Today in Madonna History: September 20, 1997

On September 20 1997, the single-disc version of the Evita soundtrack, Music From The Motion Picture Evita, re-entered the Billboard 200 albums chart in the U.S., spending its final charting week at #190.

In the same issue of Billboard, the promo-only remixes of Buenos Aires earned “Hot Shot Debut” status on the Hot Dance/Club Play chart, entering at #35.

Today in Madonna History: September 6, 1989

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On September 6 1989, Madonna performed Express Yourself  at the 6th annual MTV Video Music Awards at the Universal Amphitheatre, Los Angeles, CA. The Express Yourself music video picked up awards for Best Direction, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, while Like A Prayer won the Viewer’s Choice Award.

Serving as a sneak preview for 1990’s Blond Ambition Tour, the performance marked the first of many to feature the vocal trio of Madonna, Donna De Lory and Niki Haris. De Lory and Haris had previously toured with Madonna during the 1987 Who’s That Girl Tour, but had been joined by a third background vocalist, Debra Parsons. The pair would be more heavily featured as vocalist/dancers from this point forward, rather than simply band members who rarely left the confines of their microphone stand.

It was during rehearsals for the 1989 VMA performance that Niki Haris brought voguing to Madonna’s attention, and stylized poses were then fittingly incorporated into the performance’s choreography. While the performance is relatively simple compared to her numerous VMA performances in the years that followed, this puts the focus on the trio’s excellent live vocals and kick-ass choreography (keeping in mind that vocally, Express Yourself is quite a workout even without the dancing!). I consider this a great example of how sometimes less is more, and I would definitely consider this among her best awards show performances.

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 25, 1984

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On August 25 1984, Lucky Star entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the U.S. at number forty-nine.

Today in Madonna History: August 24, 1998

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On August 24 1998, Drowned World/Substitute For Love was released as the third single from Ray Of Light in most major markets outside North America. The song was written by Madonna, William Orbit and David Collins (Rod McKuen and Anita Kerr were also credited for sampled use of their composition “Why I Follow The Tigers” performed by The San Sebastian Strings) and was produced by Madonna and Orbit.

With the album’s title track being issued as the second single in North America a month after its release in other markets, it was decided to release Drowned World/Substitute For Love to fill the gap until her next international single release, The Power Of Good-bye. The single peaked at number-ten in the UK, at number-five in Italy and at number-one in Spain. Despite not being released in Canada, the song managed to reach number eighteen on the Canadian singles chart based solely on sales of the European import single, and without any promotion from radio or music video stations. Club play of the imported single, which featured remixes of both Drowned World/Substitute For Love and its b-side, Sky Fits Heaven, prompted a brief appearance by the latter on the U.S. Hot Dance/Club Play Chart, peaking at number forty-one.

The music video, filmed in London by director Walter Stern, caused a minor controversy due to scenes of Madonna’s car being chased by paparazzi on motorcycles, an image still fresh in the public’s mind at the time due the circumstances surrounding the death of Princess Diana. Liz Rosenberg denied that the scene had anything to do with the late Princess, adding that the video was about Madonna’s own experience and relationship with fame.

The song is often ranked as a fan favorite and seems to be highly-regarded by Madonna as well, considering her 2001 concert tour was named after the song and it was used as the show’s opening number. It was also performed during 2006’s Confessions Tour and appeared on her second greatest hits collection, GHV2. An early demo version of the song believed to be produced with Patrick Leonard titled No Substitute For Love leaked online in the early 2000’s. The demo contains similar lyrics but a completely different musical backing track and melody. The music that was used on the final version of the song was a previously composed instrumental track by William Orbit.

Famous faces, far off places
Trinkets I can buy
No handsome stranger, heady danger
Drug that I can try
No ferris wheel, no heart to steal
No laughter in the dark
No one-night stand, no far-off land
No fire that I can spark

Today in Madonna History: August 11, 1989

On August 11 1989, Madonna’s Express Yourself single was certified Gold by the R.I.A.A. for shipment of over 500,000 units in the U.S.

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