Today in Madonna History: November 18, 1994

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On November 18 1994, Madonna released her second coffee table book, The Girlie Show, with 70-pages of photographs from the tour and a 3-song live CD, which included Like A Virgin, In This Life and Why’s It So Hard.

The book was published in the US by Callaway.  The book sold 140,000 copies (the book is now out of print). The Girlie Show was also published in the UK, France, Germany and Japan.

Today in Madonna History: November 13, 1984

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On November 13 1984, Madonna’s Like A Virgin video premiered on MTV.

Mary Lambert, the director of the video had this to say:

“For Like A Virgin I said ‘Lets do it in Venice!’ The idea of Madonna singing in a gondola was the most outrageous thing I could think of. And Madonna dug it, because she has the whole thing with the Catholic Church and her Italian heritage. It turned into a huge party.”

Madonna had this to say about shooting with the lion:

“The lion didn’t do anything he was supposed to do, and I ended up leaning against this pillar with his head in my crotch… I thought he was going to take a bite out of me so I lifted the veil I was wearing and had a stare-down with him and he opened his mouth and let out this huge roar. I got so frightened my heart fell in my shoe. When he finally walked away, the director yelled ‘Cut’ and I had to take a long breather. But I could really relate to the lion. I feel like in a past life I was a lion or a cat or something.”

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Today in Madonna History: November 6, 1984

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On November 6 1984, Madonna’s Like A Virgin was released as the lead single from the album of the same name.  The b-side for Like A Virgin was Stay.

Billy Steinberg reflected on the recording process and commented that:

“When Madonna recorded it, even as our demo faded out, on the fade you could hear Tom (Kelly) saying, “When your heart beats, and you hold me, and you love me…” That was the last thing you heard as our demo faded. Madonna must have listened to it very, very carefully because her record ends with the exact same little ad-libs that our demo did. That rarely happens that someone studies your demo so carefully that they use all that stuff. We were sort of flattered how carefully she followed our demo on that.

Today in Madonna History: May 29, 1990

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On May 29 1990, Toronto police threatened to arrest Madonna on the grounds of lewd and obscene behavior for the Like A Virgin masturbation sequence in her Blond Ambition concert.  The show went on unaltered, and no charges were made after the tour manager gave the police an ultimatum: “Cancel the show, and you’ll have to tell 30,000 people why.”

Madonna performed 3 sold-out concerts at the SkyDome, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Today in Madonna History: April 6 1990

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On April 6 1990, Madonna’s Vogue maxi single was released.

Here is the allmusic.com review of the maxi single:

Vogue, the first single from Madonna’s Dick Tracy-inspired 1990 album I’m Breathless, was arguably one of her crowning artistic achievements (both song-wise and video-wise), one of the biggest all-time house music hits (spending three weeks atop the U.S. pop charts), and her second proper U.S. maxi-single release. The single includes four versions: the single version, the 12″ version, the Bette Davis Dub, and the Strike-A-Pose Dub. The song’s most definitive version, that being the album/video version, is not on the single. The single version, where she asks “what are you looking at,” begins with drumbeats and goes straight into the song, as opposed to the album version’s minute-long introduction. Besides the different intros, however, the rest is the same. The 12″ version is, naturally, quite longer, and just as good. The “Bette Davis Dub” begins with the extended album intro, but, save for the chorus and the “rap,” is virtually instrumental, as is the last mix, which cleverly uses samples from Like a Virgin. This disc’s main selling point is the fact that it’s a collection piece, and for collectors and diehards, it’s nice to have the single edit and 12″ mix. But if one is a casual fan, go with the album version.

Today in Madonna History: December 13, 1984

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On December 13 1984, Madonna performed Like A Virgin on BBC1-TV’s Top Of The Pops in London, England.

Madonna wore her signature Boy Toy belt, a Keith Haring jacket and a vibrant pink wig. She wore the same pink wig during a performance on Like A Virgin on Solid Gold.

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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.

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