Today in Madonna History: January 19, 1985

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On January 19 1985, Madonna reached #1 on the RPM Canadian Top 100 Singles chart for the very first time with Like A Virgin.

For the 1985 year-end chart, Like A Virgin was #35 (RPM Canadian Top Singles).

A promotional-only 7″ single was released in Canada on white vinyl. The 7″ included the album versions of Like A Virgin and Stay.

Hear an unreleased early rough mix of the underrated track, Stay, from the Like A Virgin album sessions below.

Today in Madonna History: January 16, 1993

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On January 16 1993, Madonna was musical guest on NBC-TV’s Saturday Night Live, performing Fever and Bad Girl. She also appeared in the show’s opening skit – a humorous homage to Marilyn Monroe – alongside the late comedians Phil Hartman and Jan Hooks.

Perhaps a little too into character or, more likely, a little too nervous – she managed to flub the show’s signature intro tag line during the live broadcast, with the mistake being subsequently edited out of all repeated airings of the episode.

Fortunately any nervous energy quickly dissipated once Madonna took to the musical stage, where she delivered a stunningly confident and nuanced vocal performance backed by an equally impressive new band (which included several members that would be recruited for her Girlie Show tour later in the year). It was Madonna’s only live performance of Bad Girl to date, and despite many appearances on SNL, her only inclusion as featured musical guest.

The episode was hosted by Harvey Keitel, who was only weeks away from working with Madonna again in the film Dangerous Game (then known as Snake Eyes) which began shooting in February.

Would you like to see Madonna return to SNL as musical guest?

Today in Madonna History: January 12, 1988

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On January 12 1988, Possessive Love, a song written by Madonna, Patrick Leonard & Jai Winding and performed by Marilyn Martin was released as the lead single from Martin’s second album for Atlantic Records, This Is Serious. Martin is perhaps best known for her chart-topping duet with Phil Collins, Separate Lives. Though Possessive Love failed to make any chart impact, Madonna’s involvement in the song has kept it from being completely forgotten.

In an interview by Breathe Cast writer Timothy Yap, Martin was asked about the circumstances surrounding the song:

I met Pat Leonard when I began the search for a producer for my second album. He’s the one who approached Madonna with the idea of writing a song for me and she graciously agreed. Pat called me one day while he was working on her Like a Prayer album and asked if I would like to come and sing backgrounds [on Cherish]. Talk about an ‘Are you kidding?’ moment! That was the only time I met her. She was impressive to say the least. Very in charge. She absolutely knows her mind and insists on her music being true to her vision. She was very focused and a tad intimidating, but that’s not surprising given her amazing success over the years. I thought it was pretty cool that before agreeing to write Possessive Love for me to sing on my album she asked Pat Leonard if I was a nice person.”

Martin’s claim that the song was written specifically for her rather than being a leftover from one of Madonna’s album sessions is likely accurate, given the fact that Winding was never involved in songwriting sessions for any of Madonna’s albums. Winding’s involvement as a musician in the Who’s That Girl Tour suggests that the song may have been written at some point during the 1987 tour.

The sentiments expressed in Possessive Love appear to align with the issues Madonna was reportedly facing in her marriage to Sean Penn at the time, with reports of their initial separation dominating the tabloids in late 1987. Madonna would revisit and further elaborate on her marital woes on the Like A Prayer album track, Til Death Do Us Part, which was written later in 1988.

Today in Madonna History: January 11, 2007

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On January 11 2007, Warner Bros. Records announced the release of The Confessions Tour live CD+DVD on January 30, 2007 in North America with the following press statement:

Madonna’s record-breaking Confessions Tour filmed at London’s Wembley Arena during her worldwide sold-out 25-City run in 2006 is scheduled to be released as a DVD/CD on sale January 30th, it was announced today by Warner Bros. Records. The highest-grossing tour ever by a female artist, ‘The Confessions Tour – Live from London’ DVD, first broadcast on NBC last November, includes songs that span the course of Madonna’s extraordinary career. ‘Like A Virgin,’ ‘Hung Up,’ ‘Erotica’ and ‘Music’ are just a few of the hits that can be seen on the DVD and heard on the bonus CD included in the package as well as several songs from her ‘Confessions On A Dance Floor’ CD which debuted at No. 1 in 29 countries. In addition, ‘The Confessions Tour’ DVD includes bonus footage, which did not appear on the broadcast, including Madonna’s early classic hit ‘Lucky Star’ as well as the full unedited version of the controversial performance of ‘Live To Tell.’ The ‘Confessions’ DVD will have never before seen rehearsal footage and a unique photo gallery. The DVD was directed by Jonas Åkerlund. The show was directed for the stage by Jamie King. Musical Director was Stuart Price. ‘The pop spectacle of the year – a politically charged combination of Cirque du Soleil, performance-art commentary and dance party explosion that more or less sums up everything she has been striving to say and show this decade….it’s quite possibly the best production she’s ever concocted,’ raved the Orange County Register in their review of Madonna’s show. Madonna is scheduled to appear on tomorrow’s (January 11th) airing of ‘The Late Show with David Letterman,’ make a live appearance on the ‘Today’ Show and ‘Live with Regis and Kelly’ – to promote the film, ‘Arthur and The Invisibles’ – and will also host a screening of the film in Tribecca. ‘I want to turn the world into one big dance floor,’ claimed the Material Girl when The Confessions Tour began. Now, the singer, songwriter, video visionary, designer, producer, children’s book author and artist, who has enthralled millions of fans all over the world and has sold 200 million plus CDs, is extending that commitment to the living rooms of the world.

The CD+DVD edition was packaged as a double-disc digipak. The show was also issued as a stand-alone DVD packaged in a keep case without the accompanying live CD in many countries outside North America.

The concert film was the first release associated with Madonna’s production company, Semtex Films. It went on to win a Grammy for Best Long Form Music Video in 2008.

Today in Madonna History: January 7, 1998

On January 7 1998, filming began for Madonna’s Frozen music video in the California desert with director Chris Cunningham.

Cunningham recalled the initial concept for the video in his book, Directors Label:

“The original treatment was, like, massive piles of bodies in the desert. All these figurative sculptures made up of bodies that were all multiple Madonnas. They were all going to split and break up and change into ravens and then change into dogs. Just a performance video, but a really elaborate one using her, her clothes, and any shapes that would come out of her clothes.”

Today in Madonna History: January 6, 1993

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On January 6 1993, Madonna’s Erotica album was certified double-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for sales of 2 million units in the USA.

What is your favourite track from Erotica?

Today in Madonna History: December 29, 2005

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On December 29 2005, Madonna’s Official Fan Club, ICON, published an interview with Stuart Price about his experiences working with Madonna on Confessions on a Dance Floor.

Here’s part of the interview they posted:

ICON: What’s the best part in being involved with Madonna’s new album?

STUART: Watching it take shape from a few demos done for fun into an entire spectacle with dancers, videos and nightclubs full of people!

ICON: What made you want to record this album in your home studio? Why not a big studio instead?

STUART: It wasn’t really thought about that much, we just found that we had got into several songs before we even thought about it. But that was the thing for much of the album concept; it wasn’t over-thought or analyzed. We liked the sound of my studio and so thought why go elsewhere?

ICON: How would you describe your collaboration with Madonna?

STUART: Like finding your favourite musician, comedian and friend all in one!

ICON: How is working on a Madonna project different from working with a new artist?

STUART: It’s not in many ways. She is very fresh, exciting and full of ideas the same way as someone is when they do their first record. The difference is she has the experience and integrity of someone who understands the creative process very deeply and can therefore suggest directions and ideas that can inspire greater heights.

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