On May 13 1983, Madonna performed Physical Attraction during a track date at the FunHouse in New York City.
Located at 526 West 26th St, the FunHouse (1979-1985) was a breeding ground for the new electronic sounds of the street and helped to make its resident disc jockey, Jellybean Benitez, one of dance music’s first superstar DJ’s.
Of course, Jellybean’s close association with Madonna certainly didn’t hinder his growing popularity either. His first working collaboration with Madonna was to remix Physical Attraction, the b-side to her sophomore single on Sire Records, Burning Up/Physical Attraction, which may explain why it was chosen over the more frequently performed lead track for her performance at the FunHouse. The same remix of Physical Attraction was later used on her debut album, together with new remixes Jellybean provided for Burning Up and Lucky Star alongside his first full production for Holiday.
On April 29, 1995, Bedtime Story peaked at #42 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S.
Released as the follow-up to the longest-running U.S. #1 single of her career (Take A Bow), Madonna & Warner Bros. likely hoped that the momentum would carry over to the cutting-edge Björk penned title track. Despite a respectable reception in Europe (in the U.K. it performed better than Take A Bow) and significant buzz generated by its music video, Bedtime Story proved to be too unconventional for radio in North America, where it became her first fully promoted single to miss the Top 40 since Burning Up in 1983. It fared no better in Canada, peaking at #46 on May 1st, 1995.
The remixes for Bedtime Story, however, were a hit with North American D.J.’s and earned Madonna another #1 on Billboard’s Hot Dance/Club Play chart.
On January 27 1984, Madonna performed Burning Up and Holiday on the UK television program, The Tube. The show was broadcast live from The Hacienda club in Manchester.
Malcolm Gerrie, executive producer of The Tube, has been quoted as saying that the show paid for Madonna to travel to Manchester because Warner Bros. didn’t yet consider her as “a priority artist” and weren’t willing to foot the bill.
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):
- Lucky Star
- Burning Up
- I Know It
- Think of Me
- Physical Attraction
Five singles were released from The First Album:
- Everybody (October 6 1982)
- Burning Up (March 9 1983)
- Holiday (September 7 1983 – UK)
- Lucky Star (September 8 1983)
- 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.
On June 4 1983, Burning Up/Physical Attraction spent its third and final week at its peak position of number-three on Billboard’s Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart in the U.S.
Available only on 12″ single in the U.S., the release charted as a double A-side single. Its run on the Dance/Club chart spanned a total of sixteen weeks, seven of which were spent in the top-five. In a rather strange marketing twist, a music video was produced for Burning Up while only Physical Attraction was promoted to radio – with an edited version of the latter being featured on both sides of the rare 7″ promo.
To further confuse matters, the version of Burning Up that was featured on the 12″ was in actuality not a remix, but rather the original Reggie Lucas production of the song. Instead, the two distinct versions of the song that later turned up at separate times on her debut album were in fact remixes by John “Jellybean” Benitez. Physical Attraction was also remixed by Benitez, although his version appears on both the single and the album.
On May 21 1983, Madonna’s Burning Up/Physical Attraction hit #3 on USA Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart.
Burning Up was written by Madonna and Physical Attraction was written by Reggie Lucas. Both were produced by Lucas with additional remixing by Jellybean Benitez on the latter.
Interestingly, the original copyright claim filed for the song Physical Attraction, which remains on file at the U.S. Library Of Congress, lists Madonna as its sole writer and Only Child Music (who handled Madonna’s songwriting publishing prior to the creation of Webo Girl) as its publisher, with no mention of Lucas or his publishing company, Likasa Music.
Burning Up went through several incarnations both before and after its official release. The earliest recording of the song to have surfaced is a live performance by Madonna with her band Emmy, likely from 1980. Although the lyrics underwent only minor revisions in later years, its initial guitar-driven arrangement and melody were relatively loose – if not underdeveloped. A more focused beat-driven version was recorded by Madonna with Stephen Bray in early 1982 and was featured on the four-track demo tape that brought her to the attention of Sire Records. In addition to the originally released version that appeared on the 12″ single, there are also two noticeably different album mixes of Burning Up. Early vinyl pressings of her debut LP featured a longer version with alternate guitar and synth parts and more prominently mixed backing vocals. This alternate album mix resurfaced in 1985 as the b-side to the Angel single in the UK, but it has never been officially released in digital or CD format.