Today in Madonna History: August 22, 1992


On August 22 1992, Madonna filmed scenes for the Erotica music video at The Kitchen in New York City with fashion photographer/director/designer Fabien Baron. These scenes consisted of Madonna in the character of her Sex book alter-ego, Dita, miming the lyrics to the song, and would be intercut with a selection of 8mm footage previously shot by Baron during the making of the Sex book.

Baron also served as art director for the Sex book, the Erotica album and single, and later for the Bedtime Stories album and its singles Secret and Take A Bow. He also directed the commercial for her fragrance, Truth Or Dare by Madonna, in 2012.

“She put that book out at the best moment. She timed it very well. She knows what she’s doing. And such drive. Some people want to lift stones and see what’s under it. She’ll be on a beach with millions of stones and want to lift every one of them.”            – Fabien Baron

Today in Madonna History: August 15, 1992

On August 15 1992, This Used To Be My Playground spent the first of three weeks at #1 on the RPM Canadian Top 100 Singles chart. In RPM’s year-end tally of the biggest hits of 1992 in Canada, the hit placed at #8.

This Used To Be My Playground was written by Madonna, Shep Pettibone & Tony Shimkin (although he was not originally credited) and produced by Madonna & Pettibone.

In an interview with the fan site MadonnaTribe, Shimkin recalled a last-minute dash to complete the recording of the song’s orchestral parts:

“When we recorded it with Al Schmidt at Ocean Way studio in L.A., we had a 30-piece orchestra and Jeremy Lubbock did the string arrangements, (but) we never included the demo that had the solo string part in it when we had him chart everything out for the orchestra,” revealed Shimkin. “On the day we were recording, we thought we were done and realized we forgot the solo. I quickly sang the part to the copyist, who then charted it out for the violin players, and they got it recorded with one minute to spare on the clock. When you have a thirty piece orchestra, it can be super expensive to roll into a second hour of their time!”

Today in Madonna History: August 8, 1992

Madonna - This Used To Be My Playground - Front (2-2) Madonna - This Used To Be My Playground - Back (2-2)

On August 8 1992, Madonna’s This Used to Be My Playground (and the theme song for A League of Their Own) hit number-one on the Billboard Hot 100 in the USA, becoming Madonna’s tenth chart-topping single, breaking her tie with Whitney Houston to become the female artist with the most number-one singles at that time.

The song was written and produced by Madonna and Shep Pettibone, and recorded prior to final sessions for Madonna’s 1992 studio album Erotica. Together with Rain and In This Life, This Used To Be My Playground is one of three Pettibone collaborations from the Erotica sessions that was not co-written with Tony Shimkin, according to the ASCAP database.

Today in Madonna History: July 15, 1992

Truth or Dare_0001 Truth or Dare_0002

On July 15 1992, Truth Or Dare was re-released on VHS in the U.S. and Canada, priced for retail purchase. The new edition featured bonus performances of Hanky Panky and Like A Prayer filmed in Paris, following the film’s credit roll.

While bonus features were a relatively uncommon addition to VHS releases, even more unusual was the omission of these same special extras from all other releases of the film, including the subsequent DVD and Blu-ray editions – formats that would normally include any bonus content available. The most likely explanation is that the extra footage has been lost. A recent interview by Queerty.com with the film’s director Alek Keshishian appears to support this when he noted that neither he nor Madonna’s management have been able to locate the whereabouts of any of the film’s outtakes.

The original 1991 VHS release of the film, which had been priced for the rental market at nearly $100 per copy, featured alternate packaging and no bonus content.

Today in Madonna History: July 4, 1992

On July 4 1992, Madonna’s This Used To Be My Playground single from the film A League Of Their Own was reviewed by Larry Flick in Billboard magazine.

Today in Madonna History: June 8, 1992

erotica early lyrics 2 erotica diaries 2 erotica diaries 3 erotica diaries 1 erotica diaries 4 erotica diaries 5

On June 8 1992, Madonna began recording sessions for the Erotica album at Soundworks, in New York.

While the writing and recording of Madonna’s previous albums had typically unfolded rather quickly, Erotica marked a change of pace in the creation of a Madonna record. Songwriting sessions for the set had occurred sporadically throughout the previous year with Shep Pettibone, Tony Shimkin and Andre Betts, in between movie projects and photo shoots for her upcoming coffee table book, Sex.

In contrast to the slick production qualities of the albums that preceded it, Madonna wanted Erotica to feature a darker, more gritty and less polished sound. This led to the decision to carry over many of the original demo vocals recorded during the songwriting process at Shep’s home studio to the final versions, with mainly lyrical additions/changes, musical overdubs, background vocals and final mixing taking place during the sessions at Soundworks.

One notable change that did occur in these final recording sessions was Madonna’s decision to swap her original lyrics for the song Goodbye To Innocence (which had gone through various incarnations in an attempt to keep the track off the cutting room floor) with the lyrics of the torch classic, Fever.  An earlier arrangement of Goodbye To Innocence with lyrics intact was later featured on the pro-choice compilation album, Just Say Roe, while a dub version of the same arrangement was retitled Up Down Suite when it appeared as a b-side on the Rain maxi-single. Another rough demo of the same track (streaming above), which is referred to as the “Straight Pass” mix on its original submission for copyright registration (which indicates that mixing of the track had not been finalized and that it is not mastered), leaked to file sharing services in February, 2008.

The “Straight Pass” mix bears some similarity to another unreleased track that was discarded early in the recording sessions, You Are The One. Aside from the lyrical paradox (with “You are the one” flipped to “I am the one”), both feature samples from Arabic singer Fairuz that would be reworked into the released version of the Erotica album’s title track and lead single.

Today in Madonna History: April 20, 1992

maverick

On April 20 1992, Madonna signed a $60 million, seven-year contract with Time Warner Inc. as a joint venture to form a new multi-media entertainment company: Maverick.

Madonna was made CEO of Maverick (her own record and music publishing company), which included TV, film, merchandising and book publishing divisions.

The contract re-negotiated and extended Madonna’s contract with Sire Records: a $5 million advance per album & a 20% royalty rate for her next seven albums. The future recordings would all be released by Maverick/Sire Records.

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