Today in Madonna History: May 9, 2020

On May 9 2020, Stephen Bray posted this message in celebration of the 31st anniversary of Madonna’s Express Yourself single:

So many great memories — from recording the demo tracks and vocals at the home studio in Sherman Oaks to all the great players (Pat Leonard, Randy Jackson, and many others) at Pat’s studio in Burbank. Thank you Madonna for bringing so much spirited fire to the lead — and for forcing me to sing the bass part I’d earmarked for Levi Stubbs! The genius of Bill Bottrell raised the ante and it just kept getting better with Shep Pettibone’s amazing remix and David Fincher’s Metropolis music video. Happy 31st Birthday, Express Yourself!

Today in Madonna History: April 30, 2020

On April 30 2020, Madonna’s 1994 Bedtime Stories album topped the U.S. iTunes Albums Chart after her fans kicked of th #JusticeForBedtimeStories campaign.

This is how the Daily Mail reported it:

More than 25 years after its initial release, one of Madonna’s most under-appreciated albums is getting some love.

Bedtime Stories, the Material Girl’s sixth studio album released in 1994, shot to the top position of the U.S. iTunes chart on Thursday, thanks to a fan-led hashtag campaign ‘#JusticeForBedtimeStories’.

The campaign follows in the footsteps of #JusticeForEMC2, a similar move made by the Mariah Carey fandom in support of her 2008 album, as well as an effort on behalf of Janet Jackson’s 1986 record Control.

Madonna’s Bedtime Stories marked a transitional time in the career of the now 61-year-old performer, after she pushed the envelope with 1992’s salacious Erotica album and the publication of her Sex book, and before her Golden Globe-winning role as buttoned-up Evita Peron in 1996’s musical film Evita.

And while Bedtime Stories‘ final track, Take A Bow, spent seven weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 – to date her longest-running number-one single – only one of the album’s other singles, Secret, managed to break the top 10.

Still, Bedtime Stories remains to this day one of Madge’s most cohesive and melodic albums, containing one of her best songs of all time – the brazen and unapologetic anthem Human Nature.

Today in Madonna History: April 4, 2020

On April 4 2020, Madonna donated $1 million dollars toward the COVID-19 Response Fund operated by Gates Philanthropy Partners.

Madonna announced her partnership with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundations’ Therapeutics Accelerator program, which is looking to find a drug to cure or treat COVID-19, and had this to say:

I must admit, it took me time to accept and process and modify my own lifestyle so I can protect the lives of my family, myself and the rest of the human race. I cannot express enough the importance of people taking this virus seriously.

I am so impressed by the work of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator’s urgent efforts to find new or existing drugs that could effectively prevent or treat the disease.

Harnessing the strength and knowledge of the research community, the Accelerator’s critical scientific progress will inform how we end this pandemic and prevent future impact from the virus.

Today In Madonna History: March 9, 2020

On March 9 2020, Madonna was forced to cancel the remaining Madame X Tour shows in Paris after French authorities banned events of more than 1,000 people to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

A statement posted on Madonna’s official website states that her March 10-11 shows in Paris would no longer take place:

“Following official notification from the Office of the Police this morning prohibiting all events with an audience attendance of over 1000, Live Nation regrets to announce the final two Madame X performances previously re-scheduled to 10-March and 11-March are forced to be cancelled. Tickets are refundable at point of purchase. We regret the disappointment to fans.”

Today in Madonna History: January 31, 2020

On January 31 2020, Madonna shared this announcement with her fans through social media channels:

A note to all my fans:

As you all know I have multiple injuries and have had to cancel shows to give me time to recover.

So as not to surprise you, I want to let you know ahead of time that I will be cancelling 2 shows – on Feb 4 and Feb 11th at the Palladium in London. Because doing 3 shows in a row is too much on my body and in fact my doctors insist I take a day off after every show but I believe can manage if I do 2 shows then I rest!

It’s a miracle I have gotten this far but a-lot has to do with the fact that I do 6 hours of rehab every day.  3 hours before each show and 3 after with multiple therapies. I have also switched to flat shoes and modified difficult parts of the show. This has helped enormously but I still need to be careful and of course rest is the best medicine.

Of course I never want to cancel any show and I’m determined that I will make it to the end if I pace myself.

God Willing 🙏🏼

Refunds will be automatically issued to the credit card on which tickets were ordered.

I appreciate your understanding and sincerely apologize for any inconvenience.

Thank you!! Madame X

Today in Madonna History: January 30, 2020

On January 30 2020, glowing reviews of Madonna’s first Madame X show in London were published:

Music critic Neil McCormick (The Telegraph) had this to say: Anarchic and experimental – her best show ever? 5 STARS (out of 5)

I’m not sure who was having more fun at the opening of Madonna’s London residency, the audience or the star. She sang, she danced, she joked and she beamed with almost childlike glee at the crowd’s adoring response.

“How happy I am to have made it this far,” she declared, calling London “my second home”.

Madonna first played the city in 1983 to 1,500 early adopters at the Camden Palace. Her next London gig was Wembley Stadium. She was clearly delighted to be back in a venue where she could not just reach out and touch the audience, she could descend from the stage and sit in their laps. “It’s so intimate. It’s gorgeous and a thrill for me to be able to see all your faces.”

David Smyth of the Evening Standard gave the show 4 STARS (out of 5): Madame X is tireless, imaginative and powerfully intimate.

Such drama before Madonna could even take to the stage for her first theatre tour since 1985! Would she arrive drastically late? Would she cancel at the last minute? Tenterhooks all round.

Monday was supposed to be the first of a planned 15 nights at the Palladium, cancelled on doctor’s orders. It was the 10th dropped concert of the Madame X Tour, which began in New York in September and gathered complaints for its late start times.

But tonight at 8.45pm, there she was, dressed as a bloodstained, eyepatch-wearing revolutionary soldier. She was also a spy, a protest marcher and a Portuguese fado singer in the course of a tireless, imaginative show that was far from shrunken arena pop. Thanks especially to an extraordinary troupe of dancers, it was a spectacle that felt more powerful up close.

Like Bruce Springsteen, who showed a different side of himself in his recent Broadway run, and Kate Bush, whose live comeback was more theatre than concert, the 61-year-old has unearthed something new late in her career. The Madame X album may have plummeted out of the charts in an instant, but here its songs dominated and found their purpose.

Batuka, tuneless on record, was euphoric when performed with a mass of smiling, rump-shaking Batuque drummers from Cape Verde. I Rise was far more powerful when backed by footage of anti-gun protests and gay pride marches.

Alexis Petridis of The Guardian, also gave the show 4 STARS (out of 5) and noted: London residency short on hits but big on British banter.

She sings the bare minimum of big hits – Vogue, Like a Prayer, Human Nature – with Express Yourself and La Isla Bonita reduced to interstitial roles (the former performed as a sweet, but brief a cappella duet with her daughter Mercy), and American Life performed in full.

Still, it occasionally serves to remind you that some of Madame X is better than its relatively muted commercial response might suggest – Medellín sounds like the hit single it wasn’t, as does the gorgeous album track Crazy. This is presumably part of the point – the other part being a certain screw-you intransigence designed to underline that we are in the presence of an artiste, not a pop star.

And the BBC had a few fun notes to add in their review:

The audience were required to store mobile phones in sealed pouches as “an intervention for us all”. However, Madonna admitted that even she was getting anxious without a phone nearby.

“I’m having little panic attacks,” she joked. “I’m like, ‘Why is no-one taking my picture?'”

But the gambit worked: Freed from distractions, the audience gave the concert their undiluted attention; while Madonna seemed to relax and have fun without a phalanx of tiny cameras recording her every move.

At one point, she slipped into a British accent and recalled how she’d been ridiculed for developing similarly plummy vowels during her marriage to Guy Ritchie.

“I didn’t know what anyone was talking about until I heard old interviews of myself,” she said. “And then I was horrified and flabbergasted. Why did you let me do that to myself? I’m from Michigan!”

“It’s all Guy Ritchie’s fault,” she decided. “He made me to it.”

Today in Madonna History: January 18, 2020

For the week ending January 18, 2020, Madonna’s I Don’t Search I Find climbs from #15 to #10 on Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Songs chart in the USA.

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