On August 25 1990, Hanky Panky peaked at #18 on the Canadian Top 100 Singles chart (RPM). At the time it was Madonna’s lowest charting Canadian single since Borderline‘s peak of #25 in September, 1984. A handful of later releases would subsequently peak lower on the same chart, however, including Bad Girl (#20 – 1993), Bedtime Story (#46 – 1995) and Human Nature (#64 – 1995).
On June 23 1990, Madonna’s I’m Breathless: Music from and Inspired by the Film Dick Tracy hit #2 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart in the USA.
After the filming of Dick Tracy was complete, Madonna began work on the film’s soundrack, with songwriter Stephen Sondheim, producer Patrick Leonard and engineer Bill Bottrell. She also worked with producer Shep Pettibone on the album’s first single, Vogue. The album was recorded within three weeks in California.
On March 20 1990, the lead single from Madonna’s I’m Breathless album, Vogue, was released.
Vogue was written and produced by Madonna and Shep Pettibone in December 1989. The song was recorded with the intention of being the b-side to the upcoming (and last single for the Like A Prayer album), Keep It Together (released on January 30 1990).
The finished product was too good to be a single b-side, so it was decided that Vogue would be a stand-alone single on Madonna’s forthcoming album, I’m Breathless (even though the song had nothing to do with Dick Tracy).
On September 19 1990, Madonna’s Hanky Panky was certified gold (for shipment of 500,000 units) in the USA.
During an interview with Rolling Stone, Madonna talked about getting a good “spanky”:
The spanking thing started because I believed that my character in Dick Tracy liked to get smacked around and that’s why she hung around with people like Al Pacino’s character. Warren Beatty asked me to write some songs, one of them, the Hanky Panky song, was about that. I say in the song ‘Nothing like a good spanky’, and in the middle I say, ‘Ooh, my bottom hurts just thinking about it’. When it came out everybody started asking, ‘Do you like to get spanked?’ and I said: ‘Yeah. Yeah, I do’.
On July 30 1990, Madonna’s I’m Breathless album was certified double platinum (for shipment of two million units) in the USA.
“I want people to think of me as a musical comedy actress. That’s what this album is about for me. It’s a stretch. Not just pop music, but songs that have a different feel to them, a theatrical feel.” – Madonna talking about I’m Breathless
On July 28 1990, Hanky Panky hit its peak position of number-ten on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S.
The rarely seen official video for Hanky Panky was recorded at the May 27th 1990 concert in Toronto, Canada. Rather than use live audio from the tour, Warner opted to overdub the live performance with the album version. The video was broadcast for a few weeks and then withdrawn from rotation in most countries. Although no official reason was given, it is assumed that due to the low-budget nature of the video, it was only ever intended to serve as an initial promotional push for the song, with its subsequent withdrawal from rotation being part of the plan.