Today in Madonna History: October 23, 1995

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On October 23 1995, Madonna began filming the You’ll See video in London, England with director Michael Haussman.

The video was conceived as a sequel to Madonna’s 1994 video for Take A Bow, with both featuring Spanish bullfighter Emilio Muñoz. Madonna’s scenes for the You’ll See video were shot as she was preparing to begin recording the soundtrack for Evita.

Today in Madonna History: October 22, 1998

On October 22 1998, Madonna presented the GQ Solo Music Artist Of The Year award to Sting at the 1998 GQ Men Of The Year Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

Today in Madonna History: October 21, 1993

On October 21 1993, Madonna performed The Girlie Show for a sold-out crowd of 15,000 fans at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Michigan.

Today in Madonna History: October 20, 2005

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On October 20 2005, Madonna was dared by David Letterman to get back on a horse – the first time since her fall (in August) which led to three cracked ribs, a broken collarbone and a broken hand.  Madonna accepted the dare to ride again.

When asked why she hadn’t been on a horse since the fall, Madonna explained, “because my record company is not very keen on the idea of me injuring myself.”

Today in Madonna History: October 19, 1981

On October 19 1981, Madonna performed at Uncle Sam’s Blues Club in Roslyn, NY. Her manager at the time, Camille Barbone, had hired photographer George DuBose to capture Madonna’s two sets that evening.

Madonna’s band during the show consisted of Bob Riley on drums (later replaced by Steve Bray), John Kumnick on bass, Jon Gordon on guitar (later replaced by Paul Pesco) & David Frank on keyboards. When Madonna terminated her management agreement with Barbone in early 1982, she continued her working relationship with Bray, Pesco & Frank.

Steve Bray would co-write tracks that would appear on Madonna’s demo tape which landed her a recording contract with Sire Records later that year, and their collaboration remained successful throughout the 80’s.

Paul Pesco played guitar (along with Madonna herself) on the aforementioned demo and would also appear on Madonna’s self-titled debut album and her first concert tour, The Virgin Tour. Years later, he played on the Erotica album and joined Madonna’s touring band again for The Girlie Show in 1993.

David Frank, who soon found success as half of the electronic music duo The System, co-wrote an early version of Crimes Of Passion with Madonna before she decided to rewrite the music with Bray. The System’s hit In Times Of Passion is based on his ideas for the song but feature new lyrics from The System’s vocalist, Mic Murphy. Frank was also involved with the mysterious Otto Von Wernherr demos, believed to have been recorded in early 1982 prior Madonna’s deal with Sire, as he is credited for arrangement on the 1986 Japanese 12-inch release of Cosmic Climb (his name was subsequently omitted from Wernherr’s later releases).

Interestingly, The System’s other half, Mic Murphy, co-wrote the unreleased Erotica-era demo Dear Father with Madonna in the early 90’s. Pesco, who may have played guitar on this demo given his involvement during the album sessions, was also the guitarist for The System.

Today in Madonna History: October 18, 1986

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On October 18 1986, Madonna’s True Blue debuted at #27 on the Billboard Hot 100 Single Sales chart. True Blue spent 10 weeks on the chart, eventually peaking at #4 on November 15.

Today in Madonna History: October 17, 1987

On October 17 1987, Billboard magazine featured a two-page spread taken out by Madonna’s manager, Freddy DeMann, thanking everyone involved with Madonna’s massively successful Who’s That Girl World Tour, which had wrapped up in Europe the month before.

In the same issue of Billboard, Chart Beat columnist Paul Grein marked Madonna’s 13th consecutive top-5 hit as Causing A Commotion moved into the #5 position on the Hot 100. Speculating on how long Madonna’s winning streak could last, he warned of the dangers of over-exposure and artistic complacency. Without the benefit of hindsight, the back-handed compliment and slightly patronizing advice is not altogether unreasonable, and is certainly not unusual for the time.

Less reasonable, however, is his summation that the severity of Madonna’s potential fall from grace would be compounded by the abundance of female singers of the era who “sound like Madonna”.

Because you know, all female singers are only that – female singers. Even though you’re co-writing and co-producing your own songs and radio can’t get enough, neither can your audience or even your peers, you’re breaking records set by top male and female artists alike, you’re selling out stadiums around the world and earning high praise as a live performer – don’t think any of these things should afford you any respect. You may not have entered the business through the back door and you may have paid your dues and then some, but you’ve still just been lucky, that’s all. You couldn’t possibly possess the talent or the drive to evolve or the insight to be able to stay in the game once your luck runs out. Even though you are the one that everyone is copying – you’re still just another female singer, and they’re a dime a dozen.

While we no longer need hindsight to spot the glaring absurdity and blatant sexism of such an argument today, would it be as obvious if Madonna hadn’t stuck around to dispel it?

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