Today in Madonna History: April 23, 1983

On April 23 1983, the recording of Madonna’s debut album was mentioned briefly in Billboard magazine.

The fact that Jellybean was producing Naked Eyes at the same studio provides some context for the vocal Madonna recorded for the remix of their single, Promises, Promises. Perhaps Sire didn’t support the idea at the time, as Madonna’s cameo remained shelved for twenty years until the band finally issued it on a scarce retrospective, Everything And More, in 2002.

Today in Madonna History: March 26, 1983

On March 26 1983, the music video for Madonna’s Everybody was briefly mentioned in Billboard magazine along side the music video for Konk’s Konk Party, noting that both videos were directed by Ed Steinberg of Soft Focus Productions. What is not mentioned and likely not known to the columnist (considering they think Madonna is the name of a group!) is that Madonna appears as an extra in Konk Party along with her pals Erika Belle and Martin Burgoyne. Original Sonic Youth drummer and member of Konk, Richard Edson, is also featured in the video. Edson would later appear in the film Desperately Seeking Susan, holding open a newspaper box for Madonna, and is pictured prominently next to Madonna in the film’s cast photo – which is unusual considering the brevity of his time on-screen. He worked with Madonna again in 1988, playing the character of Johnny Crackow in the film, Bloodhounds Of Broadway.

Sonic Youth would explore their own fascination with Madonna with their side project, Ciccone Youth. In liner notes for Sonic Youth’s reissue of their landmark album, Daydream Nation (1988), the band revealed that they had given an advance copy of Ciccone Youth’s The Whitey Album (1988) to Madonna’s sister, who was working in Warner’s art department at the time, seeking Madonna’s approval for the use of her image on the album cover (her songs Into The Groove & Burning Up were also covered & sampled). Word came back that Madonna had no issues with it, adding that she remembered the band from their early days in New York.

Sonic Youth made humourous references to Madonna’s place in popular culture in their promotional artwork throughout the 80’s – typically designed by bassist/vocalist/guitarist and visual artist, Kim Gordon. They were even known to use Madonna’s music as interludes during guitar changes at their shows in the 80’s, bewildering audience members who were not privy to their shared origins as part of the early 80’s underground music scene in NYC.

In another connection, Sonic Youth’s 2004 album, Sonic Nurse, featured artwork from Richard Prince’s acclaimed Nurse Paintings series. In 2015, Madonna used a rotating selection of paintings from her own art collection as backdrops for a series of press junket interviews to promote her Rebel Heart album. One of the paintings displayed was Prince’s Heartbreak Nurse from his Nurse Paintings series.

Today in Madonna History: March 9, 1983

On March 9 1983, Madonna’s second single, the classic double A-side Burning Up/Physical Attraction, was released on 12″ vinyl.

The sleeve of the single featured a series of sketches of Madonna created by her close friend, Martin Burgoyne.

 

Today in Madonna History: February 26, 1983

On February 26 1983, Madonna’s first single, Everybody, spent its 17th and final week on Billboard’s Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart in the USA. Everybody reached #3 on the chart on November 6, 1982. In addition to spending 17 weeks on the Hot Dance/Club Play chart, the classic dance hit also spent 8 weeks on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart. Not bad for a first single!

Today In Madonna History: February 5, 1983

On February 5 1983, Madonna’s Everybody charted at #37 on Billboard’s Dance Club Songs (later renamed the Hot Dance Music/Club Play) chart in the USA.

Madonna’s reaction to the first time she heard Everybody on the radio:

“I was living on the Upper West Side, 99th and Riverside, and about 7:00 at night I had the radio on in my bedroom, on WKTU, and I heard ‘Everybody‘. I said ‘Oh, my God, that’s me coming out of that box.’ It was an amazing feeling.”

Today in Madonna History: January 26, 1983

On January 26 1983, Madonna performed a track date at the Red Parrot at 617 West 57th St in New York City. Also featured on the bill were Planet Rock and Man Parrish.

While unconfirmed, the setlist likely would have previewed the soon-to-be-released Physical Attraction & Burning Up (which were recorded in November, 1982) along with her then-current club hit, Everybody.

A review of the night’s performances was featured in the February 12 1983 issue of Billboard Magazine (pictured with the show’s flyer above).

It may have been the first but it would be far from the last review in which Madonna’s musical talent would be minimized in retribution for her strong visual presence, among other things. Unlike Elvis or Michael Jackson, female artists are often criticized for flaunting the same qualities that make heros out of their male counterparts; for daring to be more than one-dimensional artists. While Madonna is not the first or the last female artist to break through these barriers – and her mission is indeed still a work in progress – one only needs to flip through the pages of Billboard magazine on both sides of the 1983 cultural divide to witness the scope of her impact on music and popular culture.

Today in Madonna History: September 28, 1983

On September 28 1983, Billboard magazine reported that the music video for Madonna’s second single, Burning Up, had been added into MTV rotation during the preceding week. The video marked Madonna’s introduction to MTV audiences, as the channel had not previously aired the low-budget clip produced for Everybody.

Although the Burning Up/Physical Attraction single had already been out for six months by the time a video finally surfaced, it featured a new mix of the song (which differed from both the 12″ single and from the version that appeared on original vinyl pressings of the album) and was seemingly intended to promote her debut album as a whole rather than the song itself, given that Burning Up had not been actively promoted to radio by her label. Just weeks before the video’s release, Sire/Warner had issued promotional 12-inch copies of Lucky Star/Holiday to gauge public interest for her next single release, and were apparently caught off guard by the swift success of the latter track, as no video or remixes had been readied to promote it.

Indeed, the label’s somewhat haphazard early steps in marketing the album gave very little indication of its impending success.

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