On August 29 1989, the music video for Cherish – the third single from the album Like A Prayer – premiered in Canada.
The song was written by Madonna & Patrick Leonard and was one of the first tracks completed for the album. Madonna had been reading Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet during breaks from rehearsals for the play Speed The Plow, which inspired the lyrics for the song.
The video was filmed on July 22, 1989 at Paradise Cove Beach in Malibu, California. It marked the first time that late photographer Herb Ritts had crossed over to shooting and directing a music video, which he agreed to do reluctantly at Madonna’s insistence. He quickly became a highly sought-after music video director, winning numerous awards for his work within the medium.
“Cherish” hit the top of the charts in Canada on October 9th, spending two weeks at number-one. It went on to become the ninth best-selling single of the year with a total of seventeen weeks on the RPM Singles chart.
While no maxi-single was issued for Cherish in North America, the single included the previously unreleased Like A Prayer outtake Supernatural – another collaboration with Patrick Leonard.
On June 5 1993, Just A Dream, written and produced by Madonna & Patrick Leonard and performed by Madonna’s long-time backing singer/dancer Donna De Lory, peaked at number-ten on Billboard’s Dance/Club chart. The song was released as the second single from De Lory’s self-titled 1992 album for MCA Records.
Just A Dream had originally been written and recorded during the Like A Prayer sessions. Although Madonna had clearly intended that the album move beyond the boundaries of pure dance/pop and crossover into other styles, she reportedly felt that including Just A Dream would have tipped the balance too far in the direction of rock. When De Lory approached Madonna a few years later about the possibility of providing a song for her first album, Madonna offered Just A Dream, sensing that the song’s rock-edge would be better suited to Donna’s vocal style than her own. Madonna did, however, allow the use of her own vocals on the track, which can be heard blending with Donna’s in the song’s chorus, bridge and, most prominently, during its fadeout.
While unconfirmed, it is assumed that no new production-work – aside from the addition of De Lory’s lead vocal – took place on the released album version of Just A Dream, with the the original Like A Prayer session tracks carried over to Donna’s version and Madonna’s original lead vocal being mixed down to background vocals. The original cut, featuring Madonna’s complete lead vocal track, has yet to surface.
Check out the video for Donna’s version of Just A Dream at the 13:00 minute mark in the following video interview compilation featuring Donna discussing our favorite topic – Madonna:
On May 6 1995, the first of a two-day shoot for the music video for Human Nature took place at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood, California.
The video was directed by Jean-Baptiste Mondino, while the work of S&M comic artist Eric Stanton provided inspiration. Human Nature was Madonna’s third collaboration with Mondino following his music videos for Open Your Heart (1986) and Justify My Love (1990).
“Mondino found this book by this illustrator named Stanton who did kinda S&M drawings and stuff, but we didn’t want to go with the straight S&M; we wanted to have it be more about making fun of it.” – Madonna
“All I know is…my main problem is I don’t like videos when somebody’s dancing, that the camera is moving a lot. I’m more like an old-time, classic guy, because I remember most of the video you had shot with the crane, some Steadicam, plus some panning. So you have about five different cameras shooting a performance, and after they edit like crazy. It gives you a lot of freedom, but I feel very frustrated because I like to see somebody dancing. I hate when there’s too much editing. I like the steadiness of the performance because then you can really enjoy the movement of the body. You see the skill. I like to shrink — as much as I can — the stage because I can grab her. If not, everyone is running around and I’m not good with this. So I came up with the boxes [laughs] and I knew that with the boxes I had to do with something quite unexpectable because there’s not too much stage to dance in. So there’s something beautiful about it and they looked like bees or something. And the rest of it was how to create some kind of choreography and some graphic imagery with the S&M outfits, but with humor. So she has a little dog and she has some funny moments where she drops down, there’s some Charlie Chaplin-esque moments in it. Because S&M is a game, you know? It’s dark, it looks dark, but I think people have fun. When you wear rubber like this, you better have fun. If not, you stop using it for sex and you become a diver, you know?” – Jean-Baptiste Mondino
On May 2 2016, three of Madonna’s Blond Ambition Tour dancers – Jose Gutierez, Kevin Stea & Oliver Crumes – were interviewed by Gill Deacon for CBC-Radio’s arts and culture show, Q.
The dancers were in Toronto to promote their documentary, Strike A Pose, which was being screened during the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival between April 27–May 7 and the Inside Out Toronto film festival from May 27–June 5, 2016.
For anyone who hasn’t yet watched Strike A Pose, be sure to check it out! It’s a beautiful film!
On March 17 1994, the music video for I’ll Remember (Theme From With Honors) premiered on BBC1-TV’s Top Of The Pops in the UK.
I’ll Remember began as a collaboration between Richard Page (of 80’s band Mister Mister) and Patrick Leonard. Leonard had been asked by Madonna to score Alek Keshishian’s film With Honors, and had also been collaborating with Page on an upcoming Toy Matinee album. When Leonard played an early demo of I’ll Remember for Madonna, she loved it and decided to record it with new lyrics she had written. The song was produced by Madonna & Patrick Leonard, with Page providing additional backing vocals.
Madonna had previously crossed paths with Richard Page when he presented her with a trophy at the 1987 American Music Awards (pictured above).
On March 6 1986, Madonna and George Harrison held a press conference at Kensington Roof Gardens, London, England to discuss the filming of Shanghai Surprise.
When asked by a reporter to apologize for her and Sean’s behavior towards the British press, Madonna answered: “I have nothing to apologize for”.
You have to stick it out to the end of the video to hear George Harrison’s Shanghai Surprise. It’s one of those 80’s songs you can’t get out of your head!
Here are some of the lyrics:
But i’m ready.
You must be crazy… crazy…
And you got no money… money…
But you’re a tryer…
My straits are dire from the wok into the fire,
I’d like to meet you but i’ve broken my chopstick.
Sometimes there’s no hope in, in chasing promises,
I wanna love you though it could prove to be unwise,