Today in Madonna History: May 20, 1996

On May 20 1996, Madonna’s Take A Bow was honored as one of the Most Performed Songs of 1995 at the 13th annual ASCAP Pop Music Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California.

Ironically, Madonna herself has rarely performed the song live. It had only a single live vocal performance at the American Music Awards in 1995, a handful of mimed television performances during the same period, and was not performed on tour until being added on select dates towards the end of the Rebel Heart Tour.

Today in Madonna History: May 19, 2019

On May 19 2019, Madonna was scolded in the international press for “making a political statement” during her performance at the Eurovision Song Contest held the previous day, which ended with performers wearing Israeli and Palestinean flags on their backs with arms interlocked in embrace and the words “wake up” appearing on a stage screens.

Madonna’s camp responded with what should be (but is apparently not) obvious: “A message of peace is not a political statement.”

Here is the common definition of the term political statement:

The term political statement is used to refer to any act or non-verbal form of communication that is intended to influence a decision to be made for or by a political party. A political statement can vary from a mass demonstration to the wearing of a badge with a political slogan.

How exactly Madonna’s performance constitutes a political statement in the eyes of the media is puzzling. She did not endorse the political advancement or agenda of either side; she simply reiterated her longstanding and widely expressed wish for a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

A more reasonable argument would be that had she not included this symbolic gesture in her performance, it may have been construed as muted political support for Israel’s position. By making the gesture she did, she instead reiterated her political neutrality and her wish for peace.

Equally telling was the network’s response that its desire was to broadcast an entertainment special that essentially whitewashed the realities of the conflict. Clearly, they would have us believe that ignoring the conflict is the acceptable, non-partisan stance, while acknowledging the conflict and expressing one’s hope for its peaceful resolution should be viewed as provocational or controversial.

The irony is that it is only those who are trying to frame Madonna’s actions as a political statement that are, in fact, making one.

Today in Madonna History: May 18, 2005

On May 18 2005, Madonna issued a statement in support of fellow pop singer Kylie Minogue, wishing her a quick recovery from her battle with breast cancer:

“I was saddened to learn about Kylie Minogue’s breast cancer diagnosis. I’m so grateful that they found it early. (Yet another reminder for all women to have annual mammograms.) Aside from being tremendously talented, Kylie’s a fighter and I know this is a battle she will win. Let’s all pray for her speedy recovery and send all of our best wishes her way. With love and light to you Kylie…Madonna.”

Following her surgery and recovery, Kylie’s 2006 return to the stage was captured in the behind-the-scenes documentary, White Diamond. The film included Kylie’s version of an unreleased Madonna/Rick Nowels collaboration from the Ray Of Light sessions, titled Alone Again. Kylie had recorded the track as a potential b-side to her 2002 single, Come Into My World, but for unknown reasons it remained shelved until its use in the documentary several years later. Madonna received special thanks from Kylie in the film’s closing credits.

Today in Madonna History: May 17, 1991

On May 17 1991, Madonna: Truth Or Dare was released in 538 U.S. movie theatres.

Madonna: Truth or Dare chronicled the life of Madonna during her 1990 Blond Ambition World Tour.  The film was well received by critics and was successful at the box office, at that point becoming the highest-grossing documentary of all time with a worldwide gross of $29,012,935.

Outside of North America, where the game that inspired the documentary’s title was not well known at the time, the film was marketed under the title In Bed with Madonna – despite protests from Madonna herself who found the alternate title unoriginal.

A Blu-Ray edition of the documentary was recently announced for the UK market and interestingly it uses the film’s original, Madonna-approved title, Madonna: Truth or DareIf the release pans out as announced, it will be the first domestic UK release of the film to use this title.

Today in Madonna History: May 16, 1998

On May 16 1998, Larry Flick’s glowing review of Madonna’s Ray Of Light single was published in Billboard magazine.

The single would debut at its peak position of #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S.

Today in Madonna History: May 15, 2015

On May 15 2015, Madonna’s Ghosttown (from the Rebel Heart album) hit the top spot on Billboard’s Dance Club Songs chart for the week ending May 30th.

Ghosttown became Madonna’s 45th #1 hit on the chart. She had this to say to her fans about the success of the song:

“Thanks to all my fans on & off the dance floor, I’ll always be your partner.”

Today in Madonna History: May 14, 1994

girlie-show-ad

On May 14 1994, Madonna: The Girlie Show – Live Down Under hit #3 on the US Top Music Videos Chart.  The live video recording was released on April 25 1994.

Dominic Griffin from Daily Variety had this to say about the release:

Madonna danced, sang, and more specifically entertained her way through this two-hour concert set. Madonna’s comments aside, this show was purely for the cameras and the viewing audience at home. Expertly shot with multi-cameras including a crane and an onstage SteadiCam, the show was shot in close quarters, with an occasional pan of the vast audience. After a slow start, the show, which included nine costume changes, never once let up. Madonna showed great energy and amazing stamina throughout.

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