Today in Madonna History: July 21, 1987

On July 21 1987, the Who’s That Girl: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack album was released.

Who’s That Girl was released as the lead single from the soundtrack, it became Madonna’s sixth single to top the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making her the first artist to accumulate six number-one singles in the 1980s, and the first female performer to earn that many number-ones as a solo act.

The album’s second single, Causing a Commotion, was released on August 25, 1987. In the United States, the single quickly climbed up the chart, ultimately peaking at number two in the week of October 24, 1987, the same week Michael Jackson’s Bad advanced to the pole position. It remained in second position for three weeks, before descending from the chart.

The third song released from the album was the European single The Look of Love. In the United Kingdom, The Look of Love was released on December 12, 1987, and entered the UK Singles Chart at position 15.  The next week, it reached a peak of nine on the chart, her first single to miss the top five since Lucky Star in 1984.

Regarding her contributions to the soundtrack, Madonna said:

“I had some very specific ideas in mind, music that would stand on its own as well as support and enhance what was happening on-screen and the only way to make that a reality was to have a hand in writing the tunes myself… The songs aren’t necessarily about Nikki or written to be sung by someone like her, but there’s a spirit to this music that captures both what the film and the characters are about, I think.”

The only Madonna song not to be released as a single or performed live from the soundtrack was Can’t Stop. Madonna had been performing her three other songs from the soundtrack during the Who’s That Girl World Tour for over a month prior to the album’s release.

Today in Madonna History: April 23, 2022

On April 23 2022, Rhino Records released a Record Store Day exclusive red vinyl pressing of Madonna’s Who’s That Girl (Super Club Mix). The limited five track EP celebrates the 35th Anniversary of Madonna’s soundtrack for the film, Who’s That Girl.

The EP includes the following tracks:

  1. Who’s That Girl (Extended Version)
  2. Causing a Commotion (Movie House Mix)
  3. Causing a Commotion (Silver Screen Mix)
  4. Who’s That Girl (Dub)
  5. Causing a Commotion (Dub)

Today in Madonna History: September 11, 1987

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On September 11 1987, Madonna won Best Female Video for Papa Don’t Preach at the MTV Video Music Awards at the Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles.

Having just completed her Who’s That Girl World Tour in Europe, Madonna did not attend the ceremony in person. Instead, a performance of Causing A Commotion recorded the week before in Turin, Italy was featured during the broadcast.

Today in Madonna History: October 24, 1987

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On October 24 1987, Causing A Commotion climbed to its peak position of number-two in the U.S. on the Billboard Hot 100. It remained in the runner-up spot for three weeks, with Michael Jackson’s Bad blocking it from the top for the first two weeks and Tiffany’s I Think We’re Alone Now overtaking it on the third.

The song was the second and final Madonna single from the Who’s That Girl soundtrack in North America, while some international markets were treated to a third single – the underrated ballad The Look Of Love.

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: October 31, 1987

On October 31 1987, Madonna’s Causing A Commotion reached #1 on Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Play chart in the USA.

I’ve got the moves baby, you got the motion 
If we got together we’d be causing a commotion 

Today in Madonna History: August 25, 1987

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On August 25 1987,  Causing a Commotion was released as the second single from the soundtrack album Who’s That Girl, by Sire Records. Causing a Commotion was written and produced by Madonna and Stephen Bray, the song was inspired by Madonna’s relationship with then husband Sean Penn, and his abusive and violent nature.

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