Today in Madonna History: August 13, 1985

550w_madonna_and_sean_penn

On August 13 1985, Madonna and Sean Penn got their marriage license.

Today in Madonna History: June 24, 1985

madonnaseanpenn-1

On June 24 1985, Madonna and Sean Penn announced that they would marry on August 16, 1985.

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 re-cut 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 first #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart, where it would reign for three weeks.

Today in Madonna History: April 17, 1986

acr premiere 7 acr premiere 6 Classic Images of Madonna acr premiere 5 acr premiere 2 acr premiere 1

On April 17 1986, Madonna and Sean Penn attended the Los Angeles premiere of his film At Close Range at the Bruin Theater.

Sporting a new cropped, platinum blonde hairstyle, Madonna and her notoriously media-shy husband paused to speak with various media outlets as they made their way down the red carpet.

The film, which co-starred Christopher Walken and Mary Stuart Masterson, featured Madonna’s latest single, Live To Tell, along with an original musical score by Patrick Leonard comprising mostly of motifs inspired by Live To Tell‘s minor chord changes. Its director, James Foley, helmed several of Madonna’s music videos for the True Blue album and directed her next film, Who’s That Girl.

Today In Madonna History: March 4, 1987

 

Shanghai-surprise-cover

On March 4 1987, Shanghai Surprise was released on home video.

The Philadelphia Inquirer gave the film a 1 star rating:

“Shanghai Surprise is so dismally scripted and directed that no one could redeem it… an atmospheric, handsomely shot and, sadly, utterly empty piece of work.”

Today in Madonna History: December 4, 1987

On December 4 1987, Madonna filed for divorce from Sean Penn in Los Angeles County Superior Court, California. Twelve days later, Madonna withdrew the divorce papers and the couple stayed together until January 5 1989, when Madonna filed new divorce papers citing “irreconcilable differences”.

Jay’s Note: I often wondered why Madonna released You Can Dance with so little promotion behind it (You Can Dance was released November 17/1987). Understanding that her personal life was falling apart at the time, it makes sense that she wouldn’t have been concerned with releasing singles or filming music videos to promote the remix collection.

I also found this quote from her about You Can Dance:

“I don’t know that I like it, people screwing with my records, remixing them. The jury is out on it for me. But the fans like it, and really, this one was for the fans, for the kids in the clubs who like these songs and wanted to hear them in a new, fresh way.”

Today in Madonna History: December 3, 1995

vh1-fashion-and-music-awards-95-1 vh1-fashion-and-music-awards-95-2 vh1-fashion-and-music-awards-95-3 vh1-fashion-and-music-awards-95-4 vh1-fashion-and-music-awards-95-5 vh1-fashion-and-music-awards-95-6 vh1-fashion-and-music-awards-95-7 vh1-fashion-and-music-awards-95-8

On December 3 1995, Madonna attended the VH1 Fashion & Music Awards at the Lexington Avenue Armory in Manhattan, New York.

Madonna presented the Fashion’s Future Award to Gucci’s Tom Ford and received the Most Fashionable Artist Award, presented by ex-husband Sean Penn.

%d bloggers like this: