On February 24 1999, Madonna performed Nothing Really Matters at the 41st Annual Grammy Awards. Madonna also took home 4 Grammies:
- Best Pop Album – David Reitzas, Jon Ingoldsby, Pat McCarthy (engineers/mixers), William Orbit (producer) and Madonna (producer & artist) for Ray Of Light
- Best Dance Recording – Pat McCarthy (mixer), William Orbit (producer) and Madonna (producer & artist) for Ray of Light
- Best Short Form Music Video – Jonas Åkerlund (video director) and Madonna for Ray of Light
- Best Recording Package – Kevin Reagan (art director) for Ray of Light performed by Madonna
On January 2 1999, Madonna’s The Power Of Good-Bye single peaked at #14 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart in the USA.
Your heart is not open so I must go
The spell has been broken, I loved you so
Freedom comes when you learn to let go
Creation comes when you learn to say no
You were my lesson I had to learn
I was your fortress you had to burn
Pain is a warning that something’s wrong
I pray to God that it won’t be long
Do ya wanna go higher?
On May 1 1999, the music video for Madonna’s Beautiful Stranger was shot at Universal Studios in Universal City, California.
Beautiful Stranger was directed by Brett Ratner, and went on to win an MTV Video Music Award for Best Video from a Film.
On April 8 1999, American TV newsmagazine Entertainment Tonight (aka ET) revealed the title of the new song Madonna had recorded for the Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me soundtrack: Beautiful Stranger.
Beautiful Stranger launched to radio in mid-May and quickly became a sizeable summertime hit along with the Maverick Records-issued soundtrack album which landed in North American record stores on June 1st, 1999.
On March 17 1999, CBS-TV’s news magazine, 60 Minutes II, aired a Madonna interview conducted by Charlie Rose. The segment was titled “Madonna at 40”.
“I refused to wear makeup – and that’s when girls are, sort of, going out of their way to be attractive and please boys at school. I said, ‘Well I’ll be damned! They’re going to have to like me with hairy armpits or they’re not worthy of me!'”
On March 13 1999, Nothing Really Matters spent the first of two weeks at #1 on Billboard’s Hot Dance/Club Play chart in the U.S.
Despite being a successful club hit, many have cited Warner’s unusual marketing choices for the single as the primary reason for its poor placement on the Hot 100, where its peak of #93 remains the lowest of her charting singles.
The delayed release of the commercial single – which came long after the song had peaked at radio – was clearly a blunder, while other aspects of the song’s promotion seemingly started too early. After declining to release the experimental remixes for The Power Of Good-Bye in the U.S. (the remixes were issued commercially in Canada & abroad), Warner jumped the gun by beginning to service remixes of Nothing Really Matters promotionally to clubs as early as September of 1998 – over six months ahead of the maxi-single release.
An alternative might have been to service the Sky Fits Heaven remixes promotionally in the U.S. during the interim, considering that it managed to enter the Dance/Club Play chart based solely on spins from the imported Drowned World/Substitute For Love single, with no push from the label domestically.
Chart positions and marketing decisions aside, the maxi-single for Nothing Really Matters, with its wonderfully varied set of remixes by Peter Rauhofer, Kruder & Dorfmeister and Talvin Singh, remains one of Madonna’s best, in our opinion. Together with its visually stunning music video, the single marked an artistically pleasing closing chapter to the epic Ray Of Light era.