Today in Madonna History: February 27, 1991

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On February 27 1991, Madonna’s first greatest hits video collection, The Immaculate Collection video was certified double platinum (for sales of 200,000 units).

Stephen Thomas Erlewine (AllMusic) had this to say about the video collection:

If any artist exploited MTV and music video to its full extent, it was Madonna. Duran Duran may have been the first video stars, but Madonna was savvy enough to redefine her image with each video, not just each album. All of her major videos between 1983 and 1990 (with the exception of her first, Burning Up, and Justify My Love, which was one of the new tracks on the greatest-hits The Immaculate Collection) are included on the video edition of Immaculate. Images from the videos — the gondolas of Like a Virgin, the Marilyn Monroe homage of Material Girl, the faux-Blade Runner Express Yourself, the taboo-shattering Like a Prayer, the sleek, stylish Vogue — have not only become part of pop music history, but of pop culture, and that becomes apparent after watching this collection. It’s truly astounding to watch the videos back to back, as it confirms that Madonna always knew where she was going, visually and musically. The singles were benchmarks of pop music in the ’80s, and if anything, the videos are even more important. This is what mainstream pop was all about in the ’80s.

Today in Madonna History: February 22, 1991

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On February 22 1991, Madonna’s controversial Justify My Love music video single was certified 8x platinum for shipment of 400,000 units in the USA.

Despite MTV and other similar video channels around the world banning the Justify My Love music video, the financial advantages of the ban were not lost on Madonna:

“It may seem like it was a publicity stunt, and I was very lucky, I must say. But I did not plan on selling this video. The controversy just happened. It wasn’t planned. So lucky me.”

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Today in Madonna History: February 5, 1985

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On February 5 1985, Madonna’s Like A Virgin was certified 3x platinum (for sales of 3 million units) in the USA.

Today in Madonna History: January 5, 1995

On January 5 1995, Madonna’s fabulous Bedtime Stories album was certified platinum (for shipment of 1 million units).

Barbara O’Dair reviewed the album for Rolling Stone magazine:

After the drubbing she has taken in the last few years, Madonna deserves to be mighty mad. And wounded anger is shot through her new album, Bedtime Stories, as she works out survival strategies. While always a feminist more by example than by word or deed, Madonna seems genuinely shocked at the hypocritical prudishness of her former fans, leading one to expect a set of biting screeds. But instead of reveling in raised consciousness, Bedtime Stories demonstrates a desire to get unconscious. Madonna still wants to go to bed, but this time it’s to pull the covers over her head.

Still, in so doing, Madonna has come up with some awfully compelling sounds. In her retreat from sex to romance, she has enlisted four top R&B producers: Atlanta whiz kid Dallas Austin, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Dave “Jam” Hall and Britisher Nellee Hooper (Soul II Soul), who add lush soul and creamy balladry. With this awesome collection of talent, the record verily shimmers. Bass-heavy grooves push it along when more conventional sentiments threaten to bog it down. Both aspects put it on chart-smart terrain.

A number of songs — “Survival,” “Secret,” “I’d Rather Be Your Lover” (to which Me’Shell NdegéOcello brings a bumping bass line and a jazzy rap) — are infectiously funky. And Madonna does a drive-by on her critics, complete with a keening synth line straight outta Dre, on “Human Nature”: “Did I say something wrong?/Oops, I didn’t know I couldn’t talk about sex (I musta been crazy).”

But you don’t need her to tell you that she’s “drawn to sadness” or that “loneliness has never been a stranger,” as she sings on the sorrowful “Love Tried to Welcome Me.” The downbeat restraint in her vocals says it, from the tremulously tender “Inside of Me” to the sob in “Happiness lies in your own hand/It took me much too long to understand” from “Secret.”

The record ultimately moves from grief to oblivion with the seductive techno pull of “Sanctuary.” The pulsating drone of the title track (co-written by Björk and Hooper), with its murmured refrain of “Let’s get unconscious, honey,” renounces language for numbness.

Twirled in a gauze of (unrequited) love songs, Bedtime Stories says, “Fuck off, I’m not done yet.” You have to listen hard to hear that, though. Madonna’s message is still “Express yourself, don’t repress yourself.” This time, however, it comes not with a bang but a whisper.

Today in Madonna History: October 18, 1996

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On October 18 1996, Madonna’s greatest ballads collection, Something To Remember was certified 2x platinum (2 million units) in the USA.

Today in Madonna History: July 3, 1987

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On July 3, 1987, Madonna accepted a rare Canadian Diamond Award at a press conference in Toronto on the eve of her sold-out concert at CNE Stadium. The certification award was presented by WEA Music Canada president Stan Kulin to mark over one million units sold of the True Blue album in Canada.

Today in Madonna History: May 24, 1991

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On May 24 1991, Madonna’s Rescue Me single was certified Gold by the RIAA for shipment of over 500,000 units in the U.S.

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