Today in Madonna History: May 19, 1995

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On May 19 1995, the music video for Human Nature premiered on MTV.

Madonna had initially planned to have friend and collaborator Alek Keshishian direct the video for Human Nature. Keshishian had even been named as the director in ICON Magazine, but for unknown reasons this shoot was cancelled during pre-production. Madonna later called in another recurring collaborator – Jean-Baptiste Mondino – to direct the clip instead.

The video marked Madonna’s first collaboration with Jamie King, who can be spotted as a dancer in the video.

Today in Madonna History: May 6, 1995

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On May 6 1995, the first of a two-day shoot for the music video for Human Nature took place at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood, California.

The video was directed by Jean-Baptiste Mondino, while the work of S&M comic artist Eric Stanton provided inspiration. Human Nature was Madonna’s third collaboration with Mondino following his music videos for Open Your Heart (1986) and Justify My Love (1990).

“Mondino found this book by this illustrator named Stanton who did kinda S&M drawings and stuff, but we didn’t want to go with the straight S&M; we wanted to have it be more about making fun of it.” – Madonna

“All I know is…my main problem is I don’t like videos when somebody’s dancing, that the camera is moving a lot. I’m more like an old-time, classic guy, because I remember most of the video you had shot with the crane, some Steadicam, plus some panning. So you have about five different cameras shooting a performance, and after they edit like crazy. It gives you a lot of freedom, but I feel very frustrated because I like to see somebody dancing. I hate when there’s too much editing. I like the steadiness of the performance because then you can really enjoy the movement of the body. You see the skill. I like to shrink — as much as I can — the stage because I can grab her. If not, everyone is running around and I’m not good with this. So I came up with the boxes [laughs] and I knew that with the boxes I had to do with something quite unexpectable because there’s not too much stage to dance in. So there’s something beautiful about it and they looked like bees or something. And the rest of it was how to create some kind of choreography and some graphic imagery with the S&M outfits, but with humor. So she has a little dog and she has some funny moments where she drops down, there’s some Charlie Chaplin-esque moments in it. Because S&M is a game, you know? It’s dark, it looks dark, but I think people have fun. When you wear rubber like this, you better have fun. If not, you stop using it for sex and you become a diver, you know?” – Jean-Baptiste Mondino

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 13, 1995

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On April 13 1995, Bedtime Story was released as a single in North America by Maverick/Sire as the third single from the album Bedtime Stories. The song was written by Björk, Nellee Hooper & Marius DeVries and was produced by Madonna & Nellee Hooper.

Bedtime Story was released in Europe in February but the release was delayed for several months in North America due to the prolonged chart reign of her previous single, Take A Bow.

The commercial maxi-single featured remixes by Junior Vasquez and Orbital. Additional promo-only remixes by Mark Picchiotti & Teri Bristol were also later serviced to clubs.

An official remix video was released to promote the Bedtime Story maxi-single. It was edited by Ed Steinberg – the director of Madonna’s very first music video for Everybody in 1982 – and was set to Junior’s Single Mix.

Today in Madonna History: February 13, 1995

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On February 13 1995, Bedtime Story was released in Europe by Maverick Records as the third single from the album Bedtime Stories. In North America, the single was delayed until April due to the sleeper success of Take A Bow, which continued its slow-but-steady climb to the top of the Hot 100.

Bedtime Story was written by Björk, Marius De Vries & Nellee Hooper and was produced by Hooper & Madonna. Björk’s original demo, titled Let’s Get Unconscious, was reworked by Hooper & DeVries and renamed Bedtime Story for its submission to Madonna. Björk later revisited elements of the song’s lyrics in Sweet Intuition–a b-side from her 1995 single, Army Of Me.

In a 2001 interview for NYLON magazine, writer James Servin asked Björk whether it was true that she had written the lyrics to Bedtime Story for Madonna because she liked the idea of her expressing a viewpoint that was paradoxical to her controlled public image:

“I think at the time, yes. But that’s like six years ago, when everything about [Madonna] seemed very controlled. I think she’s a very intuitive person, and definitely her survival instincts are incredible. They’re like, outrageous. At the time, the words I thought she should say were, ‘I’m not using words anymore, let’s get unconscious honey. Fuck logic. Just be intuitive. Be more free. Go with the flow.’ Right now, she seems pretty much to be going with the flow.”

This prompts me to ask Björk if she thinks she might have put those mellowing-out thoughts into Madonna’s head. “Well, I wouldn’t credit myself for that,” she says. “Not at all. That’s a question for you to ask her.”

I sent a fax to Madonna via her publicist Liz Rosenberg, with the question: “Did singing the lyrics Björk wrote for Bedtime Story lead you in the direction of going more with the flow?” A day or two later, I receive this e-mail from Liz Rosenberg: “I wish I could get an answer from Madonna for you. She’s deep into rehearsals for her tour, and I can’t get any info from her for a while. I can tell you that Madonna certainly thinks Björk is inspiring and a brilliant artist. Madonna is a huge fan of her music. I’ve never thought Madonna was a ‘go with the flow’ person before or after recording Bedtime Story. She goes with a flow – but it’s a flow of her own creation, if you know what I mean.”

Today in Madonna History: November 24, 2003

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Today in Madonna History: November 12, 1994

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On November 12 1994, Madonna’s Bedtime Stories was the week’s highest debut on the Billboard 200 album chart, peaking at #3 with sales of 145,000 units.

While the figure represented a 15% drop in first-week sales from her previous long player, Erotica, the album proved to be a commercial grower in America – where the runaway success of its second single, Take A Bow, would push its overall U.S. sales tally well beyond that of its predecessor.

Underscoring urban/r&b music’s U.S. chart domination at the time, Bedtime Stories was held back from the top spot by the Murder Was The Case soundtrack (performed by Snoop Doggy Dogg) and Boyz II Men’s II.

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