Today in Madonna History: May 28, 1990

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On May 28 1990, Madonna played the second of a three show run at the Skydome in Toronto, Canada during her Blond Ambition Tour.

As the story goes, the concert on May 28th was attended by a Toronto police detective who became uncomfortable with Madonna’s simulated sexual theatrics. The detective complained to the Crown attorney, who became convinced–based on how it had been described–that the show on the 29th should not be permitted to proceed with similar content.

Supt. Frank Bergen was one of the constables sent to follow up on the complaint on May 29th, which was subsequently captured in Madonna’s film Truth Or Dare. Bergen recalled the events in a recent interview with The Canadian Press:

What I was struggling with was how do you go to the microphone and tell everyone the show is cancelled? My role and my position was we were not going to shut the show down. We were portrayed as being real knobs, if you will [in the documentary]. I don’t think we were…I don’t think we ever got to the (point), nor would we have, where we walked up onto the stage – and onto her bed – and handcuffed her. Then we would’ve been part of a different history.”

It took a year before the officer would hear about his cinematic debut in Truth or Dare, when one afternoon his teenage neighbour excitedly shouted across the backyard that he’d spotted him on the big screen.

Bergen said he respects concerns over obscenity but concedes it would’ve been difficult to satisfy a “loose interpretation of the Criminal Code.”

Today in Madonna History: May 14, 1990

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On May 15 1990, Brenda Lee was quoted in the LA Times, talking about how Madonna got her involved in the Dick Tracy soundtrack:

“Madonna asked specifically that I sing the songs–which are brand-new numbers. I had no idea she was a fan of my singing, but I’m delighted she is.”

Brenda recorded two songs for Dick Tracy, but only one made the final cut: You’re in the Doghouse Now, written by Ned Clafin, Mike Kernan, Jeff Lass and Andy Paley.

Brenda is best known for Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree (recorded when she was just 13).

Today in Madonna History: May 7, 1990

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On May 7 1990, Madonna graced the cover of People magazine.

The headline: Madonna’s new tour: her most outrageous act yet

A sample of the article by Montgomery Brower and Todd Gold:

After routinely violating almost every taboo about sex, sacrilege and the public display of underwear, what’s a girl to do for new material? Madonna revealed her answer in Japan, where she kicked off a four-month tour that will no doubt delight fans, fetishists, cross-dressers and topic-starved conservative columnists the world over. Mimed masturbation? Madonna’s got it, during “Like a Virgin.” Topless guys in foot-long pointy brassieres? They pop up a third of the way through the show. A hint of discipline? “You may not know the song, but you all know the pleasures of a good spanking,” Madonna cooed after “Hanky Panky,” an ode to the joy of the slap. Granted, there are quieter moments—Madonna as housewife in curlers, Madonna with fish-tailed mermen—but before you know it, there she goes again, confessing in song to a guy dressed as a priest. The 105-minute hullabaloo is amazing for its breadth of controversy. Perhaps even more remarkable is the fact that, so far as can be determined, not one of the show’s seven dancers has been sidelined with a groin injury.

“She said, ‘Let’s break every rule we can,’ ” says choreographer Vince Paterson. “She wanted to make statements about sexuality, cross-sexuality, the church and the like. But the biggest thing we tried to do is change the shape of concerts. Instead of just presenting songs, we wanted to combine fashion, Broadway, rock and performance art.”

Thanks Logan for the New Jersey video streams!

Today in Madonna History: May 1, 1990

On May 1, 1990, Madonna was a guest on the Arsenio Hall Show.  During her appearance, Madonna promoted Dick Tracy and made Arsenio sweat about Paula Abdul, etc.

Today in Madonna History: April 11, 1990

On April 11 1990, the Keep It Together single was certified gold for sales of 500,000 units in the USA.

Written and produced by Madonna and Stephen Bray, the main inspiration behind Keep It Together was Madonna’s relationship with her family—whom she dearly missed after her divorce from actor Sean Penn.

Keep It Together became the last Madonna single release to feature a collaboration with Bray—a partnership that had begun romantically when Madonna & Stephen were college students at the University of Michigan. Madonna later persuaded Bray to join her in New York where he became the drummer for her band, Emmy. After briefly falling out over Madonna’s decision to work with more established producers after signing to Sire Records in 1982, the pair quickly made amends and went on to write and produce some of Madonna’s most memorable 80’s hits.

A final collaboration between Madonna & Bray, Get Over, was reworked by Madonna and Shep Pettibone for possible inclusion as one of the new tracks on The Immaculate Collection, but was instead given to Warner Bros artist Nick Scotti to record in 1991. Although Madonna’s background vocals are featured prominently in Scotti’s versions of the song, a full Madonna vocal version has yet to surface.

Today in Madonna History: December 24, 1990

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On December 24 1990, Madonna In Concert (taped at Olympic Stadium, Barcelona, Spain on August 1, 1990) was broadcast on BBC2-TV and other select stations across Europe.

Today in Madonna History: December 7, 1990

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On December 7 1990, Madonna’s Justify My Love was released as the first-ever video single, priced at $9.98.

The music video was considered too sexually explicit for MTV and was banned from the network. Madonna responded to the banning: “Why is it that people are willing to go and watch a movie about someone getting blown to bits for no reason at all, and nobody wants to see two girls kissing and two men snuggling?”

On December 3, 1990, ABC’s Nightline played the video in its entirety, then interviewed Madonna live about the video’s sexual content and censorship. When asked whether she stood to make more money selling the video than airing it on MTV, she appeared impatient and answered, “Yeah, so? Lucky me.” She also expressed during the interview that she did not understand why the video was banned, while videos containing violence and degradation to women continued to receive regular airplay. The video was then released on VHS, and became a bestselling “video single” of all time.

The Justify My Love maxi-single was an especially memorable one, featuring remixes by future songwriting collaborators William Orbit and Andre Betts, a Q-Sound mix, a remix by Madonna & Lenny Kravitz titled The Beast Within which featured Madonna reciting passages from the Book of Revelations, and a new Shep Pettibone remix of Express Yourself.

A second Justify My Love remix by Andre Betts, titled The English Mix, was sadly shelved but eventually surfaced on bootlegs and the internet, in varying degrees of quality.

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