Today in Madonna History: July 16, 1985

 On July 16 1985, Madonna’s hit single, Crazy For You, was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipment of one million copies of the single in United States—the requirement for a gold single prior to 1989.

According to the book Risky Business: Rock In Film, the single has sold two million copies in the U.S., making it one of her biggest selling physical singles, behind Vogue and Like A Prayer. The lack of any further certification to verify this figure is plausible considering Crazy For You was released through Geffen Records; because Madonna was not a Geffen recording artist they would have had little incentive to invest in additional certifications once the initial promotional push for the soundtrack had ended.

Today in Madonna History: July 2, 2005

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On July 2 2005, Madonna performed Like A Prayer, Ray Of Light and Music in front of an audience of over 200,000 during the Live 8 benefit concert at London’s Hyde Park. Part of a series of concerts, many of which were held simultaneously at various locations around the world, Live 8 was broadcast live on television and radio to an estimated global audience of two billion.

Madonna is one of only eight acts – and the only female artist – to have been a headlining performer at both 1985’s Live Aid and 2005’s Live 8. Other returning performers were U2, Paul McCartney, Elton John, Sting, The Who, George Michael, and organizer, Bob Geldof. It took a bit of arm twisting on Geldof’s part to win Madonna’s commitment the second time around, as Madonna explained to MTV’s John Norris in a backstage interview after her performance:

Bob Geldof sent me a letter asking ‘will you do Live 8?’ and he didn’t really tell me anything and I went ‘Oh common dude, you gotta do better than that! Prove to me that it’s gonna make a difference and I’ll be there for you.’ And he did!”

In what turned out to be one of the event’s most moving moments, Madonna was introduced to the stage by Geldof with Birhan Woldu – the starving African child featured in the CBC News report twenty years earlier who had prompted Geldof to organize Live Aid. When Geldof had asked Woldu which artist she would like to appear with on stage, she immediately selected Madonna for the simple reason that she was the only artist on the bill that she had ever heard of. In a later interview, Woldu recalled the experience:

The crowd seemed to stretch for miles, but I’d been telling myself not to be nervous. There was just a huge picture of me as a child on the screen. That photo still upsets me. It was taken 20 years ago, when both my mother and sister died. I knew I must be strong for them but when I walked on I could feel my body shaking. Then Madonna took my hand and looked into my eyes, the crowd roared and I realised the world wanted to help my continent. I felt myself grow stronger.”

Madonna’s memorable performance at Live 8 was largely praised by mainstream media and fans alike.

Today In Madonna History: April 29, 1989

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On April 29 1989, Madonna’s Like A Prayer enjoyed a second (of three) weeks at #1 in the USA.

Today in Madonna History: April 22, 1989

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Starting April 22 1989, and continuing for the weeks of April 29, May 6, May 13, May 20 and May 27, Madonna’s Like A Prayer album became and remained the number-one album in Canada!

Today in Madonna History: April 4, 1989

On April 4 1989, Pepsi-Cola announced it had banned all future broadcasts of the Madonna/Pepsi-Cola commercial, cancelled her 1-year contract and the sponsorship of what would have been the Like A Prayer World Tour, due to the boycott threats from religious groups against her own Like A Prayer music video.

Here’s a snippet of an article from the New York Times (printed April 5, 1989):

”When you’ve got an ad that confuses people or concerns people, it just makes sense that that ad goes away,” said Tod MacKenzie, a spokesman for Pepsico Inc. He would not say whether Pepsico had canceled its sponsorship of Madonna’s tour.

Pepsico paid Madonna more than $5 million to appear in a two-minute commercial that first appeared on March 2. In it, Madonna traveled back to her 8th birthday.

Jay’s Thought: Had the Like A Prayer World Tour gone forward as planned, Madonna might not have participated in Dick Tracy or released I’m Breathless or Vogue for that matter. How different would the Like A Prayer World Tour set-list have been from Blond Ambition?

Today in Madonna History: March 19, 1989

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On March 19 1989, Madonna’s Like A Prayer stormed on to Australia’s ARIA Singles Chart, entering at #3. It would hit ARIA’s top spot the following week, nudging out The Fine Young Cannibal’s She Drives Me Crazy.

The two songs entered into an extended dance for the pole position, with Crazy reclaiming its spot for two weeks before handing it back again to Prayer. Then back to Crazy. Then Prayer.

Dizzy yet?

Our Aussie mates may be a tad indecisive with their hits–but they sure know how to pick ’em!

Today in Madonna History: March 16, 1995

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On March 16 1995, Madonna’s The Immaculate Collection was certified 6x platinum (6 million units) in the USA.

Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine (allmusic.com):

On the surface, the single-disc hits compilation The Immaculate Collection appears to be a definitive retrospective of Madonna’s heyday in the ’80s. After all, it features 17 of Madonna’s greatest hits, from Holiday and Like a Virgin to Like a Prayer and Vogue. However, looks can be deceiving. It’s true that The Immaculate Collection contains the bulk of Madonna’s hits, but there are several big hits that aren’t present, including Angel, Dress You Up, True Blue, Who’s That Girl and Causing a Commotion. The songs that are included are frequently altered. Everything on the collection is remastered in Q-sound, which gives an exaggerated sense of stereo separation that often distorts the original intent of the recordings. Furthermore, several songs are faster than their original versions and some are faded out earlier than either their single or album versions, while others are segued together. In other words, while all the hits are present, they’re simply not in their correct versions. Nevertheless, The Immaculate Collection remains a necessary purchase, because it captures everything Madonna is about and it proves that she was one of the finest singles artists of the ’80s. Until the original single versions are compiled on another album, The Immaculate Collection is the closest thing to a definitive retrospective.

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