Today in Madonna History: September 11, 1987

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On September 11 1987, Madonna won Best Female Video for Papa Don’t Preach at the MTV Video Music Awards at the Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles.

Having just completed her Who’s That Girl World Tour in Europe, Madonna did not attend the ceremony in person. Instead, a performance of Causing A Commotion recorded the week before in Turin, Italy was featured during the broadcast.

Today in Madonna History: September 4, 1987

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On September 4 1987, Madonna performed the second-to-last show of her Who’s That Girl World Tour at the Stadio Comunale in Turin, Italy. Broadcast live in Italy, France, Germany, Austria and Spain, the television special also aired at a later date in Australia and The Netherlands. The commercially released Ciao Italia! combined the Turin & Tokyo broadcasts with additional footage from the tour’s final concert in Florence, Italy.

Today in Madonna History: August 27, 2012

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On August 27 2012, Madonna released a statement through her website in response to the controversy that had been sparked by some members of the American press who opposed her use of fake artillery as props in the MDNA Tour. The obvious irony being that the United States was potentially the only country her tour visited where real handguns are legally accessible to the general public.

My show
Is a journey.
The journey of a soul from darkness to light
It is part cinematic musical theatre.
Part spectacle and sometimes intimate Performance art.

But above all its a journey
From darkness to light
From anger to love
from chaos to order.

It’s true there is a lot of violence in the beginning of the show and sometimes the use of fake guns – but they are used as metaphors.
I do not condone violence or the use of guns.
Rather they are symbols of wanting to appear strong and wanting to find a way to stop feelings that I find hurtful or damaging. In my case it’s wanting to stop the lies and hypocrisy of the church, the intolerance of many narrow-minded cultures and societies I have experienced throughout my life and in some cases the pain I have felt from having my heart broken.

Ultimately as we follow through the journey of my story, the audience can see quite clearly what I see –
That the enemy is within and the only way to survive Disappointment Disapproval Judgment Heartbreak Jealousy Envy And Hatred Is with Love – not with revenge – not with guns and not with violence.

In spite of all the chaos and darkness and intolerance we seem to be encountering more and more in the world,
We cannot allow our anger or bitterness to swallow us up.
We come to understand that
There is an innate and pure love inside us all and we have to find a way to tap into it.

And we can’t do it by being victims or placing the blame or pointing the finger at others.
But by recognizing that the enemy is within
And when we come to terms with it
And accept it
And struggle to change ourselves,
Then we can change the world without hurting anyone and we can inspire others to do the same.
When you watch a film there are usually good guys and bad guys to help illustrate this point, Sometimes I play both.
I enjoy acting out this journey.
For none of us are perfect and we all have our own journey of growth to go on.
I know people can relate to it.
It’s very important to me as an artist that my show not be taken out of context.

It must be watched with an open heart from beginning to end. I am sure if it is viewed this way, the viewer will walk away feeling inspired, Invigorated and will want to make the world a better place.

And this of course was always my intention.”

– Madonna

Today in Madonna History: August 26, 1997

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On August 26 1997, Madonna: Truth Or Dare was released on DVD in North America by Artisan/LIVE Entertainment.

The documentary’s international rights holder at the time, MGM Home Entertainment, was unfortunately much less quick on the draw. DVD editions of In Bed With Madonna (the film’s foreign title) were gradually issued in most international markets between 2002 and 2006.

Today in Madonna History: July 23, 1985

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On July 23 1985, Into The Groove was released as a single in the UK.

Not wanting to draw more attention away from the Like A Virgin album following the release of the soundtrack hit Crazy For You, Sire/Warner notoriously relegated Into The Groove to the b-side of the Angel 12″ single in North America & Australia, although they eventually ceded to issuing it as an A-side in most other international territories.

Into The Groove was written & produced by Madonna & Stephen Bray and was their first released co-production to not be reworked by an outside producer (the pair had already been producing their own demos for years). The original demo version was used over the closing credits of Desperately Seeking Susan (seemingly dubbed from an actual cassette copy of the demo–granted, DAT’s were still a few years away), and although the commercially released mix featured a slightly beefed-up and more polished-sounding musical backing track, it kept Madonna’s original demo vocals intact.

In the UK, and throughout most of Europe, the single was backed by the Madonna-penned ballad Shoo-Bee-Doo, while the original album version of Everybody (another song credited to her alone) rounded out the 12″ single…it would be fair to assume that Madonna likely earned some of the biggest single-generated songwriting royalty cheques of her career thus far with this release. It’s interesting to note that despite being one of Madonna’s most enduring dance floor classics, no remixes were produced for Into The Groove at the time of its release. It wasn’t until 1987’s You Can Dance remix compilation that the song finally received an official extended remix treatment.

Today in Madonna History: July 7, 2007

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On July 7 2007, Madonna performed Hey You, Ray Of Light, La Isla Bonita/Lela Pala Tute and Hung Up at the Live Earth benefit concert at London’s Wembley Stadium.

Madonna was joined onstage by Gogol Bordello. It was also her final live performance to feature longtime backing singer Donna De Lory, musical director/collaborator Stuart Price, as well as drummer Steve Sidelnyk and keyboardist Marcus Brown.

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.