On March 20 1990, the lead single from Madonna’s I’m Breathless album, Vogue, was released.
Vogue was written and produced by Madonna and Shep Pettibone in December 1989. The song was recorded with the intention of being the b-side to the upcoming (and last single for the Like A Prayer album), Keep It Together (released on January 30 1990).
The finished product was too good to be a single b-side, so it was decided that Vogue would be a stand-alone single on Madonna’s forthcoming album, I’m Breathless (even though the song had nothing to do with Dick Tracy).
On February 26 1991, Madonna’s Rescue Me was released as the second single (in North America) from her 1990 greatest hits set, The Immaculate Collection.
Rescue Me was written by Madonna, Shep Pettibone and Anthony Shimkin.
With you I’m not a little girl, with you I’m not a man
When all the hurt inside of me comes out, you understand
You see that I’m ferocious, you see that I am weak
You see that I am silly, and pretentious and a freak
But I don’t feel too strange for you, don’t know exactly what you do
I think when love is pure, you try to understand the reasons why
And I prefer this mystery, it cancels out my misery
And gives me hope that there could be a person that loves me
Rescue me, it’s hard to believe
Your love has given me hope
Rescue me, it’s hard to believe
I’m drowning, baby, throw out your rope
The CD maxi-single included:
Rescue Me – (Single Mix) – (4:53)
Rescue Me – (Titanic Vocal) – (8:15)
Rescue Me – (Houseboat Vocal) – (6:56)
Rescue Me – (Lifeboat Vocal) – (5:20)
Rescue Me – (S.O.S. Mix) – (6:23)
On December 16 1989, Billboard magazine’s dance music section reported that Madonna had written and recorded a new song with Shep Pettibone titled Vogue. The article noted that the track was set to appear on the b-side of Madonna’s next single, Keep It Together.
These plans would soon change when it was decided that Vogue had too much hit potential to be released as a b-side, and it would instead be issued as a single in its own right once Keep It Together had run its course on the charts. In Europe, where Keep It Together was not promoted as a single, it would in fact be used as the b-side to Vogue.
Vogue would go on to become the best-selling physical single of Madonna’s career.
On December 8 1992, Deeper and Deeper was released by Maverick Records as the second single from Erotica. The song was written by Madonna, Shep Pettibone & Anthony Shimkin and was produced by Madonna & Pettibone.
“Someone said that romance was dead
And I believed it instead of remembering
What my mama told me
Let my father mold me
Then you tried to hold me
You remind me what they said
This feeling inside
I can’t explain
But my love is alive
And I’m never gonna hide it again”
On October 13 1992, the Erotica single was released. 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.”
On September 12 1992, Shep Pettibone left the Soundworks Studio in New York with the completed master of Madonna’s forthcoming Erotica album in his hands.
What is your favourite Madonna / Shep Pettibone collaboration from Erotica?