Today in Madonna History: June 7, 1986

On June 7 1986, Madonna’s Live To Tell hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the USA, giving Madonna her third #1 single.

Written by Madonna and Patrick Leonard, Live To Tell was Madonna’s fourth soundtrack song in two years (Crazy For You, Into The Groove, Gambler + Live To Tell), and it was also the lead single from Madonna’s True Blue album.

What is your favourite Madonna soundtrack song?

Today in Madonna History: May 25, 2004

On May 25 2004, Rolling Stone magazine published a review of Madonna’s Re-Invention World Tour with the headline, “Madonna Reinvents herself. Amid images of war and peace, pop star shows she can sing.”

Here’s the review by Barry Walters:

After twenty years in the limelight, Madonna is expected to cause controversy and reinvent herself for every new tour. So for the May 24th Los Angeles opening of her Re-Invention world trek, Madonna did the most unexpected thing she could: She came back as a great concert singer.

Even the most diehard Madonna fan will concede that her live performances have almost without exception been plagued by a multitude of missed notes, breathy passages, and, as of late, fake British accents. But while Mariah and Whitney have of been losing the acrobatic vocal dexterity and lung power on which their reputations rest, forty-five-year-old Madonna, whom few have ever taken seriously as a musician, has never sounded better than she did during the first of several gigs in her adopted West Coast home. Whether rocking out with classic black Les Paul in hand during a metallic rendition of her early club hit “Burning Up,” or performing “Like a Prayer” behind a screen-projected gospel choir, Madonna belted, and did not once seemed strained. In the midst of a $1 million production festooned with a walkway that jutted out from the stage and over the audience, massive moving video screens, a dozen dancers, a bagpipe player, a stunt skateboarder and a whole lot of emotionally charged anti-war imagery, the focus was nevertheless on Madonna, and how she’s matured into a truly great pop singer.

Opening with a yoga-trained twist on her famous Louis XIV-inspired MTV Video Music Awards rendition of “Vogue” and ending on a kilt-wearing finale of “Holiday” against a video backdrop of national flags that eventually morphed into one, the show was thematically simpler and more focused than her last several productions.

The barbarism of war and the necessity of love were at the heart of the entire show, and both played off each other, sometimes for ironic and decidedly uneasy effect. The original military-themed video footage of “American Life” that the singer withheld at the start of the Iraq war was finally unveiled, and then expanded upon during “Express Yourself,” where Madonna sang her anthem of unbridled, intimate communication in front of dancers dressed as soldiers and goose-stepping with twirling rifles.

By contrast, Madonna closed an extended acoustic section of the show with a straightforward and thoroughly committed rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine” as images of war and poverty-ravaged children eventually gave way to footage of a Muslim boy and his Israeli counterpart smiling as they walked with their arms wrapped around each other.

The heaviness of much of the imagery was balanced by Madonna’s own presence, which seemed remarkably fun-loving and self-assured for the opening night of her most technically complex production. Only when she strapped on an acoustic or electric guitar during several songs and repeatedly glanced at her left hand to make sure it was playing the proper chords did she seem at all nervous. “How many people out there really think that I am the Material Girl?” she asked during a break in her most iconic early smash as she strummed with much deliberation.

For the last several songs, Madonna and her dancers donned black and white kilts, an apparent nod to husband Guy Ritchie’s Scottish heritage, and black T-shirts that read “Kabbalists Do It Better,” a cheeky reference to both her religious studies and the “Italians Do It Better” T-shirt she wore during her video for “Papa Don’t Preach,” a song that was performed without the “near-naked pregnant women” described in pre-tour reports of the show. In a number dedicated for the “fans that’ve stood by me for the last twenty years,” she sang her earliest hit ballad, “Crazy For You,” earnestly and without contrivance.

Madonna’s continued relevance was impressive, but it was even more striking that she’s putting more love and genuine passion into her spectacle than ever.

 

Today in Madonna History: April 20, 1991

On April 20 1991, Rescue Me peaked at #3 on the UK Singles Chart after making its debut at #4 the previous week. It slid to #5 in its third week before falling out of the Top 10.

Rescue Me was the third single release from The Immaculate Collection in the UK, where it was issued in between re-releases of Crazy For You and Holiday.

Because the photo on international pressings of Rescue Me had already graced the cover of the Crazy For You reissue, Warner UK chose to market the single using an alternate shot taken from Jean-Baptiste Mondino’s June 1990 spread in Harper’s Bazaar. Ironically, the international Rescue Me cover photo was snapped on the set of the Mondino-directed music video for Justify My Love, although not by Mondino himself. It was instead photographed by another (future) Madonna music video director, Stephane Sednaoui.

Today in Madonna History: February 24, 2016

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On February 24 2016, Madonna performed in the Philippines for the very first time. Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour made a stop at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, performing for a sold out crowd of 15,710 fans.

Ticket prices were above average and ranged from $70 to $1300.

Madonna added Like A Prayer to the set during the first show and added Crazy For You during the second show (February 25).

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Today in Madonna History: July 18, 2004

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On July 18 2004, Madonna played the first of three sold-out dates at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre during her Re-Invention Tour. Playing to a combined total of over 52,000 fans, the shows were the only Canadian stop on the tour and marked her first concerts in Canada in eleven years.

At the second show Madonna proclaimed to those in attendance that they were the best audience of the tour thus far, while the final Toronto date saw Madonna in an uncharacteristically playful mood. Interrupting the show’s normally swift progression between Papa Don’t Preach and Crazy For You, she joked about the infamous 1990 threats of arrest and whipped the audience into a cheering frenzy with her self-described “unprofessional” behaviour.

Today in Madonna History: May 11, 1985

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On May 11 1985, Crazy For You hit number-one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the U.S. for one week. The track had spent the two previous weeks in the runner-up position behind the all-star single, We Are The World. In Canada, Crazy For You took a few weeks longer but also managed to displace USA For Africa’s charity track to become the county’s number-one single on May 25th.

The song was Madonna’s second chart-topping hit, and her first ballad to be released as a single.