Today In Madonna History: July 15, 1995

On July 15 1995, Madonna’s Human Nature single peaked at #46 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S.

Human Nature was written and produced by Madonna and Dave Hall, with its bass and percussion parts sampled from the track What You Need by Main Source.

The North American Human Nature single was backed with the album version of Sanctuary, which was produced by Madonna & Dallas Austin with additional remixing by Nellee Hooper.

Sanctuary was originally written by Anne Preven and Scott Cutler of the short-lived 90’s band, Ednaswap, best known for Nathalie Imbruglia’s cover of their original song, Torn. Madonna was passed a demo tape of Sanctuary by a friend of Preven and Cutler, who heard an early version of it and thought “Madonna would love this song!” Madonna’s version came out before Ednaswap had even signed a record deal, and the song deviated significantly from the demo. Preven originally thought Madonna had ruined the song, going so far as meeting with Madonna to plead for changes. However, upon hearing the song as part of the whole album, Preven had a change of heart and “understood what [Madonna] was going for.”

The most significant change was Austin and Madonna’s interpolation of Sanctuary with an instrumental demo Austin had created which centers around a looped sample from Herbie Hancock’s Watermelon Man (the funk-based arrangement from his 1973 album, Head Hunters). Madonna also provided additional lyrical and melodic contributions.

While Austin’s instrumental demo that was worked in to Sanctuary later leaked to the internet, Ednaswap did not release their own version of the song and their original demo recording has yet to surface online.

5 responses

  1. Nice remix, sonicboy, accompanied by a fascinating video. I had never heard of Maya Deren, so thanks for exposing me to a very interesting filmmaker, dancer, writer, etc., from the early 20th century.

    • Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed it! 🙂 I have a DVD collection of Maya’s short films, and I always have it in the back of my mind that I’d like to pair them all with current music, but it has to be the right song for each of them. This was the first one I tried and I’m really happy with how well it worked with this song. The song is very cinematic and probably would lend itself well as the soundtrack to just about any visual, but it’s the only song I could think of that really paired perfectly with this film. Here’s another one I just edited recently using another of Maya’s films, if you’re interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPh9-3UXCpQ

      • Nice work again, sonicboy. That Marnie music video you put together was great, too. The beginning wit Maya on the beach reminded me of the ‘Cherish’ video. I’m getting the Maya video collection you have from the library tomorrow. Thanks again!

  2. Sanctuary is a beautifully haunting song. Thanks for the trivia about its origin. Why the low peak position for Human Nature though?

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