Today in Madonna History: September 17, 1998

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On September 17 1998, Madonna released a statement against the World Vaisnava Association’s criticism of her Ray of Light/Shanti MTV performance: “The essence of purity and divinity is non-judgement… they should practice what they preach… if they’re so pure, why are they watching MTV?”

Today in Madonna History: August 24, 1998

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On August 24 1998, Drowned World/Substitute For Love was released as the third single from Ray Of Light in most major markets outside North America. The song was written by Madonna, William Orbit and David Collins (Rod McKuen and Anita Kerr were also credited for sampled use of their composition “Why I Follow The Tigers” performed by The San Sebastian Strings) and was produced by Madonna and Orbit.

With the album’s title track being issued as the second single in North America a month after its release in other markets, it was decided to release Drowned World/Substitute For Love to fill the gap until her next international single release, The Power Of Good-bye. The single peaked at number-ten in the UK, at number-five in Italy and at number-one in Spain. Despite not being released in Canada, the song managed to reach number eighteen on the Canadian singles chart based solely on sales of the European import single, and without any promotion from radio or music video stations. Club play of the imported single, which featured remixes of both Drowned World/Substitute For Love and its b-side, Sky Fits Heaven, prompted a brief appearance by the latter on the U.S. Hot Dance/Club Play Chart, peaking at number forty-one.

The music video, filmed in London by director Walter Stern, caused a minor controversy due to scenes of Madonna’s car being chased by paparazzi on motorcycles, an image still fresh in the public’s mind at the time due the circumstances surrounding the death of Princess Diana. Liz Rosenberg denied that the scene had anything to do with the late Princess, adding that the video was about Madonna’s own experience and relationship with fame.

The song is often ranked as a fan favorite and seems to be highly-regarded by Madonna as well, considering her 2001 concert tour was named after the song and it was used as the show’s opening number. It was also performed during 2006’s Confessions Tour and appeared on her second greatest hits collection, GHV2. An early demo version of the song believed to be produced with Patrick Leonard titled No Substitute For Love leaked online in the early 2000’s. The demo contains similar lyrics but a completely different musical backing track and melody. The music that was used on the final version of the song was a previously composed instrumental track by William Orbit.

Famous faces, far off places
Trinkets I can buy
No handsome stranger, heady danger
Drug that I can try
No ferris wheel, no heart to steal
No laughter in the dark
No one-night stand, no far-off land
No fire that I can spark

Today in Madonna History: March 4, 1998

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On March 4 1998, Madonna’s Frozen debuted at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100.

The lead single from Ray of Light climbed to number two on April 4 1998, behind the K-Ci & JoJo song All My Life.  Frozen became the sixth single by Madonna to reach the top two position, surpassing Elvis Presley for the most number-two songs.

Today in Madonna History: March 3, 1998

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On March 3 1998, Madonna’s seventh studio album, Ray Of Light, was released in North America.

Spawning five singles and winning four Grammy awards, it garnered near-universal acclaim upon its release and it is often cited as a high watermark in Madonna’s career as a recording artist.

Ray Of Light was produced by Madonna & William Orbit with additional production by Patrick Leonard & Marius De Vries.

Today in Madonna History: March 1, 1998

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On March 1 1998, the lead single from Madonna’s Ray of Light album, Frozen, debuted on the ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) Singles Chart at its peak of number five.  The next week Frozen fell to number nine, but it returned to its peak of number five on March 15 1998 where it held steady for another three weeks.

Australia released Frozen with a unique picture CD (5-track).

Today in Madonna History: February 16, 1998

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On February 16 1998, Madonna’s Frozen music video premiered on MTV.

The video was delivered to select music video outlets (such as MTV and MuchMusic) in a block of dry ice.  Leading up to the video premiere, the VJs had to melt or chip away at the block to get to the video inside.

Select radio stations also received a promotional ice chest, which included a 3-track CD and a flyer promoting the lead single from Ray Of Light. The CD included the following tracks:

  1. Frozen – Radio Edit
  2. Frozen – Album Version
  3. Frozen – Hook For Call Out Research

 

Today in Madonna History: February 14, 1998

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On February 14 1998, performed a three-song mini-set to promote the release of her upcoming album Ray Of Light at The Roxy nightclub in New York City. The exclusive event marked Madonna’s first club show in fourteen years and featured performances of Sky Fits Heaven, Shanti/Ashtangi and a ten-minute version of Ray Of Light.

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