Today in Madonna History: May 14, 2015

On May 14 2015, Madonna’s Ghosttown became her 45th #1 dance club hit, breaking George Strait’s record of total number ones.

Here’s what Billboard had to say about Madonna’s achievement:

The Queen of Pop reigns with Ghosttown giving her the most No. 1s of any artist on a single Billboard chart.

The Queen of Pop is now unequaled chart royalty. Madonna makes momentous Billboard chart history, as she now has the most No. 1s ever, 45, by an act on a singular Billboard chart. She earns her 45th No. 1 on Dance Club Songs, where Ghosttown lifts 3-1.

With the coronation, Madonna passes another icon, George Strait, who’s logged 44 No. 1s on Hot Country Songs.

“Thanks to all my fans on and off the dance floor,” Madonna said in an exclusive statement to Billboard. “I’ll always be your partner.”

With her 45th leader on Dance Club Songs, which measures reports submitted by a national sample of club DJs, Madonna pulls further ahead of runners-up Beyonce and Rihanna. In fact, Madonna has tallied more No. 1s as they have combined: 22 each. (The chart launched as a national survey in the Billboard issue dated Aug. 28, 1976.) Madonna bests Strait (still, and always, the King of Country), who’s sent 44 singles to No. 1 on Hot Country Songs between 1982 and 2009. He first reigned with “Fool Hearted Memory” (Aug. 28, 1982) and most recently ruled with “River of Love” (April 18, 2009).

Today in Madonna History: March 1, 2015

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On March 1 2015, Madonna visited Italian talk show, Che tempo che fa, as part of her promotional tour for the Rebel Heart album.In addition to an interview with host Fabio Fazio, she performed Devil Pray for the first time, along with the album’s second single, Ghosttown.

Madonna’s appearance on the show aired on March 8th.

Today in Madonna History: September 19, 2015

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On September 19 2015, Madonna performed Ghosttown for the first time on tour during a sold out Rebel Heart Tour stop in Brooklyn.

Madonna had never intended to perform the single from Rebel Heart during the tour and she had not rehearsed it with the band.  Watch the performance:

Today in Madonna History: April 24, 2015

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On April 24 2015, the second single from Madonna’s Rebel Heart album, Ghosttown, was released as a 2-track single in Germany.

Digital Spy had this to say about the single:

If anyone will prove themselves indestructible come the apocalypse, then surely it will be the enduring might of Madonna that survives? According to her latest single Ghosttown, that’s exactly the case. “When it all falls, when it all falls down/ I’ll be your fire when the lights go out,” Madge promises her love on the haunting pop serenade, which gradually builds into a suitably theatrical finale ready for the Queen of Pop’s forthcoming world tour. It hears Madonna significantly more subdued and reflective compared to her handbag bangers of recent years, but by doing so it makes the biggest possible impact.

Today in Madonna History: April 7, 2015

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On April 7 2015, it was announced that the Ghosttown music video would premiere on the Meerkat mobile app that enables users to broadcast live video streaming through their mobile device:

“When it all falls, When it all falls down, I’ll be your fire when the lights go out…” Join us on Meerkat at 10am PST tomorrow for the world premiere of the full Ghosttown video!!”

Jay’s comment: Why Madonna’s management decided to premiere her video through Meerkat instead of a more widely used distributor, I’ll never understand.  The distribution for this video was a disaster.  Advertised as premiering at 10am on April 8 — it never appeared on screen.  By 1pm, Meerkat was still trying to figure it out.  The video ended up premiering the following day.

Madonna’s management seriously needs to review Madonna’s core fanbase and realize that we’re not 14-18 year olds using every brand new gimmicky social media application.  We’re 35-60 now — and getting older by the day.  Her hardcore fans were turned off by this method of release.  Her casual fans were annoyed by the perplexing release strategy.  Was there a kick-back that served to pay for the video? Is that why Guy allowed this disaster to proceed? As a long-time fan — and after so many unacceptable hiccups in the Rebel Heart era, I’m surprised Madonna wasn’t asking for his resignation.  It was her strongest video in years, her best song/single in years — and it was treated as if it were Jimmy Jimmy — Baffling! Madonna – you can do better — you DESERVE better!

 

Today in Madonna History: March 29, 2015

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On March 29 2015, Madonna performed Ghosttown with Taylor Swift at the iHeartRadio Music Awards.

Here’s what Rolling Stone magazine had to say about the performance:

The 2015 iHeartRadio Music Awards promised there would be “unexpected collaborations” between the marquee artists attending the Los Angeles event, and the ceremony didn’t disappoint as Taylor Swift joined Madonna for an acoustic rendition of the Rebel Heart singer’s new single Ghosttown.

Following the performance, Madonna tweeted, “My new favorite guitar player! Thank you Taylor!”

Today in Madonna History: March 27, 2015

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On March 27 2015, Madonna graced the cover of New York gay magazine Next.  The magazine included a four-page spread with an interview to the Queen of Queens by John Russell.

Here’s a snippet of the interview between Russell and Madonna:

I counted at least 13 different producers in the album’s liner notes, but it was never Madonna’s intention to work with so many different people on the album. The same health concerns that forced Avicii to cancel his tour in September also threw a wrench into his work on Rebel Heart. Madonna was forced to find other producers to work with on many of the songs they’d started writing together. Meanwhile, Diplo’s touring schedule and other projects meant that his time was limited as well.

“I ended up working with a lot of DJs—young DJs—and I naively didn’t think it through. Oh, it’s summertime, it’s the festivals, and they’re on tour, and I’ll be lucky if I get them for three days, so a lot of that had to factor in. OK, I can’t wait for three months for this dude to come back. I have to find somebody else.”

Of course, art never gets made in a vacuum, something Madonna knows and accepts. “I had to bend my knees and ride the waves.”

The result is an album that, at first, seems all over the map. But it’s tough to judge an album by an artist like Madonna after just one listen. Even if you’re only familiar with her hits, those past gems loom large in comparison to the new material. You’re listening for her next step and at the same time hoping she’ll retain whatever lighting in a bottle quality her early hits had. On first listen, Rebel Heart has its moments, sure. But it’s not until a week after hearing the full album, when I find myself humming Unapologetic Bitch and Ghosttown on the subway, that it really feels like the album clicks into place. Will anyone but diehard Madonna fans—and that’s not an insignificant demographic within her fanbase—listen to the whole album, start to finish, more than once or twice? Probably not. But I’m not sure that matters. Every pop album has to include some forgettable filler tracks—although with the way we consume music these days a la carte, who knows how much longer that model will last. But even at a whopping 19 tracks—23, plus two Living for Love remixes on the Super Deluxe edition—there’s not much fat to trim on Rebel Heart. As a whole, it’s probably Madonna’s most listenable since Confessions on a Dance Floor.

“I didn’t set out to write certain kinds of songs. I just set out to write good songs,” she says. There are dark turns on the album, also a bit of soul searching. And the ballads are particularly strong. Apparently, Madonna set out to write songs that, stripped of all their production, could also work on an acoustic level.

“When we run out of oil and we don’t have electricity, I can just light a candle and strum my guitar and sing you a song.”

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