Today in Madonna History: August 16, 2015

On August 16 2015, singer/songwriter Joe Henry shared a touching birthday tribute to his sister-in-law, Madonna:

This is the young woman I met shortly after our family’s move to Michigan in 1975 – as I entered my sophomore year of high school and, she, her senior one. Together, we were in the Thespian Society; and in that winter’s first production, we were cast as mother and son – the wife and child of Ralph Waldo Emerson – in a play about Thoreau.

She was whip-smart and short on patience; and to tell the truth, she scared me more than a little, but along with her sister Paula, her presence upon my landscape nudged open a door through which I would pass and find my life utterly and forever changed…that unusual and sprawling family becoming, years later, my own.

No one is more surprised than I by the way our lives have expanded; by the way that our journeys have diverged and become entangled. Like anyone, I can sometimes forget to see the flesh and blood/heart and mind behind the parade float that is her public persona. But then I will find myself across the kitchen table from her, sharing a martini, and be additionally shocked to recognize anew the compact, terse-yet-compassionate human at the switches.

I have told this tale before, but it bears repeating: when Elvis Presley died on this date in 1977, this upstart professed in real-time that she felt his spirit had passed out of his body and through her own in exodus.

I laughed at her then for such outrageous self-possession, at the arrogance that I assumed must allow her to declare such publicly.

Today, when there is laughter, it is the laugh of recognition I hear – and it begins somewhere high above me, where things that once seemed implausible play with wild abandon and in broad daylight.

Happy Birthday, Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone.

Today in Madonna History: August 5, 1989

On August 5 1989, Madonna’s Express Yourself spent its third week at #1 on Billboard’s Maxi-Single Sales chart (then known as the 12-Inch Single Sales chart) in the US.

With various Shep Pettibone remixes being used to promote the single on radio and in its accompanying video, the wide exposure and popularity of the Express Yourself remixes would allow the 12″ single to hang on to the top spot for a fourth and final consecutive week in the August 12th issue of Billboard. By the time it bowed out a month later it had spent a total of twelve weeks on the Maxi-Single Sales chart.

Today in Madonna History: July 11, 1987

On July 11 1987, Madonna’s Who’s That Girl made its U.S. chart debut at #43 on the Billboard Hot 100. The single entered the Hot 100 Airplay chart at #32 in the same issue.

Today in Madonna History: April 30, 1983

On April 30 1983, Madonna’s second single – the double A-side Burning Up/Physical Attraction – moved into the Top 10 on Billboard’s Dance/Disco Top 80 chart (now known as Hot Dance/Club Play), leaping from #18 to #9.

Interestingly, the release charted as Physical Attraction/Burning Up throughout its run on the Dance chart. When two songs are promoted together to dance clubs, Billboard will generally position the track that earns the higher number of spins first in its Dance chart entry.

The same Billboard issue also saw some early radio support for Madonna, as New York City’s WKTU-FM featured Physical Attraction among their top playlist adds for the week.

Today in Madonna History: March 27, 1993

On March 27 1993, Bad Girl peaked at #20 on the Canadian Top 100 Singles chart (RPM).

Although the single fared better in Canada than it did south of the border (it peaked at #36 on the Hot 100), Bad Girl nevertheless earned the undesirable distinction of being Madonna’s lowest charting Canadian single since Borderline at the time, which had peaked at #25 in September, 1984.

Today in Madonna History: March 9, 1998

On March 9 1998, Frozen hit #1 on the Italian Singles Chart (FIMI). On the same date, the Ray Of Light album made its debut at #1 in Italy.

The single would top the Italian charts for four weeks while the album spent three weeks at #1.

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.

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