Today in Madonna History: July 27, 1983

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On July 27 1983, Madonna’s eponymous debut album was released by Sire Records. The record was renamed Madonna: The First Album for the 1985 international re-release of the album. When a remastered version of the album was issued on CD in 2001 (with bonus tracks) and later on vinyl (without bonus tracks), the original artwork was restored and the album title reverted to simply Madonna across all markets.

The album included 8 tracks (produced by Reggie Lucas, *John “Jellybean” Benitez & **Mark Kamins):

  1. Lucky Star
  2. Borderline
  3. Burning Up
  4. I Know It
  5. *Holiday
  6. Think of Me
  7. Physical Attraction
  8. **Everybody

Five singles were issued from the album (the release chronology of some singles varied by market/country):

  1. Everybody
  2. Burning Up
  3. Holiday
  4. Borderline
  5. Lucky Star

“Madonna was unhappy with the whole album, so I went in and sweetened up a lot of music for her, adding some guitars to ‘Lucky Star’, some voices, some magic… I just wanted to do the best job I could do for her. When we would playback ‘Holiday’ or ‘Lucky Star’, you could see that she was overwhelmed by how great it all sounded. You wanted to help her, you know? As much as she could be a bitch, when you were in a groove with her, it was very cool, very creative.”

— John “Jellybean” Benitez talking about Madonna and the album.

“I’ve refrained over the years in addressing aspects of Madonna’s career because I’m not a person who likes negative discussions. But what I will say is that in Madonna’s ascent to fame and fortune, there’s been a pretty vicious competition for credit in being involved. In other words, someone will say, ‘I launched Madonna.’ If I talk to a lot of people today, I will say I was Madonna’s first producer. I produced six of the eight tracks on her first record. I would say nine times out of 10, their response will be, ‘Oh yeah, I thought Jellybean did that.’ But Jellybean didn’t do that. Jellybean was a remixer, and we didn’t have time to remix records. It wasn’t something that I was interested in doing. Somewhere in this process of publicists and personal relationships, somehow he came out as the guy. Just for the record, one tires in a lifetime of hearing someone taking credit for something that you’ve done. Jellybean produced ‘Holiday’ and he remixed a couple of tracks, but remixing tracks for radio isn’t the same thing as producing one of the major breakout pop stars of the 1980s…it’s almost like I was fired or something. I wasn’t fired. I finished the record…and they put it out and sold a bunch of records. And everybody else ran around trying to take credit for it because it was so big that they couldn’t help themselves. … I must say, Madonna was great to work with in the studio. She really put in the work. She was a creative person.”

— Reggie Lucas, producer of Madonna’s first album.

Although its authenticity is unconfirmed, this is said to be an early track list of the album.

Today in Madonna History: June 9, 1984

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On June 9 1984, Madonna’s Borderline single climbed from #12 to #11 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Here’s what Seymour Stein had to say about the single:

I dared to believe this was going to be huge beyond belief, the biggest thing I’d ever had, after I heard “Borderline.” The passion that she put into that song, I thought, there’s no stopping this girl. All of her energy – my God, I never saw anybody work this hard in my life. And then make it look so easy.

Today in Madonna History: June 2, 1984

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On June 2 1984, Madonna’s Borderline was released as a single in the UK. The single only reached a peak of #56, but upon re-releasing the song on January 1 1986, it reached a new peak of #2.

Borderline was certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) in February 1986, for shipment of 500,000 copies.

Today in Madonna History: February 15, 1986

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On February 15 1986, the re-release of Madonna’s Borderline reached #2 on the UK singles chart (up from #3 the week before). And while Borderline climbed up the chart, Dress You Up enjoyed its 11th and final week on the chart, dropping to #68 from #61 the week before.

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Today in Madonna History: February 12, 1984

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On February 12 1984, Madonna was featured on The Dance Show, a syndicated American television variety show.

She appeared in a segment from New York performing Holiday and Borderline, followed by a brief interview in which she introduced her brother and backup dancer, Christopher. Borderline was also included in a second episode that aired a few months later on April 25th, as the single was climbing the charts.

Despite an extensive list of promotional appearances for her first album, this was Madonna’s only known television studio performance of Borderline until she revisited the song during a 2016 appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

Today in Madonna History: June 16, 1984

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On June 16 1984, Borderline became Madonna’s first Top 10 hit when the single peaked at #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S.

Thanks to Rex!

Today In Madonna History: June 9, 2016

On June 9 2016, Madonna appeared as musical guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, singing a soulfully spot-on take of her classic 1984 hit, Borderline.

With nothing in particular to promote, Madonna accepted the offer to perform as a means of meeting the featured guest, U.S. President Barrack Obama. An uncharacteristically starstruck Madonna posing for a picture with Obama backstage offered proof that Madonna’s wish was indeed granted.

Forgivably opportunistic photo-ops aside, there was a poetic twist behind the nostalgia of her rare throwback performance that went typically unnoticed: Madonna’s very first appearance on the The Tonight Show had occurred exactly twenty-nine years earlier to the day – on June 9, 1987 – with late-night legend of the era, Johnny Carson. In that flirtatious first appearance she effortlessly accomplished her modest goal of having a smitten Carson in the palm of her hand.

Twenty-nine years, three hosts and four Presidents later, Madonna returned to The Tonight Show to deliver the definitive performance of an under-performed classic, and capped it off with a spontaneous roll on the floor with Fallon and some snapshots with Obama. Cuz that’s just how she rolls.

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