Today in Madonna History: January 7, 1995

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On January 7 1995, Take A Bow slid to #21 on the UK Singles chart after reaching a peak of #16 on December 24th, 1994.

While Take A Bow remains her longest-running #1 hit in the US, its disappointing UK chart performance marked an end to Madonna’s spectacular run of 35 consecutive top-ten UK singles from 1984’s Like A Virgin to 1994’s Secret. Take a bow, indeed!

Today in Madonna History: December 25, 1995

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On December 25 1995, Four Rooms was released in the USA. The film features Madonna as Elspeth in the first segment of the film, The Missing Ingredient, directed by Allison Anders.

The film’s tagline:

Twelve outrageous guests. Four scandalous requests. And one lone bellhop, in his first day on the job, who’s in for the wildest New year’s Eve of his life.

Here’s how Rotten Tomatoes describes the film:

Four of the most celebrated directors in the independent film community pooled their talents for this episodic comedy. Ted (Tim Roth) is the new bellboy at a beautiful but decaying luxury hotel; he is not having a good time of it on New Year’s Eve, his first night on the job. In one room, a coven of witches are trying to summon the spirit of the goddess Diana; each of the witches must bring a different bodily fluid for their spell to work, but Eva (Ione Skye), who was supposed to bring semen, managed to lose her supplies, and needs Ted’s help for a last-minute replacement. Another room, where Ted was supposed to deliver some ice, turns out to house an angry husband (David Proval), who is holding his bound-and-gagged wife (Jennifer Beals) at gunpoint. A third room is taken by a tough-talking gangster (Antonio Banderas), his doormat wife (Tamlyn Tomita), and their two children; the gangster demands that Ted watch over the kids, who turn out to be mischievous terrors beyond Ted’s wildest imagination. And room number four is where an arrogant film actor (Quentin Tarantino) is holding a party. One of his guests makes a bet that he can get a Zippo lighter to light ten times in a row, with his finger at stake if he loses. Allison Anders directed the first segment, which also featured Madonna, Valeria Golino, and Lili Taylor. The second segment was directed by Alexandre Rockwell, husband of his frequent leading lady Jennifer Beals. Robert Rodriguez directed the third story, while the finale was directed by its star, Quentin Tarantino; the final segment also features Bruce Willis, who appeared unbilled.

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Today in Madonna History: December 24, 1995

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On December 24 1995, Oh Father was released as the second UK single from Madonna’s ballads retrospective, Something To Remember.

Warner had initially declined the option to release Oh Father in most European markets when it became the fourth North American single from Like A Prayer in late 1989, instead opting for a more by-the-numbers portrait of childhood innocence with the release of Dear Jessie. Why it was determined to be a better idea in 1995, following its poor showing on the U.S. charts, is anyone’s guess. One possibility is that Oh Father‘s brilliant preexisting music video provided an easy, cost-free means of promoting the song while Madonna remained unavailable due to her recording commitments for the Evita soundtrack.

While I would personally rank Oh Father among Madonna’s very best musical and lyrical efforts, and its music video an underrated classic – it never had the makings of a commercial hit. And history repeated itself when the song’s dark subject matter once again stunted its ability to gain momentum on radio for its British release. It became only her third UK single at the time to peak outside the top-ten when it stalled at #16 in its first charting week. It fared better in Finland and Italy, however, reaching #6 in both countries.

Today in Madonna History: November 25, 1995

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On November 25 1995, Madonna’s greatest ballads collection, Something To Remember, hit #6 on the Billboard Top 200 albums chart in the USA.

Madonna worked with David Foster on two of the three new songs for the collection: You’ll See and One More Chance.

Foster had this to say about working with Madonna:

“She had an amazing work ethic. She was on time every day and was really co-producing the songs with me. A lot of artists want to produce just because they can, and they don’t do a thing for the credit, which I really hate. But Madonna worked as hard as any producer I know … I liked the whole experience of working with her—the punctuality, the professionalism, and the sexiness.”

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Today in Madonna History: October 21, 1995

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On October 21 1995, the music video for I Want You by Madonna with Massive Attack hit #11 on VH1’s weekly chart in the U.S.

The video for I Want You is somewhat of an anomaly in Madonna’s career. The song was initially intended to be a joint release to promote both Inner City Blues (a Marvin Gaye tribute album on Motown Records) and Madonna’s own Something To Remember ballads collection on Sire/Maverick. Naturally, a music video was commissioned to accompany the planned single.

Unfortunately, legal wranglings between the two record companies ensued when Motown insisted on releasing the tribute album ahead of Madonna’s album. Concerned that the move could negatively impact sales of Something To Remember, Madonna’s label apparently backed away from plans to fully promote I Want You.
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Fortunately for fans, the song’s excellent music video, which had already been completed by director Earle Sebastian, was not shelved. It was serviced to video channels ahead of the release of both albums and received moderate support despite the song’s absence from radio.

The video quickly faded into obscurity, however, once Madonna’s You’ll See single and its accompanying video were given a full promotional push from her label less than a month later.