Today in Madonna History: June 11, 1998

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On June 11 1998, Ray of Light became Madonna’s highest debuting single, peaking at number-five in its first week on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S.

The title-track from her seventh studio album was present for a total of twenty weeks on the Hot 100, and placed at number seventy-five on the year-end chart. Much of its chart success was due to strong sales, receiving a boost from the inclusion of non-album track, Has To Be, on the b-side of the two-track single, as well as the commercially-released VHS video-single. On the Airplay chart, however, the song fizzled out at number twenty-six due to radio’s tepid support of the single’s unconventional sound. Meanwhile, there was nothing tepid about the response from club DJ’s, with the remixes earning Madonna another number-one on the Hot Dance/Club Play chart where it spent four weeks at the top and seven weeks in the top-five.

Outside the U.S., the Ray of Light single reached number-three in Canada, number-two in the UK, Italy and Finland, and number-one in Spain.

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: April 30, 1983

On April 30 1983, Madonna’s second single – the double A-side Burning Up/Physical Attraction – moved into the Top 10 on Billboard’s Dance/Disco Top 80 chart (now known as Hot Dance/Club Play), leaping from #18 to #9.

Interestingly, the release charted as Physical Attraction/Burning Up throughout its run on the Dance chart. When two songs are promoted together to dance clubs, Billboard will generally position the track that earns the higher number of spins first in its Dance chart entry.

The same Billboard issue also saw some early radio support for Madonna, as New York City’s WKTU-FM featured Physical Attraction among their top playlist adds for the week.

Today in Madonna History: April 25, 1998

For the weeks of April 25, and May 2, 1998, Madonna’s Frozen was the #1 dance single on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart.

Today in Madonna History: April 15, 1989

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On April 15 1989, Madonna’s Like A Prayer became the number one dance single on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart.

Like A Prayer remained number one for the week of April 22.

Today In Madonna History: April 1, 2000

On April 1 2000, Madonna’s cover of American Pie hit #1 on Billboard’s Hot Dance/Club Play chart in the USA.

Today in Madonna History: March 13, 1999

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.

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