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.”
On April 11 1990, Madonna’s Keep It Together single was certified Gold by the RIAA for shipment of over 500,000 units in the U.S.
Keep It Together was Madonna’s last 7-inch single to be issued with a picture sleeve by Warner Bros. Records in the U.S. until the release of a 4 Minutes/Give It 2 Me double 7-inch set eighteen years later.
On March 20 1990, the lead single from Madonna’s I’m Breathless album, Vogue, was released.
Vogue was written and produced by Madonna and Shep Pettibone in December 1989. The song was recorded with the intention of being the b-side to the upcoming (and last single for the Like A Prayer album), Keep It Together (released on January 30 1990).
The finished product was too good to be a single b-side, so it was decided that Vogue would be a stand-alone single on Madonna’s forthcoming album, I’m Breathless (even though the song had nothing to do with Dick Tracy).
On February 16 1990, Madonna’s close friend Keith Haring died.
Madonna shared this memory of their friendship:
“We were two odd birds in the same environment. I watched Keith come up from that street base, which is where I also came up from. I’ve always responded to Keith’s art. From the very beginning there was a lot of innocence and a joy that was coupled with a brutal awareness of the world. The fact is, there’s a lot of irony in Keith’s work, just as there’s a lot of irony in my work. And that’s what attracts me to his stuff. I mean, you have these bold colors and those childlike figures and a lot of babies, but if you really look at those works closely, they’re really very powerful and really scary.”
On February 14 1990, Bloodhounds of Broadway was released on home video.
The Howard Brookner film generated $44,000 at the box office.
On January 23 1990, Madonna’s Like A Prayer album was certified triple platinum for sales of 3 million units in the USA.
Producer Patrick Leonard talked to Billboard magazine about working with Madonna on Like A Prayer:
“She’d start writing lyrics and oftentimes there was an implied melody. She would start with that and deviate from it. Or if there was nothing but a chord change, she’d make up a melody. But, a lot of the time in my writing there’s a melody implied or I even have something in mind. But she certainly doesn’t need that. She would write the lyrics in an hour, the same amount of time it took me to write the music, and then she’d sing it. We’d do some harmonies, she’d sing some harmony parts, and usually by three or four in the afternoon, she was gone.”
On December 17 1990, Madonna’s Justify My Love video was the subject of a feature by Steve Dougherty, in People magazine: Madonna Exposes, MTV Opposes: Is her new, naughty video art or just a Boy Toy marketing ploy?
How does Justify My Love differ from other skin-with-a-beat videos? Let us count the ways. Here’s Madonna, in black bra, stockings and stiletto heels, putting the moves on her real-life boyfriend, model Tony Ward. Moments later she’s lip-synching with Parisian model Amanda Cazalet, 25, who is dressed like a Nazi hooker with suspenders that barely cover her nipples. Now Madonna, Cazalet and Ward are offering free instruction in a certain Kama Sutra technique while two very androgynous gents pat each other more affectionately than football players after a big play. All of which has left fans hot, censors bothered and fearless news programmers lined up to air the forbidden footage. The video single will be on sale before holiday shopping malls close; could it have been teed up better?