Today in Madonna History: January 16, 2001

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On January 16 2001, Don’t Tell Me was released commercially in North America as the second single from Music.

Written by Madonna, Mirwais & Joe Henry, the song was Madonna’s first collaboration with her brother-in-law, whom she had known since high school. Henry sent a demo (then titled Stop) to Madonna after his wife, Melanie, insisted that her sister would love the song. Madonna & Mirwais drastically altered the music and melody and renamed the song Don’t Tell Me. Henry released his version on his eighth studio album, Scar, in May 2001.

The maxi-single featured remixes by Thunderpuss, Timo Mass, Victor Calderone, Richard “Humpty” Vission and Tracy Young. Don’t Tell Me was the last Madonna release to be issued on cassette single in the U.S. and was also available on 2-track CD single, CD Maxi-Single (enhanced with the music video) and as a double 12″ vinyl set. In Canada, it was released only on CD maxi-single.

Today in Madonna History: December 29, 2001

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On December 29 2001, megamixes issued to promote Madonna’s second greatest hits collection, GHV2, made their debut on Billboard’s Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart in the U.S. at #29.

Several promo-only singles were issued by Maverick/Warner featuring megamixes by Thunderpuss, Tracy Young and Johnny Rocks with Mac Quayle and charted collectively under the title Madonna Megamix.

An additional marketing push to club DJ’s came in the form of GHV2 Remixed: The Best of 1991-2001 – a promo-only companion collection issued on CD and vinyl that compiled full-length remixed versions of songs featured on GHV2.

Today in Madonna History: November 17, 1984

On November 17 1984, the title-track and lead single from Madonna’s Like A Virgin album entered the Billboard Hot 100 at #48 – the week’s highest debut – hot on the heels of its commercial release as a 7-inch single in the preceding sales week. A commercial 12-inch single was also issued in North America during the chart week ending November 17th, with Like A Virgin pouncing onto the Hot Dance/Disco Sales chart at #26 in the November 24th issue of Billboard.

Created by the successful pop songwriting team of Tom Kelly & Billy Steinberg and produced by Nile Rodgers, the demo of Like A Virgin – sung by Kelly – was initially introduced to Madonna by Warner Bros. Records’ A&R rep Michael Ostin (son of then-CEO of Warner, Mo Ostin).

In a 2009 interview for Rolling Stone magazine, Madonna recalled her impressions upon first listening to the demos of Like A Virgin and its follow-up single, Material Girl:

“I liked them both because they were ironic and provocative at the same time but also unlike me. I am not a materialistic person, and I certainly wasn’t a virgin, and, by the way, how can you be like a virgin? I liked the play on words; I thought they were clever. They’re so geeky, they’re cool. I never realized they would become my signature songs, especially the second one.”

As audio engineer Jason Corsaro noted in a 2007 interview with Sound On Sound magazine, although she officially ceded production credit to Rodgers, Madonna was actively engaged in all aspects of the recording sessions for the album and title-track:

“Nile was there most of the time, but she was there all of the time. She never left.”

Like A Virgin made a high-profile debut via live performance during the first annual MTV Video Music Awards on September 14th, 1984.

With previous single Lucky Star still ascending the North American charts, however, the official release of Like A Virgin was held back by Warner Bros. Records in a bid to allow the former (along with its parent album) to reach its full chart potential. This strategy proved successful, with Madonna earning her first U.S. Top-5 single with Lucky Star in the October 20th issue of Billboard, while Like A Virgin would reach #1 in the December 22nd issue.

Today in Madonna History: November 12, 1994

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On November 12 1994, Madonna’s Bedtime Stories was the week’s highest debut on the Billboard 200 album chart, peaking at #3 with sales of 145,000 units.

While the figure represented a 15% drop in first-week sales from her previous long player, Erotica, the album proved to be a commercial grower in America – where the runaway success of its second single, Take A Bow, would push its overall U.S. sales tally well beyond that of its predecessor.

Illustrating urban/r&b’s U.S. chart domination at the time, Bedtime Stories was held back from the top spot by the Murder Was The Case soundtrack (performed by Snoop Doggy Dogg) and Boyz II Men’s II.

Today in Madonna History: November 7, 1998

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On November 7 1998, Sky Fits Heaven peaked at #41 on Billboard’s Hot Dance/Club Play chart in the US.

Although the song was not released commercially or promotionally in North America, remixes by Sasha and Victor Calderone released abroad on the Drowned World/Substitute For Love single managed to garner enough club play in the U.S. to merit a six-week run on the chart (plus one week on the Hot Dance Music Breakouts chart).

A remix video of Sky Fits Heaven (Sasha Remix) featuring outtakes from the Ray Of Light music video was serviced to select clubs, and this non-traditional form of promotion may have contributed to its chart placement.

Today in Madonna History: October 2, 1995

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On October 2 1995, the music video for I Want You made its world premiere on VH1 in the U.S.

Shot on August 5th and 6th in Long Island City, New York by director Earle Sebastien, the video was inspired by the short story A Telephone Call – A Terrible Day Tomorrow by American author, Dorothy Parker.

Today in Madonna History: September 21, 2005

On September 21 2005, legendary gossip columnist and longtime Madonna supporter, the late Liz Smith, continued to generate excitement for the release of Madonna’s album Confessions On A Dance Floor in her New York Post column: 

Disc Jockeys from all across the U.S. converged in a small, chic backroom down at 14th Street’s Lotus restaurant last Wednesday afternoon. They were there to listen to three tracks from Madonna’s soon-due ‘Confessions on a Dance Floor’ album, and to meet the CD’s brilliant British producer, Stuart Price. Although it was all very casual, with cocktails and munchies, the music men – and women – listened intently, in their own hectic, head-bobbing way. (And most of them looked like fresh-faced college students!) M’s sound went over big time, and Grammy-winner Price, only 30 years old, was mobbed. There were at least three dozen people in this confined space — Price could hardly move from all the handshaking, shoulder slaps and hearty hugs. He is worshiped in the dance community and uses another name on some work — Jacques Le Cont. He’s produced for No Doubt and many others. Talking about the songs, Price, who also has a very naughty sense of humor, said: ‘When dance music was young, there was a strong vocal, and the beat was underneath. Now, the vocal is not so prominent. Madonna and I wanted to make a dance album for today, which would satisfy everybody — those who want to really hear her voice and those for whom the driving thump-thump is the thing. I think we’ve succeeded.’ Music scribe Maggie Stein, who also writes under the nom de plume Odyssey Jones, said, ‘This is hopeful dance music. It has a positive message, in that it’s fun. Just fun. It’s what Madonna needed to do.’

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