On June 20 1998, Madonna’s Ray of Light became the #1 dance single on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs chart. The hit single remained #1 for 4 weeks!
Ray of Light was written by Madonna, William Orbit, Clive Muldoon, Dave Curtiss, Christine Leach, and produced by Madonna and Orbit. Ray of Light is based on Curtiss Maldoon’s Sepheryn.
“It took a long time to do the album, months. And it wasn’t like we were slacking. We actually did have to work fast, and there were many times when we had to move on. One of Madonna’s favorite phrases was: ‘Don’t gild the lily.’ In other words, keep it rough, and don’t perfect it too much. It’s a natural urge for computer buffs to perfect everything because they can, and we were very wary of that.”—William Orbit on working with Madonna; Keyboard magazine
On April 28 2001, Madonna’s What It Feels Like For A Girl was the Hot Shot Debut (highest new entry) at #38 on Billboard’s Dance/Club Play chart. What It Feels Like For A Girl eventually became Madonna’s 25th #1 Dance hit in the U.S.
Despite the club success of the remixes, some fans and critics were displeased with the use of the Above & Beyond remix in the music video, and with the dark nature of the Guy Ritchie-directed clip, preferring the more subtle and restrained attack of the album version. Others felt that the more aggressive and confrontational feel of the remix and video were natural extensions of the emotions and experiences that Madonna was exploring within the song; feelings that were left bubbling beneath surface of the deceptively gentle and subdued album mix.
Regardless of which side of the fence you’re on, in retrospect one thing is clear: when revisited through the lens of the current “Me Too” movement, the overarching themes that Madonna explored with the release of What It Feels Like For A Girl were ahead of the curve in terms of social discourse. Although the same could be said for so much of Madonna’s work.
On March 31 1990, the sixth single from Madonna’s Like A Prayer album, Keep It Together, reached #1 on Billboard’s Hot Dance/Club Play chart in the USA.
On March 13 1999, Nothing Really Matters spent the first of two weeks at #1 on Billboard’s Hot Dance/Club Play chart in the U.S.
Despite being a successful club hit, many have cited Warner’s unusual marketing choices for the single as the primary reason for its poor placement on the Hot 100, where its peak of #93 remains the lowest of her charting singles.
The delayed release of the commercial single – which came long after the song had peaked at radio – was clearly a blunder, while other aspects of the song’s promotion seemingly started too early. After declining to release the experimental remixes for The Power Of Good-Bye in the U.S. (the remixes were issued commercially in Canada & abroad), Warner jumped the gun by beginning to service remixes of Nothing Really Matters promotionally to clubs as early as September of 1998 – over six months ahead of the maxi-single release.
An alternative might have been to service the Sky Fits Heaven remixes promotionally in the U.S. during the interim, considering that it managed to enter the Dance/Club Play chart based solely on spins from the imported Drowned World/Substitute For Love single, with no push from the label domestically.
Chart positions and marketing decisions aside, the maxi-single for Nothing Really Matters, with its wonderfully varied set of remixes by Peter Rauhofer, Kruder & Dorfmeister and Talvin Singh, remains one of Madonna’s best, in our opinion. Together with its visually stunning music video, the single marked an artistically pleasing closing chapter to the epic Ray Of Light era.
On February 26 1983, Madonna’s first single, Everybody, spent its 17th and final week on Billboard’s Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart in the USA. Everybody reached #3 on the chart on November 6, 1982. In addition to spending 17 weeks on the Hot Dance/Club Play chart, the classic dance hit also spent 8 weeks on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart. Not bad for a first single!