Today in Madonna History: February 17, 1996

On February 17 1996, the maxi-single for You’ll See spent its final week on the Maxi-Single Sales chart in Billboard magazine at #40.

The release had a notably short run on the Maxi-Single Sales chart (by Madonna’s typically high standards), spending only three weeks on the proper chart, after debuting on the Bubbling Under chart at #52. It peaked at #18 on February 3rd.

There are several potential reasons that could explain the low sales of its maxi-single. Ballads, unless heavily and successfully remixed, naturally generated less interest with this format, which was primarily geared towards attracting dance music listeners. Many of Madonna’s ballads were not released in the format for this reason. You’ll See was not given an officially released remix treatment but instead featured a Spanish-sung version of the song, an instrumental version, and a live version of another previous ballad hit, Live To Tell.

Further reducing any incentive to buy the maxi-single was the fact that standard U.S. CD and cassette single inexplicably included three of the four cuts featured on the maxi-single, leaving only the Spanish version as an exclusive track on the latter. One wonders if the inclusion of the live version of Live To Tell on the normally two-track standard single was possibly due to a pressing error that they decided to go ahead and release, since it is not listed on the sleeve but is instead promoted as a nameless bonus track on an outer label affixed to the CD and cassette single cellophane (its inclusion is noted on the physical disc and cassette).

Only one Madonna maxi-single issued in the U.S. had both a shorter run and a lower peak on the Maxi-Single Sales chart, and it was another hit ballad. I’ll Remember spent only two weeks on the chart (plus its first week on the Bubbling Under chart), peaking at #30 on May 21, 1994. Similarly, it was also padded with a live cut. However, it also included some creative reworkings of the track by William Orbit, making the reason for its dismal placement on the chart more perplexing. In terms of contents value, it easily outshines the You’ll See maxi-single.

In Canada, You’ll See was only issued as a CD maxi-single, with no standard single being issued on cassette or CD.

Today in Madonna History: February 9, 2006

On February 9 2006, Hung Up spent its final week at #1 on the Italian singles chart.

The single topped the chart in Italy for an unbelievable 14 consecutive weeks before finally descending to #2 for the week of February 16th.

The following week of February 23rd, Madonna’s second single from Confessions On A Dance Floor, Sorry, saw her return to #1 on the Italian singles charts for another 3 weeks – while Hung Up hung on at #3.

Today in Madonna History: February 7, 2004

On February 7 2004, Nothing Fails lived up to its title when it hit #1 on Billboard’s Hot Dance/Club Play chart in the U.S.

Despite being largely ignored by radio programmers, the single nevertheless received strong support from club DJ’s.

The Nothing Fails maxi-single, which also included remixes of Nobody Knows Me, had previously reached the top of the Hot Dance Singles Sales chart in December 2003 before being overtaken by the Britney Spears/Madonna collaboration, Me Against The Music.

Nobody Knows Me reached a separate peak of #4 on the Hot Dance/Club Play chart in 2003 after it was serviced to DJ’s as a promotional single.

Today in Madonna History: December 24, 1983

On December 24 1983, Madonna was named runner-up for Top Dance/Disco Artist Of The Year in Billboard magazine’s year-end issue, while Michael Jackson took top honors.

The double-sided club hit Holiday/Lucky Star peaked at #3 on the Top Dance/Disco Singles Of The Year tally, while Madonna’s second entry at #26 combined points from her first two single releases, Everybody and Burning Up/Physical Attraction.

Today in Madonna History: December 21, 2014

On December 21 2014, Madonna hit #1 on iTunes in 36 countries around the world with the release of six songs from her forthcoming album, Rebel Heart. In virtually every country the songs were released, they held six of the ten slots on the iTunes Top 10 chart. In seven of those countries, she had multiple #1’s across various iTunes charts. The lead single Living for Love topped the iTunes chart in twenty counties.

The other tracks made available for immediate download were: Ghosttown, Devil Pray, Unapologetic Bitch, Illuminati & Bitch I’m Madonna.

News of the surprise drop came when Madonna posted a link on Instagram late the previous night announcing the release as “an early Christmas gift” to those who pre-ordered the album. Fans immediately went to iTunes and drove the songs to the top of iTunes charts around the globe. Instantaneously Rebel Heart exploded on social media with the album topping the Billboard Trending 140 chart.

The early release of six songs from Rebel Heart came on the heels of a series of leaks which forced Madonna and her team to quickly devise a new marketing plan for the album.

Today in Madonna History: November 7, 1998

On November 7 1998, The Power of Good-Bye advanced one position to #13 in what would be its final bulleted week on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S. The single would nonetheless manage to sneak its way up to #11 on November 28th, sans bullet. It is worth noting that one of the most significant changes to eligibility rules in the Hot 100’s history at the time took effect during the single’s initially rapid ascent, causing an immediate rush of non-commercially released radio hits to storm the chart and seemingly disrupt the ballad’s momentum.

A decision by Warner Bros. to withhold a maxi-single release for The Power Of Good-Bye in the U.S., compounded by the lack of any non-album content on the standard single despite earlier reports, suggests that the changes to the Hot 100 may have created a larger ripple than Warner had anticipated. Including the Oprah performance of Little Star, as previously reported in Billboard, or even the Dallas Austin remix of The Power Of Good-Bye on the b-side certainly would have given fans more incentive to pick up the 2-track single in the U.S.

It’s difficult to fully frown on Warner’s seemingly uncontainable enthusiasm for the brilliant remixes of Ray Of Light‘s fourth single, Nothing Really Matters, however, despite its unconventional timing.

Today in Madonna History: October 26, 1985

On October 26 1985, Madonna’s sassy self-written soundtrack slice, Gambler, peaked at #4 in the UK.

How about taking your chances on performing this hidden gem on a future tour, Madonna? We know you only play the game your way – but you also like to take us by surprise!

Take the gamble – show us how!

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