Today In Madonna History: August 2, 1985

A Certain Sacrifice (1985)Madonna & Pattnoshmadonna - bruna

On August 2 1985, Madonna lost a court battle against director Stephen Jon Lewicki over the video release of A Certain Sacrifice. The low-budget indie film starring Jeremy Pattnosh and Madonna was shot sporadically over a two-year period in New York City between 1979 and 1981. The film also featured Madonna’s former Breakfast Club bandmate Angie Smit in a minor role.

Madonna was said to have been unhappy with the inclusion of several topless scenes in the film, although it has also been reported that despite instigating the court case, her lawyers did not present much of an argument during the proceedings, leading some to speculate that she had no serious interest in blocking the release of the film. After a limited number of screenings in New York in October 1985, the film was quickly issued on home video and laserdisc in order to capitalize on Madonna’s fame. In more recent years, the film has been reissued on DVD.

Lewicki was not the only person attached to the film who was attempting to hitch a ride on Madonna’s wave of success in the mid 1980’s. While it is unclear whether he was involved as an extra or behind the scenes, top Madonna mooch Otto Von Wernherr is also thanked in the film’s credits. It does not appear that any of his music was used in the film, which for once is actually unfortunate because Von Wernherr’s songs would have sounded right at home alongside the truly bizarre musical selections, including several by Pattnosh, that are showcased throughout A Certain Sacrifice.  Perhaps it was Lewicki’s fringe fetish that ruled out the possibility of using any of Madonna’s pre-Warner tunes in the film?

Today in Madonna History: October 19, 1981

On October 19 1981, Madonna performed at Uncle Sam’s Blues Club in Roslyn, NY. Her manager at the time, Camille Barbone, had hired photographer George DuBose to capture Madonna’s two sets that evening.

Madonna’s band during the show consisted of Bob Riley on drums (later replaced by Steve Bray), John Kumnick on bass, Jon Gordon on guitar (later replaced by Paul Pesco) & David Frank on keyboards. When Madonna terminated her management agreement with Barbone in early 1982, she continued her working relationship with Bray, Pesco & Frank.

Steve Bray would co-write tracks that would appear on Madonna’s demo tape which landed her a recording contract with Sire Records later that year, and their collaboration remained successful throughout the 80’s.

Paul Pesco played guitar (along with Madonna herself) on the aforementioned demo and would also appear on Madonna’s self-titled debut album and her first concert tour, The Virgin Tour. Years later, he played on the Erotica album and joined Madonna’s touring band again for The Girlie Show in 1993.

David Frank, who soon found success as half of the electronic music duo The System, co-wrote an early version of Crimes Of Passion with Madonna before she decided to rewrite the music with Bray. The System’s hit In Times Of Passion is based on his ideas for the song but feature new lyrics from The System’s vocalist, Mic Murphy. Frank was also involved with the mysterious Otto Von Wernherr demos, believed to have been recorded in early 1982 prior Madonna’s deal with Sire, as he is credited for arrangement on the 1986 Japanese 12-inch release of Cosmic Climb (his name was subsequently omitted from Wernherr’s later releases).

Interestingly, The System’s other half, Mic Murphy, co-wrote the unreleased Erotica-era demo Dear Father with Madonna in the early 90’s. Pesco, who may have played guitar on this demo given his involvement during the album sessions, was also the guitarist for The System.

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