Today in Madonna History: July 7, 1984

On July 7 1984, Warner Bros. Records took out a full-page ad in Billboard magazine to congratulate Madonna on the Gold certification of her self-titled debut album.

The ad featured the first look at a new photo shoot Madonna had recently completed with Steven Meisel. This image would later appear on the back cover of her next album, Like A Virgin.

Today in Madonna History: July 6, 1987


On July 6 1987, Madonna played the first of two sold-out shows at the Forum in Montreal, Québec, Canada during the Who’s That Girl World Tour.

The gigs marked Madonna’s first concert in the city. The local press gave the shows glowing reviews and complimented Madonna’s sincere efforts in speaking French with her audience.

While the majority of the tour played to stadiums, a handful of arena dates in North America – including the shows at the Forum – required the use of a less sprawling stage configuration.

Thanks to Tonytheturtle, FYO PIX for the video clips & Caroline Duval for the images!

Today in Madonna History: July 5, 1987

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On July 5 1987,  Madonna was interviewed by Jane Pauley on NBC-TV’s Today and caused a controversy when she referred to her hometown of Bay City, Michigan as “a smelly little town” – a comment that enraged the citizens of Bay City.

Today in Madonna History: July 4, 2009

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On July 4 2009, the Sticky & Sweet Tour‘s 2009 extension began with the first of two sold out dates at London’s O2 Arena.

In January 2009, following the completion of European, North American and South American legs of the massively successful 2008 Sticky & Sweet Tour, it was confirmed that Madonna would extend the tour during the Summer of 2009 with a second European leg before concluding with two dates in Israel in September. The itinerary for the extension consisted largely of markets where Madonna either hadn’t previously performed or hadn’t visited in many years.

In a January 2009 interview with Billboard.com, Live Nation chairman Arthur Fogel commented on the extended run of the tour:

“It absolutely has not happened in the four tours I’ve been involved with, […] There has been talk [of extending] during each one, but it has never come to be. But with this one, she loves the show, she’s had a great time and she’s excited about playing new markets. […] We went to quite a few markets she has never played or hasn’t been to in 15-plus years. This [extension] is really a continuation of that in the sense of playing new and different markets. [The six-month break] is a long hiatus, but everybody was excited to continue. […] So we basically worked out the arrangements for all the performers, crew and equipment and we’ll be ready to go.”

The extension’s opening night and all subsequent dates featured three song changes to the original setlist: Holiday replaced Heartbeat, a guitar-heavy version of Dress You Up took the place of Borderline, and the non fan-favorite “rock version” of Hung Up was dropped in favour of a much more pleasing, club-ready mash-up of Frozen with I’m Not Alone by Calvin Harris (which also threw in snippets of Open Your Heart).

Madonna also included a special tribute to Michael Jackson during Holiday, as well as a quote attributed to him at the end of Frozen (the lyrics quoted from his song Man In The Mirror were in fact written by Madonna’s occasional backing singer, Siedah Garrett, if you want to get technical). At the time of his passing Jackson had been scheduled to begin a run of comeback concerts at the O2 Arena, beginning the week after Madonna’s shows at the venue.

(Thanks to Michael aka MykillICON for the video footage and pictures!)

Today in Madonna History: July 3, 2015

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On July 3 2015, the third single off Madonna’s Rebel Heart album, Bitch I’m Madonna, climbed eight spots on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart to #7 in the USA.  The hit dance song remained the Greatest Gainer for the second week in a row.

Thank you Justin for the great artwork above! – Jay

Today in Madonna History: July 2, 1990

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On July 2 1990, Roman Catholic groups condemned Madonna’s Blond Ambition concert as blasphemous due to her controversial show’s sex and religious themes and planned to cancel her concerts in Rome and Turin.

Madonna made this speech in response to the threats:

I am an ltalian-American, and I am proud of it.
Proud of being an American because it is the country I grew up in, the country that gave me the opportunities to be who I am today and a country that believes in freedom of speech and artistic expression.
 
My show is not a conventional rock show but a theatrical presentation of my music.
And, like theatre it asks questions, provokes thought and takes you on an emotional journey.
Portraying good and bad, light and dark, joy and sorrow, redemption and salvation.
I do not endorse a way of life but describe one, and the audience is left to make its own decisions and judgments.
This is what I consider freedom of speech, freedom of expression and freedom of thought.
 
Every night, before I go onstage, I say a prayer not only that my show will go well but that the audience will watch with an open heart and an open mind and see it as a celebration of love, life and humanity.

*This is an edited transcript of the speech.  The full speech is included in the video posted above.

Happy Canada Day!

Madonna’s French-Canadian roots trace back to the mid-17th century and some of the earliest European settlers to arrive in what was then known as New France. If you have French-Canadian roots dating back to the initial Acadian/Quebec settlement period, chances are you will find yourself related to Madonna.

After researching my own family tree, I was initially surprised to learn that I am Madonna’s 8th cousin through my mother, who is Acadian, and that we share several familial ties. But as it turns out, there is nothing unusual about this at all. Due to the small pool of early settlers – and the relative isolation of the ones who remained or returned to what is now Canada following the Great Expulsion of Acadians – French Canadians would remain relatively genetically isolated for the next several centuries.

This bottleneck period resulted in a situation in which it is now actually more rare for a French Canadian to find another French Canadian that they are not directly related to. More often than not, multiple direct relations will be shared.

A bit of Canadiana for all y’all! 😉

To current, former, aspiring and honorary Canadians, have a happy and safe Canada Day!

Justin & Jay

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