad was written and produced by Madonna and Babyface.

Billboard Single Reviews gave the song a very positive review:

The follow-up to the top five smash Secret is a plush pop ballad that pairs La M with the red-hot Babyface, who has become best friend to many a diva in recent times. As close to perfect as top 40 fare gets, this single has a delightful, immediately memorable melody and chorus, engaging romance-novel lyrics, caressing live strings, and a lead vocal that is both sweet and quietly soulful. A lovely way for the singer to close ’95 — and one more good reason to investigate her essential Bedtime Stories collection.

Today in Madonna History: December 5, 1994

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On December 5 1994, Madonna began filming the music video for Bedtime Story at Universal Studios in Los Angeles, CA.

The video marked her second collaboration with director Mark Romanek and featured cinematography by Harris Savides. To assist in the process of developing her ideas for the video into something more tangible, Madonna again turned to storyboard artist Grant Shaffer, who had previously collaborated on her videos for Deeper And Deeper and Rain.

Madonna recalled the inspiration for the video in an interview with Aperture magazine:

“My Bedtime Story video was completely inspired by all the female surrealist painters like Leonora Carrington and Remedios Varo. There’s that one shot where my hands are up in the air and stars are spinning around me. And me flying through the hallway with my hair trailing behind me, the birds flying out of my open robe – all of those images were an homage to female surrealist painters; there’s a little bit of Frida Kahlo in there, too.”

The effects-laden video was shot over six days and has been noted by Madonna as being one of the more grueling video shoots of her career. Filming of a scene that featured Madonna bathing in blue-coloured water yielded unexpectedly colourful results; when Madonna emerged from the water, she later recounted, it quickly became apparent that her skin had been temporarily stained blue.

Fortunately any on-set difficulties were not evident in the final product. Following several months of post-production work, the video’s stunning surrealist imagery was enthusiastically received by viewers upon its release in March, 1995.

A very special thank you to artist Grant Shaffer for generously sharing a selection of his original storyboards used in the development of the Bedtime Story video! We’d like to invite readers to check out more of Grant’s art on his official website – including his sketches for Deeper And Deeper, Rain and Madonna’s Japanese Takara commercial.

Today in Madonna History: December 4, 1996

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On December 4 1996, Madonna was honoured with the Artist Achievement Award at the 7th annual Billboard Music Awards at the Aladdin Hotel Theatre For The Performing Arts in Las Vegas, Nevada.

This was Madonna’s first public appearance since the birth of her daughter Lourdes.

Today in Madonna History: December 3, 2014

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On December 3 2014, two photos for Donatella Versace’s 2015 spring/summer collection were revealed.  The photos were taken by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott.

Donatella said of Madonna:

“Madonna says it best herself: She is unapologetic.  She is her own woman, a role model who shows other women how we can do what we want, and get what we want, and do so for all of our lives, with no compromise.”

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