Today in Madonna History: May 24, 2004

On May 24 2004, Madonna launched her sixth concert tour – the Re-Invention World Tour – with the first of three sold-out concerts at The Forum in Inglewood, California.

Madonna was scheduled to perform at The Forum on May 24th, 25th and 27th, however the May 25th show was rescheduled to May 26th due to illness. A brief statement posted on Madonna’s website on May 25th read:

“Madonna has the stomach flu and was ordered by her doctor to rest this evening. She will be back at 100% [on May 26th] and can’t wait to entertain her fans.”

All subsequent dates on the Re-Invention World Tour proceeded as scheduled.

Today in Madonna History: May 23, 1987

On May 23 1987, La Isla Bonita hit #1 on Billboard’s Hot Adult Contemporary chart where it ruled for a single week.

It was Madonna’s second Hot AC chart topper after Live To Tell‘s three-week stint at #1 the previous year.

Both releases achieved similar longevity on AC radio playlists, with La Isla‘s seventeen-week Hot AC chart run nearly living up to Tell‘s eighteen weeks.

Today In Madonna History: May 22, 1990

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On May 22 1990, Madonna’s I’m Breathless: Music From And Inspired By The Film Dick Tracy album was released.

In the December 1994 issue of Q magazine, Madonna declared:

“I would have to say the favourite record that I’ve made is the soundtrack to Dick Tracy (“I’m Breathless”). I love every one of those songs… My judgement is never based on the world’s reaction.”

Today in Madonna History: May 21, 1983

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On May 21 1983, Madonna’s Burning Up/Physical Attraction hit #3 on USA Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart.

Burning Up was written by Madonna and Physical Attraction was written by Reggie Lucas. Both were produced by Lucas with additional remixing by Jellybean Benitez on the latter.

Interestingly, the original copyright claim filed for the song Physical Attraction, which remains on file at the U.S. Library Of Congress, lists Madonna as its sole writer and Only Child Music (who handled Madonna’s songwriting publishing prior to the creation of Webo Girl) as its publisher, with no mention of Lucas or his publishing company, Likasa Music.

Burning Up went through several incarnations both before and after its official release. The earliest recording of the song to have surfaced is a live performance by Madonna with her band Emmy, likely from 1980. Although the lyrics underwent only minor revisions in later years, its initial guitar-driven arrangement and melody were relatively loose – if not underdeveloped. A more focused beat-driven version was recorded by Madonna with Stephen Bray in early 1982 and was featured on the four-track demo tape that brought her to the attention of Sire Records. In addition to the originally released version that appeared on the 12″ single, there are also two noticeably different album mixes of Burning Up. Early vinyl pressings of her debut LP featured a longer version with alternate guitar and synth parts and more prominently mixed backing vocals. This alternate album mix resurfaced in 1985 as the b-side to the Angel single in the UK, but it has never been officially released in digital or CD format.

Today in Madonna History: May 20, 1996

On May 20 1996, Madonna’s Take A Bow was honored as one of the Most Performed Songs of 1995 at the 13th annual ASCAP Pop Music Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California.

Ironically, Madonna herself has rarely performed the song live. It had only a single live vocal performance at the American Music Awards in 1995, a handful of mimed television performances during the same period, and was not performed on tour until being added on select dates towards the end of the Rebel Heart Tour.

Today in Madonna History: May 19, 2019

On May 19 2019, Madonna was scolded in the international press for “making a political statement” during her performance at the Eurovision Song Contest held the previous day, which ended with performers wearing Israeli and Palestinean flags on their backs with arms interlocked in embrace and the words “wake up” appearing on a stage screens.

Madonna’s camp responded with what should be (but is apparently not) obvious: “A message of peace is not a political statement.”

Here is the common definition of the term political statement:

The term political statement is used to refer to any act or non-verbal form of communication that is intended to influence a decision to be made for or by a political party. A political statement can vary from a mass demonstration to the wearing of a badge with a political slogan.

How exactly Madonna’s performance constitutes a political statement in the eyes of the media is puzzling. She did not endorse the political advancement or agenda of either side; she simply reiterated her longstanding and widely expressed wish for a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

A more reasonable argument would be that had she not included this symbolic gesture in her performance, it may have been construed as muted political support for Israel’s position. By making the gesture she did, she instead reiterated her political neutrality and her wish for peace.

Equally telling was the network’s response that its desire was to broadcast an entertainment special that essentially whitewashed the realities of the conflict. Clearly, they would have us believe that ignoring the conflict is the acceptable, non-partisan stance, while acknowledging the conflict and expressing one’s hope for its peaceful resolution should be viewed as provocational or controversial.

The irony is that it is only those who are trying to frame Madonna’s actions as a political statement that are, in fact, making one.

Today in Madonna History: May 18, 2005

On May 18 2005, Madonna issued a statement in support of fellow pop singer Kylie Minogue, wishing her a quick recovery from her battle with breast cancer:

“I was saddened to learn about Kylie Minogue’s breast cancer diagnosis. I’m so grateful that they found it early. (Yet another reminder for all women to have annual mammograms.) Aside from being tremendously talented, Kylie’s a fighter and I know this is a battle she will win. Let’s all pray for her speedy recovery and send all of our best wishes her way. With love and light to you Kylie…Madonna.”

Following her surgery and recovery, Kylie’s 2006 return to the stage was captured in the behind-the-scenes documentary, White Diamond. The film included Kylie’s version of an unreleased Madonna/Rick Nowels collaboration from the Ray Of Light sessions, titled Alone Again. Kylie had recorded the track as a potential b-side to her 2002 single, Come Into My World, but for unknown reasons it remained shelved until its use in the documentary several years later. Madonna received special thanks from Kylie in the film’s closing credits.

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