Today in Madonna History: July 19, 1994

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On July 19 1994, Madonna contributed Goodbye to Innocence to the Just Say Roe benefit CD.

When Madonna went to record her vocals for Goodbye to Innocence during the recording of the Erotica album , she started singing Little Willie John’s song Fever instead of singing the original words. Shep Pettibone and Madonna decided to record it, as they felt it sounded good. As they did not know the words, Madonna called Seymour Stein from Sire Records, and within an hour, they had the Peggy Lee version, and the original version of the song.  Fever was the last song to be recorded for the album, in August 1992, and it was finished within a month later.

Lyrics:

I don’t wanna say goodbye

There are some who believe that I owe them something
But they’re wrong, I owe nothing to no one but myself
And there are some who say they created me
But only my parents will have that acclaim
I took it from there, I am to blame

Say goodbye to anonymity
I have to (have to, have to) say goodbye
To privacy, but most of all
To innocence
To innocence
To innocence

My life is not a game that I play to entertain you
And if you can do it better, then you’re welcome to my fame
I’m not gonna waste my time correcting myths and rumors
You believe what you wanna believe

Say goodbye to anonymity
I have to (have to, have to) say goodbye
To privacy, but most of all
To innocence
To innocence
To innocence

I don’t wanna say goodbye
I don’t need a reason to cry
Kinda makes me wanna
Kinda makes me hafta

Stop and think about it
Stop and think about it
Stop and think about it
Do I want to?

I don’t (getting up and down)
I don’t (getting up and down)
I don’t (getting up and down)

Up-up, d-d-down, up-up-up

I don’t (getting up and down)
I don’t (getting up and down)
I don’t (getting up and down)

Up-up, d-d-down, up-up-up

Listen up
It always comes down to this
It always comes down to this

Some people have a snake at the base of their spine
That would suck out your life, that would take all your time
They’re called feeders
They’re not believers but you must not fear it
They’re takers

You know you better stop, stop and think about it

Your innocence
Your innocence
Your innocence

I don’t wanna say goodbye to innocence
I don’t need a reason to cry, innocence

Hold on to your innocence
Hold on (hold on, hold on), hold on to innocence
Hold on

Stop and think about it, say goodbye, think about it

Today in Madonna History: July 17, 1993

On July 17 1993, Rain was released as a single in North America. It was the fourth and final North American single from the Erotica album.

Following a cool reception to Madonna’s previous North American single – the bleak-but-beautiful Bad Girl Rain was given a glossy makeover by French record producer Daniel Abraham (who had recently completed a similar assignment with the video remix of Fever) to help ensure that it would receive a warmer welcome from radio programmers. The U.S. promotional CD that was serviced to radio by Maverick/Warner offered the choice between the sweetened “Radio Remix” (in full-length and edited form) or an edited album version, the latter of which was fittingly used in the song’s gorgeous music video.

As her label had correctly predicted, radio indeed favored the lighter, smoother sound of the “Radio Remix” over the darker, more experimental (and in our opinion, more interesting) production featured on the album edit.

While not an all-out smash hit, Rain was the first single from the Erotica album to impact Billboard’s Hot AC chart, where it reached the Top 10, and it is generally viewed as an initial recovery step following the backlash Madonna had faced in the wake of the Sex book.

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Written and produced by Madonna & Shep Pettibone (unlike the majority of the tracks from Erotica, Tony Shimkin has not been added as co-writer, according to the Warner-Chappel publishing database), Rain was one of the earliest songs conceived during the Erotica album sessions. It appears as the first track on a two-cassette collection of demos from the album sessions submitted to the U.S. Library Of Congress for copyright registration.

The infamously sought-after set is often referred to by fans as The Rain Tapes because of the song’s prominent placement in its sequencing and also due to the likely unintentional visual prominence of the song’s title in the handwritten sleeve notes that accompanied the tapes.

Shep Pettibone created the song’s interesting use of panning percussion by digitally cutting and splicing samples of percussion breaks from an extended version of Scritti Politti’s 1985 hit, Perfect Way (he was not involved with the creation of the Perfect Way remix). Although no sample credit was given on the album, in light of the royalties Scritti Politti would have earned for having been included on Madonna’s Who’s That Girl soundtrack, perhaps she figured that they owed her one.

Rain US Cassette Maxi Single Inner Sleeve

The Rain maxi-single was perhaps most notable for its inclusion of a non-album track, Up Down Suite, which was for all intents and purposes a dub remix of album outtake, Goodbye To Innocence (which remained unreleased at the time, aside from some vocal samples used in a promo-only remix of Fever). A new remix (featuring Everlast) of the Erotica album track, Waiting, was also included on the North American maxi-single, while its album version served as the single’s North American b-side.

With its poetically poignant and emotionally charged lyrics, percussive urgency and one of Madonna’s most ambitious uses of layered self-harmonization (not to mention it being accompanied by one of the most beautiful music videos ever created), it isn’t difficult to understand why Rain remains an enduring fan favorite.

“It’s strange
I feel like I’ve known you before
And I want to understand you
More and more and more
When I’m with you
I feel like a magical child
Everything strange
Everything wild

Waiting is the hardest thing
I tell myself that if I believe in you
In the dream of you
With all my heart and all my soul
That by sheer force of will
I will raise you from the ground
And without a sound you’ll appear
And surrender to me, to love”

Today in Madonna History: July 7, 1992

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On July 7 1992, Madonna contributed This Used To Be My Playground to the Special Olympics benefit CD, Barcelona Gold.

This Used To Be My Playground was the theme song to the hit film A League of Their Own, but it was not included on the film soundtrack. The soundtrack for the film was released by Columbia Records, while Barcelona Gold was released by Warner Bros., possibly the reason why Madonna’s hit single appeared on the benefit CD instead of the soundtrack.

Today in Madonna History: April 7, 1990

On April 7 1990, Madonna’s Vogue single was briefly reviewed in Billboard magazine.

Vogue’s early release to radio and the addition of its music video to MTV’s playlist were also noted in the same issue.

Today in Madonna History: September 29, 1992

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On September 29 1992, Madonna’s Erotica single was released to radio. Originally credited to Madonna & Shep Pettibone, Pettibone’s partner Tony Shimkin was later granted co-writing credit for nearly all of the Pettibone collaborations on the album, including Erotica. The debut release to feature the imprint of Maverick Records, the song was produced by Madonna & Pettibone.

As several leaked demo versions of the song can now attest, the track had gone through numerous incarnations before Madonna settled on lyrics that positioned her in the perspective of Dita – the alter-ego she had created for her Sex book. The song’s original chorus (“You thrill me…”) was reincorporated into the song when Madonna performed it during her 2006 Confessions Tour. Alternate verses were also used to create the track Erotic, which was included with the Sex book – these lyrics were also featured in a William Orbit remix that was included on the Erotica maxi-single.

French art director and photographer Fabien Baron designed the artwork for the single, the album and the Sex book. He also directed the Erotica music video, which included footage he had shot on Super 8mm during the making of the book. Baron recalled his first meeting with Madonna to discuss their potential collaboration in a 2009 interview with Hint Fashion Magazine:

“I met Madonna at her home on Central Park West to talk about working on her Sex book. It was very comfortable but very uncomfortable at the same time, which is a very interesting feeling. She’s very imposing and knows what she wants. She’s very informed and opinionated, which makes her genius. She takes you in and swallows you up — and you don’t mind it –  you actually enjoy it. There’s an unspoken seduction that goes on. I was young…she was young, too – and beautiful. That was an unforgettable era. She put that book out at the best moment. She timed it very well…she knows what she’s doing. And such drive. Some people want to lift stones to see what’s under them. She’ll be on a beach with millions of stones and want to lift every one of them.”

Today in Madonna History: September 10, 1986

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On September 10 1986, True Blue was released as a single in Canada. Written & produced by Madonna & Stephen Bray, the title-track of her third album was a 1960’s Motown-inspired love letter to her husband, Sean Penn.

After including True Blue on 1987’s Who’s That Girl World Tour set list, the song appeared to have been written out of Madonna’s repertoire following her split from Sean. By 2015’s Rebel Heart Tour, Madonna had made amens with both Sean and True Blue, performing the track as a stripped-down, crowd-pleasing acoustic number.

Shep Pettibone’s remixes of the single marked his first of many collaborations with Madonna.

Today in Madonna History: August 15, 1992

On August 15 1992, This Used To Be My Playground spent the first of three weeks at #1 on the RPM Canadian Top 100 Singles chart. In RPM’s year-end tally of the biggest hits of 1992 in Canada, the hit placed at #8.

This Used To Be My Playground was written by Madonna, Shep Pettibone & Tony Shimkin (although he was not originally credited) and produced by Madonna & Pettibone.

In an interview with the fan site MadonnaTribe, Shimkin recalled a last-minute dash to complete the recording of the song’s orchestral parts:

“When we recorded it with Al Schmidt at Ocean Way studio in L.A., we had a 30-piece orchestra and Jeremy Lubbock did the string arrangements, (but) we never included the demo that had the solo string part in it when we had him chart everything out for the orchestra,” revealed Shimkin. “On the day we were recording, we thought we were done and realized we forgot the solo. I quickly sang the part to the copyist, who then charted it out for the violin players, and they got it recorded with one minute to spare on the clock. When you have a thirty piece orchestra, it can be super expensive to roll into a second hour of their time!”

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