Today in Madonna History: November 14, 2004

On November 14 2004, Michael Colombier – the composer/arranger who produced the beautiful string arrangements for Madonna’s songs Die Another Day, Don’t Tell Me & Easy Ride, and composed the soundtrack for Swept Away (perhaps the film’s most memorable attribute) – passed away at age 65.

Colombier was one of the most prolific and versatile French musicians of his generation. Besides his career as a film composer scoring over 100 feature, cable and television films since the early 1960’s – Colombier was a prolific songwriter and arranger who worked with artists such as Joni Mitchell, Prince, Serge Gainsbourg, The Beach Boys, Herbie Hancock, Air, Barbra Streisand & Earth Wind And Fire.

michel-columbier-note

As a film composer, Michel Colombier scored many French and American films, including The Golden Child, Ruthless People, New Jack City, How Stella Got Her Groove Back and The Money Pit. His background in jazz was evident in the majority of his film scores, and his ability to compose original score music that merged seamlessly with pop songs made him the perfect composer for 1980’s films with song-heavy soundtracks, including White Nights, Against All Odds and Purple Rain (which won a Grammy Award as well as an Academy Award for Best Original Score).

Today in Madonna History: November 14, 2004

On November 14 2004, Michael Colombier – the composer/arranger who produced the beautiful string arrangements for Madonna’s songs Die Another Day, Don’t Tell Me & Easy Ride, and composed the soundtrack for Swept Away (perhaps the film’s most memorable attribute) – passed away at age 65.

Colombier was one of the most prolific and versatile French musicians of his generation. Besides his career as a film composer scoring over 100 feature, cable and television films since the early 1960’s – Colombier was a prolific songwriter and arranger who worked with artists such as Joni Mitchell, Prince, Serge Gainsbourg, The Beach Boys, Herbie Hancock, Air, Barbra Streisand & Earth Wind And Fire.

michel-columbier-note

As a film composer, Michel Colombier scored many French and American films, including The Golden Child, Ruthless People, New Jack City, How Stella Got Her Groove Back and The Money Pit. His background in jazz was evident in the majority of his film scores, and his ability to compose original score music that merged seamlessly with pop songs made him the perfect composer for 1980’s films with song-heavy soundtracks, including White Nights, Against All Odds and Purple Rain (which won a Grammy Award as well as an Academy Award for Best Original Score).

Today in Madonna History: July 26, 2012

olympia 550 Olympia 4 550

On July 26 2012, Madonna performed at the historic Olympia music hall in Paris, France.

The one-off mini show – performed during her MDNA Tour but not part of the tour proper – featured a selection of performances from the standard set list, plus two additional songs: a Beautiful Killer/Die Another Day mash-up (with choreography adapted from the tour performance of Revolver) and a cover of Serge Gainsbourg’s Je t’aime…moi non plus. A live webcast of the show streamed on YouTube.

The show was not without controversy, although the exact nature of the controversy depends on who you believe. According to some, a small group of hecklers in attendance decided to cause a commotion after the show had ended, booing and throwing bottles on the stage. Others suggested there may have been political motivations behind the heckling due to Madonna’s opposition to the platform of National Front party leader Marine Le Pen. Much of the local media claimed that some fans were upset over the short length of the show (45 minutes), as it had not been explicitly promoted as a mini concert, despite the fact that it was likely the lengthiest of any club show Madonna had performed at the time.

Madonna responded to the kerfuffle with the following statement:

Playing the Olympia was a magical moment for me and it was a real treat to do this special show for my fans and be so close to them. Unfortunately at the end of the show – after I left the stage – a few thugs who were not my fans rushed the stage and started throwing plastic bottles pretending to be angry fans. The press reports have focused on this and not the joyous aspect of the evening. But nothing can take away or ruin this very special evening for me and my fans. When I looked out in the audience, everyone I saw had a smile on their face. I look forward to having this wonderful experience again.”

Set list:

  • Turn Up The Radio
  • Open Your Heart
  • Masterpiece
  • Justify My Love (interlude)
  • Vogue
  • Candy Shop
  • Human Nature
  • Beautiful Killer (featuring elements from Die Another Day)
  • Je t’aime…moi non plus

Today in Madonna History: September 27, 2002

dieanotherday usa sheet music die another day rit 550

On September 27 2002, the theme and title-track for the twentieth film in the James Bond franchise, Die Another Day, received its world premiere on New York radio station Z100. The song had been due to hit the airwaves on October 10th, but when Z100 got their hands on the track ahead of schedule they immediately added it to their heavy rotation playlist. Other stations quickly followed suit, prompting an early but very strong debut at #41 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S. and becoming the chart’s highest first-week entry of the year.

Die Another Day was written and produced by Madonna and Mirwais with string arrangement by the late, great Michel Colombier. After being introduced to Madonna through Mirwais, Colombier arranged strings for Madonna’s 2000 hit Don’t Tell Me, scored her film Swept Away and arranged the American Life tracks Nothing Fails and Easy Ride. Colombier sadly lost a brief battle with cancer in 2004, leaving behind a legacy of celebrated collaborations with the likes of Serge Gainsbourg, Prince and Joni Mitchell, to name only a few.

Madonna’s Bond theme was first performed during 2004’s Re-Invention Tour, where it became a visual showstopper with its ambitious and impressively executed tango-influenced choreography.

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