Today in Madonna History: January 24, 1998

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On January 24 1998, Madonna performed Frozen for the very first time.  It was at the Sanremo Music Festival, in Sanremo, Italy, that she first promoted the song, and the forthcoming album, Ray of Light.

The following month, on February 21, she performed the song on the BBC 1’s The National Lottery Show. Additionally, that same month, she appeared and performed the song on the German TV show Wetten dass..?

You only see what your eyes want to see
How can life be what you want it to be
You’re frozen
When your heart’s not open

Today in Madonna History: January 7, 1998

On January 7 1998, filming began for Madonna’s Frozen music video in the California desert with director Chris Cunningham.

Cunningham recalled the initial concept for the video in his book, Directors Label:

“The original treatment was, like, massive piles of bodies in the desert. All these figurative sculptures made up of bodies that were all multiple Madonnas. They were all going to split and break up and change into ravens and then change into dogs. Just a performance video, but a really elaborate one using her, her clothes, and any shapes that would come out of her clothes.”

Today in Madonna History: December 26, 1998

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On December 26 1998, the fourth single from Madonna’s Ray of Light album, The Power of Good-Bye, peaked at #2 on the United World Chart.

Billboard’s Larry Flick had this to say about the single release of The Power of Good-Bye in the September 12, 1998 issue of the magazine:

Next to the title track to Madonna’s glorious Ray of Light opus, this is the tune that radio programmers and diehard fans have long been clamoring to be released as a single. With a little help from co-producers William Orbit and Patrick Leonard, the diva brilliantly nestles a dewy love ballad within a cutting-edge electronic pop framework. You can listen to this track a dozen times and still pluck something new from the richly layered arrangement, which is anchored by a crisp shuffle beat and sweetened by occasional orchestral string flourishes and contrasting acoustic guitar strumming. All the while, Madonna performs with a confidence that allows her to flawlessly merge a widened vocal range with a considerable dose of raw emotion and soul. Although this gem would find instant success on its own, look for The Power of Good-Bye to be bolstered by its prominent play during the hotly anticipated new WB TV series Felicity.

Today in Madonna History: November 28, 1998

On November 28 1998, Madonna’s The Power Of Good-Bye hit #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart in the USA. The hit single from Ray Of Light was written by Madonna and Rick Nowels; produced by Madonna, William Orbit and Patrick Leonard.

Rick Nowels had this to say about his experience writing the song with Madonna:

It was a career-changing experience for me. Before that I had always done my co-writing with friends. But working with Madonna. It was the first time I had ever written one-on-one with a great artist/writer. After that I changed gears a little, and now I mostly collaborate directly with artists.

Today in Madonna History: September 28, 1998

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On September 28 1998, Hans Christian Anderson’s The Emperor’s New Clothes was released as a book with audio CD by the Starbright Foundation, to benefit seriously ill children.

Each snippet of the story is performed on an audio CD by one of 23 celebrities, including: Jay Leno, Liam Neeson, Angela Lansbury, Madonna, Carrie Fisher, Jeff Goldblum, Dan Ackroyd, Robin Williams, Joan Rivers, Steven Spielberg, General Norman Schwarzkopf, John Lithgow, and others. Contributing illustrators include Maurice Sendak, Mark Teague, Chris Van Allsburg, Berkeley Breathed, Steven Kellogg, Tomie de Paola, Graeme Base and others.

On the CD Madonna tells the story from the perspective of the Emperor’s Wife (illustrated as Marie Antoinette by Daniel Adel).

Today in Madonna History: September 22, 1998

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On September 22 1998, The Power of Good-Bye was released as the third North American single from the Ray Of Light album. It was the fourth single in international markets that opted to release Drowned World/Substitute For Love as the album’s third single.

In the UK, the release was promoted as a double A-side single with Little Star.

The Power Of Good-Bye was written by Madonna & Rick Nowels and was produced by Madonna, William Orbit & Patrick Leonard. An earlier demo version of the track, believed to have been produced by Madonna & Leonard prior to Orbit’s involvement in the project, leaked in 2002.

Today in Madonna History: July 25, 1998

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On July 25 1998, the music video for Drowned World/Substitute For Love premiered in Europe. The video was directed by Walter Stern and was filmed on June 26 & 27 1998 at London’s famous Claridge’s Hotel and Piccadilly Circus.

The video caused some controversy when the British press reported that it would feature scenes of Madonna’s car being chased by paparazzi on mopeds, concluding that it was a reference to the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, the previous year. Liz Rosenberg responded by denying that the scenes were intended to draw comparison to Diana’s death and insisting that the video was about Madonna’s own relationship with fame.

Sadly the video was not serviced to video channels in North America, and with online steaming and downloadable videos not yet prevalent at the time, most fans outside of Europe were only able to enjoy the video for the first time when it appeared on the 93:99 video collection over a year later.

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