Today in Madonna History: March 22, 2017

On March 22 2017, The Huffington Post published an article titled, “Why Madonna’s Like A Prayer Is The Most Important Album Ever Made By A Female Artist.”

Here are some of the highlights from the article:

28 years ago this week, Madonna released what is not only her best album to date, but also what could be the most important release ever by a female artist. That’s not to say that Like a Prayer is the best album ever by a female artist, but it’s pretty close. After six years of being considered pop fluff and a disco dolly, Madonna was finally taken seriously by most music critics in 1989. Still, Like a Prayer deserved even more than bewildering critical acclaim.

If Madonna and misogyny weren’t practically synonyms, Like a Prayer would have not only won several Grammys in 1990 (it didn’t even earn any major nominations), but it would be widely praised for its songwriting and production 28 years later. If a man delivered the same type of vocals Madonna did on Like a Prayer, critics would note that his voice isn’t technically perfect, but distinct, melodic, and full of emotion. When it comes to Madonna, who certainly could never hit the notes of Aretha Franklin or Whitney Houston, it’s just easier for people to say that she “can’t sing.”

For people (especially millennials) to understand how important Like a Prayer is to culture and music, they have to comprehend the repressive environment Madonna’s album arrived to in March of 1989. The late 1980s was ruled by the religious right, who believed AIDS was a curse God gave to the gay community. Women who were outspoken or wore revealing clothes were referred to as sluts, whores, bitches, etc. Police brutality among African Americans was still widely accepted without much of a backlash. And interracial dating was still considered a taboo.

The pamphlet on AIDS Madonna included with each copy of Like a Prayer alone proves that the notion of Madonna being a bad role model and having a bad influence on Generation X (especially women and teenagers) just isn’t true. Madonna educated many about AIDS and safe sex at a time when schools, the media, and religious institutions stayed away from the topic. A move like this in 1989 could have hurt a showbiz career, but Madonna survived and thrived by doing the right thing and, possibly, helping to save lives at the same time.

Today in Madonna History: February 28, 2017

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On February 28 2017, Bay City (Michigan) City Commissioner Christopher Gerard explained to WNEM.com why the signs welcoming visitors into Bay City still do not mention it being the birthplace of Madonna:

“We couldn’t get some commitments from Madonna’s folks and Madonna is a polarizing issue in town surprisingly enough.”

In 2014 the city agreed to update the signs to mention Bay City as Madonna’s birthplace, to both honor Madonna and create more tourism in the city.

Gerard said the city is committed to updating the signs if there is enough interest from the community.

This is a photo of one of the former homes of Madonna’s grandparents in Bay City:

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Bay City — make the signs! Every Madonna fan will want their photo taken with the signs. We guarantee you will see a spike in tourism! And Madonna was only kidding when she called you a “smelly little town” — she’s a clown at heart! — Jay

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Today in Madonna History: February 11, 2017

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For the week ending February 11 2017, the Rhino reissue of Madonna’s first greatest hits collection, The Immaculate Collection, charted at #9 on the Billboard Vinyl Albums Chart in the USA.

The double vinyl reissue was printed on blue/white marble and gold vinyl, limited to 6500 copies in the USA and Canada.immaculate2017-end

Today in Madonna History: January 24, 2017

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On January 24 2017, Rhino re-released Madonna’s The Immaculate Collection (her first greatest hits collection) on double vinyl in the USA and Canada as part of their Start Your Ear Off Right campaign. The collection was released on blue/white and gold vinyl and limited to 6,500 copies.

The re-release included the following (same track listing as the original release):

Side A:

  • Holiday
  • Lucky Star
  • Borderline
  • Like A Virgin

Side B:

  • Material Girl
  • Crazy For You
  • Into The Groove
  • Live To Tell

Side C:

  • Papa Don’t Preach
  • Open Your Heart
  • La Isla Bonita
  • Like A Prayer

Side D:

  • Express Yourself
  • Cherish
  • Vogue
  • Justify My Love
  • Rescue Me

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Today in Madonna History: January 21, 2017

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On January 21 2017, Madonna participated in the Women’s March on Washington. In addition to delivering a powerful speech (watch the full video below), Madonna also performed Express Yourself and Human Nature.

Here is the full transcript of the speech Madonna delivered to over 500,000 people:

“Hello.

“Are you still awake out there?

“Are you sure about that?

“Can you hear me?

“Are you ready to shake up up the world?

“Welcome to the revolution of love. To the rebellion. To our refusal as women to accept this new age of tyranny. Where not just women are in danger but all marginalized people. Where people uniquely different might be considered a crime. It took us this darkness to wake us the fuck up.

“It seems as though we had all slipped into a false sense of comfort. That justice would prevail and that good would win in the end. Well, good did not win this election but good will win in the end. So what today means is that we are far from the end. Today marks the beginning, the beginning of our story. The revolution starts here. The fight for the right to be free, to be who we are, to be equal. Let’s march together through this darkness and with each step. Know that we are not afraid. That we are not alone, that we will not back down. That there is power in our unity and that no opposing force stands a chance in the face of true solidarity.

“And to our detractors that insist that this March will never add up to anything, fuck you. Fuck you. It is the beginning of much needed change. Change that will require sacrifice, people. Change that will require many of us to make different choices in our lives, but this is the hallmark of revolution. So my question to you today is are you ready? I said, are you ready? Say yes, we are ready. Say, yes we are ready. One more time: you’re ready.

“Yes, I’m angry. Yes, I am outraged. Yes, I have thought an awful lot of blowing up the White House, but I know that this won’t change anything. We cannot fall into despair. As the poet, W.H. Auden once wrote on the eve of World War II: We must love one another or die.

“I choose love. Are you with me? Say this with me: We choose love. We choose love. We choose love.”