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.

The album was released with 8 tracks (produced by John “Jellybean” Benitez, Mark Kamins and Reggie Lucas):

  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 released from The First Album:

  1. Everybody (October 6 1982)
  2. Burning Up (March 9 1983)
  3. Holiday (September 7 1983 – UK)
  4. Lucky Star (September 8 1983)
  5. Borderline (February 15 1984)

“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: April 22, 1995

On April 22 1995, Bedtime Story debuted at number 72 on the US Billboard Hot 100, on the issue dated April 22, 1995. One week later, the song peaked at number 42, becoming the first Madonna single since Burning Up (1983) to miss the top 40.

Today in Madonna History: March 9, 1983

On March 9 1983, Madonna’s second single, the classic double A-side Burning Up/Physical Attraction, was released on 12″ vinyl.

The sleeve of the single featured a series of sketches of Madonna created by her close friend, Martin Burgoyne.

 

Today in Madonna History: January 27, 1984

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On January 27 1984, Madonna performed Burning Up and Holiday on the UK music program The Tube.  The show was broadcast live from the Hacienda Club in Manchester.

Today in Madonna History: January 26, 1983

On January 26 1983, Madonna performed a track date at the Red Parrot at 617 West 57th St in New York City. Also featured on the bill were Planet Rock and Man Parrish.

While unconfirmed, the setlist likely would have previewed the soon-to-be-released Physical Attraction & Burning Up (which were recorded in November, 1982) along with her then-current club hit, Everybody.

A review of the night’s performances was featured in the February 12 1983 issue of Billboard Magazine (pictured with the show’s flyer above).

It may have been the first but it would be far from the last review in which Madonna’s musical talent would be minimized in retribution for her strong visual presence, among other things. Unlike Elvis or Michael Jackson, female artists are often criticized for flaunting the same qualities that make heros out of their male counterparts; for daring to be more than one-dimensional artists. While Madonna is not the first or the last female artist to break through these barriers – and her mission is indeed still a work in progress – one only needs to flip through the pages of Billboard magazine on both sides of the 1983 cultural divide to witness the scope of her impact on music and popular culture.

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: August 27, 1983

On August 27 1983, Madonna’s debut album was reviewed in Billboard magazine. In the same issue, the album made its chart debut at #201 on the Bubbling Under LP chart.

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