Today in Madonna History: July 24, 1989

On July 24 1989, Express Yourself spent the first of two weeks at #1 on the Canadian Top 100 Singles chart published by RPM.

Today in Madonna History: July 23, 2013

On July 23 2013, Madonna attended the funeral of her close friend David Collins in Monkstown, Ireland.

Madonna had initially met Collins in 1995 while she was in London to record the soundtrack for Evita. Well-known for his work as an architect and interior designer, Collins also received a songwriting credit on Drowned World/Substitute For Love when Madonna chose to adapt elements of a poem he had written for her into the song’s lyrics.

Today in Madonna History: July 22, 1989

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On July 22 1989, Herb Ritts directed Madonna’s Cherish video.  The black and white music video was filmed at Paradise Cove Beach in Malibu, California.

Today in Madonna History: June 24, 1996

Canadian Top Singles June 24 1996 RPM

On June 24 1996, Madonna’s cover of Rose Royce’s Love Don’t Live Here Anymore peaked at #24 on the Canadian Top 100 Singles chart, which was then tabulated by RPM – Canada’s long-running music industry publication that folded in the year 2000.

Love Don’t Live Here Anymore was Madonna’s only fully promoted North American single to not be issued commercially in any physical format in Canada until the release of 4 Minutes in 2008, by which point Warner Music Canada had ceased domestic production of physical singles and maxi-singles altogether (2006’s Jump CD maxi-single was the last). Considering this distinction, the song managed to perform respectably well on the Canadian Singles chart based on airplay alone. In the U.S., where it was available commercially on CD-single, cassette-single and 7″ single, it only manged to climb to #78 on Billboard’s Hot 100, becoming her lowest charting single to date at the time (excluding her first two singles, neither of which charted on the Hot 100).

Today in Madonna History: June 4, 2015

bitch i'm madonna

On June 4 2015, the first batch of remixes for the single Bitch I’m Madonna were released:

  • Bitch I’m Madonna (Oscar G 305 Dub) 8:45
  • Bitch I’m Madonna (Oscar G Bitch Beats) 8:45
  • Bitch I’m Madonna (Rosabel’s Bitch Move Dub) 7:36
  • Bitch I’m Madonna (Sander Kleinenberg Club Mix) 5:00
  • Bitch I’m Madonna (Rosabel’s Bitch Move Mix) 7:06

Oscar G previously remixed Madonna’s cover of Fever back in 1993. Sander Kleinenberg was commissioned to produce remixes of Hollywood in 2003, although his mixes remained shelved until they surfaced on the internet in 2010. Clearly Madonna was more fond of Kleinenberg’s treatment of Bitch I’m Madonna, as it was featured in her first official remix video since leaving Warner Bros. Records.

Today in Madonna History: May 31, 1986

On May 31 1986, Madonna’s Live To Tell hit #1 for 3 weeks on US Hot Adult Contemporary singles chart.

The haunting and dramatic ballad, written and produced by Madonna & Patrick Leonard, was the first commercially released collaboration between the pair – a songwriting partnership that is viewed by many fans as one of her most creatively successful.

Leonard had previously been involved with Madonna’s Virgin Tour as musical director, and when Madonna agreed to participate in Live Aid in the Summer of 1985, she asked him to collaborate on a new song for the performance, which evolved into Love Makes The World Go Round.

Although both songs would find their way on to Madonna’s next studio album, True Blue, at the time of Live To Tell’s release the album’s title had not yet been decided. Instead, the song was used to promote Sean Penn’s film At Close Range, in which it was featured alongside an original score composed by Leonard.

He had initially composed the music that evolved into Live To Tell for another film he had been invited to score for Paramount, titled Fire With Fire. The producers of the film passed on the theme. Leonard recalled the subsequent series of events that led to the song’s completion in The Billboard Book of Number One Hits by Random House:

“Madonna said ‘This song would be great for Sean’s new movie.’ She wrote the lyrics–she just wrote them on the spot, which is what we always do. I don’t think we’ve ever taken more than three hours to complete a song from start to finish. She sang it on the demo only once and left with the cassette. That day I went to work with Michael Jackson on some transcriptions for material he was writing for the Bad album. The phone rang at Michael’s and it was Sean. He said ‘I’m over at the director’s house and Madonna just brought the song over. We love it and we’d like to talk to you about it.’ … We recut the song, but we used the same vocal. She only sang it once for the demo and that was the vocal we used because it was so innocent and so shy. She had a legal pad in her hand and you can hear the paper. It’s as raw as raw can be and that’s part of what gave it all its charm.”

When the demo recording of Live To Tell eventually surfaced, it became evident that Madonna had in fact re-recorded the first verse, but all remaining vocals do indeed appear to have been carried over from the demo to the final mix (along with a generously added dose of reverb to smooth over the rough edges of the demo take).

Given the song’s dark undercurrents and unresolved narrative, it was a bold choice for a single release. It marked a dramatic shift from the yearning love song, Crazy For You – her only other ballad to have been issued as a single at the time. But any radio programmers who were hesitant to consider Madonna as a serious artist simply couldn’t deny the artistry of the song and nor could record buyers, with the combined support sending Live To Tell straight to the top of the pop charts.

Live To Tell was Madonna’s third #1 single on the Billboard Hot 100, and her #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart, where it would reign for three weeks.

Today in Madonna History: May 21, 2001

On May 21 2001, the U.S. leg of Madonna’s Drowned World Tour continued to sell out performances in the final seven markets that went on sale the previous weekend. A press release stated that the tour, promoted by SFX, promised to be the most extravagant stage spectacle of Madonna’s career thus far. The last batch of cities announced for the tour included sold-out dates in New York, New Jersey, Washington, Miami, Atlanta, Las Vegas and Los Angeles. It was also announced that due to overwhelming demand, an additional three shows in New York and two in Los Angeles had been added to the itinerary, with tickets to go on sale May 30th.

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