On February 23 1985, Material Girl made its debut on Billboard’s Airplay chart at #19, while on the Hot 100 the single jumped ahead ten positions from #34 to #24.
Meanwhile, television viewers were getting a double-dose of Madonna as both the Material Girl and Gambler music videos earned “Power Rotation” status on MTV’s weekly monitor.
On December 17 1990, Madonna’s Justify My Love video was the subject of a feature by Steve Dougherty, in People magazine: Madonna Exposes, MTV Opposes: Is her new, naughty video art or just a Boy Toy marketing ploy?
How does Justify My Love differ from other skin-with-a-beat videos? Let us count the ways. Here’s Madonna, in black bra, stockings and stiletto heels, putting the moves on her real-life boyfriend, model Tony Ward. Moments later she’s lip-synching with Parisian model Amanda Cazalet, 25, who is dressed like a Nazi hooker with suspenders that barely cover her nipples. Now Madonna, Cazalet and Ward are offering free instruction in a certain Kama Sutra technique while two very androgynous gents pat each other more affectionately than football players after a big play. All of which has left fans hot, censors bothered and fearless news programmers lined up to air the forbidden footage. The video single will be on sale before holiday shopping malls close; could it have been teed up better?
Filmed in Venice, Italy, the video marked Madonna’s second collaboration with director Mary Lambert. Lambert later recalled of the shoot:
“For Like a Virgin I said ‘Lets do it in Venice!’ The idea of Madonna singing in a gondola was the most outrageous thing I could think of. And Madonna dug it, because she has the whole thing with the Catholic Church and her Italian heritage. It turned into a huge party.”
On October 22 1990, Madonna was featured in a public service announcement on MTV’s Rock The Vote in which she was wrapped in the US flag and urged young people to register and vote; the ad caused a controversy with US Veterans of Foreign Wars who were enraged by Madonna’s provocative use of the American flag and said that it bordered on desecration.
On November 27 1991, Madonna contributed a pre-taped monologue for the MTV 10th Anniversary – Money for Nothing special that aired on ABC-TV. Madonna’s segment was filmed by Alek Keshishian.
The following quote is how Madonna started her monologue:
I’m here because I wanted to talk to you about us.
And all that we’ve been through.
I wanted to talk about me and you.
I remember when we first met.
You didn’t know who you were yet.
I didn’t know who I was.
We grew up together.