Today in Madonna History: December 15, 1990

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On December 15 1990, the LA Times printed a feature article by Robert Hilburn, about Madonna’s forth-coming laser-disc release of the Blond Ambition tour.

Can Madonna sell laser-disc players as well as she sells herself? Pioneer Artists, the nation’s leading distributor of music-related laser discs, hopes so. In a move virtually unprecedented in the video industry, Pioneer has just released Madonna’s Blond Ambition World Tour Live exclusively on laser disc. Normally, video packages of this nature are released on videocassette two to six weeks before they are released on laser-disc. In this case, however, Blond Ambition won’t be released on videocassette for at least a year.  Steven Galloway, president of Pioneer Artists, said he hopes the fact that an artist of Madonna’s stature would release a video only on laser disc will send a signal to millions of potential laser customers that the new format has finally come of age.

Galloway said that the laser exclusive with Madonna grew out of an agreement last spring for Pioneer, the electronics hardware and software giant, to sponsor her tour.

“I contacted her manager, Freddy DeMann, long before the tour started in hopes of getting the laser-disc rights to any video that was going to be shot in association with the tour,” Galloway said. DeMann was meeting with potential corporate sponsors at the time, Galloway said, and he asked if Pioneer would be interested in sponsoring the tour. The company apparently jumped at the opportunity.

“Madonna is the ideal artist to reach the new demographics that we are hoping to attract with the new, low-priced combination CD and laser players . . . the young, hip 18-35 audience,” Galloway said.

“Until these low-priced players arrived, laser discs were considered something just for the high-end market . . . a rich man’s toy. But that has changed and Madonna seemed the ideal artist to drive that point home.”

And what about the Blond Ambition package itself?

The video is based on the same concert in Nice that HBO broadcast live last summer, but the new, edited laser version offers much more of the vitality and charm of the show itself than the HBO special.

Today in Madonna History: August 10, 1985

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On August 10 1985, Into The Groove spent the first of four weeks in the #1 position on the UK Singles Chart. It was Madonna’s first chart-topping single in the UK, where she has collected a total of thirteen #1 hits to date.

As an added validation, Into the Groove was Madonna’s first self-produced release (co-produced with Stephen Bray). While artists co-producing their own work is common today, it was relatively unusual at the time, particularly for female artists. The immense success of the single undoubtedly helped convince the powers at Sire/Warner to grant Madonna the artistic freedom to co-produce her next album, True Blue, together with her collaborators Stephen Bray and Patrick Leonard.

Today in Madonna History: August 5, 1990

On August 5 1990, Madonna – Live! Blond Ambition World Tour 90 was broadcast live on HBO-TV from Stade de l’Ouest, Nice, France and seen in more than 4.3 million households – it was the most-watched entertainment special in the network’s 18-year history (at the time).

Today in Madonna History: July 31, 2015

On July 31 2015, Madonna’s Blond Ambition World Tour documentary, In Bed With Madonna (aka Truth Or Dare) was certified platinum by BPI (British Phonographic Industry) for sales of over 50,000 units on DVD/home video in the UK.

Today in Madonna History: July 21, 1990

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On July 21 1990, Madonna’s second single from I’m Breathless, Hanky Panky, debuted at #14 in the UK.

Check out the beautiful images above of Madonna performing Hanky Panky during her 1990 Blond Ambition World Tour.

Today in Madonna History: July 2, 1990

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On July 2 1990, Roman Catholic groups condemned Madonna’s Blond Ambition concert as blasphemous due to her controversial show’s sex and religious themes and planned to cancel her concerts in Rome and Turin.

Madonna made this speech in response to the threats:

I am an ltalian-American, and I am proud of it.
Proud of being an American because it is the country I grew up in, the country that gave me the opportunities to be who I am today and a country that believes in freedom of speech and artistic expression.
 
My show is not a conventional rock show but a theatrical presentation of my music.
And, like theatre it asks questions, provokes thought and takes you on an emotional journey.
Portraying good and bad, light and dark, joy and sorrow, redemption and salvation.
I do not endorse a way of life but describe one, and the audience is left to make its own decisions and judgments.
This is what I consider freedom of speech, freedom of expression and freedom of thought.
 
Every night, before I go onstage, I say a prayer not only that my show will go well but that the audience will watch with an open heart and an open mind and see it as a celebration of love, life and humanity.

*This is an edited transcript of the speech.  The full speech is included in the video posted above.

Today in Madonna History: June 9, 1990

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On June 9 1990, Madonna performed her Blond Ambition World Tour at the Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland.

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