Today in Madonna History: November 11, 1985

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On November 11 1985, Madonna Live: The Virgin Tour was released on home video in France and the U.K. The was was filmed on May 25th, 1985 at Cobo Arena in Madonna’s home town of Detroit, Michigan. The concert film was directed by Daniel Kleinman while the music was produced by Madonna & Patrick Leonard, making this their first commercially released collaboration.

At the beginning of the video Madonna declares:

“I went to New York. I had a dream. I wanted to be a big star, I didn’t know anybody, I wanted to dance, I wanted to sing, I wanted to do all those things, I wanted to make people happy, I wanted to be famous, I wanted everybody to love me. I wanted to be a star. I worked really hard, and my dream came true.”

An alternate cut of the live performance of Dress You Up was issued as the music video for the single several months before the release of the film, while the live performance of Like A Virgin from the film was serviced to MTV in conjunction with the home video release. Both videos were nominated for Best Choreography at the 1986 MTV Video Music Awards.

For unknown reasons, the release excluded the setlist’s performances of Angel, Borderline and Burning Up. At the time of its release, home videos were often priced according to their running time, and it was not unusual for concert films of that era to be edited down to a more marketable length – in this case, one hour. This would have allowed a price point that was more accessible to her age demographic and offers a possible explanation for the exclusion of these performances.

Though the concert film was also released on laserdisc in some countries, to date it has sadly not been officially reissued for DVD or digital download.

Today in Madonna History: November 9, 1985

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On November 9 1985, Madonna hosted the 1985-86 season premiere of NBC-TV’s Saturday Night Live.

The musical guest was Simple Minds.  Simple Minds performed Alive and Kicking and Satisfy Yourself.

During the SNL skits, Madonna performed Take On Me, La Bamba and Lionel Richie’s Three Times A Lady.

For the eleventh season of SNL, Lorne Michaels returned as executive producer after a five-year absence. Michaels wanted his own cast so the entire cast from the previous season was fired.

Read this article by Queerty.com:

Say what you will about Madonna’s acting chops, but the icon has always had our backs and never been afraid to push the envelope. Take, for example, her only hosting stint on Saturday Night Live back in 1985 when she was indisputably the most famous entertainer woman on the planet. In the sketch, which was clearly inspired by the anxiety and, in some cases, furor that surrounded an episode of Dynasty. Superstar actor Rock Hudson had joined the cast as a love interest to series regular Linda Evans. In one episode Hudson kissed Evans on the mouth. Not a big deal, you’re thinking but by the time the episode aired Hudson was revealed to be battling AIDS and had known at the time it was filmed but hadn’t disclosed the information to his costar. It was a different era, friends, an AIDS diagnosis was thought to be a death sentence and there were even tabloid reports that Evans had contracted the disease from a mere smooch. Evans, for the record, bore no grudge against the late superstar.

Anyway, in the skit titled Pinklisting, Madge dons a dark wig to resemble Evans’ other costar Joan Collins and a clipped British accent (a harbinger of things to come!) to play a TV actress unwilling to do scenes with a costar “she doesn’t know” due to her fear of AIDS. The joke, if it can be referred to as one, is that the costar is played by Terry Sweeney (still the only openly gay male SNL player), as a super-femme gay actor who tries to butch it up but he loses his cool when confronted by a snarky Judy-Liza headline.

While the sketch isn’t exactly a rib-tickler it’s surprising in hindsight that it was a comic skit built around AIDS at a time when it was still considered a fatal disease, and broadcast in November 1985, less than a month after Hudson’s death. While that may seem insensitive, remember that this was the year Larry Kramer’s landmark AIDS-themed play The Normal Heart was first produced — and President Reagan hadn’t even uttered the word in public. So let’s hear it again for Madonna, forever at the forefront of progress, bringing a public discourse on the disease into the homes of millions of TV viewers.

Today in Madonna History: October 12, 1985


On October 12 1985, Madonna’s Gambler debuted at #20 on the UK Singles Chart. The song was included on the Vision Quest soundtrack (along with Crazy For You) and released by Geffen Records. Madonna’s record company, Sire Records, prevented Gambler from being released as a single in the USA.

After two weeks on the chart, Gambler peaked at #4. It also reached #3 in Italy and #10 in Australia.

With Gambler‘s success, Madonna became the first female artist to rack up 8 UK top-ten singles in one calendar year.

Gambler was Madonna’s highest charting single in the UK that was entirely self-written. In the U.S. Lucky Star earned this distinction, reaching #4 on the Hot 100.

Today in Madonna History: October 3, 1985

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On October 3 1985, Madonna’s second single from the motion picture Vision Quest, Gambler was released by Geffen Records in select markets.

Gambler was entirely self-written by Madonna and produced by John “Jellybean” Benitez.

Gambler was never released in the United States, but it went to #4 in the UK.  The single also reached the top-ten in the charts of Australia, Belgium, Ireland, Ireland, Netherlands and Norway.

The music video for the song is an excerpt from the film.

Madonna has performed the song only once, on her Virgin Tour in 1985.

Alex Henderson from Allmusic called the song “an ultra-infectious gem that, unfortunately, isn’t on any of the Material Girl’s CDs” and felt that Gambler should have been a big hit.  

Would you like to see Madonna perform “Gambler” on a future concert tour?

Today in Madonna History: August 13, 1985

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On August 13 1985, Madonna’s Angel/Into the Groove single spent a 6th week at #1 on the Hot Dance Music/Maxi Single Sales chart in the USA.

Check out the rare Into the Groove/Angel releases from the Philippines we’ve included above!

Today in Madonna History: August 3, 1985

On August 3 1985, Madonna’s Into The Groove hit #1 in the UK and Holiday hit #2 in the UK – Madonna is the only female artist ever to occupy the top 2 positions simultaneously on the UK charts.

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