Today in Madonna History: January 19, 1991

On January 19 1991, Billboard magazine reported on the controversy surrounding Madonna’s use of prose from the Book of Revelations in a remix featured on the maxi-single of Justify My Love, titled The Beast Within. The remix was created by Madonna & Lenny Kravitz during the recording session for Justify My Love.

While The Beast Within would later be featured prominently in 1993’s Girlie Show tour and as the opening sequence of 2004’s Re-Invention tour, in both cases the biblical verse that had sparked the controversy was excluded.

The article also mentions the song’s use of Public Enemy’s Security Of The First World as the basis of Justify My Love‘s rhythm track, with Public Enemy’s co-producer revealing an intent to sue Madonna & Kravitz over its use. Madonna had only received credit for “additional lyrics” on the song, while Kravitz was originally credited as composer and producer.

Today in Madonna History: September 10, 1998

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On September 10 1998, Madonna performed Shanti/Ashtangi and Ray Of Light at the 15th annual MTV Video Music Awards at the Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles, California.  Ray Of Light won Best Video, Best Female Video, Best Direction (Jonas Åkerlund), Best Choreography, Best Editing and Frozen won Best Special Effects.

Today in Madonna History: August 31, 2006

On August 31 2006, Madonna was joined on stage by Lenny Kravitz during a performance of I Love New York at a concert in Paris, France. Kravitz had previously been spotted in the audience at several stops on The Confessions Tour and was clearly a fan of the show.

The appearance followed the pair’s 1990 songwriting collaboration, Justify My Love, and its pseudo-remix, The Beast Within. They also shared the stage during a performance of Ray Of Light at the 1998 MTV Video Music Awards.

Today in Madonna History: December 7, 1990

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On December 7 1990, Madonna’s Justify My Love was released as the first-ever video single, priced at $9.98.

The music video was considered too sexually explicit for MTV and was banned from the network. Madonna responded to the banning: “Why is it that people are willing to go and watch a movie about someone getting blown to bits for no reason at all, and nobody wants to see two girls kissing and two men snuggling?”

On December 3, 1990, ABC’s Nightline played the video in its entirety, then interviewed Madonna live about the video’s sexual content and censorship. When asked whether she stood to make more money selling the video than airing it on MTV, she appeared impatient and answered, “Yeah, so? Lucky me.” She also expressed during the interview that she did not understand why the video was banned, while videos containing violence and degradation to women continued to receive regular airplay. The video was then released on VHS, and became a bestselling “video single” of all time.

Do you still have your VHS copy of Justify My Love?

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