On February 17 1996, the maxi-single for You’ll See spent its final week on the Maxi-Single Sales chart in Billboard magazine at #40.
The release had a notably short run on the Maxi-Single Sales chart (by Madonna’s typically high standards), spending only three weeks on the proper chart, after debuting on the Bubbling Under chart at #52. It peaked at #18 on February 3rd.
There are several potential reasons that could explain the low sales of its maxi-single. Ballads, unless heavily and successfully remixed, naturally generated less interest with this format, which was primarily geared towards attracting dance music listeners. Many of Madonna’s ballads were not released in the format for this reason. You’ll See was not given an officially released remix treatment but instead featured a Spanish-sung version of the song, an instrumental version, and a live version of another previous ballad hit, Live To Tell.
Further reducing any incentive to buy the maxi-single was the fact that standard U.S. CD and cassette single inexplicably included three of the four cuts featured on the maxi-single, leaving only the Spanish version as an exclusive track on the latter. One wonders if the inclusion of the live version of Live To Tell on the normally two-track standard single was possibly due to a pressing error that they decided to go ahead and release, since it is not listed on the sleeve but is instead promoted as a nameless bonus track on an outer label affixed to the CD and cassette single cellophane (its inclusion is noted on the physical disc and cassette).
Only one Madonna maxi-single issued in the U.S. had both a shorter run and a lower peak on the Maxi-Single Sales chart, and it was another hit ballad. I’ll Remember spent only two weeks on the chart (plus its first week on the Bubbling Under chart), peaking at #30 on May 21, 1994. Similarly, it was also padded with a live cut. However, it also included some creative reworkings of the track by William Orbit, making the reason for its dismal placement on the chart more perplexing. In terms of contents value, it easily outshines the You’ll See maxi-single.
In Canada, You’ll See was only issued as a CD maxi-single, with no standard single being issued on cassette or CD.
On February 7 2004, Nothing Fails lived up to its title when it hit #1 on Billboard’s Hot Dance/Club Play chart in the U.S.
Despite being largely ignored by radio programmers, the single nevertheless received strong support from club DJ’s.
The Nothing Fails maxi-single, which also included remixes of Nobody Knows Me, had previously reached the top of the Hot Dance Singles Sales chart in December 2003 before being overtaken by the Britney Spears/Madonna collaboration, Me Against The Music.
Nobody Knows Me reached a separate peak of #4 on the Hot Dance/Club Play chart in 2003 after it was serviced to DJ’s as a promotional single.
On August 23 1986, Papa Don’t Preach spent the first of two weeks at #1 on Billboard’s Hot Maxi-Singles Sales chart.
Despite being more of a pop/rock song than a club-oriented cut – both in its original form and in Stephen Bray’s extended remix version – Papa Don’t Preach nevertheless managed to reach #4 on Billboard’s August 30th Hot Dance/Club Play chart due to the massive buzz surrounding the song and its undeniable crossover appeal.
On July 26 2003, Hollywood hit #1 on Billboard’s Hot Maxi-Single Sales chart (renamed Hot Dance Sales), where it would spend an incredible seven weeks.
After an initial five-week run at the top, the single began its descent only to return to #1 for an additional two weeks following Madonna’s performance of Hollywood/Like A Virgin at the MTV Video Music Awards, which incorporated Stuart Price’s remix of Hollywood (released under one of his many pseudonyms, Jacques Lu Cont) and spurred renewed interest in the maxi-single.
On December 27 2003, Nothing Fails peaked at #1 on Billboard’s Hot Singles Sales chart.
Unfortunately this chart position owed more to the disappearing physical singles market in the U.S. at the time than it did to the song’s overall popularity. Despite the remixes being relatively well-received (the maxi-single included club mixes of Nobody Knows Me), with no accompanying music video and a complete lack of radio support Nothing Fails failed to crack the Hot 100 singles chart. This marked the first time in Billboard’s history that a single topped the Singles Sales chart in the U.S. without making an appearance on the Hot 100.
In more reassuring chart news, Billboard announced in the same issue that Madonna was being crowned Top Dance Singles Sales Artist for 2003. Madonna had previously achieved this honour in 1985 and 1987, and held the runner-up position in 2000 and 2001.