Today in Madonna History: July 8, 1985

19850708-750-0

On July 8 1985, Madonna was featured on the cover of People magazine with the caption: “Can Madonna get Sean to the alter?”

Today in Madonna History: June 27, 1988

june-27-madonna-sean-spinks-fight-1 june-27-madonna-sean-spinks-fight-2 june-27-madonna-sean-spinks-fight-3 june-27-madonna-sean-spinks-fight-4 june-27-madonna-sean-spinks-fight-5 june-27-madonna-sean-spinks-fight-6 june-27-madonna-sean-spinks-fight-7

On June 27 1988, Madonna and Sean Penn attended the Mike Tyson vs. Mike Spinks fight at the Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

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: March 6, 1986

George Harrison And Madonna Promote 'Shanghai Surprise' madonna-george-harrison-shanghai-surprise-conferrence-2 madonna-george-harrison-shanghai-surprise-conferrence-3 madonna-george-harrison-shanghai-surprise-conferrence-4

On March 6 1986, Madonna and George Harrison held a press conference at Kensington Roof Gardens, London, England to discuss the filming of Shanghai Surprise.

When asked by a reporter to apologize for her and Sean’s behavior towards the British press, Madonna answered: “I have nothing to apologize for”.

You have to stick it out to the end of the video to hear George Harrison’s Shanghai Surprise. It’s one of those 80’s songs you can’t get out of your head!

Here are some of the lyrics:

But i’m ready.
You must be crazy… crazy…
And you got no money… money…
But you’re a tryer…

My straits are dire from the wok into the fire,
I’d like to meet you but i’ve broken my chopstick.
Sometimes there’s no hope in, in chasing promises,
I wanna love you though it could prove to be unwise,
Shanghai surprise.

Today in Madonna History: February 20, 1986

On February 20 1986, Madonna and Sean Penn attended the premiere of his film At Close Range at the Berlin Film Festival in Berlin, Germany.

Madonna contributed Live To Tell to the At Close Range soundtrack. Live To Tell was written by Patrick Leonard and Madonna, and was released as the first single from her True Blue album in March 1986.

Today in Madonna History: December 14, 1987

people-121487-1 people-121487-2 people-121487-3

On December 14 1987, Madonna and Sean Penn appeared on the cover of People magazine.

Everyone Said It Wouldn’t Last… …And It Didn’t. After Two Years of Marriage, Madonna and Sean Penn Go Their Separate Ways.  

Well, you can’t blame Judge John Merrick. It was Merrick, now a retired justice of the peace, who performed the August 1985 marriage of Madonna Louise Ciccone and Sean “KO” Penn. “I felt they were serious about their vows,” says Merrick. “I remember a line from the ceremony: ‘Although there will be times that your moods may falter, and you’ll question each other’s motives, the faith and love that you share will help to show that your inconsistency is only for the moment.’ ”   Trouble is, for Sean, 27, and Madonna, 29, that moment seemed to persist for a little over two years. Now, after 27 months of holy matrimony and unholy acrimony, the material girl and her rebel without a pause are positively, absolutely, this-time-they’re-not-kidding headed for that crowded community called Splitsville. “The marriage is definitely over,” says Madonna’s spokesperson, Liz Rosenberg. Seconds Penn’s publicist, Lois Smith, “The two of them have called off the marriage.”

people-121487-end

Today in Madonna History: August 28, 1986

madonna_goose_tom_tom

On August 28 1986, Madonna and Sean opened in David Rabe’s Goose & Tomtom at Lincoln Centre’s Mitzi Newhouse Theatre, in New York.

Here’s a snippet of an article that Dena Kleiman published about the play:

A Revival that may not revive (New York Times August 19, 1986):

Madonna and Sean Penn are quietly dashing in and out of Lincoln Center these days in connection with closely guarded rehearsals of David Rabe’s Goose and Tomtom that may never be opened to the public.

But maybe, said Mr. Rabe, who is also directing the play, he will invite a special audience to come next week to a free performance – or even two. And after that? ”I’ve reserved the right not to show it,” Mr. Rabe said.

The rehearsals, in which Harvey Keitel, Barry Miller and Lorraine Bracco are also taking part, have been described by Mr. Rabe as a ”work in progress” for a play that was previously – but in his view unsuccessfully – produced. He said he believes he has a better handle on the play now, but is still not absolutely sure.

In the play, Goose (Barry Miller) and Tomtom (Sean Penn) are a pair of jewel thieves, who, in collaboration with a sexy woman named Lorraine (Madonna), amass a collection of gems only to have them stolen by a rival gang.

”I’m in the process of trying to understand it,” said Mr. Rabe, who is currently working with the actors on the stage of the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater. ”I wrote it without understanding it, and it has taken a long time to grasp.”

%d bloggers like this: