On May 24 2001, U.S. cable network HBO confirmed that it would broadcast Madonna’s Drowned World Tour on August 26th:
Madonna is taking her Music to the masses — HBO masses, that is. The cable network will air a live concert from the pop icon’s latest tour, the first in eight years, called the Drowned World Tour. Airing Aug. 26, the concert will be broadcast from The Palace of Auburn Hills in Detroit, Madonna’s hometown. It’s a thrill for us to have Madonna back because we know it is going to be a spectacular show, with that combination of her amazing talent and extravagant style which only Madonna can bring, says Nancy Gellar, HBO’s senior vice president of original programming. HBO and Madonna last teamed for 1993’s Madonna — Live Down Under: The Girlie Show, which aired live from Sydney, Australia. The program was HBO’s most-watched original program of the year. Madonna’s first special on HBO, 1990’s Madonna — Live! Blond Ambition World Tour, premiered to record numbers and remains one of the highest-rated original programs in HBO history.
Unlike HBO’s previous Madonna tour broadcasts, however, the live airing of the Drowned World Tour was simulcast to Canadian viewers via premium channel, The Movie Network.
A re-edited version of the concert special was later released on VHS & DVD on November 13th, 2001.
On July 12 1986, Madonna’s third album, True Blue, debuted at #1 on the UK Albums Chart.
Here’s the AllMusic review of True Blue by Stephen Thomas Erlewine:
True Blue is the album where Madonna truly became Madonna the Superstar — the endlessly ambitious, fearlessly provocative entertainer that knew how to outrage, spark debates, get good reviews — and make good music while she’s at it. To complain that True Blue is calculated is to not get Madonna — that’s a large part of what she does, and she is exceptional at it, but she also makes fine music. What’s brilliant about True Blue is that she does both here, using the music to hook in critics just as she’s baiting a mass audience with such masterstrokes as “Papa Don’t Preach,” where she defiantly states she’s keeping her baby. It’s easy to position anti-abortionism as feminism, but what’s tricky is to transcend your status as a dance-pop diva by consciously recalling classic girl-group pop (“True Blue,” “Jimmy Jimmy”) to snag the critics, while deepening the dance grooves (“Open Your Heart,” “Where’s the Party”), touching on Latin rhythms (“La Isla Bonita”), making a plea for world peace (“Love Makes the World Go Round”), and delivering a tremendous ballad that rewrites the rules of adult contemporary crossover (“Live to Tell”). It’s even harder to have the entire album play as an organic, cohesive work. Certainly, there’s some calculation behind the entire thing, but what matters is the end result, one of the great dance-pop albums, a record that demonstrates Madonna’s true skills as a songwriter, record-maker, provocateur, and entertainer through its wide reach, accomplishment, and sheer sense of fun.
On May 23 1987, La Isla Bonita hit #1 on Billboard’s Hot Adult Contemporary chart where it ruled for a single week.
It was Madonna’s second Hot AC chart topper after Live To Tell‘s three-week stint at #1 the previous year.
Both releases achieved similar longevity on AC radio playlists, with La Isla‘s seventeen-week Hot AC chart run nearly living up to Tell‘s eighteen weeks.
On February 25 1987, Madonna’s La Isla Bonita was released as the fifth and final single from the True Blue album.
An instrumental version of the song, written by Bruce Gaitsch, was first offered to Michael Jackson for his Bad album, but Jackson declined to use the track.
While working with Patrick Leonard on the True Blue album, Madonna accepted the instrumental track and then wrote the lyrics and melody, giving her a co-writing credit with Leonard and Gaitsch. The track was also produced by Madonna and Patrick Leonard.
On December 4 2007, Warner Bros. released Live Earth: The Concerts for a Climate in Crisis on CD and DVD. The CD included Madonna’s Hey You, while the DVD included her La Isla Bonita performance with Gogol Bordello.
The CD/DVD was released internationally on November 26 and December 4 in North America. Proceeds from the CD/DVD were directed to the Alliance for Climate Protection.
Madonna performed the following songs during the benefit concert:
- Hey You
- Ray Of Light
- La Isla Bonita
- Hung Up
On October 7 1989, Cherish, the third single from Madonna’s incredible Like A Prayer album started the first of a two-week run at #1 on Billboard’s Hot Adult Contemporary chart in the USA.
Cherish was Madonna’s third single to top the A.C. chart, following the 1986 ballad hit Live To Tell (3 weeks at #1) and 1987’s La Isla Bonita (also 1 week at #1).
Here’s what Madonna biographer J. Randy Taraborrelli (Madonna: An Intimate Biography) had to say about the single:
Cherish was a particular triumph for the Madonna/Patrick Leonard partnership. A delightful confection of radio-ready proportions, the song had it all—strong, positive, remarkably dysfunction-free lyrics about love, a memorable, singalong vocal melody, and a tight, pungent rhythm arrangement. It remains, quite simply, one of the best songs Madonna has ever written; sweet and happy, but by no means corny, it’s a perfectly constructed pop song which Madonna delivered beautifully, and with undeniably sassy charm. Indeed, if Cherish had been released in the Sixties, it would have most likely emanated from Detroit’s Motown or the New York song writing Mecca, the Brill Building.