Today in Madonna History: May 19, 1995

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On May 19 1995, the music video for Human Nature premiered on MTV.

Madonna had initially planned to have friend and collaborator Alek Keshishian direct the video for Human Nature. Keshishian had even been named as the director in ICON Magazine, but for unknown reasons this shoot was cancelled during pre-production. Madonna later called in another recurring collaborator – Jean-Baptiste Mondino – to direct the clip instead.

The video marked Madonna’s first collaboration with Jamie King, who can be spotted as a dancer in the video.

Today in Madonna History: May 11, 1985

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On May 11 1985, Crazy For You hit number-one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the U.S. for one week. The track had spent the two previous weeks in the runner-up position behind the all-star single, We Are The World. In Canada, Crazy For You took a few weeks longer but also managed to displace USA For Africa’s charity track to become the county’s number-one single on May 25th.

The song was Madonna’s second chart-topping hit, and her first ballad to be released as a single.

Today in Madonna History: May 6, 1995

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On May 6 1995, the first of a two-day shoot for the music video for Human Nature took place at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood, California.

The video was directed by Jean-Baptiste Mondino, while the work of S&M comic artist Eric Stanton provided inspiration. Human Nature was Madonna’s third collaboration with Mondino following his music videos for Open Your Heart (1986) and Justify My Love (1990).

“Mondino found this book by this illustrator named Stanton who did kinda S&M drawings and stuff, but we didn’t want to go with the straight S&M; we wanted to have it be more about making fun of it.” – Madonna

“All I know is…my main problem is I don’t like videos when somebody’s dancing, that the camera is moving a lot. I’m more like an old-time, classic guy, because I remember most of the video you had shot with the crane, some Steadicam, plus some panning. So you have about five different cameras shooting a performance, and after they edit like crazy. It gives you a lot of freedom, but I feel very frustrated because I like to see somebody dancing. I hate when there’s too much editing. I like the steadiness of the performance because then you can really enjoy the movement of the body. You see the skill. I like to shrink — as much as I can — the stage because I can grab her. If not, everyone is running around and I’m not good with this. So I came up with the boxes [laughs] and I knew that with the boxes I had to do with something quite unexpectable because there’s not too much stage to dance in. So there’s something beautiful about it and they looked like bees or something. And the rest of it was how to create some kind of choreography and some graphic imagery with the S&M outfits, but with humor. So she has a little dog and she has some funny moments where she drops down, there’s some Charlie Chaplin-esque moments in it. Because S&M is a game, you know? It’s dark, it looks dark, but I think people have fun. When you wear rubber like this, you better have fun. If not, you stop using it for sex and you become a diver, you know?” – Jean-Baptiste Mondino

Today in Madonna History: April 16, 2003

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On April 16 2003, Madonna released an edited version of the American Life video on VH-1.

The edited version (also called the “flag” version) featured Madonna singing in front of a backdrop of ever-changing flags of different countries.

Today in Madonna History: April 8, 2003

On April 8 2003, American Life was released digitally as the lead single from Madonna’s ninth studio album of the same name.

American Life was written and produced by Madonna and Mirwais Ahmadzaï, and was released by Maverick Records.

 

Today In Madonna History: March 20, 1991

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On March 20 1991, Madonna’s Madonna VHS video collection was certified multi-platinum (100,000 units) in the USA.

The home video included Madonna’s music videos for: Burning Up, Borderline, Lucky Star and Like A Virgin.

Today in Madonna History: March 19, 1989

On March 19 1989, Madonna was the featured artist in the Arts section of the New York Times in an article and interview by Stephen Holden.

Like a Prayer, said Madonna, “is the song of a passionate young girl so in love with God that it is almost as though He were the male figure in her life. From around 8 to 12 years old, I had the same feelings. I really wanted to be a nun.”

What follows is a description in Madonna’s own words of what happens in the video:

“A girl on the street witnesses an assault on a young woman. Afraid to get involved because she might get hurt, she is frozen in fear. A black man walking down the street also sees the incident and decides to help the woman. But just then, the police arrive and arrest him. As they take him away, she looks up and sees one of the gang members who assaulted the girl. He gives her a look that says she’ll be dead if she tells. The girl runs, not knowing where to go until she sees a church. She goes in and sees a saint in a cage who looks very much like the black man on the street, and says a prayer to help her make the right decision. He seems to be crying, but she is not sure. She lies down on a pew and falls into a dream in which she begins to tumble in space with no one to break her fall. Suddenly she is caught by a woman who represents earth and emotional strength and who tosses her back up and tells her to do the right thing. Still dreaming, she returns to the saint, and her religious and erotic feelings begin to stir. The saint becomes a man. She picks up a knife and cuts her hands. That’s the guilt in Catholicism that if you do something that feels good you will be punished. As the choir sings, she reaches an orgasmic crescendo of sexual fulfillment intertwined with her love of God. She knows that nothing’s going to happen to her if she does what she believes is right. She wakes up, goes to the jail, tells the police the man is innocent, and he is freed. Then everybody takes a bow as if to say we all play a part in this little scenario.”

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