Today in Madonna History: April 17, 2002

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On April 17 2002, David Williamson spoke to news.com.au about working with Madonna on her West End debut in Up For Grabs, and how she prefers to be called M, not Madge.

Williamson told the new site that Madonna hates the nickname British newspapers have given her:

“They call her Madge to try to domesticate her and she hates it. One of the actors didn’t realise and called her that in rehearsals and got a fairly sharp response.”

What is your favourite Madonna nickname? What do you call her? 

Today in Madonna History: October 16, 2002

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On October 16 2002, Billboard released their review of Madonna’s Die Another Day:

The theme to the latest James Bond instalment, Die Another Day, is certainly a far cry from the melodic musings of Shirley Bassey, Nancy Sinatra, Paul McCartney, and even Duran Duran. Die Another Day in many ways picks up on the heels of Madonna’s inventive, experimental Music — thanks to her reunion with writer/producer Mirwais Ahmadzai — with a predominance of squiggly blips and zaps and enough effects on Madonna’s vocal to render it practically non-human. It’s an odd number, somewhat disjointed, a bit nonsensical, and not so much melodic as a highly stylized jam — but one must never underestimate the motivations of the long-and-lasting Madonna; and sure enough, with repeated listening, there are enough clever goings on and a hook that sinks into the consciousness to make this a captivating journey. James Bond purists may find themselves fitful that the traditional melodrama that marks such theme songs is remiss here, but radio jumped on the track weeks ahead of its official release, which will certainly fan the flames of publicity for the upcoming flick, out Nov. 22 in the U.S. On the horizon: an onslaught of remixes. Score another bull’s-eye for Madonna.

Today in Madonna History: October 9, 2002

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On October 9 2002, Entertainment Weekly published a review of Swept Away after screening the film at the Vista Theatre in Los Angeles on October 7.

Family and friends (and some celebrities) at the premiere included: Donna and Niki, Guy Oseary, Demi Moore, Claudia Schiffer, Matthew Vaughn, Debi Mazar, Herb Ritts, Joe Henry and Madonna’s sister Melanie.

Here’s a snippet of the review:

Drawn, lacquered, and just about as tanned as Goldmember, Madonna, in Swept Away, appears blowsy and middle-aged, and the hard character of experience does something for her. It allows her to leave vanity aside. (Either that, or her vanity now resides in her biceps, which are sinewy enough to strangle a panther.) Sound the trumpets: For the first time since Desperately Seeking Susan, Madonna doesn’t suck as an actress. In a movie career that is by now nearly as benighted as that of Linda Blair or Maria Montez, she comes through with a performance in which her line readings don’t clatter like broken plates, and she looks at least half as relaxed as she does on stage.

Today in Madonna History: September 27, 2002

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On September 27 2002, the theme and title-track for the twentieth film in the James Bond franchise, Die Another Day, received its world premiere on New York radio station Z100. The song had been due to hit the airwaves on October 10th, but when Z100 got their hands on the track ahead of schedule they immediately added it to their heavy rotation playlist. Other stations quickly followed suit, prompting an early but very strong debut at #41 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S. and becoming the chart’s highest first-week entry of the year.

Die Another Day was written and produced by Madonna and Mirwais with string arrangement by the late, great Michel Colombier. After being introduced to Madonna through Mirwais, Colombier arranged strings for Madonna’s 2000 hit Don’t Tell Me, scored her film Swept Away and arranged the American Life tracks Nothing Fails and Easy Ride. Colombier sadly lost a brief battle with cancer in 2004, leaving behind a legacy of celebrated collaborations with the likes of Serge Gainsbourg, Prince and Joni Mitchell, to name only a few.

Madonna’s Bond theme was first performed during 2004’s Re-Invention Tour, where it became a visual showstopper with its ambitious and impressively executed tango-influenced choreography.