Today in Madonna History: October 1, 1983

On October 1 1983, Madonna appeared on her first magazine cover for Island magazine, shot by Curtis Knapp. The black & white cover image stands out from the many other Madonna photographs of the era due to its minimalist feel, focusing solely on Madonna’s facial features.

The magazine also featured an exclusive Q&A with Madonna:

Interviewer: Madonna.

Madonna: What?

Interviewer: Let’s go deep into your personal life.

Madonna: No way.

Interviewer: Come on. What do you like? Start with fashion. You’re a girl. You always wear all these great clothes on stage.

Madonna: No I don’t.

Interviewer: Everybody has the Madonna look now.

Madonna: I know. Crotchless jeans, (laughter). Most of the clothes I wear look the way they do because they’re so worn out.

Interviewer: Where’s that stage style from?

Madonna: It’s pseudo-Puerto Rican punk rock freak out. A Motorcycle baby. It’s a combination of my two oldest fantasies. One was to be Nancy Sinatra; the other was to be a nun.

Interviewer: Do you ever do that song “These Boots are Made for Walkin’”?

Madonna: I used to do it in front of the mirror in my uniform skirt.

Interviewer: You went to Catholic school?

Madonna: Uh-huh. The Sacred Heart Academy.

Interviewer: What do you want to achieve now?

Madonna: Stardom.

Interviewer: Make lots of records, or make lots of money?

Madonna: I want to make a lot of love. (whistle in the background) I don’t think about money. It just gets there. Up until a year ago I was still broke and living on the street. But I still feel the same way. Money will never be a problem for me. If you worry about it, it’s a problem.

Interviewer: Did you draw when you were a kid?

Madonna: Phallic symbols. You know Catholics. I used to draw people naked all the time in my art class and my nun teachers used to tell me I had to put clothes on them. So I just drew lines around their bodies. See-through clothes.

Interviewer: Had you ever seen a naked body at that time?

Madonna: No. I never saw naked bodies. I never saw my parents naked. Gosh, when I was seventeen I hadn’t seen a penis.

Interviewer: So were you shocked when you saw the first one?

Madonna: Yeah. I thought it was really gross (laughter). And I’m not saying anymore.

Interviewer: Did you ever fall in love?

Madonna: I’m always falling in love. But I get in trouble because I think it’s love then I realize it’s not, but the other person is in love and then I have this problem til I think it’s love again and have the courage to get out of the last one.

Interviewer: Your songs are very fantasy. Maybe they help people think they’re in love when they’re not. Is that okay?

Madonna: Yeah. Fantasies are essential. Without fantasies I would have died of starvation.

Interviewer: In New York it’s difficult to be polite sometimes. Do you think being polite is a virtue? Or is it something you don’t have to think about?

Madonna: I think it’s a virtue. I’m sincere to people who are sincere.

Interviewer: What about people like the president of Warner Brothers Records?

Madonna: I’m just charming.

Interviewer: That makes sense. Your new manager is also Michael Jackson’s manager. And you’re planning you first tour with a band?

Madonna: Yeah I’m madly in love with my manager. And you can print that. I’m rehearsing now with singers and dancers, and I’ll have two guitarists, and two synthesizers, the drums and bass will be pre-recorded. We’re doing an American tour, and European track dates. Not til the beginning of the year.

Interviewer: You were talking before about reincarnation. What were your past lives like?

Madonna: I don’t really…I only have images and feelings, no specific chronological events or anything like that. I do feel really transient in a way. I feel like when I meet people I can absorb their character and be them. And I find that no matter what I’m doing I’m always doing the same thing. Basically. What ever it looks like on the outside. And it just makes me feel..I don’t know…I can’t really describe it verbally because no one’s ever asked me this before, no one really cares. Haha! People just want to hear me sing.

Interviewer: How come you do soul music…soul pop?

Madonna: Because I have soul. Because you can dance to it. Cause you can, you know. I grew up in an all black neighborhood and I wanted to be a black girl. I really did. There was something about me that was so much freer than the white kids I knew and they didn’t go to the Catholic schools I went to. They went to other schools and they wore short dresses and they didn’t have to take baths all the time and their knees were always dirty…I liked the fact that they could braid their hair and it would be sticking up…that’s not why I’m braiding my hair right now…First of all, all the black girls in my neighborhood had these dances in their yard where they had these little turntables with 45 records and they’d play all this Motown stuff and they would dance, just dance, all of them dancing together and none of the white kids I knew would ever do that. They were really boring and stiff. And I wanted to be part of the dancing. I didn’t like my friends. I had to be beaten up so many times by these little black girls before they would accept me and finally one day they whipped me with a rubber hose till I was like, lying on the ground crying. And then they just stopped doing it all of a sudden and let me be their friend, part of their group.

Today in Madonna History: September 24, 1983

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On September 24 1983, Madonna’s Holiday hit #1 on the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart in the USA. Holiday was Madonna’s first #1 single on the dance charts.

Today in Madonna History: September 8, 1983

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On September 8 1983, Madonna’s Lucky Star single was released in the UK.

Although Lucky Star was issued promotionally as a double A-side with Holiday in the US in September 1983, it was not released commercially in North America until August 1984 when it was issued as the final single from Madonna’s self-titled debut album.

Lucky Star was written by Madonna and produced by Reggie Lucas, with additional remixing by Jellybean Benitez. It is the most successful of her North American singles that were entirely self-written, reaching #4 on the U.S. Hot 100 and #8 in Canada (RPM Top 100). It was also her first Top-5 single in the U.S.

In the U.K., her self-written single Gambler was a bigger hit, reaching #4 in the fall of 1985, while Lucky Star peaked at #14.

Madonna wrote the song in 1982 after landing her first recording contract with Sire Records. It was rumoured to have been written about Mark Kamins, although we’re unsure whether that has ever been confirmed by Madonna herself.

Today in Madonna History: September 3, 1983

On September 3 1983, as Madonna’s first album entered the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart at # 190 in the U.S., the album was profiled for the second week in a row by Billboard magazine – this time being featured in the New On The Charts section (pictured above).

Today in Madonna History: August 27, 1983

On August 27 1983, Madonna’s debut album was reviewed in Billboard magazine. In the same issue, the album made its chart debut at #201 on the Bubbling Under LP chart.

Today in Madonna History: August 24, 1998

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On August 24 1998, Drowned World/Substitute For Love was released as the third single from Ray Of Light in most major markets outside North America. The song was written by Madonna, William Orbit and David Collins (Rod McKuen and Anita Kerr were also credited for sampled use of their composition “Why I Follow The Tigers” performed by The San Sebastian Strings) and was produced by Madonna and Orbit.

With the album’s title track being issued as the second single in North America a month after its release in other markets, it was decided to release Drowned World/Substitute For Love to fill the gap until her next international single release, The Power Of Good-bye. The single peaked at number-ten in the UK, at number-five in Italy and at number-one in Spain. Despite not being released in Canada, the song managed to reach number eighteen on the Canadian singles chart based solely on sales of the European import single, and without any promotion from radio or music video stations. Club play of the imported single, which featured remixes of both Drowned World/Substitute For Love and its b-side, Sky Fits Heaven, prompted a brief appearance by the latter on the U.S. Hot Dance/Club Play Chart, peaking at number forty-one.

The music video, filmed in London by director Walter Stern, caused a minor controversy due to scenes of Madonna’s car being chased by paparazzi on motorcycles, an image still fresh in the public’s mind at the time due the circumstances surrounding the death of Princess Diana. Liz Rosenberg denied that the scene had anything to do with the late Princess, adding that the video was about Madonna’s own experience and relationship with fame.

The song is often ranked as a fan favorite and seems to be highly-regarded by Madonna as well, considering her 2001 concert tour was named after the song and it was used as the show’s opening number. It was also performed during 2006’s Confessions Tour and appeared on her second greatest hits collection, GHV2. An early demo version of the song believed to be produced with Patrick Leonard titled No Substitute For Love leaked online in the early 2000’s. The demo contains similar lyrics but a completely different musical backing track and melody. The music that was used on the final version of the song was a previously composed instrumental track by William Orbit.

Famous faces, far off places
Trinkets I can buy
No handsome stranger, heady danger
Drug that I can try
No ferris wheel, no heart to steal
No laughter in the dark
No one-night stand, no far-off land
No fire that I can spark

Today in Madonna History: May 13, 1983

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On May 13 1983, Madonna performed Physical Attraction during a track date at the FunHouse in New York City.

Located at 526 West 26th St, the FunHouse (1979-1985) was a breeding ground for the new electronic sounds of the street and helped to make its resident disc jockey, Jellybean Benitez, one of dance music’s first superstar DJ’s.

Of course, Jellybean’s close association with Madonna certainly didn’t hinder his growing popularity either. His first working collaboration with Madonna was to remix Physical Attraction, the b-side to her sophomore single on Sire Records, Burning Up/Physical Attraction, which may explain why it was chosen over the more frequently performed lead track for her performance at the FunHouse. The same remix of Physical Attraction was later used on her debut album, together with new remixes Jellybean provided for Burning Up and Lucky Star alongside his first full production for Holiday.

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