Today in Madonna History: December 9, 2016

On December 9 2016, Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour premiered on SHOWTIME, on-air, on-demand and over the internet.

Here’s a snippet from the press release for the broadcast:

MADONNA: REBEL HEART TOUR was shot around the world and features a collection of live and behind these scenes footage culminating in performances at the Sydney Olympic Park in March of this year. The film is co-directed by Danny B. Tull and Nathan Rissman, both of whom have worked extensively with Madonna on her feature films and tour movies. Madonna will be honored later this year as Billboard magazine’s 2016 Woman of the Year award, at a star-studded event held in conjunction with the publication of Billboard’s Women in Music list, which identifies the 50 most powerful female executives in the industry each year.

“When it comes to putting on a show, there is only one Madonna – an iconic performer that we’re thrilled to have on our air,” said David Nevins, President and CEO, Showtime Networks Inc. “With her unique creative vision and unmatched stage presence, our viewers will see an arena show packed with visual theatrics, stunning costumes and intricate choreography, featuring new hits and beloved classic songs.”

The set list for MADONNA: REBEL HEART TOUR spans all decades of the iconic superstar’s illustrious career, including songs from Rebel Heart (the No. 1 dance hits “Living for Love” and “Bitch I’m Madonna“) to classic fan favorites like “Material Girl” and “Holiday” and a “Dress You Up” medley that included “Into The Groove,” “Everybody” and “Lucky Star.” Memorable highlights from the tour include her first-ever live concert performance of “Take a Bow,” acoustic versions of “Like A Prayer,” “Secret” and “Don’t Tell Me.”  At each tour date during the song “Unapologetic Bitch,” Madonna would bring someone up from the crowd to dance with her during the song. Some nights it was a fan, another night it was Katy Perry. Other guest dancers included: Amy Schumer, Ariana Grande, Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Diplo, Gwendoline Christie, Graham Norton and Anderson Cooper.

Produced by Live Nation Global Touring, the Rebel Heart Tour kicked off on September 9, 2015 in Montreal and visited arenas in 55 cities on four continents over seven months. Madonna performed 82 shows, plus a special fan club show in Melbourne. The tour grossed $169.8 Million with 1,045,479 in attendance, making her the top grossing touring female artist in the history of Billboard Boxscore with over $1.31 billion in ticket sales sold over the course of her career. Madonna is also the fourth top grossing touring act (behind The Rolling Stones, U2 and Bruce Springsteen) since tracking began in 1990.

The Rebel Heart Tour was directed by Jamie King with musical direction by Kevin Antunes (the band’s keyboardist Ric’key Pageot, drummer Brian Frasier-Moore, guitarist Monte Pittman, and background vocalists Kiley Dean and Nicki Richards), lead choreography by Megan Lawson, hair by Andy LeCompte, makeup by Aaron Henrikson, and costume design by Arianne Phillips.

Today in Madonna History: March 18, 2015

On March 18 2015, Madonna performed Joan Of Arc for the first time during her week as featured artist on the Ellen DeGeneres Show.

The performance, which featured a slower acoustic arrangement of the fan favorite from her album Rebel Heart (including Ellen’s own favorite), earned praise from critics:

Digital Journal reviewer Markos Papadatos wrote that it was “an outstanding vocal performance,” where Madonna “showcased tremendous control over her voice, and allows the lyrics to speak for themselves. Her delivery is emotional, vulnerable yet delicate.” Writing for The Inquisitr, Daryl Deino praised her vocal performance, saying that she “showed the world once again just what her voice is made of” and calling the version “beautiful.” Furthermore, Bradley Stern of MuuMuse also applauded the performance, calling it “really great…super vulnerable, super emotional…and that chilly guitar finish was a wonderful surprise.”

Today in Madonna History: March 14, 2015

On March 14 2015, Madonna was interviewed by Jonathan Ross for The Jonathan Ross Show on ITV.  Madonna was in the UK to promote Rebel Heart.  Jonathan had interviewed Madonna once previously in 1992, during the promotion of her Erotica album.

Watch the interview here:

Today in Madonna History: March 11, 2015

On March 11 2015, Madonna was interviewed by Howard Stern on SiriusXM.

Here are some tidbits we learned about Madonna during the interview, according to Rolling Stone magazine:

  • Her shocking VMA debut of “Like a Virgin” was an accident. “I had come down the wedding cake and my shoe fell off,” she said. “I was like ‘Oh shit, I can’t dance in one shoe!” The mishap prompted quick decision-making on Madonna’s end as to how to proceed with the performance and led to the controversial stage-humping that took place at the first Video Music Awards. “I didn’t know my skirt was up. I proceeded to sing the song laying down on the ground. I was just making the best of the situation.” She noted that her manager Freddy DeMann told her that her career would be over following the performance.
  • She craves normalcy every once in a while. “Every 3 days I crave it,” she said. “Every three days I go, ‘That’s it. I’m moving to a cabin and living in the forest and no one’s gonna fuck with me anymore.'” Stern probed as to why she thinks she could never give up her career and life in the spotlight. “Because I’m an artist and I’m tortured. I’m a masochist and I like to create. I don’t know. Maybe one day I will.”
  • Madonna’s first year in New York included multiple robberies, an assault and an unreported rape. “I needed money for the payphone and [a stranger] gave it to me,” she said. “He was a very friendly guy, and the phone was ringing. He was like, ‘Oh, I live right across the street if you’d like to make the phone call from my house.” The then 19-year-old Madonna agreed, blaming her “stupid friendliness” from her Midwestern roots. “I trusted everybody. The rest is not worth talking about.”
  • She doesn’t hate David Letterman. Stern acknowledged some early interviews between the pop star and talk show host, noting he could never tell if she liked him or was annoyed. “Oh, that’s how I flirt with people,” she revealed. “One time I was mad at him, when I said the ‘f-word’ a lot, but the rest of the time was good.”
  • She dated Tupac Shakur. The late rapper had actually been the reason Madonna was mad at Letterman. “I was dating Tupac Shakur at the time, and he had gotten me all riled up about life in general,” she said. “When I went on this show, I was feeling very gangster.” Stern revealed his surprise about the little-known past relationship. “I think people know, if you’re in the know,” said Madonna coyly.
  • The misunderstood meaning of “Material Girl” gets on her nerves. “The song that irritated me the most about being associated with me is ‘Material Girl,'” she said. “It was an ironic song because I’m certainly not a materialistic person.” The topic came up as Stern had her clear up a rumor that she detested the success of “Like a Virgin” because other people had written it. The singer declared the rumor false, asserting that she loves the song and appreciates its writers.
  • Upon making her first $1 million, she indulged in buying a Frida Kahlo painting. “That was always my goal,” she said on her art collection. “When I was married to Sean [Penn], I said ‘When I make my first million, I’m going to buy art.'” Madonna had been a huge fan of Frida Kahlo since she was young. “I bought a self-portrait of hers. At the time it was rather inexpensive because people didn’t know who she was.”
  • Jean-Michel Basquiat destroyed all the paintings he had given to her. Madonna and Basquiat had dated when the singer was very young, but his heroin addiction ended up pulling them apart. “He was an amazing man and deeply talented. I loved him,” she said. “When I broke up with him, he made me give all [his paintings] back to him. And then he painted over them black.” She regrets giving the art back, but felt pressured to do so since it was something he had created.
  • She wrote “Vogue” in a few hours. Madonna stands by the idea that her best songs are the ones she wrote in only a couple of hours, “Vogue” included. “I thought it was a very cool dance, very presentational and elegant and all about vanity,” she said about the dance of the same name. The song had been written for Dick Tracy, the film she made with ex-boyfriend Warren Beatty, and was inspired by all the classic movie stars. “[Warren] dated all of Hollywood, basically.” She would ask him questions about what the stars she admired — and he dated — were like, including Natalie Wood and Julie Christie. “I looked up to [these women] and admired them.”

Today in Madonna History: March 1, 2015

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On March 1 2015, Madonna visited Italian talk show, Che tempo che fa, as part of her promotional tour for the Rebel Heart album.In addition to an interview with host Fabio Fazio, she performed Devil Pray for the first time, along with the album’s second single, Ghosttown.

Madonna’s appearance on the show aired on March 8th.

Today in Madonna History: January 29, 2015

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On January 29 2015, Rob Sheffield reviewed Madonna’s Unapologetic Bitch for Rolling Stone magazine’s singles review section (even though it was never released as a single):

Bitch, she’s Madonna. The queen of queens has given a taste of her upcoming album, Rebel Heart, with a few songs dropped in advance after an early leak of unfinished versions. And the girl’s in a feisty mood these days – Madonna writing herself a theme song called “Unapologetic Bitch” is like Springsteen doing one called “Jersey Guy Who Sweats a Lot.” These new songs range from the Nicki Minaj collabo “Bitch I’m Madonna” to the gospel-house pieties of “Living for Love” to the Yeezus-style industrial Kanye grind “Illuminati.” But “Unapologetic Bitch” is the standout: a breakup rant over a Diplo-produced dancehall groove, with Madonna shooting a few poison arrows into the heart of some dude who’s done her wrong.

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Today in Madonna History: January 21, 2015

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On January 21 2015, an undercover investigation by the Internet crime unit of Israel’s anti-fraud police resulted in the arrest of a Tel Aviv man suspected of hacking into Madonna’s home computer, stealing unreleased music and selling the tracks online.

The investigation began after a complaint by Madonna’s manager, Guy Oseary.  With the cooperation of the FBI, the hack was found to be larger in scale and involved more musicians than just Madonna.

An expert in Internet crime was sent to New York City to inspect Madonna’s computers, where he confirmed a hack originating in Israel. Police searched the suspect’s home, seizing computers and media storage devices.

Madonna had this to say about the Rebel Heart album leaks incident:

“I am profoundly grateful to the FBI, the Israeli Police investigators and anyone else who helped lead to the arrest of this hacker. I deeply appreciate my fans who have provided us with pertinent information and continue to do so regarding leaks of my music. Like any citizen, I have the right to privacy. This invasion into my life – creatively, professionally, and personally remains a deeply devastating and hurtful experience, as it must be for all artists who are victims of this type of crime.”

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