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?
On September 4 1987, Madonna performed Causing A Commotion live via satellite from the Stadio Communale in Turin, Italy, during the Who’s That Girl World Tour and won Best Female Video for Papa Don’t Preach at the 4th annual MTV Video Music Awards at the Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles, California.
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.
On January 9 1988, Madonna’s hit single, Causing A Commotion (from the Who’s That Girl soundtrack) enjoyed it’s final week on the Billboard Hot 100 chart (at position #98 after 18 weeks on the chart).
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