Today in Madonna History: January 27, 2015

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On January 27 2015, Madonna graced the cover of MOJO magazine.

This is how the magazine feature was promoted:

MADONNA WORLD EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW! As her new album, Rebel Heart, hits the shops, the iron-willed but glass-hearted electro-dance divinity opens up to MOJO’s Tom Doyle about a roiling creative life that has kept her at the cutting-edge of music for more than 30 years.

To celebrate Madonna’s first time on the cover of MOJO magazine, two editions were released: the news-stand version and a Special Subscribers’ version with exclusive artwork.

Today in Madonna History: January 13, 2015

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On January 13 2015, Billboard revealed that Michael Keaton’ son, Sean Douglas, worked on Ghosttown, one of the songs to be featured on Madonna’s Rebel Heart album. The songwriter said that the track was written in three days, after Madonna had personally requested some studio time.

“Madonna liked ‘Talk Dirty,’ actually, and so they put me and [co-writers] Jason Evigan and Evan Bogart in with her and we had this great session. I was incredibly nervous for obvious reasons, but she showed up, was super personable and was ready to work. I basically checked it off my life bucket list.”

Douglas is a successful pop songwriter whose credits include Top 40 hits for Jason Derulo, Demi Lovato and Fifth Harmony, among many others.

Today in Madonna History: August 16, 2015

On August 16 2015, singer/songwriter Joe Henry shared a touching birthday tribute to his sister-in-law, Madonna:

This is the young woman I met shortly after our family’s move to Michigan in 1975 – as I entered my sophomore year of high school and, she, her senior one. Together, we were in the Thespian Society; and in that winter’s first production, we were cast as mother and son – the wife and child of Ralph Waldo Emerson – in a play about Thoreau.

She was whip-smart and short on patience; and to tell the truth, she scared me more than a little, but along with her sister Paula, her presence upon my landscape nudged open a door through which I would pass and find my life utterly and forever changed…that unusual and sprawling family becoming, years later, my own.

No one is more surprised than I by the way our lives have expanded; by the way that our journeys have diverged and become entangled. Like anyone, I can sometimes forget to see the flesh and blood/heart and mind behind the parade float that is her public persona. But then I will find myself across the kitchen table from her, sharing a martini, and be additionally shocked to recognize anew the compact, terse-yet-compassionate human at the switches.

I have told this tale before, but it bears repeating: when Elvis Presley died on this date in 1977, this upstart professed in real-time that she felt his spirit had passed out of his body and through her own in exodus.

I laughed at her then for such outrageous self-possession, at the arrogance that I assumed must allow her to declare such publicly.

Today, when there is laughter, it is the laugh of recognition I hear – and it begins somewhere high above me, where things that once seemed implausible play with wild abandon and in broad daylight.

Happy Birthday, Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone.

Today in Madonna History: May 15, 2015

On May 15 2015, Madonna’s Ghosttown (from the Rebel Heart album) hit the top spot on Billboard’s Dance Club Songs chart for the week ending May 30th.

Ghosttown became Madonna’s 45th #1 hit on the chart. She had this to say to her fans about the success of the song:

“Thanks to all my fans on & off the dance floor, I’ll always be your partner.”

Today in Madonna History: April 14, 2015

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On April 14 2015, Madonna appeared on the cover of Cosmopolitan magazine’s 50th anniversary cover, to celebrate 50 years of power, provocation and living the Comso-girl life.  The May issue featured four different covers of Madonna, with photos by Ellen von Unwerth.

Here’s a snippet of the interview between Cosmopolitan and Madonna:

On longevity in her career: “Popularity comes and goes. You need to know who you are, what you stand for, and why you’re here.”

On sexuality and ageism: “Don’t be fooled, not much has changed — certainly not for women. We still live in a very sexist society that wants to limit people. Since I started, I’ve had people giving me a hard time because they didn’t think you could be sexual or have sexuality or sensuality in your work and be intelligent at the same time. For me, the fight has never ended.”

On Internet haters: “You can hide behind your computer or your phone and say whatever you want — you’re not known. Could you say it to my face? Would you say it to my face? I doubt it.”

Today in Madonna History: March 29, 2015

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On March 29 2015, Madonna performed Ghosttown with Taylor Swift at the iHeartRadio Music Awards.

Here’s what Rolling Stone magazine had to say about the performance:

The 2015 iHeartRadio Music Awards promised there would be “unexpected collaborations” between the marquee artists attending the Los Angeles event, and the ceremony didn’t disappoint as Taylor Swift joined Madonna for an acoustic rendition of the Rebel Heart singer’s new single Ghosttown.

Following the performance, Madonna tweeted, “My new favorite guitar player! Thank you Taylor!”

Today in Madonna History: March 11, 2015

On March 11 2015, Madonna was interviewed by Howard Stern on SiriusXM.

Here are some tidbits we learned about Madonna during the interview, according to Rolling Stone magazine:

  • Her shocking VMA debut of “Like a Virgin” was an accident. “I had come down the wedding cake and my shoe fell off,” she said. “I was like ‘Oh shit, I can’t dance in one shoe!” The mishap prompted quick decision-making on Madonna’s end as to how to proceed with the performance and led to the controversial stage-humping that took place at the first Video Music Awards. “I didn’t know my skirt was up. I proceeded to sing the song laying down on the ground. I was just making the best of the situation.” She noted that her manager Freddy DeMann told her that her career would be over following the performance.
  • She craves normalcy every once in a while. “Every 3 days I crave it,” she said. “Every three days I go, ‘That’s it. I’m moving to a cabin and living in the forest and no one’s gonna fuck with me anymore.'” Stern probed as to why she thinks she could never give up her career and life in the spotlight. “Because I’m an artist and I’m tortured. I’m a masochist and I like to create. I don’t know. Maybe one day I will.”
  • Madonna’s first year in New York included multiple robberies, an assault and an unreported rape. “I needed money for the payphone and [a stranger] gave it to me,” she said. “He was a very friendly guy, and the phone was ringing. He was like, ‘Oh, I live right across the street if you’d like to make the phone call from my house.” The then 19-year-old Madonna agreed, blaming her “stupid friendliness” from her Midwestern roots. “I trusted everybody. The rest is not worth talking about.”
  • She doesn’t hate David Letterman. Stern acknowledged some early interviews between the pop star and talk show host, noting he could never tell if she liked him or was annoyed. “Oh, that’s how I flirt with people,” she revealed. “One time I was mad at him, when I said the ‘f-word’ a lot, but the rest of the time was good.”
  • She dated Tupac Shakur. The late rapper had actually been the reason Madonna was mad at Letterman. “I was dating Tupac Shakur at the time, and he had gotten me all riled up about life in general,” she said. “When I went on this show, I was feeling very gangster.” Stern revealed his surprise about the little-known past relationship. “I think people know, if you’re in the know,” said Madonna coyly.
  • The misunderstood meaning of “Material Girl” gets on her nerves. “The song that irritated me the most about being associated with me is ‘Material Girl,'” she said. “It was an ironic song because I’m certainly not a materialistic person.” The topic came up as Stern had her clear up a rumor that she detested the success of “Like a Virgin” because other people had written it. The singer declared the rumor false, asserting that she loves the song and appreciates its writers.
  • Upon making her first $1 million, she indulged in buying a Frida Kahlo painting. “That was always my goal,” she said on her art collection. “When I was married to Sean [Penn], I said ‘When I make my first million, I’m going to buy art.'” Madonna had been a huge fan of Frida Kahlo since she was young. “I bought a self-portrait of hers. At the time it was rather inexpensive because people didn’t know who she was.”
  • Jean-Michel Basquiat destroyed all the paintings he had given to her. Madonna and Basquiat had dated when the singer was very young, but his heroin addiction ended up pulling them apart. “He was an amazing man and deeply talented. I loved him,” she said. “When I broke up with him, he made me give all [his paintings] back to him. And then he painted over them black.” She regrets giving the art back, but felt pressured to do so since it was something he had created.
  • She wrote “Vogue” in a few hours. Madonna stands by the idea that her best songs are the ones she wrote in only a couple of hours, “Vogue” included. “I thought it was a very cool dance, very presentational and elegant and all about vanity,” she said about the dance of the same name. The song had been written for Dick Tracy, the film she made with ex-boyfriend Warren Beatty, and was inspired by all the classic movie stars. “[Warren] dated all of Hollywood, basically.” She would ask him questions about what the stars she admired — and he dated — were like, including Natalie Wood and Julie Christie. “I looked up to [these women] and admired them.”

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