Today in Madonna History: October 21, 1995

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On October 21 1995, the music video for I Want You by Madonna with Massive Attack hit #11 on VH1’s weekly chart in the U.S.

The video for I Want You is somewhat of an anomaly in Madonna’s career. The song was initially intended to be a joint release to promote both Inner City Blues (a Marvin Gaye tribute album on Motown Records) and Madonna’s own Something To Remember ballads collection on Sire/Maverick. Naturally, a music video was commissioned to accompany the planned single.

Unfortunately, legal wranglings between the two record companies ensued when Motown insisted on releasing the tribute album ahead of Madonna’s album. Concerned that the move could negatively impact sales of Something To Remember, Madonna’s label apparently backed away from plans to fully promote I Want You.
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Fortunately for fans, the song’s excellent music video, which had already been completed by director Earle Sebastian, was not shelved. It was serviced to video channels ahead of the release of both albums and received moderate support despite the song’s absence from radio.

The video quickly faded into obscurity, however, once Madonna’s You’ll See single and its accompanying video were given a full promotional push from her label less than a month later.

Today in Madonna History: October 20, 1984

On October 20 1984, Madonna’s debut album, Madonna, hit #8 on the Billboard 200 albums chart in the USA. It took the album over a year to reach its peak (it debuted on the Billboard 200 at #190 on September 3 1983), and went on to sell 10-million copies worldwide (5-million in the USA).

The artwork for Madonna was shot by photographer Gary Heery. Heery had this to say about the shoot:

“Madonna arrived at my Broadway studio in New York with a small bag of clothes and jewellery, and no entourage. Then, in front of the camera she was explosive, like a great model, but with her own unique style. She came over the next day to see some prints and the proofs, and there was shot after shot to choose from. We agreed on every choice and whittled it down to the album cover images. I had no idea what I had just been a party to.”

 

Today in Madonna History: October 19, 2012

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On October 19 2012, Madonna was forced to cancel her Saturday October 20 MDNA concert at Dallas’ American Airlines Center due to severe laryngitis.

The press release issued by Live Nation included the following information:

Under doctor’s orders, the Material Girl has been put on “complete vocal rest” for the next 36 hours. All tickets for the October 20th show to be refunded at the point of purchase. Tickets purchased online will refunded directly. Madonna regrets any inconvenience to her fans. The second scheduled show in Dallas on Sunday, October 21st is expected to go on. There are a very limited number of seats currently available for that show.

Today in Madonna History: October 18, 1996

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On October 18 1996, Madonna’s greatest ballads collection, Something To Remember was certified 2x platinum (2 million units) in the USA.

Today in Madonna History: October 17, 1995

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On October 17 1995, the Marvin Gaye tribute album Inner City Blues: The Music Of Marvin Gaye was released. Compiled and released on Motown Records, the album featured a beautifully poignant remake of the 1976 classic I Want You by Madonna with Massive Attack.

Motown Records had initially brought Massive Attack on board to produce the track before a lead singer had been confirmed. Early plans sought to have Chaka Khan perform vocal duties, but after failing to turn up for the recording session she was swiftly nixed from the project. Aaron Neville was then lined up as a replacement but plans again fell through when contract issues prevented his participation. Producer Nellee Hooper, who had recently produced cuts for Madonna’s Bedtime Stories album, suggested her as a potential choice. Surprisingly, getting Madonna’s vocal contribution involved less red tape and less prima donna behaviour than either previous option.

Massive Attack’s 3D and Hooper flew to New York and spent two days in the studio with Madonna. 3D commented on the recording session in interviews with The Face (Nov/95) and ChannelV TV (Jun/98) respectively:

“She sang it really well, she had it sorted out, you could tell she knew the song, she’d really worked fucking hard on it. Fucking good.” 

“It was quite freaky for me because I’m just a Bristol boy. She was singing in my ear as we were playing the music down, giving me her version of it. I wasn’t taking any notice at all really. I was just thinking about how mad it is. She is such an icon it takes you a while to adjust. When she was in the vocal room, it was amazing. We did a few takes just to cover it, but she sang it so well we could have done it in one take. It was that beautiful.”

Madonna was equally impressed with the results of the session, opting to include the song as the opening track on her forthcoming ballads compilation, Something To Remember – and book-ending the set with an orchestral version. Initially planned as a jointly-promoted lead single for both albums, a video was filmed for the song by director Earle Sebastien. While the video was put into rotation on music video channels in early October, plans to release the track as a single were scrapped due to label disagreements between Motown – who insisted on releasing the tribute album several weeks ahead of Something To Remember – and Warner. Perhaps fearing that Warner would withdraw their permission to include Madonna’s vocals on the tribute, Motown wisely ceded to its inclusion on Madonna’s own retrospective. The song was later featured on Massive Attack’s 2006 best-of, Collected.

Today in Madonna History: October 16, 2005

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On October 16 2005, Madonna was photographed leaving a private party held at a club in Midtown New York.

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Today in Madonna History: October 15, 1992

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On October 15 1992, Madonna threw a Sex book pre-release party at New York City’s Industria Super Studio, and signed all the invitations under her alter ego “Dita”.

During the party, Madonna showed up dressed as Little Bo Peep and carried with her a stuffed toy lamb. 

Madonna’s publicist Liz Rosenberg showed concern at first worrying “what the parents of America’s impressionable teens will soon be thinking” but later said that it “all depends on your idea of lovemaking, which in Madonna’s case, should give new meaning to the word erotic.”

Both Walden Books and Barnes & Noble prepared corporate statements that their store managers could share with customers who were offended by Sex. Both statements defended the right of bookstores to provide “diversity and choice” to customers and say censorship is not the role of bookstores.

Bookstore owner David Epstein stated that “The feeling of most people who have ordered the book is that Madonna is something special, that this is cutting-edge art, they’re not the kind of people who are buying it because it’s smut and dirty pictures. People are interested in it as art.”

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