Today in Madonna History: July 17, 1993

On July 17 1993, Rain was released as a single in North America. It was the fourth and final North American single from the Erotica album.

Following a cold reception to Madonna’s previous North American single – the bleak-but-beautiful Bad Girl Rain was given a glossy makeover by French record producer Daniel Abraham (who had recently completed a similar assignment with the video remix of Fever) to help ensure that it would receive a warmer welcome from radio programmers. The U.S. promotional CD that was serviced to radio by Maverick/Warner offered the choice between the sweetened “Radio Remix” (in full-length and edited form) or an edited album version, the latter of which was fittingly used in the song’s gorgeous music video.

As her label had correctly predicted, radio indeed favored the smoother sound of the “Radio Remix” over the darker, more dynamic (and in our opinion, more interesting) production-work of the album mix.

While not an all-out smash hit, Rain was the first single from the Erotica album to impact Billboard’s Hot AC chart, where it reached the Top 10, and it is generally viewed as an initial recovery step following the backlash Madonna had faced in the wake of the Sex book.

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Written and produced by Madonna & Shep Pettibone (unlike the majority of the tracks from Erotica, Tony Shimkin has not been added as co-writer, according to the Warner-Chappel publishing database), Rain was one of the earliest songs conceived during the Erotica album sessions. It appears as the first track on a two-cassette collection of demos from the album sessions submitted to the U.S. Library Of Congress for copyright registration.

The infamously sought-after set is often referred to by fans as The Rain Tapes because of the song’s prominent placement in its sequencing and also due to the likely unintentional visual prominence of the song’s title in the handwritten sleeve notes that accompanied the tapes.

Shep Pettibone created the song’s interesting use of panning percussion by digitally cutting and splicing samples of percussion breaks from an extended version of Scritti Politti’s 1985 hit, Perfect Way (and no, he was not involved with creating the remix). Although no sample credit was given on the album, considering the royalties the band would have earned for their inclusion on Madonna’s Who’s That Girl soundtrack, perhaps she figured that they owed her one.

Rain US Cassette Maxi Single Inner Sleeve

The Rain maxi-single was perhaps most notable for its inclusion of a non-album track, Up Down Suite, which was for all intents and purposes a dub remix of album outtake, Goodbye To Innocence (which remained unreleased at the time, aside from some vocal samples used in a promo-only remix of Fever). A new remix (featuring Everlast) of the Erotica album track, Waiting, was also included on the North American maxi-single, while its album version served as the single’s North American b-side.

With its poetically poignant and emotionally charged lyrics, percussive urgency and one of Madonna’s most ambitious uses of layered self-harmonization (not to mention it being accompanied by one of the most beautiful music videos ever created), it isn’t difficult to understand why Rain remains an enduring fan favorite.

“It’s strange
I feel like I’ve known you before
And I want to understand you
More and more and more
When I’m with you
I feel like a magical child
Everything strange
Everything wild

Waiting is the hardest thing
I tell myself that if I believe in you
In the dream of you
With all my heart and all my soul
That by sheer force of will
I will raise you from the ground
And without a sound you’ll appear
And surrender to me, to love”

Today In Madonna History: March 22, 1993

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On March 22 1993, Madonna’s version of Fever (a remake of 1958 Peggy Lee song) was released as a UK single.

The UK single included the following remixes:

  1. Album Edit (4.27)
  2. Hot Sweat 12″ (7.57)
  3. Extended 12″ (6.05)
  4. Shep’s Remedy Dub (4.29)
  5. Murk Boys Miami Mix (7.07)
  6. Murk Boys Deep South Mix (6.28)

Sun lights up the daytime
Moon lights up the night
My eyes light up when you call my name
‘Cause I know you’re gonna treat me right
Bless my soul I love you, take this heart away
Take these arms I’ll never use
And just believe in what my lips have to say

Today in Madonna History: January 16, 1993

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On January 16 1993, Madonna was musical guest on NBC-TV’s Saturday Night Live, performing Fever and Bad Girl. She also appeared in the show’s opening skit – a humorous homage to Marilyn Monroe – alongside comedians Phil Hartman and Jan Hooks.

Perhaps a little too into character or, more likely, a little too nervous – she managed to flub the show’s signature intro tag line during the live broadcast, with the mistake being subsequently edited out of all repeated airings of the episode.

Fortunately any nervous energy quickly dissipated once Madonna took to the musical stage, where she delivered a stunningly confident and nuanced vocal performance backed by an equally impressive new band (which included several members that would be recruited for her Girlie Show tour later in the year). It was Madonna’s only live performance of Bad Girl to date, and despite many appearances on SNL, her only inclusion as featured musical guest.

The episode was hosted by Harvey Keitel, who was only weeks away from working with Madonna again in the film Dangerous Game (then known as Snake Eyes) which began shooting in February.

Would you like to see Madonna return to SNL as musical guest?

Today in Madonna History: November 2, 1999

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On November 2 1999, the Madonna: The Video Collection 1993-99 was released on home video and DVD.

Madonna: The Video Collection 1993-99 was released as a collection of Madonna’s favourite videos from 1993-1999. The collection contains 14 videos: Bad Girl, Fever, Rain, Secret, Take A Bow, Bedtime Story, Human Nature, Love Don’t Live Here Anymore, Frozen, Ray Of Light, Drowned World, The Power of Goodbye, Nothing Really Matters, and Beautiful Stranger.

Today in Madonna History: October 20, 1992

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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.

Today in Madonna History: September 11, 2000

On September 11 2000, Madonna’s Music single hit #1 on the Top Canadian Singles chart in RPM magazine. The single spent an incredible nine weeks at #1 on the chart, making it Madonna’s biggest hit during the RPM chart era in Canada.

Music also holds the distinction of being the final song ever to reach the top of the RPM Top Canadian Singles chart, as the magazine ceased publication during the song’s ninth week at #1. RPM served as the voice of the Canadian music industry and its official chart authority for over thirty-five years.

Madonna’s Music album also hit #1 on RPM’s Top Albums chart during the first two weeks of October, 2000.

In an unusual move, Warner Canada chose to issue the Music single commercially in three different CD configurations: a two-track with non-album b-side Cyberraga, a standard CD maxi-single with full-length remixes, and finally as a set of remix edits – something that would more commonly be reserved for radio in promo-only form.

Both the song and much of the album of the same title bore the fruit of Madonna’s first collaboration with French electronic artist, Mirwais Ahmadzaï. His second solo album, Production, released a few months earlier, featured Madonna’s Paradise (Not For Me) – which would also resurface on Music.

Mirwais worked with Madonna collaborators Jean-Baptiste Mondino (Naïve Song) and Stéphane Sednaoui (Disco Science & I Can’t Wait) on music videos for the Production album, while the latter director also photographed its cover. Madonna, meanwhile, selected Mondino to shoot the cover of her Music album and to direct the video for its second single (Don’t Tell Me).

Several years before directing her Fever video, Sednaoui first captured Madonna as a photographer on the set of the Justify My Love video – directed by Mondino.

Today in Madonna History: July 19, 1994

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On July 19 1994, Madonna contributed Goodbye to Innocence to the Just Say Roe benefit CD.

When Madonna went to record her vocals for Goodbye to Innocence during the recording of the Erotica album , she started singing Little Willie John’s song Fever instead of singing the original words. Shep Pettibone and Madonna decided to record it, as they felt it sounded good. As they did not know the words, Madonna called Seymour Stein from Sire Records, and within an hour, they had the Peggy Lee version, and the original version of the song.  Fever was the last song to be recorded for the album, in August 1992, and it was finished within a month later.

Lyrics:

I don’t wanna say goodbye

There are some who believe that I owe them something
But they’re wrong, I owe nothing to no one but myself
And there are some who say they created me
But only my parents will have that acclaim
I took it from there, I am to blame

Say goodbye to anonymity
I have to (have to, have to) say goodbye
To privacy, but most of all
To innocence
To innocence
To innocence

My life is not a game that I play to entertain you
And if you can do it better, then you’re welcome to my fame
I’m not gonna waste my time correcting myths and rumors
You believe what you wanna believe

Say goodbye to anonymity
I have to (have to, have to) say goodbye
To privacy, but most of all
To innocence
To innocence
To innocence

I don’t wanna say goodbye
I don’t need a reason to cry
Kinda makes me wanna
Kinda makes me hafta

Stop and think about it
Stop and think about it
Stop and think about it
Do I want to?

I don’t (getting up and down)
I don’t (getting up and down)
I don’t (getting up and down)

Up-up, d-d-down, up-up-up

I don’t (getting up and down)
I don’t (getting up and down)
I don’t (getting up and down)

Up-up, d-d-down, up-up-up

Listen up
It always comes down to this
It always comes down to this

Some people have a snake at the base of their spine
That would suck out your life, that would take all your time
They’re called feeders
They’re not believers but you must not fear it
They’re takers

You know you better stop, stop and think about it

Your innocence
Your innocence
Your innocence

I don’t wanna say goodbye to innocence
I don’t need a reason to cry, innocence

Hold on to your innocence
Hold on (hold on, hold on), hold on to innocence
Hold on

Stop and think about it, say goodbye, think about it

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