Today in Madonna History: January 26, 1983

On January 26 1983, Madonna performed a track date at the Red Parrot at 617 West 57th St in New York City. Also featured on the bill were Planet Rock and Man Parrish.

While unconfirmed, the setlist likely would have previewed the soon-to-be-released Physical Attraction & Burning Up (which were recorded in November, 1982) along with her then-current club hit, Everybody.

A review of the night’s performances was featured in the February 12 1983 issue of Billboard Magazine (pictured with the show’s flyer above).

It may have been the first but it would be far from the last review in which Madonna’s musical talent would be minimized in retribution for her strong visual presence, among other things. Unlike Elvis or Michael Jackson, female artists are often criticized for flaunting the same qualities that make heros out of their male counterparts; for daring to be more than one-dimensional artists. While Madonna is not the first or the last female artist to break through these barriers – and her mission is indeed still a work in progress – one only needs to flip through the pages of Billboard magazine on both sides of the 1983 cultural divide to witness the scope of her impact on music and popular culture.

Today in Madonna History: January 16, 1993

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On January 16 1993, Madonna was musical guest on NBC-TV’s Saturday Night Live, performing Fever and Bad Girl. She also appeared in the show’s opening skit – a humorous homage to Marilyn Monroe – alongside the late comedians Phil Hartman and Jan Hooks.

Perhaps a little too into character or, more likely, a little too nervous – she managed to flub the show’s signature intro tag line during the live broadcast, with the mistake being subsequently edited out of all repeated airings of the episode.

Fortunately any nervous energy quickly dissipated once Madonna took to the musical stage, where she delivered a stunningly confident and nuanced vocal performance backed by an equally impressive new band (which included several members that would be recruited for her Girlie Show tour later in the year). It was Madonna’s only live performance of Bad Girl to date, and despite many appearances on SNL, her only inclusion as featured musical guest.

The episode was hosted by Harvey Keitel, who was only weeks away from working with Madonna again in the film Dangerous Game (then known as Snake Eyes) which began shooting in February.

Would you like to see Madonna return to SNL as musical guest?

Today in Madonna History: November 3, 2000

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On November 3 2000, Madonna guested on CBS-TV’s Late Show With David Letterman to promote the Music album. She performed an acoustic version of the album’s second single, Don’t Tell Me.

The performance featured several firsts for Madonna: her first live performance to promote the Music album; her first TV appearance following the birth of her son Rocco; her first performance on guitar since her pre-fame days in NYC band Emmy; her first unplugged/acoustic live performance; her first live performance with longtime guitarist Monte Pittman; and her first (and only) musical performance on the Late Show.

Despite being promoted as such, it was not, however, Madonna’s first time back to the Late Show after her infamously censored 1994 appearance. She had made a brief, unscheduled visit to the set to drop off a valentine for Letterman during a 1995 taping of the show.

Today in Madonna History: October 9, 1991

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On October 9 1991, Madonna’s Truth Or Dare documentary was released on VHS for the home video rental market across North America as well as on laserdisc in the United States.

Today in Madonna History: October 5, 1988

On October 5 1988, the live home video release capturing Madonna’s 1987 Who’s That Girl World Tour, Ciao Italia: Live From Italy, was certified Platinum by the RIAA for shipment of over 100,000 units in the U.S.

Today in Madonna History: September 1, 1990

On September 1 1990, Madonna’s Vogue spent its final week on Billboard’s Hot Singles Sales chart at #40. The massive hit was present on the U.S. sales chart for a total of twenty weeks, including two weeks at #1 in May of 1990.

Vogue has been certified double-platinum by the RIAA for physical sales of over two million units. In terms of physical sales alone, it remains Madonna’s best-selling single in the U.S.

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.

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