Today in Madonna History: April 2, 2005

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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.

Today in Madonna History: December 9, 1989

On December 9 1989, Madonna was featured in a two-page spread in Billboard magazine, paid for by her record company and management, congratulating her on being named Artist of the Decade by Musician magazine.

Madonna’s September 1989 performance of Express Yourself at the MTV VMA’s perfectly encapsulates the sentiments expressed in the tribute. As her only live performance that year, it only hinted at Madonna’s next mission: to revolutionize the concert touring industry.

Today in Madonna History: August 24, 2014

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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)

Today in Madonna History: July 1, 1989

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On July 1 1989, Express Yourself became Madonna’s sixth number one single on the Eurochart Hot 100 Singles chart in Europe. It remained in the chart’s top position for three weeks.

Today in Madonna History: June 1, 1990

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On June 1 1990, Madonna was controversially featured grabbing her crotch and breast on the cover of Interview magazine.

Madonna was interviewed by Glenn O’Brien at the Disney Studios, where she was rehearsing the Blond Ambition Tour. Here’s a snippet from the interview:

Glenn: Let’s talk about your show.

Madonna: Let’s not. Today was a horrible day. That was the worst rehearsal.

Glenn: Well, I liked it, but I haven’t seen it when you thought it was good. I loved the number where you’re lying on the piano singing a torch song.

Madonna: You saw only one segment of the show. I’ve created five different worlds, and the set is all based on hydraulics. One is going down and another is coming up. The world changes completely. I think of it more as a musical than as a rock concert. There is a straightforward Metropolis section, like my Express Yourself video – that set with all the gears and machinery; it’s very hard and metallic. That’s the heavy-duty dance music. Then the set changes and it’s like a church. We call it the temple ruins. It’s all these columns, trays of votive candles, a cross. I do Like a Virgin on a bed, but we changed the arrangement, so it sounds Indian. Then I’m being punished for masturbation on this bed, which is, as you know, what happens. Then we do the more serious, religious-type material – Like a Prayer, Papa Don’t Preach… Then it changes to what you saw, this Art Deco ’50s-musical set. That’s when we do three songs from Dick Tracy, and then after that we do what I call the camp section. Then it gets really serious again and we go into our Clockwork Orange cabaret set.

Today in Madonna History: January 22, 2017

On January 22 2017, Madonna released this statement in response to her controversial statements made during her speech at the Women’s March on Washington:

“Yesterday’s Rally was an amazing and beautiful experience. I came and performed Express Yourself and thats exactly what i did.

However I want to clarify some very important things. I am not a violent person, I do not promote violence and it’s important people hear and understand my speech in it’s entirety rather than one phrase taken wildly out of context.

My speech began with ” I want to start a revolution of love.” ♥️  I then go on to take this opportunity to encourage women and all marginalized people to not fall into despair but rather to come together and use it as a starting point for unity and to create positive change in the world.

I spoke in metaphor and I shared two ways of looking at things — one was to be hopeful, and one was to feel anger and outrage, which I have personally felt. However, I know that acting out of anger doesn’t solve anything. And the only way to change things for the better is to do it with love.

It was truly an honor to be part of an audience chanting we choose love.”

Madonna

Today in Madonna History: December 31, 1999

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On December 31 1999, the following Madonna videos were included in the Much Music: Top 100 Videos Of The Century includes Express Yourself #3, Ray Of Light #8 and Like A Prayer #47.

Do you think more of Madonna’s videos should have been included in the tally? Which videos? 

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