Today in Madonna History: May 23, 1987

On May 23 1987, La Isla Bonita hit #1 on Billboard’s Hot Adult Contemporary chart where it ruled for a single week.

It was Madonna’s second Hot AC chart topper after Live To Tell‘s three-week stint at #1 the previous year.

Both releases achieved similar longevity on AC radio playlists, with La Isla‘s seventeen-week Hot AC chart run nearly living up to Tell‘s eighteen weeks.

Today in Madonna History: April 13, 2019

On April 13 2019, two of Madonna’s classic Japanese-exclusive vinyl EPs were re-released on coloured vinyl for Record Store Day 2019: True Blue (Super Club Mix) and La Isla Bonita (Super Mix).

True Blue (Super Club Mix) was pressed on blue vinyl (limited to 13,000 copies) and included the following tracks:

    • True Blue (The Color Mix)
    • Everybody (Dub Version)
    • Papa Don’t Preach (Extended Remix)
    • Everybody (Extended Version)
    • Live To Tell (Instrumental)

La Isla Bonita (Super Mix) was pressed on green vinyl (limited to 12,500 copies) and included the following tracks:

    • La Isla Bonita (Extended Remix)
    • Open Your Heart (Extended Version)
    • Gambler
    • Crazy For You
    • La Isla Bonita (Instrumental)

Jay’s Note: I was in line at 5:35am. Did you participate in Record Store Day? Were you successful in your search? 

Today in Madonna History: February 17, 1996

On February 17 1996, the maxi-single for You’ll See spent its final week on the Maxi-Single Sales chart in Billboard magazine at #40.

The release had a notably short run on the Maxi-Single Sales chart (by Madonna’s typically high standards), spending only three weeks on the proper chart, after debuting on the Bubbling Under chart at #52. It peaked at #18 on February 3rd.

There are several potential reasons that could explain the low sales of its maxi-single. Ballads, unless heavily and successfully remixed, naturally generated less interest with this format, which was primarily geared towards attracting dance music listeners. Many of Madonna’s ballads were not released in the format for this reason. You’ll See was not given an officially released remix treatment but instead featured a Spanish-sung version of the song, an instrumental version, and a live version of another previous ballad hit, Live To Tell.

Further reducing any incentive to buy the maxi-single was the fact that standard U.S. CD and cassette single inexplicably included three of the four cuts featured on the maxi-single, leaving only the Spanish version as an exclusive track on the latter. One wonders if the inclusion of the live version of Live To Tell on the normally two-track standard single was possibly due to a pressing error that they decided to go ahead and release, since it is not listed on the sleeve but is instead promoted as a nameless bonus track on an outer label affixed to the CD and cassette single cellophane (its inclusion is noted on the physical disc and cassette).

Only one Madonna maxi-single issued in the U.S. had both a shorter run and a lower peak on the Maxi-Single Sales chart, and it was another hit ballad. I’ll Remember spent only two weeks on the chart (plus its first week on the Bubbling Under chart), peaking at #30 on May 21, 1994. Similarly, it was also padded with a live cut. However, it also included some creative reworkings of the track by William Orbit, making the reason for its dismal placement on the chart more perplexing. In terms of contents value, it easily outshines the You’ll See maxi-single.

In Canada, You’ll See was only issued as a CD maxi-single, with no standard single being issued on cassette or CD.

Today in Madonna History: December 27, 1986

On December 27 1986, RPM magazine published their list of the top charting singles of 1986 in Canada.

Here’s how Madonna’s singles stacked up in the year-end ranking:

  • Live To Tell – #2
  • Papa Don’t Preach – #13
  • True Blue – #37

A stark departure from her earlier pop hits, Live To Tell was initially considered by her record label to be a risky choice for a single. Its success showed that programmers were willing to give Madonna some room to grow on radio.

Today in Madonna History: October 30, 1995

you'll see video 2you'll see canadian sleeve

On October 30 1995, You’ll See  was released as the first single from the ballads compilation, Something To Remember. It was one of three tracks written and produced by Madonna with Canadian songwriter David Foster during a marathon writing/recording session in late September 1995, with One More Chance also making the album’s final cut. A shelved collaboration entitled I Can’t Forget was recorded by British electronic group Tilt (retitled Come Closer) in 2006 and later by Canadian vocalist Angelica Di Castro. Madonna’s original unreleased demo leaked to the internet in 2010.

A Spanish version of You’ll See entitled Verás (featuring lyrics by Paz Martinez) was recorded during a brief promotional push for the album and was included on the North American maxi-single alongside an instrumental version and a live recording of Live To Tell (taken from 1987’s Ciao Italia! concert release). An alternate version of the You’ll See video was serviced to Latin markets to promote Verás featuring in-studio footage of Madonna recording its vocals.

Today in Madonna History: October 17, 1987

On October 17 1987, Billboard magazine featured a two-page spread taken out by Madonna’s manager, Freddy DeMann, thanking everyone involved with Madonna’s massively successful Who’s That Girl World Tour, which had wrapped up in Europe the month before.

In the same issue of Billboard, Chart Beat columnist Paul Grein marked Madonna’s 13th consecutive top-5 hit as Causing A Commotion moved into the #5 position on the Hot 100. Speculating on how long Madonna’s winning streak could last, he warned of the dangers of over-exposure and artistic complacency. Without the benefit of hindsight, the back-handed compliment and slightly patronizing advice is not altogether unreasonable, and is certainly not unusual for the time.

Less reasonable, however, is his summation that the severity of Madonna’s potential fall from grace would be compounded by the abundance of female singers of the era who “sound like Madonna”.

Because you know, all female singers are only that – female singers. Even though you’re co-writing and co-producing your own songs and radio can’t get enough, neither can your audience or even your peers, you’re breaking records set by top male and female artists alike, you’re selling out stadiums around the world and earning high praise as a live performer – don’t think any of these things should afford you any respect. You may not have entered the business through the back door and you may have paid your dues and then some, but you’ve still just been lucky, that’s all. You couldn’t possibly possess the talent or the drive to evolve or the insight to be able to stay in the game once your luck runs out. Even though you are the one that everyone is copying – you’re still just another female singer, and they’re a dime a dozen.

While we no longer need hindsight to spot the glaring absurdity and blatant sexism of such an argument today, would it be as obvious if Madonna hadn’t stuck around to dispel it?

Today in Madonna History: July 11, 1987

madonna_true_blue_5_certification

On July 11 1987, Madonna’s True Blue album was certified 5x platinum (5 million units) in the USA.  The album went on to sell an estimated 19 million units worldwide.

How many copies of True Blue do you own? Cassette? 8-Track? LP? CD? 

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