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.”

Today in Madonna History: March 8, 1988

On March 8 1988, Papa Don’t Preach was released in the CD Video format in the U.S.

The CD Video format, introduced in Japan in 1987, combined the technologies of the standard audio compact disc with LaserDisc video on a 5″ gold-coloured disc.

The Papa Don’t Preach CD Video (which was also released in Japan and in the U.K.) included the song’s 1986 music video together with the 7″ Version, 12″ Version and the U.S. b-side Pretender on the audio portion of the disc. It was Madonna’s only commercial release in the short-lived format.

Today in Madonna History: February 4, 2003

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On February 4 2003, filming for Madonna’s music video for American Life took place in Los Angeles with director by Jonas Åkerlund.

The casting call issued for the video sought the following:

Eastern European Man (30 – 60 yrs. old, Real people, THIN, interesting looking, great face, worn out looking, craggy). 4 Beautiful Models (drop dead gorgeous w. amazing legs and bodies). 10 soldiers (must have long hair and be willing to shave it for the video… good-looking, really good body). Hair stylist (male or female, any ethnicity, must be real hair stylists, think editorial type. Stylist (male or female, any ethnicity, 20’s, cool and interesting looking, think N.Y. 2 Babes (very voluptuous and buxom, bimbo types, b pin-up girls). Makeup artists (m or f, any ethnicity, a REAL makeup artist). 2 IRAQI kids (boys and girls, 4 – 7 yrs. old). African-American Male (35 – 50, THIN).

Åkerlund commented on the upcoming video to Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet:

“It’s great that Madonna gives me the trust to do this video. The song is super cool and aimed for the dance floors. I especially love that she gives me the trust to do the first single from the new album. There is a special feeling and ambition around the first single and a hell of lot of secrets. I had to sign a paper even before I got to listen to the song! The shooting will take 3 days.”

Today in Madonna History: January 9, 1999

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On January 9 1999, Madonna began filming the music video for Nothing Really Matters at Silvercup Studios in the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens in NYC.

The imagery in the video was inspired by Arthur Golden’s 1997 bestselling novel, Memoirs Of A Geisha. It marked Madonna’s first collaboration with Swedish director Johan Renck, who had been introduced to Madonna by Ray Of Light video director, Jonas Åkerlund.