Today in Madonna History: August 26, 1989

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On August 26 1989, Madonna’s third single from the Like A Prayer album, Cherish, debuted at #32 on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary chart.

Song review by Stewart Mason (AllMusic.com):

True Blue had the gimmicky quality of an early Cyndi Lauper single, like a new waver’s vague approximation of what a 1960’s girl group song might have sounded like. Cherish is a much more successful dip into the musical past, not least because the ’60s flavor is very slight, more of a mood than any kind of particular stylistic pastiche. Perfect pop touches like the flirty “ooh, ooh” backing vocals on the bridge and the dead-on introduction of a short, sharp horn section accent on the final chorus are part of what puts the song over, but the bulk of the credit belongs to Madonna’s bubbly and endearing lead vocal, which uses the helium-pitched high register of her early singles, but minus the occasional harshness of those songs. Cherish is a delight, one of many highlights on Madonna’s best album.

Today in Madonna History: August 21, 1989

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On August 21 1989, the music video for Cherish premiered on MTV in the U.S.  The video was the directed by Madonna’s frequent collaborator and friend, photographer Herb Ritts.

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While the single from the Like A Prayer album went on to become another hit single, it’s interesting to note that Madonna had previously written an entirely different song using the title Cherish. Her handwritten lyrics for the unreleased track – along with several others that have yet to surface in musical form – turned up at an auction in 2011.

Today in Madonna History: July 22, 1989

 

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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.

Today in Madonna History: June 24, 1989

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On June 24 1989, Madonna’s Express  Yourself single debuted at #21 on the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Maxi Single Sales chart.

The 12″ maxi single included the following:

  1. Express Yourself (Non-Stop Express Mix) – 7:57
  2. Express Yourself (Stop & Go Dubs) – 10:49
  3. Express Yourself (Local Mix) – 6:26
  4. The Look of Love (Album Version) – 4:00

Today in Madonna History: May 9, 1989

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On May 9 1989, Madonna released Express Yourself, the second single from her Like A Prayer album.

Lyrics:

Come on girls
Do you believe in love?
‘Cause I got something to say about it
And it goes something like this

Don’t go for second best baby
Put your love to the test
You know, you know, you’ve got to
Make him express how he feels
And maybe then you’ll know your love is real

You don’t need diamond rings
Or eighteen karat gold
Fancy cars that go very fast
You know they never last, no, no

What you need is a big strong hand
To lift you to your higher ground
Make you feel like a queen on a throne
Make him love you till you can’t come down
(You’ll never come down)

Don’t go for second best baby
Put your love to the test
You know, you know, you’ve got to
Make him express how he feels
And maybe then you’ll know your love is real

Long stem roses are the way to your heart
But he needs to start with your head
Satin sheets are very romantic
What happens when you’re not in bed

You deserve the best in life
So if the time isn’t right then move on
Second best is never enough
You’ll do much better baby on your own
(Baby on your own)

Don’t go for second best baby
Put your love to the test
You know, you know, you’ve got to
Make him express how he feels
And maybe then you’ll know your love is real

Express yourself
(You’ve got to make him)
Express himself
Hey, hey, hey, hey
So if you want it right now, make him show you how
Express what he’s got, oh baby ready or not

And when you’re gone he might regret it
Think about the love he once had
Try to carry on, but he just won’t get it
He’ll be back on his knees

To express himself
(You’ve got to make him)
Express himself
Hey hey

What you need is a big strong hand
To lift you to your higher ground
Make you feel like a queen on a throne
Make him love you till you can’t come down
(You’ll never come down)

And when you’re gone he might regret it
Think about the love he once had
Try to carry on, but he just won’t get it
He’ll be back on his knees

So please

Don’t go for second best baby
Put your love to the test
You know, you know, you’ve got to
Make him express how he feels
And maybe then you’ll know your love is real

Express yourself
(You’ve got to make him)
Express himself
Hey, hey, hey, hey
So if you want it right now, make him show you how
Express what he’s got, oh baby ready or not

Express yourself
(You’ve got to make him)
So you can respect yourself
Hey, hey
So if you want it right now, then make him show you how
Express what he’s got, oh baby ready or not

Today in Madonna History: April 11, 1990

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On April 11 1990, Madonna’s Keep It Together single was certified Gold by the RIAA for shipment of over 500,000 units in the U.S.

Keep It Together was Madonna’s last 7-inch single to be issued with a picture sleeve by Warner Bros. Records in the U.S. until the release of a 4 Minutes/Give It 2 Me double 7-inch set eighteen years later.

Today in Madonna History: March 21, 1989

On March 21 1989, Madonna’s Like A Prayer album was released.

Written and produced by Madonna with Patrick Leonard, Stephen Bray and Prince, the Like A Prayer album was considered to be a major artistic leap forward for Madonna, and was certainly her most personal offering to date at the time of its release.

Allmusic’s Stephen Thomas Erlewine offered this 5-star (out of 5) review of the album:

Out of all of Madonna’s albums, Like a Prayer is her most explicit attempt at a major artistic statement. Even though it is apparent that she is trying to make a “serious” album, the kaleidoscopic variety of pop styles on Like a Prayer is quite dazzling. Ranging from the deep funk of Express Yourself and Keep It Together to the haunting Oh Father and Like a Prayer, Madonna displays a commanding sense of songcraft, making this her best and most consistent album.

Happy 30th anniversary to one of our favorites – the phenomenal Like A Prayer!

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