On October 24 1992, Madonna’s Erotica single hit #3 on the Hot 100 in the USA.
Only the one that hurts you can make you feel better
Only the one that inflicts pain can take it away
On August 22 1992, Madonna filmed scenes for the Erotica music video at The Kitchen in New York City with fashion photographer/director/designer Fabien Baron. These scenes consisted of Madonna in the character of her Sex book alter-ego, Dita, miming the lyrics to the song, and would be intercut with a selection of 8mm footage previously shot by Baron during the making of the Sex book.
Baron also served as art director for the Sex book, the Erotica album and single, and later for the Bedtime Stories album and its singles Secret and Take A Bow. He also directed the commercial for her fragrance, Truth Or Dare by Madonna, in 2012.
“She put that book out at the best moment. She timed it very well. She knows what she’s doing. And such drive. Some people want to lift stones and see what’s under it. She’ll be on a beach with millions of stones and want to lift every one of them.” – Fabien Baron
On December 28 1992, Madonna was named one of the 25 Most Intriguing People In The World For 1992 by People magazine.
Here’s what People had to say about Madonna in 1992:
The Movies! The Album! The Naughty Pictures! Once Again Madonna Was Everywhere, Shouting, “Look at Me—Every Inch of Me!”
Intriguing: suggests an air of mystery. Madonna: does everything in public but floss her teeth.
Intriguing: wrapped in enigma. Madonna: not wrapped in anything.
Intriguing: means doesn’t appear on-camera in romantic encounters with Evian water bottles. Madonna: does.
OK—so what’s so intriguing about somebody who lets you know that her lovers require a five-cent deposit?
For one thing, she made ya look. Consider Sex, the photo book in which she had her picture taken doing everything but blushing. Besides proving that a naked Madonna could arch backward over a pinball machine without mussing her hair, it also pushed the envelope out to the size of a circus tent. And when the crowds came pouring in, there she was at center ring, cracking her whip.
It only served her purposes that Sex earned sniffy reviews like “The Empress Has No Clothes” and that it was banned in places such as Japan and Ireland. Coming on the heels of her summer film hit, A League of Their Own, the fuss over her book helped to launch her new album, Erotica, and primed the movie audience for her next assault on their sensibilities, Body of Evidence. Her success at getting the world to subsidize her sexual preoccupations—to say nothing of her mammoth self-absorption—is what makes her worth the $60 million deal she cut this year with Time Warner (the parent company of PEOPLE). Madonna is not the first star to find the bucks in buck nakedness. But no one before her has capitalized so well on human willingness to have our fears and desires repackaged and sold back to us.
Yet this most public of women still strains to be a mystery. This year she went through more faces than Lon Chaney—one minute in Baby Jane pigtails, a cupcake from hell; the next in sour milkmaid gear, Heidi with a mean streak. Her changing gallery of faces is one reason that she’s a sex symbol who inspires a lot of heavy breathing from intellectuals. One landmark of the 1992 publishing list—The Madonna Connection: Representational Politics, Sub-cultural Identities and Cultural Theory. You didn’t get this sort of thing for Petula Clark.
But does she really throw such a mysterious light on our culture? More likely it’s just the glinting gears of a giant publicity machine. Yet the sheer magnitude of her achievement in that regard is, well, intriguing. And the grinding of those gears is surely too loud to be ignored. “I’m a revolutionary,” she once sighed. “And yes. it’s a burden.”
Sometimes it’s a burden for her, we sigh in return, and sometimes for us.
Madonna was a busy woman in 1992! What did you enjoy most? A League Of Their Own? This Used To Be My Playground? Erotica? Sex? Body Of Evidence?
On October 21 1992, Madonna’s Sex book was released by Warner Books, Maverick and Callaway Books.
The 128-page coffee table book of erotica and sexual fantasies was written by Madonna, with photographs taken by Steven Meisel and film frames shot by Fabien Baron. The book was edited by Glenn O’Brien.
The spiral-bound, metal-covered book was wrapped in a silver mylar bag and included a copy of the Erotic CD single (an exclusive version of the Erotica song). The package also included an 8-page comic book and it was priced at $49.95 US.
How old were you when you first bought or read through Madonna’s Sex book?
On October 20 1992, Madonna’s fifth studio album, Erotica was released by Maverick Records.
Music critic Sal Cinquemani commented on the album’s impact:
By 1992, Madonna was an icon—untouchable, literally and figuratively—and Erotica was the first time the artist’s music took on a decidedly combative, even threatening tone, and most people didn’t want to hear it. Erotica’s irrefutable un-sexiness probably says more about the sex=death mentality of the early ’90s than any other musical document of its time. This is not Madonna at her creative zenith. This is Madonna at her most important, at her most relevant. No one else in the mainstream at that time dared to talk about sex, love, and death with such frankness and fearlessness.
On October 15 1992, Madonna threw a Sex book pre-release party at New York City’s Industria Super Studio, and signed all the invitations under her alter ego “Dita”.
During the party, Madonna showed up dressed as Little Bo Peep and carried with her a stuffed toy lamb.
Madonna’s publicist Liz Rosenberg showed concern at first worrying “what the parents of America’s impressionable teens will soon be thinking” but later said that it “all depends on your idea of lovemaking, which in Madonna’s case, should give new meaning to the word erotic.”
Both Walden Books and Barnes & Noble prepared corporate statements that their store managers could share with customers who were offended by Sex. Both statements defended the right of bookstores to provide “diversity and choice” to customers and say censorship is not the role of bookstores.
Bookstore owner David Epstein stated that “The feeling of most people who have ordered the book is that Madonna is something special, that this is cutting-edge art, they’re not the kind of people who are buying it because it’s smut and dirty pictures. People are interested in it as art.”