Today in Madonna History: July 20, 2015

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On July 20 2015, Madonna announced that Diplo would be the opening act for the launch of her Rebel Heart Tour on September 9 and 10th at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec:

“To have Diplo open for me is my dream come true. Montreal is about to TURN UP!!!! We Go Hard or We Go Home!”

With Madonna, Diplo produced and co-wrote the songs Living For Love, Bitch I’m Madonna, Unapologetic Bitch, Veni Vidi Vici, Best Night and Hold Tight. 

Today in Madonna History: July 9, 2015

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On July 9 2015, Adi Lederman was sentenced to 14 months in prison for hacking Madonna’s song library and leaking early demos from her yet-to-be-released Rebel Heart album.

Under a plea bargain, Lederman confessed to computer trespassing and infringement of privacy and property rights.  Lederman was fined 15,000 shekels ($4,000 US dollars), in addition to his prison sentence.

The court released this statement:

“The ease with which crimes such as this can be committed by those who have skills in the field, such as the accused, require an appropriate punitive response that has a deterrent and uncompromising message.”

Madonna said the crime was an “invasion into my life – creatively, professionally and personally remains a deeply devastating and hurtful experience“.

Today in Madonna History: May 27, 2015

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On May 27 2015, Forbes magazine announced that Madonna topped the annual list of top-earning musicians and also claimed the No. 28 spot on their list of America’s richest self-made women.

Here’s what Forbes had to say:

The wealthiest musician on the list, Madonna has an estimated net worth of $520 million, with her main source being from music, clothing, and real estate  One of the top pop divas of all time. Her tours have grossed an estimated $1.2 billion over the years, including $305 million from her 2012 MDNA tour. That helped her earn an estimated $125 million during the ensuing 12-month period during which Forbes calculated celebrity earnings, more than any other musician. Look for another bump when she goes on the road with her latest album, Rebel Heart, in August.

Today in Madonna History: May 8, 2015

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On May 8 2015, Madonna replied by saying “um, thanks” to Marilyn Manson’s tweet that he’d like to fornicate with her:

I’m kind of interested in this Madonna record.  She looks hotter than ever.  I’d also like to let it be known that I still have a crush on Madonna and I would definitely fornicate with her.

Today in Madonna History: March 27, 2015

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On March 27 2015, Madonna graced the cover of New York gay magazine Next.  The magazine included a four-page spread with an interview to the Queen of Queens by John Russell.

Here’s a snippet of the interview between Russell and Madonna:

I counted at least 13 different producers in the album’s liner notes, but it was never Madonna’s intention to work with so many different people on the album. The same health concerns that forced Avicii to cancel his tour in September also threw a wrench into his work on Rebel Heart. Madonna was forced to find other producers to work with on many of the songs they’d started writing together. Meanwhile, Diplo’s touring schedule and other projects meant that his time was limited as well.

“I ended up working with a lot of DJs—young DJs—and I naively didn’t think it through. Oh, it’s summertime, it’s the festivals, and they’re on tour, and I’ll be lucky if I get them for three days, so a lot of that had to factor in. OK, I can’t wait for three months for this dude to come back. I have to find somebody else.”

Of course, art never gets made in a vacuum, something Madonna knows and accepts. “I had to bend my knees and ride the waves.”

The result is an album that, at first, seems all over the map. But it’s tough to judge an album by an artist like Madonna after just one listen. Even if you’re only familiar with her hits, those past gems loom large in comparison to the new material. You’re listening for her next step and at the same time hoping she’ll retain whatever lighting in a bottle quality her early hits had. On first listen, Rebel Heart has its moments, sure. But it’s not until a week after hearing the full album, when I find myself humming Unapologetic Bitch and Ghosttown on the subway, that it really feels like the album clicks into place. Will anyone but diehard Madonna fans—and that’s not an insignificant demographic within her fanbase—listen to the whole album, start to finish, more than once or twice? Probably not. But I’m not sure that matters. Every pop album has to include some forgettable filler tracks—although with the way we consume music these days a la carte, who knows how much longer that model will last. But even at a whopping 19 tracks—23, plus two Living for Love remixes on the Super Deluxe edition—there’s not much fat to trim on Rebel Heart. As a whole, it’s probably Madonna’s most listenable since Confessions on a Dance Floor.

“I didn’t set out to write certain kinds of songs. I just set out to write good songs,” she says. There are dark turns on the album, also a bit of soul searching. And the ballads are particularly strong. Apparently, Madonna set out to write songs that, stripped of all their production, could also work on an acoustic level.

“When we run out of oil and we don’t have electricity, I can just light a candle and strum my guitar and sing you a song.”

Today in Madonna History: March 18, 2015

On March 18 2015, Madonna’s Rebel Heart album debuted on Billboard’s Canadian Top Albums chart at #1.

All seven of Madonna’s studio albums released since Nielsen SoundScan began monitoring album sales in Canada in 1996 have entered the Canadian chart at #1, as did her 2009 hits collection, Celebration.

In contrast to Billboard’s Top 200 in the U.S., where Rebel Heart entered at #2 before falling to #21 the following week, sales remained relatively steady in Canada, with the album dipping only one position to #2 in its second week.

Interestingly, the album that blocked Rebel Heart from reaching the top spot in the U.S. (the Empire: Season 1 soundtrack) charted for only one week in Canada, peaking at #25.

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:

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