On July 15 1989, Express Yourself peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in the U.S.
Express Yourself spent two weeks in the runner-up position, with Simply Red’s If You Don’t Know Me By Now blocking it from the top spot in the first week, and Martika’s lone chart-topper, Toy Soldiers, leapfrogging over it in its second week.
On July 1 1989, Madonna’s Express Yourself enjoyed its second week at #1 on the United World Chart (Tracks).
Like A Prayer spent its sixteenth and final week in the Top 10 on the United World Chart at #10.
On June 10 1989, Madonna’s Express Yourself single debuted at #40 on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play Chart in the USA.
Express Yourself eventually peaked at #1 for 3 weeks (starting July 8 1989).
On April 2 2005, Madonna was featured in Q magazine as one of the Five Essential Acts in Music, along with The Beatles, Bob Dylan, U2 and The Velvet Underground.
Q magazine listed Like A Prayer as her definitive album:
If you only buy one album….Like A Prayer. Always more interesting when not seeking novelty, Madonna hit artistic and commercial gold with Like A Prayer, her best and least contrived album. The title track, all swirling choruses and kitchen – sink production, remains her major statement, but Express Yourself was ferocious dance, while on the rarely lauded Dear Jessie she had never sounded so human.
Q magazine also listed what they considered to be Madonna’s essential singles:
Holiday, Borderline, Material Girl, Like A Virgin, Crazy For You, Into The Groove, Papa Don’t Preach, La Isla Bonita, Open Your Heart, Live To Tell, Who’s That Girl, Causing A Commotion, Vogue, Justify My Love, Ray Of Light, Frozen, Drowned World/Substitute For Love, Beautiful Stranger, Music, Hollywood.
On September 6 1989, Madonna performed Express Yourself at the 6th annual MTV Video Music Awards at the Universal Amphitheatre, Los Angeles, CA. The Express Yourself music video picked up awards for Best Direction, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, while Like A Prayer won the Viewer’s Choice Award.
Serving as a sneak preview for 1990’s Blond Ambition Tour, the performance marked the first of many to feature the vocal trio of Madonna, Donna De Lory and Niki Haris. De Lory and Haris had previously toured with Madonna during the 1987 Who’s That Girl Tour, but had been joined by a third background vocalist, Debra Parsons. The pair would be more heavily featured as vocalist/dancers from this point forward, rather than simply band members who rarely left the confines of their microphone stand.
It was during rehearsals for the 1989 VMA performance that Niki Haris brought voguing to Madonna’s attention, and stylized poses were then fittingly incorporated into the performance’s choreography.
On August 24 2014, Madonna was featured in a Forbes Magazine piece written by Hugh McIntyre examining the Most Expensive Music Videos Of All Time.
Of all the expensive music videos made over time (and there are quite a few), the top five are created by only two artists: Michael Jackson and Madonna. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, as those two legends are some of the only ones who would have enough clout to rustle up millions for a four-minute movie. While other artists typically use music videos as a way of selling more copies of a certain song or album, these two turned the music video into an art form, attempting to top themselves with each new project. (*Adjusted for inflation to 2013 dollars.)
5. Michael Jackson — “Black or White,” $6.9 million* (originally $4 million)
The lead single from Jackson’s Dangerous needed a video that would be many things all at once—fun, meaningful, and above all else, memorable.
4. Madonna — “Bedtime Story,” $7.7 million* (originally $5 million)
“Bedtime Story” is the first of three Madonna music videos on this list, though the single it was made to promote is not one of the singer’s greatest successes. Directed by Mark Romanek, who would also direct the music video that ends up surpassing “Bedtime” as the single most expensive of all time. Not one to miss a publicity opportunity, Madonna premiered the video at movie theatres in New York City, Chicago, and Santa Monica. These days, it is housed permanently in a collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
3. Madonna — “Die Another Day,” $7.9 million* (originally $6.1 million)
While the song received mixed reviews from critics, Madonna’s Bond song went on to be the best-selling dance song of 2002 and 2003, and its video was nominated for a Grammy. The James Bond-inspired video has the legendary pop star fighting herself, which was a mixture of green screens and intricate and expensive special effects. A few years ago, Billboard ranked the song the #6 song from the Bond franchise.
2. Madonna — “Express Yourself,” $9.4 million* (originally $5 million)
Madonna’s “Express Yourself” video cost $5 million to make back in 1989, making it the most expensive video ever made at the time. The clip, which was inspired by 1927 German science fiction film Metropolis was directed by David Fincher, who would go on to be nominated for Academy Awards for also directing both The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and The Social Network. The video sees the singer dressing in a masculine fashion, yet being as sexual as ever.
1. Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson — “Scream,” $10.7 million* (originally $7 million)
The video for “Scream,” the first single off Michael’s HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I album is really one for the books, and one of the few videos that everybody remembers seeing for the first time.
(Source: Forbes Magazine – The Most Expensive Music Videos of All Time)
On August 12 1989, Madonna’s Express Yourself spent a fourth week at #1 on the Billboard Hot Dance Music and Maxi Single Sales chart.
Madonna explained to Becky Johnston in the May 1989 issue of Interview magazine:
“The ultimate thing behind the song is that if you don’t express yourself, if you don’t say what you want, then you’re not going to get it. And in effect you are chained down by your inability to say what you feel or go after what you want. No matter how in control you think are about sexuality in a relationship there is always the power struggle… always a certain amount of compromise. Of being beholden, if you love them. You do it because you choose to. No one put the chain around this neck but me. I wrote Express Yourself to tell women around the world that pick and choose the best for yourself, before that chain around your neck, kills you instead. It’s my take on how man can express what they want, the same prerogative should be there for a woman too.”