Today in Madonna History: April 5, 2011

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On April 5 2011, Madonna’s publicist Liz Rosenberg released this statement:

“In recent days a number of wild and totally false rumors about Madonna’s philanthropy–spread by bloggers and tabloids–have begun appearing on the internet. As we have said previously, Raising Malawi is currently undergoing a series of positive changes in an effort to serve more children. Neither Madonna nor Raising Malawi is being investigated by the FBI or the IRS. It is unfortunate that people have chosen to say things about Raising Malawi and Madonna that are not true. Madonna remains committed and focused on what matters helping the children of Malawi.”

Today In Madonna History: March 31, 2010

On March 31 2010, Madonna’s former manager, Caresse Henry, passed away at the age of 44. Her death was later ruled a suicide.

Caresse had initially worked as an assistant to Madonna’s former manager, Freddy DeMann, before becoming Madonna’s personal assistant. When Madonna parted ways with DeMann in 1997, Caresse took the reigns as Madonna’s manager and remained in the role until late 2004. Caresse had also managed the careers of Ricky Martin, Jessica Simpson, Paula Abdul and Joss Stone, among others.

Caresse was credited as an artistic manager and executive producer for the HBO special: Madonna: Drowned World Tour 2001.

Liz Rosenberg (Madonna’s publicist at the time) released a statement to the press explaining that Caresse died of a self-inflicted gunshot at her home in Irvine, California. She was survived by her two children, a sister, a brother and her parents.

Today in Madonna History: March 24, 2012

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On March 24th 2012, The New York Post’s Page Six reported that Madonna’s video for Girl Gone Wild had been deemed too wild for general viewing on YouTube. It would be restricted to registered users over the age of eighteen in its uncensored form:

“Madonna’s steamy new video for Girl Gone Wild has been banned from open view on YouTube for being too raunchy, with scenes including nudity and a close-up of a man’s PVC-clad crotch. YouTube chiefs have restricted the video for those 18 years or above, and sources tell us they’ve told the superstar’s management that if they want it to be available for viewing by all, they must edit out shots of bare bottoms, a man rubbing his crotch and an implied masturbation scene where a man gyrates before a mirror. Madonna’s team was working yesterday on an edited version of the video for YouTube because, for the first time, it’s based its marketing strategy for her new album, MDNA, on social media, including a live Facebook interview with Jimmy Fallon today. A source told us, ‘YouTube has decided the video is too raunchy and should only be viewed by those 18 or over, and actually, the video is hard to find on the site. YouTube has sent Madonna’s team a list of shots that should be cut to make it appropriate for everyone.’ Fashion photographers Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott directed Girl Gone Wild, using much of the singer’s trademark erotic imagery, including topless men dancing in black tights (mantyhose) and platform heels. YouTube also took exception to an S&M-inspired scene of a silhouette in chains. The video was deemed ‘inappropriate for some users’ by YouTube, and viewers must verify they’re 18 or older and log in to watch it. Madonna’s rep, Liz Rosenberg, told us, ‘Some things never change. This is a throwback to [1990] when MTV refused to show Justify My Love.'”

A re-edited version of the Girl Gone Wild video was provided to YouTube several days later and was approved for general viewing.

Today in Madonna History: February 26, 2008

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On February 26 2008, Entertainment Weekly magazine confirmed the title, cover art and release date of Madonna’s final studio album for Warner Bros., Hard Candy.

Madonna chose to stick with the sweet theme because “she loves candy,” said her longtime rep, Liz Rosenberg. “It’s about the juxtaposition of tough and sweetness, or as Madonna so eloquently expressed, ‘I’m gonna kick your ass, but it’s going to make you feel good.'”

The album, which would feature Justin Timberlake on multiple tracks and production by Pharrell Williams, Timbaland, and Nate “Danja” Hills, was scheduled for release on April 29th in North America. The first single, 4 Minutes, would precede it in mid-March.

Today in Madonna History: November 6, 1982

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On November 6 1982, Madonna lost her chart virginity with her very first appearance in Billboard magazine, as Everybody made its debut on the Hot Dance/Club chart (then titled Dance/Disco Top 80). Fittingly foreshadowing her long-term, record-shattering success on the Dance chart, it was the week’s highest new entry.

Dance music commentator Brian Chin also gave a favorable nod to the song in the same chart’s editorial sidebar. Considering Sire Records’ initially stunted marketing strategy had its limited bets set on a faceless, imageless Madonna shrouded in mystery, Chin’s miscasting of her as “a young New York duo produced by DJ Mark Kamins” is humourously forgivable, if not ironic in retrospect, considering her destiny to become the inequivical Queen of the dance charts.

We would venture to predict that Madonna was likely less amused by the gaffe. Enter Liz Rosenberg? 😉

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Today in Madonna History: June 23, 2015

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On June 23 2015, Liz Rosenberg announced her retirement as Madonna’s publicist.

During Madonna’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Madonna thanked Liz in her acceptance speech:

“She’s been — and still is — the head of publicity for my entire career.  Now, does anybody understand the insanity of being my publicist for the last 25 years? Well, I think Liz was smoking a joint when I first met her. I walked into her office and she very politely stubbed it out in the ashtray. I don’t think she thought I knew she was smoking a joint but it was a little bit obvious. Anyway, we hit it off right away. She was my kinda girl — tough, irreverent and funny. And we’ve had a long and amazing chunk of time together.”

Today in Madonna History: May 28, 1990

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On May 28 1990, Madonna played the second of a three show run at the Skydome in Toronto, Canada during her Blond Ambition Tour.

As the story goes, the concert on May 28th was attended by a Toronto police detective who became uncomfortable with Madonna’s simulated sexual theatrics. The detective complained to the Crown attorney, who became convinced–based on how it had been described–that the show on the 29th should not be permitted to proceed with similar content.

Supt. Frank Bergen was one of the constables sent to follow up on the complaint on May 29th, which was subsequently captured in Madonna’s film Truth Or Dare. Bergen recalled the events in a recent interview with The Canadian Press:

What I was struggling with was how do you go to the microphone and tell everyone the show is cancelled? My role and my position was we were not going to shut the show down. We were portrayed as being real knobs, if you will [in the documentary]. I don’t think we were…I don’t think we ever got to the (point), nor would we have, where we walked up onto the stage – and onto her bed – and handcuffed her. Then we would’ve been part of a different history.”

It took a year before the officer would hear about his cinematic debut in Truth or Dare, when one afternoon his teenage neighbour excitedly shouted across the backyard that he’d spotted him on the big screen.

Bergen said he respects concerns over obscenity but concedes it would’ve been difficult to satisfy a “loose interpretation of the Criminal Code.”

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