Today in Madonna History: October 30, 1995

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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

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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? 

Today in Madonna History: June 30, 1986

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On June 30 1986, Madonna’s True Blue album was released by Sire Records. She worked with Stephen Bray and Patrick Leonard on the album while co-writing and co-producing all the songs.

True Blue was an immediate global success, reaching number one in then record-breaking 28 countries across the world, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States. It spent 34 consecutive weeks at the top of the European Top 100 Albums chart, longer than any other album in history. It became the world’s top-selling album of 1986, as well the biggest selling album of the 1980s by a woman and remains one of the best-selling albums of all time with sales of more than 25 million copies worldwide. All five singles released from the album reached the top five on the Billboard Hot 100, with Live to Tell, Papa Don’t Preach, and Open Your Heart peaking at number one.

Today in Madonna History: June 7, 1986

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On June 7 1986, Madonna’s Live To Tell hit #1 in the USA. Live To Tell was written and produced together by Madonna and Patrick Leonard.

Speaking of Patrick Leonard, one of our all-time favourite Madonna collaborators — he currently has a Kickstarter campaign going for a new album called Bring The Circus Home, a collection of re-visited and re-imagined songs (piano-only, no vocals) that he and Madonna worked on and released together. Please check out Patrick’s Kickstarter campaign and donate/pledge if you can — this is an all-or-nothing campaign. He will not be able to proceed with the album if the goal is not met by Wednesday July 4.

Jay’s Note: I’m going to pledge $100 so I can get one of the limited edition vinyl releases! Woo-hoo vinyl! 

This beautiful video shows Madonna collaborator Patrick Leonard playing a solo piano version of Live To Tell:

Today in Madonna History: May 31, 1986

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On May 31 1986, Madonna’s Live To Tell hit #1 for 3 weeks on US Hot Adult Contemporary singles chart.

The song was Madonna’s third number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100, and her first number-one on the Adult Contemporary chart.

In an interview about the song, Madonna said, “I thought about my relationship with my parents and the lying that went on. The song is about being strong, and questioning whether you can be that strong but ultimately surviving.”

In a review of the album True Blue, Stephen Thomas Erlewine from Allmusic called it a “tremendous ballad that rewrites the rules of adult contemporary crossover”.

Jim Farber from Entertainment Weekly called the song “her best ballad to date”.

In a review of her compilation album The Immaculate Collection, David Browne from Entertainment Weekly magazine called it “one of her few successful shots at being a balladeer”.

Alfred Soto from Stylus Magazine felt that “the song’s set of lyrics remain her best” and that the vocals “seethes with a lifetime’s worth of hurts which she nevertheless refuses to share”.

Sal Cinquemani from Slant Magazine called the song “striking” adding that it “rewrote the rules of what a pop song was supposed to sound like”.

Edna Gundersen from USA Today called the song “a moody heart-tugger, may be her best song ever.”

Today in Madonna History: May 18, 1987

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On May 18 1987, Madonna was honored for Best Songwriting for Live To Tell at the 4th annual ASCAP Pop Music Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, Beverly Hills, CA; the award was accepted on her behalf by brother-in-law Christopher Penn.

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