Today in Madonna History: October 24, 1989

oh father usa sheet music 550oh father set 11 550

On October 24 1989, Oh Father was released in North America as the fourth single from the Like A Prayer album. France, Japan, the Philippines and Australia also opted to issue the single in 1989, while other European markets waited for Madonna’s 1995 ballads compilation, Something To Remember, to promote the song. Oh Father was written and produced by Madonna & Patrick Leonard.

According to the song’s string arranger, Bill Meyers, Oh Father was recorded in a “dingy studio” in New York City’s Garment District while Madonna was appearing in the play, Speed-The-Plow. Since the bulk of the album would be completed in California after the completion of her Broadway run, this would suggest that Oh Father was likely the first song recorded for the project. Leonard recently provided further evidence of this when he shared an image of a demo tape sleeve containing working titles of songs from the latter sessions on his Instagram, noting that Oh Father was not among the tracks listed because it had been completed earlier.

Leonard recalled the recording of the track in a 2014 interview with Billboard Magazine:

My favorite thing that we ever recorded, ever – or wrote – is Oh Father. That to me is the best thing we ever did. So, it didn’t surprise me because we knew when we did it, that there was something about this that was in a way kind of the most real thing.

For that song, the ‘record’ button was only pressed three times. It was pressed to do the track, live, with her singing live. Then we did the orchestra. And then we did a double of her vocal when we were mixing. That’s it. So it’s real. It’s something that I really wanted to do and she was kind enough to say “let’s try this,” and it was not easy.

There’s two or three guitar players playing. I’m playing keyboards. Jai Winding was playing keyboards. There was a percussionist and a drummer – and she’s singing – all at the same time.

These days, people go “wow, that seems crazy.” Those days it wasn’t uncommon for everybody to be playing together even though you’re not a band. But it was one of those things where the arrangement was tricky enough, that it really took some working out to get it all right.

Even all those weird synth overdubs and things – all those things were being done live. We worked out all the parts, had all the sounds. I remember that we cut it live, and then put the orchestra on. You’re not doubling the orchestra, so it’s one pass for the orchestra.

When I say [the ‘record’ button was] pressed three times, it might have gotten pressed 10 times that day, but it was ultimately one that stayed there. If you see what I’m saying. When we were mixing it, [mixer] Bill Bottrell suggested that we double the choruses. I remember even being a little upset about it (laughs). Like, look, “we’ve got an amazing record that we only pressed the record button twice – can’t we leave it?” He said, “three isn’t exactly shameful.” We doubled the lead vocal on the choruses, and that was it.

Today in Madonna History: September 26, 1988

On September 26 1988, Madonna began recording the Like A Prayer album in Los Angeles, California with collaborators Patrick Leonard and Stephen Bray.

Madonna had begun writing for the album during the down time of her Broadway run in David Mamet’s Speed-The-Plow, for which she gave her final performance in late August. With her marriage to Sean Penn on the rocks, Madonna found herself at a personal and creative crossroads – with plenty to express.

 

Today in Madonna History: August 13, 1952

On August 13 1952, one of Madonna’s closest friends, Herb Ritts, was born in Los Angeles, California.

Ritts specialized in black and white photography and music videos, including Madonna’s Cherish music video and the photoshoot for Madonna’s True Blue, Like A Prayer and Immaculate Collection albums (among others — the list just goes on and on).

Throughout the 80’s and 90’s, Herb was at Madonna’s side taking the most beautiful photos of her possible. We thank him from the bottom of our hearts for capturing Madonna during this time in her life and career.

Today in Madonna History: August 1, 1989

On August 1 1989, Madonna’s Cherish single was released as the third single from her Like A Prayer album. The hit single was written and produced by Madonna and Patrick Leonard.

Watch the HD version of the Cherish music video, re-released on August 1 2021:

Today in Madonna History: July 22, 1989

express yourself usa sheet music 550

On July 22 1989, Madonna’s Express Yourself reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart. Express Yourself was the first song that Madonna and producer Stephen Bray collaborated on for the Like a Prayer album.

“The message of the song is that people should always say what it is they want. The reason relationships don’t work is because they are afraid. That’s been my problem in all my relationships. I’m sure people see me as an outspoken person, and for the most part, if I want something I ask for it. But sometimes you feel that if you ask for too much or ask for the wrong thing from someone you care about that that person won’t like you. And so you censor yourself. I’ve been guilty of that in every meaningful relationship I’ve ever had. The time I learn how not to edit myself will be the time I consider myself a complete adult.”

—Madonna talking to Stephen Holden of The New York Times.
 
Express Yourself (Organic Percapella Mix):

Today in Madonna History: May 4, 2016

may-4-2016

On May 4 2016, Madonna tweeted about her long-time friend and Like A Prayer collaborator, Prince:

“It’s been 7 hours and 13 days since you took your love away……….all the flowers you planted died when you went away……….Nothing Compares 2 U.”

Today in Madonna History: April 22, 1989

like-a-prayer-april-22-1989-1 like-a-prayer-april-22-1989-2

On April 22 1989, Madonna’s Like A Prayer album and single reached #1 simultaneously in the USA.

The album stayed at the top of the charts for 6 weeks, while the single stayed at the top of the Hot 100 for 3 weeks.

%d bloggers like this: