Today in Madonna History: November 17, 1984

On November 17 1984, the title-track and lead single from Madonna’s Like A Virgin album entered the Billboard Hot 100 at #48 – the week’s highest debut – hot on the heels of its commercial release as a 7-inch single in the preceding sales week. A commercial 12-inch single was also issued in North America during the chart week ending November 17th, with Like A Virgin pouncing onto the Hot Dance/Disco Sales chart at #26 in the November 24th issue of Billboard.

Created by the successful pop songwriting team of Tom Kelly & Billy Steinberg and produced by Nile Rodgers, the demo of Like A Virgin – sung by Kelly – was initially introduced to Madonna by Warner Bros. Records’ A&R rep Michael Ostin (son of then-CEO of Warner, Mo Ostin).

In a 2009 interview for Rolling Stone magazine, Madonna recalled her impressions upon first listening to the demos of Like A Virgin and its follow-up single, Material Girl:

“I liked them both because they were ironic and provocative at the same time but also unlike me. I am not a materialistic person, and I certainly wasn’t a virgin, and, by the way, how can you be like a virgin? I liked the play on words; I thought they were clever. They’re so geeky, they’re cool. I never realized they would become my signature songs, especially the second one.”

As audio engineer Jason Corsaro noted in a 2007 interview with Sound On Sound magazine, although she officially ceded production credit to Rodgers, Madonna was actively engaged in all aspects of the recording sessions for the album and title-track:

“Nile was there most of the time, but she was there all of the time. She never left.”

Like A Virgin made a high-profile debut via live performance during the first annual MTV Video Music Awards on September 14th, 1984.

With previous single Lucky Star still ascending the North American charts, however, the official release of Like A Virgin was held back by Warner Bros. Records in a bid to allow the former (along with its parent album) to reach its full chart potential. This strategy proved successful, with Madonna earning her first U.S. Top-5 single with Lucky Star in the October 20th issue of Billboard, while Like A Virgin would reach #1 in the December 22nd issue.

Today in Madonna History: November 12, 1984

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On November 12 1984, Madonna’s Like A Virgin album was released by Sire Records.  The album was re-released worldwide in 1985, to include the bonus track, Into the Groove.

The original track listing for Madonna’s second album included:

Material Girl
Angel
Like A Virgin
Over & Over
Love Don’t Live Here Anymore
Dress You Up
Shoo-Bee-Doo
Pretender
Stay

The cover sleeve and album insert images were shot by Steven Meisel. The first shot in this post was used for the album cover. The rest of the photos in this post are outtakes from the same photo shoot.

Today in Madonna History: October 20, 1984

On October 20 1984, Madonna’s debut album, Madonna, hit #8 on the Billboard 200 albums chart in the USA. It took the album over a year to reach its peak (it debuted on the Billboard 200 at #190 on September 3 1983), and went on to sell 10-million copies worldwide (5-million in the USA).

The artwork for Madonna was shot by photographer Gary Heery. Heery had this to say about the shoot:

“Madonna arrived at my Broadway studio in New York with a small bag of clothes and jewellery, and no entourage. Then, in front of the camera she was explosive, like a great model, but with her own unique style. She came over the next day to see some prints and the proofs, and there was shot after shot to choose from. We agreed on every choice and whittled it down to the album cover images. I had no idea what I had just been a party to.”

 

Today in Madonna History: September 12, 1984

On September 12 1984, Madonna attended Dallas Boesendahl’s party for the Orion Pictures movie release of Amadeus at the Limelight club in New York.

In 2003, photographer Patrick McMullan released a coffee table book called: So80’s: A Photographic Diary of a Decade. In the book he said this of Madonna:

I was at this Dallas Boesendahl party for Amadeus at Limelight, and a publicist named Reid Rosefelt said to me, “You should come meet this girl Madonna.” I said, “Sure, I’m very happy to meet her,” but I didn’t know who she was. So I met her and took a few pictures of her. She couldn’t have been sweeter. It was just a very simple, unguarded moment.

 

Today in Madonna History: August 8, 1984

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On August 8 1984, Madonna’s Lucky Star was released.  Lucky Star became Madonna’s first U.S. top five hit (No. 4), and the first in a string of 17 consecutive U.S. top fives. The video was directed by Arthur Pierson, a stark performance piece bringing together her brother Christopher Ciccone and Erica Bell as backup dancers. The clip was filled with black rubber jelly bracelets, lace and a certain gyrating belly button.

Lucky Star was written by Madonna and produced by Reggie Lucas and Jellybean Benitez.

Today in Madonna History: August 4, 1984

On August 4 1984, Madonna attended the Jackson 5’s Victory Tour at Madison Square Garden in New York.

The show was the first of two sold-out shows at the Garden (17,000 fans attended each night).

After the show, Madonna went backstage to hang out with Michael and the rest of the Jacksons.

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