Today in Madonna History: July 29, 2012

On July 29 2012, Madonna issued this statement about the controversy surround her mini-MDNA Tour performance at the L’Olympia in Paris on July 26:

“Playing the Olympia was a magical moment for me and it was real treat to do this special show for my fans and be so close to them. Unfortunately at the end of the show – after I left the stage – a few thugs who were not my fans rushed the stage and started throwing plastic bottles pretending to be angry fans. The press reports have focused on this and not the joyous aspect of the evening. But nothing can take away or ruin this very special evening for me and my fans. When I looked out in the audience, everyone I saw had a smile on their face. I look forward to having this wonderful experience again.”

Watch this exclusive Olympia performance of Beautiful Killer (mixed with Die Another Day):

Today in Madonna History: July 19, 2004

On July 19 2004, the first of three shows at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre during Madonna’s Re-Invention Tour was reviewed by Angela Pacienza of the Canadian Press:

TORONTO (CP) – The original Material Girl strutted, writhed and wriggled Sunday, showing her fans she still had the goods to compete with performers half her age.

Madonna’s concert, the first of three in Toronto, was an over-the-top theatrical production complete with costume changes, choreographed dance numbers and an ever-changing stage. After an awkward, avant-garde video display where she appeared to turn into a wolf, the 45-year-old singer opened with Vogue, her tribute to New York club life. Dressed in a glittery corset, black short-shorts and knee-high boots, Madonna sashayed from one end of the stage to the next with the help of a moving sidewalk – a conveyer-belt built into the entire front section of the stage. Aptly titled the Re-Invention Tour, the set went through several incarnations, at times appearing as a Renaissance painting, a war field, a circus, a traditional concert stage with a full band in the centre and finally, a dance club. Moving parts included a V-shaped catwalk that dropped down on top of the floor seats, giving Madonna greater access to fans at the back end of the Air Canada Centre.

It’s been 11 years since Madonna’s strutted on a Canadian stage and fans showed they’ve been patiently waiting with thunderous applause throughout the show. “It’s good to be back, Toronto,” she told more than 16,000 fans who paid up to $300 – considerably more than the top-ticket price of $55 for her 1993 stop. “Just because I’ve changed my ways doesn’t mean I don’t still like to have fun.” She briefly mentioned a run-in with Toronto police in 1990, when officers investigated reports of lewd acts during her concert. “I’m a good girl,” she purred.

The Material Girl has re-invented herself dozens of times since she left her Michigan working-class home in the late 1970s. Her most memorable persona was the sex-crazed diva, a harbinger of the current generation of pop music tarts. She offered the crowd some of that sauciness on Sunday with suggestive dance moves – although the show was relatively tame compared to her former self. Instead of sexual provacativeness, she filled the two-hour set with religious iconography. An illustration of Jesus was her backdrop for Mother And Father. She wore a T-shirt with the words Kabbalists Do It Better during Papa Don’t Preach.

Madonna’s calmed down considerably in recent years, with her current role of demure mother, children’s book author and spiritual practitioner. The show seemed structured to show off Madonna’s new maturity, urging people to think about government, religion and world events, rather than push the usual buttons with simulated sex scenes. Her fans didn’t seem to mind and said they continue to support her chameleon career.

Carla Filoso drove from Ottawa for the show. “She’s probably the most influential artist of our time,” gushed the 24-year-old, who spent $300 on her floor seat ticket. “She’s re-invented herself about 100 times.” Natalie Michaud thought the ’80s icon was worth buying a ticket from a U.S. scalper for $700 US. On top of that price, the 25-year-old psychology student flew from Grand Falls, N.B. with her boyfriend for the show. “I grew up with her. I love her,” she gushed from her floor seat.

Madonna didn’t disappoint, working her way through the maze of past hits with confident ease, even finding inventive, modern ways to interpret her ’80s songs. Express Yourself saw her treat a rifle like a baton, twirling it round and round and giving the song a more political slant. Burning Up, a syrupy pop ditty from her first record, became a bold, new wave rock song. Wielding an electric guitar, Madonna belted out her signature song, Material Girl to some of the loudest screams of the night. Other hits included Frozen, Into The Groove and Crazy For You.

Madonna, who found time earlier in the day to stop in at the city’s Kabbalah Centre, proved herself a versatile performer, putting on a Vegas-style show that left the audience panting right until the red-and-white confetti sprayed overtop during the finale, her song Holiday – the singer’s first Top 40 hit back in 1983. With a huge library of songs to choose from, Madonna seemed to have picked one to represent her many image makeovers. Lament, from Evita, showed a bit of the sophisticated lady. Like A Prayer was her first religious foray. Hanky Panky, from the film Dick Tracy, reminded fans of Madonna’s many attempts to conquer acting. Her button-pusher attitude was let loose during American Life, with dancers dressed like soldiers attacking others dressed as religious figures including a nun and a rabbi.

She performs again Monday and Wednesday. The three Toronto shows are her only stops in Canada. Her tour ends in Lisbon in mid-September.

Today in Madonna History: March 12, 2003

On March 12 2003, Warner Bros. issued a press release for Madonna’s American Life album:

A new Madonna album, American Life, has been set for a worldwide release on April 22nd.

The enduring icon’s first new collection of original material since 2000’s multi-platinum smash Music, American Life is being hailed as Madonna’s most accomplished, original and intensely personal album to date; a resonant and revealing emotional journey that marks a new highpoint in a career that has for all time redefined the expressive potential of contemporary music.

Recorded over a full year in London and Los Angeles, American Life, the artist’s tenth studio album, features eleven new Madonna compositions, including the title track and debut single, which ships to radio March 25th.

“All of these songs reflect my current state of mind. I feel like I have just woken up out of a dream. They range from dismay and anger to joy and certainty. Hopefully, I have taken the personal and made it universal,” stated Madonna regarding her new album which she wrote and produced with Mirwais Ahmadzai with whom she also collaborated on her previous release Music.

The American Life CD includes the title track, as well as the following songs: Hollywood, I’m So Stupid, Love Profusion, Nobody Knows Me, Nothing Fails, Intervention, X-Static Process, Mother & Father, Easy Ride, and Die Another Day, the hit theme song from the James Bond film of the same name.

The American Life single is also the subject of a brilliant new video from the pioneering multi-media visionary, an artist who single handedly invented the short music film medium. In a stunning collaboration with director Jonas Akerlund, American Life expresses a panoramic view of our culture and looming war through the view of a female superhero portrayed by Madonna set against a backdrop of current cultural obsessions. It’s a penetrating examination of our national psyche. The video is scheduled to air the first week in April.

Remixes of the American Life single by, among others, mega-hot hip hop diva Missy Elliott, Peter Rauhofer, Felix da Housecat and Maverick Records artist Paul Oakenfold will be available in various configurations over the next several months.

An extensive schedule of appearances, performances and special events has been set in conjunction with the release of American Life including an appearance on an episode of the hit NBC-TV comedy Will And Grace.

One of the most original and innovative artists of the modern era, Madonna has sold hundreds of millions of albums, topped charts across two decades, created an enormously influential body of work in video and film and stood at the forefront of socially conscious artists worldwide. With American Life, Madonna has once again reached deeply into her own life as the source and substance of her extraordinary artistry.

Today in Madonna History: November 23, 2002

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On November 23 2002, Madonna’s Die Another Day single peaked at #1 on the Canadian Soundscan Singles Sales chart where it would stay for an impressive seven (non-consecutive) weeks.

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Today in Madonna History: November 14, 2004

On November 14 2004, Michael Colombier – the composer/arranger who produced the beautiful string arrangements for Madonna’s songs Die Another Day, Don’t Tell Me & Easy Ride, and composed the soundtrack for Swept Away (perhaps the film’s most memorable attribute) – passed away at age 65.

Colombier was one of the most prolific and versatile French musicians of his generation. Besides his career as a film composer scoring over 100 feature, cable and television films since the early 1960’s – Colombier was a prolific songwriter and arranger who worked with artists such as Joni Mitchell, Prince, Serge Gainsbourg, The Beach Boys, Herbie Hancock, Air, Barbra Streisand & Earth Wind And Fire.

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As a film composer, Michel Colombier scored many French and American films, including The Golden Child, Ruthless People, New Jack City, How Stella Got Her Groove Back and The Money Pit. His background in jazz was evident in the majority of his film scores, and his ability to compose original score music that merged seamlessly with pop songs made him the perfect composer for 1980’s films with song-heavy soundtracks, including White Nights, Against All Odds and Purple Rain (which won a Grammy Award as well as an Academy Award for Best Original Score).

Today in Madonna History: February 10, 2003

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On February 10 2003, Swept Away was nominated for the following Razzie Awards:

  • Worst Picture
  • Worst Remake or Sequel
  • Worst Director (Guy Ritchie)
  • Worst Screenplay
  • Worst Actress (Madonna)
  • Worst Actor (Adriano Giannini)
  • Worst Screen Couple (Madonna and Adriano Giannini)

Madonna was also nominated for Razzies for Die Another Day:

  • Worst Support Actress
  • Worst Original Song

The Golden Raspberry Awards, or the Razzies, recognize the worst in film.

Today in Madonna History: October 19, 2002

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On October 19 2002, Madonna’s Die Another Day debuted at #41 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the USA.  The hit single spent 17 weeks on the chart, eventually peaking at #8 on November 9.

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