Today in Madonna History: November 17, 1984

On November 17 1984, the title-track and lead single from Madonna’s Like A Virgin album entered the Billboard Hot 100 at #48 – the week’s highest debut – hot on the heels of its commercial release as a 7-inch single in the preceding sales week. A commercial 12-inch single was also issued in North America during the chart week ending November 17th, with Like A Virgin pouncing onto the Hot Dance/Disco Sales chart at #26 in the November 24th issue of Billboard.

Created by the successful pop songwriting team of Tom Kelly & Billy Steinberg and produced by Nile Rodgers, the demo of Like A Virgin – sung by Kelly – was initially introduced to Madonna by Warner Bros. Records’ A&R rep Michael Ostin (son of then-CEO of Warner, Mo Ostin).

In a 2009 interview for Rolling Stone magazine, Madonna recalled her impressions upon first listening to the demos of Like A Virgin and its follow-up single, Material Girl:

“I liked them both because they were ironic and provocative at the same time but also unlike me. I am not a materialistic person, and I certainly wasn’t a virgin, and, by the way, how can you be like a virgin? I liked the play on words; I thought they were clever. They’re so geeky, they’re cool. I never realized they would become my signature songs, especially the second one.”

As audio engineer Jason Corsaro noted in a 2007 interview with Sound On Sound magazine, although she officially ceded production credit to Rodgers, Madonna was actively engaged in all aspects of the recording sessions for the album and title-track:

“Nile was there most of the time, but she was there all of the time. She never left.”

Like A Virgin made a high-profile debut via live performance during the first annual MTV Video Music Awards on September 14th, 1984.

With previous single Lucky Star still ascending the North American charts, however, the official release of Like A Virgin was held back by Warner Bros. Records in a bid to allow the former (along with its parent album) to reach its full chart potential. This strategy proved successful, with Madonna earning her first U.S. Top-5 single with Lucky Star in the October 20th issue of Billboard, while Like A Virgin would reach #1 in the December 22nd issue.

Today in Madonna History: November 12, 1984

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On November 12 1984, Madonna’s Like A Virgin album was released by Sire Records.  The album was re-released worldwide in 1985, to include the bonus track, Into the Groove.

The original track listing for Madonna’s second album included:

Material Girl
Angel
Like A Virgin
Over & Over
Love Don’t Live Here Anymore
Dress You Up
Shoo-Bee-Doo
Pretender
Stay

The cover sleeve and album insert images were shot by Steven Meisel. The first shot in this post was used for the album cover. The rest of the photos in this post are outtakes from the same photo shoot.

Today in Madonna History: August 5, 2022

On August 5 2022, Madonna and Saucy Santana released Material Gworrllllllll!. The collaboration/remix of Santana’s viral track, was inspired by Madonna’s original 1984 hit, Material Girl (from the Like a Virgin album). The official music video will be released on Monday August 8 2022.

More from Variety:

Rising rapper and internet phenomenon Saucy Santana has teamed with Madonna for the remix of his 2020 viral hit “Material Girl,” now retitled “Material Gworrllllllll!” The Queen of Pop first teased the collaboration on her Instagram account on August 4, sharing a snippet of the feisty chorus. “(Material girl) currently working on a Grammy,” Santana spits over electronic production that references Madonna’s seminal song. “Meanwhile, pussy poppin’ with ya man in Miami.”

The release comes after the unlikely duo joined forces at New York City Pride in June. Madonna, who still very much has her finger on the pulse of pop culture, invited Santana to share the Terminal 5 stage for a mash-up of “Material Girl” with her similarly-titled 1984 hit. It was an experience that left a lasting impression on the rapper. “I wish that I can have this moment for LIFE,” he wrote on Instagram, before profusely thanking the pop icon.

“These past weeks [with] you have been nothing short of amazing!” raved Santana, who also tapped Latto for a feature on his “Booty.” “I silently learned so many great things from you. Thank you for choosing me! A queer, fem, black boy [with] talent and vision I didn’t know God had for me.” It’s another step towards the mainstream for the social media fixture, who started in the industry as City Girls’ makeup artist before branching into rap with a series of viral hits. His version of “Material Girl” has already amassed more than 40 million streams on Spotify.

Today in Madonna History: July 14, 1987

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On July 14 1987, Madonna’s second studio album, Like a Virgin was certified 7x platinum (7 million units) in the USA.

According to author J. Randy Taraborrelli, “Every important artist has at least one album in his or her career whose critical and commercial success becomes the artist’s magic moment; for Madonna, Like a Virgin was just such a defining moment”.

Madonna – Stay (Rough Mix Edit)

Today in Madonna History: February 6, 2014

Nile Rodgers recording Like A Virgin - Power Station Studio C

On February 6 2014, Like A Virgin producer Nile Rodgers mentioned his collaboration with Madonna during a Google+ Hangout with Billboard:

“I don’t have any unreleased Madonna material because Madonna knew exactly what she wanted her album to be when we did Like a Virgin. The only song that I had any input of bringing into the mix was a cover of Rose Royce’s ballad Love Don’t Live Here Anymore. That was a final last-minute decision.”

Today in Madonna History: February 5, 1985

1984 - Madonna by Larry Williams for Like a Virgin Videoclip - 04

On February 5 1985, Madonna’s Like A Virgin was certified 3x platinum (for sales of 3 million units) in the USA.

Today in Madonna History: January 10, 1985

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On January 10 1985, Madonna began filming the Material Girl music video in Los Angeles, California.  The video was directed by Mary Lambert. Madonna met Sean Penn on the set.

In a 1987 interview with New York Daily News, Madonna talked about the concept for the video:

“My favorite scene in all of Marilyn Monroe’s movies is when she does that dance sequence for ‘Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend’. And when it came time to do the video for the song Material Girl, I said, I can just redo that whole scene and it will be perfect. Marilyn was made into something not human in a way, and I can relate to that. Her sexuality was something everyone was obsessed with and that I can relate to. And there were certain things about her vulnerability that I’m curious about and attracted to.”

Reflecting on the song, Madonna told author J. Randy Taraborrelli:

“I can’t completely disdain the song and the video, because they certainly were important to my career. But talk about the media hanging on a phrase and misinterpreting the damn thing as well. I didn’t write that song, you know, and the video was about how the girl rejected diamonds and money. But God forbid irony should be understood. So when I’m ninety, I’ll still be the Material Girl. I guess it’s not so bad. Lana Turner was the Sweater Girl until the day she died.”

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