On March 31 1990, Keep It Together hit its peak position of number-eight on the Billboard Hot 100.
While it is possible that it reached its natural peak on the charts, some have speculated that the single’s ascent may have been prematurely interrupted by the sudden release of Madonna’s next single, Vogue.
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 December 13 1990, Madonna’s Blond Ambition World Tour Live was released exclusively on LaserDisc by the trek’s sponsor, Pioneer.
Recorded at the final show in Nice, France, the concert had originally aired as a live HBO special in the U.S.
The LaserDisc release would go on to win a Grammy award (Madonna’s first) for Best Music Video, Long Form in 1991.
On October 27 1990, Madonna’s first dance teacher and mentor from Michigan, Christopher Flynn, passed away from an AIDS-related illness. With the news of his death, Madonna issued the statement: “Christopher Flynn was my mentor, is my higher power, and will remain an eternal inspiration.”
Indeed, Flynn would later serve as the inspiration for one of the characters from Madonna’s directorial debut, Filth And Wisdom, as she explained to Gus Van Sant in the October 2010 issue of Interview magazine:
The character that Richard E. Grant plays in the film I directed, Filth and Wisdom, is this blind professor who was based on my ballet teacher, Christopher Flynn. Growing up in Michigan, I didn’t really know what a gay man was. He was the first man-the first human being-who made me feel good about myself and special. He was the first person who told me that I was beautiful or that I had something to offer the world, and he encouraged me to believe in my dreams, to go to New York. He was such an important person in my life. He died of AIDS, but he went blind toward the end of his life. He was such a lover of art, classical music, literature, opera. You know, I grew up in the Midwest, and it was really because of him that I was exposed to so many of those things. He brought me to my first gay club-it was this club in Detroit. I always felt like I was a freak when I was growing up and that there was something wrong with me because I couldn’t fit in anywhere. But when he took me to that club, he brought me to a place where I finally felt at home. So that character in Filth and Wisdom was dedicated to him and inspired by him.”
Madonna would also recall Christopher’s influence in the second verse of the lyrics to her song, In This Life.
On July 28 1990, Hanky Panky hit its peak position of number-ten on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S.
The rarely seen official video for Hanky Panky was recorded at the May 27th 1990 concert in Toronto, Canada. Rather than use live audio from the tour, Warner opted to overdub the live performance with the album version. The video was broadcast for a few weeks and then withdrawn from rotation in most countries. Although no official reason was given, it is assumed that due to the low-budget nature of the video, it was only ever intended to serve as an initial promotional push for the song, with its subsequent withdrawal from rotation being part of the plan.
On July 21 1990, Madonna performed the second of three sold-out Blond Ambition Tour concerts at Wembley Stadium in London, England.
Madonna performed to 225,000 adoring fans between July 20, 21 and 22. The opening act for each show was Technotronic.