Today in Madonna History: September 18, 2000

september-18-2001-1 september-18-2001-2 september-18-2001-3 september-18-2001-4

On September 18 2000, Madonna’s eighth studio album, Music, was released in the UK by Maverick and Warner Bros. Records.

The album was recorded at The Hit Factory in New York, the Guerilla Beach Studios in Los Angeles and the Sarm East and West Studios in London. The bulk of the album was produced by Madonna and Mirwais Ahmadzaï, with additional production by William Orbit, Guy Sigsworth and Mark “Spike” Stent.

Madonna had begun the project in the late summer of 1999 by resuming her collaboration with Ray Of Light co-producer, William Orbit. While the pair completed nearly an album’s worth of songs during these sessions, only three made the album’s final cut. Two others appeared on the soundtrack of The Next Best Thing, another became the theme of a short-lived TV series, while the rest stayed in the vault (though most, if not all, eventually found its way to the internet). It is clear listening to many of the leaked demos from the sessions that Madonna was ready to receive the shot of inspiration Mirwais would inject into the project.

Her new collaborator retained, and in some ways, expanded on the experimental spirit of Ray Of Light, but in contrast to Orbit’s layered, reverb-drenched warmth, Mirwais offered a cool, stark, less-is-more approach that took the album in a very different sonic direction, certainly matching if not building upon the creative success she had achieved with Orbit. If the previous album was successfully touted as a rebirth of sorts, she managed to avoid the sophomore album curse yet again with Music, offering a sound that was distinct and fresh. So fresh that it cast some shadow over the songs Mirwais didn’t have a hand in creating, although the haunting Orbit-produced album closer, Gone, remains one of her best exits.

While Madonna regrets little, she would rightfully retroactively pooh-pooh her decision to permit record execs to tack on previous UK #1 hit, American Pie, as a bonus track outside North America. The cash-in rang a hollow note, coming in on the heels of soulful lyrics about a refusal to sell out.

Madonna adopted a cowgirl/country theme for the album, with the album artwork photographed by one of her longtime collaborators, Jean Baptiste Mondino. The photo session took place in the spring of 2000, before the album had been fully completed and mixed, in order to conceal her pregnancy. Madonna has stated in interviews that her goal with album art has remained relatively consistent through the years: it should resonate with the album’s musical/lyrical themes while also capturing an element of timelessness.

North American tracklist for Music:

  • Music (written & produced by Madonna & Mirwais Ahmadzaï)
  • Impressive Instant (written & produced by Madonna & Mirwais Ahmadzaï)
  • Runaway Lover (written & produced by Madonna & William Orbit)
  • I Deserve It (written & produced by Madonna & Mirwais Ahmadzaï)
  • Amazing (written & produced by Madonna & William Orbit)
  • Nobody’s Perfect (written & produced by Madonna & Mirwais Ahmadzaï)
  • Don’t Tell Me (written by Madonna, Mirwais & Joe Henry; produced by Madonna & Mirwais)
  • What It Feels Like For A Girl (written by Madonna & Guy Sigsworth; produced by Madonna, Sigsworth & Mark “Spike” Stent)
  • Paradise (Not For Me) (written & produced by Madonna & Mirwais Ahmadzaï)
  • Gone (written by Madonna, Damian Le Gassick & Nik Young; produced by Madonna, Orbit & Stent)

Today in Madonna History: November 14, 2004

On November 14 2004, Michael Colombier – the composer/arranger who produced the beautiful string arrangements for Madonna’s songs Die Another Day, Don’t Tell Me & Easy Ride, and composed the soundtrack for Swept Away (perhaps the film’s most memorable attribute) – passed away at age 65.

Colombier was one of the most prolific and versatile French musicians of his generation. Besides his career as a film composer scoring over 100 feature, cable and television films since the early 1960’s – Colombier was a prolific songwriter and arranger who worked with artists such as Joni Mitchell, Prince, Serge Gainsbourg, The Beach Boys, Herbie Hancock, Air, Barbra Streisand & Earth Wind And Fire.

michel-columbier-note

As a film composer, Michel Colombier scored many French and American films, including The Golden Child, Ruthless People, New Jack City, How Stella Got Her Groove Back and The Money Pit. His background in jazz was evident in the majority of his film scores, and his ability to compose original score music that merged seamlessly with pop songs made him the perfect composer for 1980’s films with song-heavy soundtracks, including White Nights, Against All Odds and Purple Rain (which won a Grammy Award as well as an Academy Award for Best Original Score).

Today in Madonna History: May 30, 2002

On May 30, 2002, People magazine mistakenly reported that Madonna was set to record a cover version of Gordon Lightfoot’s If You Could Read My Mind:

Madonna fans who are looking forward to seeing and hearing her on the new James Bond film, Die Another Day, will be chuffed to hear that her Madgeness will be taking a slightly bigger role in the flick than previously thought. Mrs R will record a cover of a song called If You Could Read My Mind for a spicy scene where Bond, played by Pierce Brosnan, seduces Halle Berry’s character, Jade. The song was originally recorded in 1970 by Gordon Lightfoot.

In fact, an original song titled Can’t You Read My Mind, written by Madonna & Mirwais, is registered in ASCAP’s database. String arranger Michel Colombier confirmed in May of 2002 that he had recorded a string arrangement for the song, referring to it as the theme for the upcoming Bond film. This suggests that it was likely an early version of the released theme song, Die Another Day, possibly featuring alternate lyrics that were later revised to tie in with the film’s title.

Today in Madonna History: November 14, 2004

On November 14 2004, Michael Colombier – the composer/arranger who produced the beautiful string arrangements for Madonna’s songs Die Another Day, Don’t Tell Me & Easy Ride, and composed the soundtrack for Swept Away (perhaps the film’s most memorable attribute) – passed away at age 65.

Colombier was one of the most prolific and versatile French musicians of his generation. Besides his career as a film composer scoring over 100 feature, cable and television films since the early 1960’s – Colombier was a prolific songwriter and arranger who worked with artists such as Joni Mitchell, Prince, Serge Gainsbourg, The Beach Boys, Herbie Hancock, Air, Barbra Streisand & Earth Wind And Fire.

michel-columbier-note

As a film composer, Michel Colombier scored many French and American films, including The Golden Child, Ruthless People, New Jack City, How Stella Got Her Groove Back and The Money Pit. His background in jazz was evident in the majority of his film scores, and his ability to compose original score music that merged seamlessly with pop songs made him the perfect composer for 1980’s films with song-heavy soundtracks, including White Nights, Against All Odds and Purple Rain (which won a Grammy Award as well as an Academy Award for Best Original Score).

Today in Madonna History: September 18, 2000

september-18-2001-1 september-18-2001-2 september-18-2001-3 september-18-2001-4

On September 18 2000, Madonna’s eighth studio album, Music, was released by Maverick and Warner Bros. Records.

The album was recorded at The Hit Factory in New York, the Guerilla Beach Studios in Los Angeles and the Sarm East and West Studios in London.

Madonna adopted a cowgirl/country theme for the album, with the album artwork photographed by Jean Baptiste Mondino.

Tracklist for Music:

  • Music (written and produced by Madonna and Mirwais Ahmadzaï)
  • Impressive Instant (written and produced by Madonna and Mirwais Ahmadzaï)
  • Runaway Lover (written and produced by Madonna and William Orbit)
  • I Deserve It (written and produced by Madonna and Mirwais Ahmadzaï)
  • Amazing (written and produced by Madonna and William Orbit)
  • Nobody’s Perfect (written and produced by Madonna and Mirwais Ahmadzaï)
  • Don’t Tell Me (written by Madonna, Mirwais and Joe Henry, produced by Madonna and Mirwais)
  • What It Feels Like For A Girl (written by Madonna and Guy Sigsworth and produced by Madonna, Sigsworth and Mike Stent)
  • Paradise (Not For Me) (written and produced by Madonna and Mirwais Ahmadzaï)
  • Gone (written by Madonna,Damian Le Gassick, Nik Young and produced by Madonna, Orbit and Stent)

september-18-2001-5

Today in Madonna History: January 16, 2001

don't tell me sheet music 550

On January 16 2001, Don’t Tell Me was released commercially in North America as the second single from Music.

Written by Madonna, Mirwais & Joe Henry, the song was Madonna’s first collaboration with her brother-in-law, whom she had known since high school. Henry sent a demo (then titled Stop) to Madonna after his wife, Melanie, insisted that her sister would love the song. Madonna & Mirwais drastically altered the music and melody and renamed the song Don’t Tell Me. Henry released his version on his eighth studio album, Scar, in May 2001.

The maxi-single featured remixes by Thunderpuss, Timo Mass, Victor Calderone, Richard “Humpty” Vission and Tracy Young. Don’t Tell Me was the last Madonna release to be issued on cassette single in the U.S. and was also available on 2-track CD single, CD Maxi-Single (enhanced with the music video) and as a double 12″ vinyl set. In Canada, it was released only on CD maxi-single.

%d bloggers like this: