Today In Madonna History: March 16, 2001

On March 16 2001, MTV and VH1 networks announced that Madonna’s new video for What It Feels Like For A Girl would be broadcast only once on March 20 at 11:30 pm because of the controversy over its violent content.

Madonna later released What It Feels Like For A Girl as a DVD single.

Madonna biographer Andrew Morton had this to say about the video:

“The video is entirely consistent with the themes that she has been exploring for the last twenty years, namely the relationship between the sexes, the ambiguity of gender, and the unresolved conflict, for women in a patriarchal society of being fully female and sexual while exercising control over their lives.”

Today in Madonna History: January 30, 2020

On January 30 2020, glowing reviews of Madonna’s first Madame X show in London were published:

Music critic Neil McCormick (The Telegraph) had this to say: Anarchic and experimental – her best show ever? 5 STARS (out of 5)

I’m not sure who was having more fun at the opening of Madonna’s London residency, the audience or the star. She sang, she danced, she joked and she beamed with almost childlike glee at the crowd’s adoring response.

“How happy I am to have made it this far,” she declared, calling London “my second home”.

Madonna first played the city in 1983 to 1,500 early adopters at the Camden Palace. Her next London gig was Wembley Stadium. She was clearly delighted to be back in a venue where she could not just reach out and touch the audience, she could descend from the stage and sit in their laps. “It’s so intimate. It’s gorgeous and a thrill for me to be able to see all your faces.”

David Smyth of the Evening Standard gave the show 4 STARS (out of 5): Madame X is tireless, imaginative and powerfully intimate.

Such drama before Madonna could even take to the stage for her first theatre tour since 1985! Would she arrive drastically late? Would she cancel at the last minute? Tenterhooks all round.

Monday was supposed to be the first of a planned 15 nights at the Palladium, cancelled on doctor’s orders. It was the 10th dropped concert of the Madame X Tour, which began in New York in September and gathered complaints for its late start times.

But tonight at 8.45pm, there she was, dressed as a bloodstained, eyepatch-wearing revolutionary soldier. She was also a spy, a protest marcher and a Portuguese fado singer in the course of a tireless, imaginative show that was far from shrunken arena pop. Thanks especially to an extraordinary troupe of dancers, it was a spectacle that felt more powerful up close.

Like Bruce Springsteen, who showed a different side of himself in his recent Broadway run, and Kate Bush, whose live comeback was more theatre than concert, the 61-year-old has unearthed something new late in her career. The Madame X album may have plummeted out of the charts in an instant, but here its songs dominated and found their purpose.

Batuka, tuneless on record, was euphoric when performed with a mass of smiling, rump-shaking Batuque drummers from Cape Verde. I Rise was far more powerful when backed by footage of anti-gun protests and gay pride marches.

Alexis Petridis of The Guardian, also gave the show 4 STARS (out of 5) and noted: London residency short on hits but big on British banter.

She sings the bare minimum of big hits – Vogue, Like a Prayer, Human Nature – with Express Yourself and La Isla Bonita reduced to interstitial roles (the former performed as a sweet, but brief a cappella duet with her daughter Mercy), and American Life performed in full.

Still, it occasionally serves to remind you that some of Madame X is better than its relatively muted commercial response might suggest – Medellín sounds like the hit single it wasn’t, as does the gorgeous album track Crazy. This is presumably part of the point – the other part being a certain screw-you intransigence designed to underline that we are in the presence of an artiste, not a pop star.

And the BBC had a few fun notes to add in their review:

The audience were required to store mobile phones in sealed pouches as “an intervention for us all”. However, Madonna admitted that even she was getting anxious without a phone nearby.

“I’m having little panic attacks,” she joked. “I’m like, ‘Why is no-one taking my picture?'”

But the gambit worked: Freed from distractions, the audience gave the concert their undiluted attention; while Madonna seemed to relax and have fun without a phalanx of tiny cameras recording her every move.

At one point, she slipped into a British accent and recalled how she’d been ridiculed for developing similarly plummy vowels during her marriage to Guy Ritchie.

“I didn’t know what anyone was talking about until I heard old interviews of myself,” she said. “And then I was horrified and flabbergasted. Why did you let me do that to myself? I’m from Michigan!”

“It’s all Guy Ritchie’s fault,” she decided. “He made me to it.”

Today in Madonna History: August 1, 2005

On August 1 2005, Madonna appeared on the cover of Vogue magazine, along with daughter Lourdes and son Rocco. Photos by Tim Walker.

Today in Madonna History: January 29, 2002

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On January 29 2002, Madonna attended the opening of photographer Mario Testino’s exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London, England.

Today in Madonna History: January 8, 2001

 

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On January 8 2001, Madonna and Guy Ritchie’s wedding was featured on the cover of People magazine with the headline: Kilt by Association Amid Tears, Tiaras and Scottish Tartan, Madonna and Guy Ritchie Baptize Baby Rocco and Tie the Knot.

Here’s a snippet of the article inside:

Shortly  after 6:30 on the evening of December 22, the guests were invited, without fanfare, to take their seats. Guided by the glow of hundreds of candles, Gwyneth Paltrow, Rupert Everett, Donatella Versace, a kilt-clad Sting and some 55 others gathered near the foot of the grand staircase in the Great Hall of Scotland’s 19th-century Skibo Castle. As the skirls of a lone bagpiper gave way to the music of French pianist Katia Labèque and a local organist, the wedding ceremony of Madonna Louise Ciccone, 42, and film director Guy Ritchie, 32, began.   Madonna’s 4-year-old daughter, Lourdes, shoeless and draped in a long ivory dress with short sleeves and a high neck, led the processional. Descending the staircase—its balustrade laced with ivy and white orchids—she tossed handfuls of red rose petals from a basket, almost exhausting her supply by the time she reached the front row, where she sat in her nanny’s lap. “As soon as they saw Madonna’s daughter throwing rose petals,” says a guest, “people were crying.”

Today in Madonna History: December 2, 2007

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On December 2 2007, Madonna and Guy Ritchie attended the Cinema Society screening of Guy’s film Revolver in New York City.

Madonna was dressed in Dolce and Gabbana.

Today in Madonna History: August 18, 2002

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On August 18 2002, the official poster for Swept Away was released.

The film Swept Away, starring Madonna and directed by her husband, Guy Ritchie, would open on October 11 2002 in US theatres. The movie was initially titled Love, Sex, Drugs, and Money, and was based on the 1974 Italian film Travolti da un Insolito Destino Nell’Azzurro Mare D’Agosto. Adriano Giannini and Bruce Greenwood also starred in the film. In the film, Madonna played a socialite stranded on an island with a handsome, Communist sailor (Giannini).

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