On November 12 1994, Madonna’s Bedtime Stories was the week’s highest debut on the Billboard 200 album chart, peaking at #3 with sales of 145,000 units.
While the figure represented a 15% drop in first-week sales from her previous long player, Erotica, the album proved to be a commercial grower in America – where the runaway success of its second single, Take A Bow, would push its overall U.S. sales tally well beyond that of its predecessor.
Underscoring urban/r&b music’s U.S. chart domination at the time, Bedtime Stories was held back from the top spot by the Murder Was The Case soundtrack (performed by Snoop Doggy Dogg) and Boyz II Men’s II.
On November 5 1994, Bedtime Stories entered the UK album charts at number-two. It was Madonna’s second consecutive studio album to miss the top position on the UK charts, but it would be her last until 2015’s Rebel Heart, which also topped out in the runner-up position.
Which album denied Bedtime Stories its shot at earning Madonna another number-one debut in the UK? A greatest hits collection by perennial favorite of hockey (or in this case–soccer) moms everywhere, apparently….Bon Jovi.
We welcome you to ease your disbelief with the soothing sounds of the underrated Bedtime Stories album cut, Love Tried To Welcome Me.
“Instead of spring, it’s always winter
And my heart has always been a lonely hunter.”
On October 15 1994, newswires shared photos of Madonna participating in Jean-Paul Gaultier’s spring/summer 1995 ready-to-wear collection fashion show in Paris, France (the show took place October 14). The show focused on 30’s, 40’s and 50’s fashion.
This is what Jean-Paul had to say about his approach to the show:
“I tried to capture a synthesis of each period: the silhouette that was the most important, the print, the fabrics. It’s a mix of the periods I love and admire, what I remember most about each of them. But it wasn’t pretentious. I’m not trying to make it better than they did then, because it’s impossible to make it better.”
On September 27 1994, Secret was released as the lead single from Bedtime Stories. Initially credited to Madonna & Dallas Austin upon its release, Shep Pettibone was later given a co-writing credit due to his involvement in the creation of an early demo version of the track entitled Something Coming Over Me. The demo – which has been described by the few who have heard it as having a club anthem vibe without the R&B overtones of the Austin version – was submitted by Pettibone to the Library Of Congress for copyright registration but has yet to leak. The released version was produced by Madonna & Dallas Austin, and is the only song on the album to feature Austin’s untouched production work. Austin’s other contributions to the album were either reworked with new production (Survival) or remixed (Sanctuary) by Nellee Hooper or Daniel Abraham (Don’t Stop).
To promote the release of Secret, Madonna made her virgin attempt at reaching out to fans and potential listeners via the burgeoning world wide web with a playful audio teaser:
“Hello all you cyberheads! Welcome to the 90’s version of intimacy…you can hear me, you can even see me, but you can’t touch me! Do you recognize my voice? It’s Madonna. Often imitated but never duplicated. Or should I say – often irritated? If you feel like it, you can download the sound file of my new single Secret from my new album Bedtime Stories which comes out next month. I just shot the video in New York and will be premiering an exclusive sample of it online, so check back soon. In the meantime, why don’t you post me a message and let me know what you think of my new song. And by the way, don’t believe any of those online imposters pretending to be me…ain’t nothing like the real thing! Peace out.”
While the North American single used only the instrumental version of Secret on its flip-side, many other markets, including European territories, were treated to an unreleased outtake from the Bedtime Stories sessions. Perhaps fearing that the distinctly American R&B influence of Secret may have had limited appeal in Europe, Warner made the strategic decision to include an added incentive for European fans to pick up the single – undoubtedly spurring an increase in the number of copies exported to North America in the process. Although non-album b-sides are a relatively rare occurrence in Madonna’s catalogue given the large number of singles she has released through the years, Let Down Your Guard (written and produced by Madonna & Dallas Austin) is particularly peculiar due to its labeling as a “Rough Mix Edit.” This disclaimer-like appendage seemingly suggests that either Madonna or her record label deemed it necessary to explicitly caution listeners that the song was not indicative of the more polished production work that would be featured on the Bedtime Stories album proper. Indeed, the idiosyncratic nuances of Austin’s production (with its tip-of-the-hat to early Prince material) is largely what makes Let Down Your Guard such an unguarded and enjoyable obscurity – rendering its disclaimer redundant.
On June 18 1994, Madonna’s I’ll Remember spent a second week at #1 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart in the USA. I’ll Remember spent a total of 4 weeks at the top of the chart.
On May 28 1994, Madonna’s I’ll Remember (Theme From With Honors) hit #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the USA.
Madonna’s easy-listening staple I’ll Remember from the hard-to-watch With Honors got a deep remix by Orbit, which could be heard as spacey or as originating at the precipice of a vast ocean. (I’m thinking of Sinead O’Connor’s “Jackie” here.) I’m embarrassed I forgot this remix when I first created this list, but I’m not embarrassed to say I think it’s markedly superior to the lovely but unassuming original.
We love this remix and we love Matthew’s blog (Boy Culture)!
How does this remix rank among your top Madonna favourites?