Today in Madonna History: January 3, 2003

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On January 3 2003, Madonna.com announced: “Madonna’s next album is scheduled to be released in April, and there is no title as of yet. The video for the first single will be shot in February and will be directed by Jonas Akerlund. The album cover will be shot next week by Craig McDean (he also did the Vanity Fair Madonna cover).”

Today in Madonna History: December 24, 1995

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On December 24 1995, Oh Father was released as the second UK single from Madonna’s ballads retrospective, Something To Remember.

Warner had initially declined the option to release Oh Father in most European markets when it became the fourth North American single from Like A Prayer in late 1989, instead opting for a more by-the-numbers portrait of childhood innocence with the release of Dear Jessie. Why it was determined to be a better idea in 1995, following its poor showing on the U.S. charts, is anyone’s guess. One possibility is that Oh Father‘s brilliant preexisting music video provided an easy, cost-free means of promoting the song while Madonna remained unavailable due to her recording commitments for the Evita soundtrack.

While I would personally rank Oh Father among Madonna’s very best musical and lyrical efforts, and its music video an underrated classic – it never had the makings of a commercial hit. And history repeated itself when the song’s dark subject matter once again stunted its ability to gain momentum on radio for its British release. It became only her third UK single at the time to peak outside the top-ten when it stalled at #16 in its first charting week. It fared better in Finland and Italy, however, reaching #6 in both countries.

Today in Madonna History: December 20, 2005

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On December 20 2005, Madonna’s official website confirmed that Jamie King would direct the music video for Sorry, the second single from Confessions On A Dance Floor.

The video was conceived as a sequel to the album’s first single, Hung Up.

Today in Madonna History: December 19, 1987

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On December 19 1987, Madonna’s haunting ballad The Look Of Love peaked at number nine on the UK Singles Chart. The third and final Madonna single from the Who’s That Girl soundtrack, it was released only in select European countries and in Japan.

The Look Of Love was written, produced and recorded by Madonna and Patrick Leonard during the second of a three-day studio session, with the title track of the soundtrack being written and recorded on the first day. Additional musicians were brought in for overdubs and mixing was completed for both tracks by the end of the third day.

Despite being a set-list staple on the Who’s That Girl tour – the song’s limited release, moderate chart success, along with the fact that it has not been included in any of Madonna’s subsequent retrospective collections has led to it being largely forgotten, although fans frequently cite it as an underrated gem.

In a 1991 interview with ICON magazine, background vocalist Niki Haris expressed fond memories of performing the track with Madonna during the 1987 tour:

“My favorite song ever to perform with Madonna was a song called The Look Of Love from the Who’s That Girl Tour [Niki sings: Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide…]. That is one of the greatest songs and Madonna sings it really great. That’s my favorite song of all time as far as singing with her.”

The single reached number six in Ireland, number eight in the Netherlands and number ten in Belgium, while it peaked outside the top-ten in Germany, Switzerland, France and Japan.

Today in Madonna History: December 7, 2004

On December 7 2004, Britney Spears’ collaboration with Madonna, Me Against The Music, was bestowed with the Hot Dance Sales Single Of The Year award at the Billboard Music Awards ceremony at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

 

Today in Madonna History: November 9, 1990

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On November 9 1990, Madonna began filming the Justify My Love video at the Royal Monceau Hotel in Paris, France, directed by Jean-Baptiste Mondino.

During a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) segment in September 2013, Madonna told her fans that she considers Justify My Love to be her favourite Madonna music video.

Is Justify My Love the steamiest music video that you’ve ever seen?

Today in Madonna History: October 10, 2002

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On October 10 2002, the music video for Die Another Day premiered on MTV. Helmed by Swedish directing team Traktor, the action-packed short for Madonna’s James Bond theme remains the second most expensive music video of all-time, with production costs surpassing the six-million dollar mark. The clip made its debut as part of an episode of MTV’s Making The Video – Madonna’s first appearance on the series.

Traktor’s Ole Sanders spoke to Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet about Madonna’s involvement in the clip’s development:

“We received daily e-mails with feedback that was concise, unambiguous and occasionally entertaining. She works extremely hard with gumption and detail, and it was clear to us how she has remained on top for twenty years. It was no use being unprepared with vague ideas disguised as creativity, as there was no place to hide.”

The video was filmed at Hollywood Center Studios in Hollywood, California between August 22 and August 27, 2002 – an atypically lengthy shoot by Madonna’s standards, likely due to the complexities of capturing the special effects and stunts featured throughout the Bond-influenced clip.

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