Today in Madonna History: November 11, 1989

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On November 11 1989, the music video for Oh Father premiered on MTV in the US. Filmed at Culver Studios, California in late October, 1989 by director David Fincher, the black & white clip drew cinematic influence from the 1941 Orson Welles film, Citizen Kane. Its narrative expanded on darker elements from Madonna’s life – focusing on the death of her mother, her relationship with her father and the recurring effects of childhood trauma in her adult life. The clip’s icily detached symbolism and heavy subject matter are counter-balanced by overarching themes of forgiveness and inner-strength.

In a 2009 interview with The Guardian, Fincher recalled:

“I had kinda talked Madonna into releasing Oh Father as a single and we did this video and were very happy with the video – but nobody ever saw it because the song wasn’t a hit.”

Although the video was put into rotation on MTV, the channel had requested that Madonna remove a scene that displayed a close-up of the deceased mother’s lips sewn shut – a request that she refused to consider. Compounded by a tepid response to the song from radio, where its bleak overtones clashed with playlists of the day, the single stalled at number twenty in the US – her lowest peak on the Hot 100 at the time (excluding her first two singles, neither of which broke into the Hot 100). In Canada the video was put into heavy rotation and the release fared slightly better on the charts, peaking at number fourteen.

Despite its relative lack of commercial appeal, the song and video are frequently cited as a creative triumph for Madonna by fans and critics alike.

Today in Madonna History: January 20, 1996

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On January 20 1996, Madonna’s You’ll See re-entered the Billboard Hot 100 Top 10 at #10.

The lead single from Madonna’s Something To Remember ballads collection debuted at #8 on December 8, peaked at #6 on December 16, and in the following weeks fell to #9, #11, #12, #11 and then climbed back to #10.

Larry Flick had this to say about You’ll See:

Foster’s flair for musical melodrama inspires Madonna to turn in what is easily her most assured and full-bodied vocal performance to date. Amid a swirl of strings and Spanish guitars, she spews the song’s declaration of romantic independence with a theatrical verve that perfectly matches the stagey, potentially overpowering tone of Foster’s arrangement without flying over the heads of her youthful top 40 following. A stunning effort that could easily become the ‘I Will Survive’ of this generation.

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Today in Madonna History: November 25, 1995

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On November 25 1995, Madonna’s greatest ballads collection, Something To Remember, hit #6 on the Billboard Top 200 albums chart in the USA.

Madonna worked with David Foster on two of the three new songs for the collection: You’ll See and One More Chance.

Foster had this to say about working with Madonna:

“She had an amazing work ethic. She was on time every day and was really co-producing the songs with me. A lot of artists want to produce just because they can, and they don’t do a thing for the credit, which I really hate. But Madonna worked as hard as any producer I know … I liked the whole experience of working with her—the punctuality, the professionalism, and the sexiness.”

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Today in Madonna History: March 23, 1996

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On March 23 1996, Madonna’s One More Chance single entered the UK singles chart at number 11. It dropped to number 29 in its second week.

How high do you think One More Chance would have charted if it had a proper music video and single treatment? 

Today in Madonna History: March 7, 1996

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On March 7 1996, Madonna’s One More Chance single was released as the second single in Australia and Japan, and the third single in several European countries, from her ballads collection, Something to Remember.

One More Chance was written and produced by Madonna and David Foster. Foster initially did not expect Madonna would collaborate with him, as he believed that his music was not “really hip enough for her.” Madonna and Foster worked on the song during the writing and recording session for Something to Remember, in the third weekend of September 1995.

The song received positive response from music critics, who praised its musical simplicity and Madonna’s vocal delivery.  Since Madonna was busy filming the Evita, the song received little promotion and no accompanying music video.

The Spanish version of You’ll See, titled Verás, appeared as the B-side of the single release.

Today In Madonna History: March 7, 1996

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On March 7, 1996, One More Chance, the second single from Madonna’s ballads compilation Something to Remember was released.  The single was not released in North America.  One More Chance was written and produced by both Madonna and David Foster.

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