On September 6 1989, Madonna performed Express Yourself at the 6th annual MTV Video Music Awards at the Universal Amphitheatre, Los Angeles, CA. The Express Yourself music video picked up awards for Best Direction, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, while Like A Prayer won the Viewer’s Choice Award.
Serving as a sneak preview for 1990’s Blond Ambition Tour, the performance marked the first of many to feature the vocal trio of Madonna, Donna De Lory and Niki Haris. De Lory and Haris had previously toured with Madonna during the 1987 Who’s That Girl Tour, but had been joined by a third background vocalist, Debra Parsons. The pair would be more heavily featured as vocalist/dancers from this point forward, rather than simply band members who rarely left the confines of their microphone stand.
It was during rehearsals for the 1989 VMA performance that Niki Haris brought voguing to Madonna’s attention, and stylized poses were then fittingly incorporated into the performance’s choreography. While the performance is relatively simple compared to her numerous VMA performances in the years that followed, this puts the focus on the trio’s excellent live vocals and kick-ass choreography (keeping in mind that vocally, Express Yourself is quite a workout even without the dancing!). I consider this a great example of how sometimes less is more, and I would definitely consider this among her best awards show performances.
On June 25 2001, Madonna was featured on the cover of People Magazine.
Kicking off her latest tour, the Material Mom shows Barcelona she hasn’t lost a step – or her nerve.
She strutted across the stage at Barcelona’s Palau Sant Jordi stadium as a snarling punk rocker. Then she became a shotgun-wielding geisha; next, a cowgirl gyrating on a mechanical bull. Clearly, marriage and motherhood haven’t mellowed Madonna. As nannies minded daughter Lourdes, 4, and son Rocco, 10 months, at a nearby villa, husband Guy Ritchie, 32, watched from the sound-board as the 42-year-old queen of pop mesmerized 18,000 fans on June 9, opening night of her 14-week Drowned World Tour—her first since 1993. Reports backup singer Niki Haris at a postconcert party: “Madonna was very, very happy. And tired.”
Did you see Madonna live during the Drowned World Tour? Where did you see her?
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.
On November 25 2000, Madonna’s mimed performance of Music recorded for the BBC music series Top Of The Pops aired on RTL in Germany. It would later air on the BBC’s year-end retrospective edition of Top Of The Pops on December 25th.
Madonna was accompanied by long-time back-up singers/dancers Donna De Lory and Niki Harris during the performance.
On September 1 1990, Madonna’s Vogue spent its final week on Billboard’s Hot Singles Sales chart at #40. The massive hit was present on the U.S. sales chart for a total of twenty weeks, including two weeks at #1 in May of 1990.
Vogue has been certified double-platinum by the RIAA for physical sales of over two million units. In terms of physical sales alone, it remains Madonna’s best-selling single in the U.S.