Today in Madonna History: February 13, 1999

On February 13 1999, Madonna’s Nothing Really Matters single was reviewed by Billboard magazine.

The North American two-track single for Nothing Really Matters included the album version of To Have And Not To Hold as its b-side.

Prior to the release of the Ray Of Light album, it was reported that Madonna had fourteen tracks mastered but wanted to cut one, as she felt that thirteen was a lucky number. According to the article, Madonna’s final selection was between two songs: To Have And Not To Hold or Has To Be.

As we all know, Has To Be ended up being cut from the final track list (except in Japan, where it was included as a bonus track).

If you had to choose between including To Have And Not To Hold or Has To Be on Ray Of Light, which song would you include? Keep in mind, your selection should not simply be which individual track you prefer – Madonna would also have had to consider how her choice would affect the overall flow and emotional arc of the album, both musically and lyrically.

Today in Madonna History: February 2, 1990

On February 2 1990, the fifth North American single from the Like A Prayer album, Keep It Together, was reviewed in Billboard magazine.

Today in Madonna History: January 20, 2001

On January 20 2001, Madonna’s Don’t Tell Me hit #1 on Billboard’s Hot Dance/Club Play chart in the U.S.

The following week the song would slide to #2 in Club Play while the maxi-single would debut at #20 on the Maxi-Single Sales chart.

Today in Madonna History: January 19, 1991

On January 19 1991, Billboard magazine reported on the controversy surrounding Madonna’s use of prose from the Book of Revelations in a remix featured on the maxi-single of Justify My Love, titled The Beast Within. The remix was created by Madonna & Lenny Kravitz during the recording session for Justify My Love.

While The Beast Within would later be featured prominently in 1993’s Girlie Show tour and as the opening sequence of 2004’s Re-Invention tour, in both cases the biblical verse that had sparked the controversy was excluded.

The article also mentions the song’s use of Public Enemy’s Security Of The First World as the basis of Justify My Love‘s rhythm track, with Public Enemy’s co-producer revealing an intent to sue Madonna & Kravitz over its use. Madonna had only received credit for “additional lyrics” on the song, while Kravitz was originally credited as composer and producer.

Today in Madonna History: January 6, 1990

On January 6 1990, Billboard magazine looked back at the top-selling music videocassettes of the 1980’s. All three of Madonna’s qualifying releases charted, with both her self-titled four-video EP and Madonna Live: The Virgin Tour topping the list for the years 1985 and 1986 respectively.

It should be noted that Ciao Italia, which ranked #7 on the 1989 tally, was at a disadvantage for this type of chart due to its mid-year release. Had it been released in early 1988, or even late 1987, it certainly would have fared better.

Today in Madonna History: December 24, 1983

On December 24 1983, Madonna was named runner-up for Top Dance/Disco Artist Of The Year in Billboard magazine’s year-end issue, while Michael Jackson took top honors.

The double-sided club hit Holiday/Lucky Star peaked at #3 on the Top Dance/Disco Singles Of The Year tally, while Madonna’s second entry at #26 combined points from her first two single releases, Everybody and Burning Up/Physical Attraction.

Today in Madonna History: December 21, 2014

On December 21 2014, Madonna hit #1 on iTunes in 36 countries around the world with the release of six songs from her forthcoming album, Rebel Heart. In virtually every country the songs were released, they held six of the ten slots on the iTunes Top 10 chart. In seven of those countries, she had multiple #1’s across various iTunes charts. The lead single Living for Love topped the iTunes chart in twenty counties.

The other tracks made available for immediate download were: Ghosttown, Devil Pray, Unapologetic Bitch, Illuminati & Bitch I’m Madonna.

News of the surprise drop came when Madonna posted a link on Instagram late the previous night announcing the release as “an early Christmas gift” to those who pre-ordered the album. Fans immediately went to iTunes and drove the songs to the top of iTunes charts around the globe. Instantaneously Rebel Heart exploded on social media with the album topping the Billboard Trending 140 chart.

The early release of six songs from Rebel Heart came on the heels of a series of leaks which forced Madonna and her team to quickly devise a new marketing plan for the album.

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