Today in Madonna History: November 6, 1982

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On November 6 1982, Madonna lost her chart virginity with her very first appearance in Billboard magazine, as Everybody made its debut on the Hot Dance/Club chart (then titled Dance/Disco Top 80). Fittingly foreshadowing her long-term, record-shattering success on the Dance chart, it was the week’s highest new entry.

Dance music commentator Brian Chin also gave a favorable nod to the song in the same chart’s editorial sidebar. Considering Sire Records’ initially stunted marketing strategy had its limited bets set on a faceless, imageless Madonna shrouded in mystery, Chin’s miscasting of her as “a young New York duo produced by DJ Mark Kamins” is humourously forgivable, if not ironic in retrospect, considering her destiny to become the inequivical Queen of the dance charts.

We would venture to predict that Madonna was likely less amused by the gaffe. Enter Liz Rosenberg? 😉

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Today in Madonna History: November 4, 1995

On November 4 1995, Madonna’s You’ll See was reviewed by Billboard magazine’s Larry Flick. Written & produced by Madonna & David Foster, the song of self-empowerment served as the lead single from her collection of ballads, Something To Remember.

 

Today in Madonna History: October 17, 1987

On October 17 1987, Billboard magazine featured a two-page spread taken out by Madonna’s manager, Freddy DeMann, thanking everyone involved with Madonna’s massively successful Who’s That Girl World Tour, which had wrapped up in Europe the month before.

In the same issue of Billboard, Chart Beat columnist Paul Grein marked Madonna’s 13th consecutive top-5 hit as Causing A Commotion moved into the #5 position on the Hot 100. Speculating on how long Madonna’s winning streak could last, he warned of the dangers of over-exposure and artistic complacency. Without the benefit of hindsight, the back-handed compliment and slightly patronizing advice is not altogether unreasonable, and is certainly not unusual for the time.

Less reasonable, however, is his summation that the severity of Madonna’s potential fall from grace would be compounded by the abundance of female singers of the era who “sound like Madonna”.

Because you know, all female singers are only that – female singers. Even though you’re co-writing and co-producing your own songs and radio can’t get enough, neither can your audience or even your peers, you’re breaking records set by top male and female artists alike, you’re selling out stadiums around the world and earning high praise as a live performer – don’t think any of these things should afford you any respect. You may not have entered the business through the back door and you may have paid your dues and then some, but you’ve still just been lucky, that’s all. You couldn’t possibly possess the talent or the drive to evolve or the insight to be able to stay in the game once your luck runs out. Even though you are the one that everyone is copying – you’re still just another female singer, and they’re a dime a dozen.

While we no longer need hindsight to spot the glaring absurdity and blatant sexism of such an argument today, would it be as obvious if Madonna hadn’t stuck around to dispel it?

Today in Madonna History: September 28, 1983

On September 28 1983, Billboard magazine reported that the music video for Madonna’s second single, Burning Up, had been added into MTV rotation during the preceding week. The video marked Madonna’s introduction to MTV audiences, as the channel had not previously aired the low-budget clip produced for Everybody.

Although the Burning Up/Physical Attraction single had already been out for six months by the time a video finally surfaced, it featured a new mix of the song (which differed from both the 12″ single and from the version that appeared on original vinyl pressings of the album) and was seemingly intended to promote her debut album as a whole rather than the song itself, given that Burning Up had not been actively promoted to radio by her label. Just weeks before the video’s release, Sire/Warner had issued promotional 12-inch copies of Lucky Star/Holiday to gauge public interest for her next single release, and were apparently caught off guard by the swift success of the latter track, as no video or remixes had been readied to promote it.

Indeed, the label’s somewhat haphazard early steps in marketing the album gave very little indication of its impending success.

Today in Madonna History: September 27, 2017

On September 27 2017, Madonna made headlines around the world for both the MDNA Skin launch at Barney’s as well as an impromptu comedy stand-up gig she performed with Amy Schumer at the Comedy Cellar in New York.

Here’s what Billboard magazine had to say:

She sings, she dances, she acts, she has a new skincare line. But does she kill in a comedy club? Madonna added another notch to her creative belt on Tuesday night (Sept. 26) when she took the stage alongside pal Amy Schumer at New York’s legendary Comedy Cellar. The singer posted several pics from the surprise set, including one in which she’s standing next to Schumer, writing “And the next minute i was tagging along with @amyschumer at @nycomedycellar Making my stand up debut! What a thrill. Finally busted my cherry thank you Amy!”

According to attendees, Aziz Ansari, Jon Stewart and Louis C.K. also performed during the set.

Today in Madonna History: July 19, 1986

On July 19 1986, Billboard dance music columnist Brian Chin profiled Madonna’s recently released True Blue album, highlighting his choices for potential singles with the strongest club/remix potential.

Today in Madonna History: July 7, 1984

On July 7 1984, Warner Bros. Records took out a full-page ad in Billboard magazine to congratulate Madonna on the Gold certification of her self-titled debut album.

The ad featured the first look at a new photo shoot Madonna had recently completed with Steven Meisel. This image would later appear on the back cover of her next album, Like A Virgin.

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