Today in Madonna History: May 30, 1987

On May 30th 1987, Breakfast Club scored their biggest hit as Right On Track peaked at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Madonna became a member of Breakfast Club in late 1979, first as a drummer before branching out to keyboards and guitar, all the while sharing vocal duties (and living quarters) with her boyfriend, Dan Gilroy, and his brother Ed.

Bassist Gary Burke left Breakfast Club with Madonna and Mike Monahan to form Emmy with Stephen Bray in early 1981.

As Madonna was achieving success as a solo artist, Burke and Bray rejoined the Gilroy brothers for Breakfast Club’s 1984 single, Rico Mambo, on ZE Records, followed by a self-titled LP for MCA Records in 1987.

In yet another Madonna connection, Re-Invention Tour back-up singer/dancer Siedah Garrett makes an appearance in the video for Right On Track and also provided backing vocals for the song.

Today in Madonna History: April 25, 1988

spotlight 4 25 1988 550

On April 25 1988, Spotlight was released as a single by Warner-Pioneer. Issued exclusively in Japan, it was the only commercial single release from the remix album You Can Dance. The song was written by Curtis Hudson, Madonna and Stephen Bray and was produced by Stephen Bray. Madonna wasn’t given a co-producer’s credit on the track – odd considering it was a leftover from the True Blue album sessions, for which she co-produced every song. The track was remixed by John “Jellybean” Benitez for its inclusion on You Can Dance.

In a 2012 interview with blogcritics.com writer Justin Kantor, Curtis Hudson recalled the circumstances surrounding the creation and release of Spotlight:

“During the time right after Holiday, when we’d go to her place and write, I presented Spotlight. I gave her a complete song, Spotlight. I had actually written it in case Warner Bros. asked her for another Holiday. She said she loved it and felt spiritual about it. But she didn’t use it or contact me again about it. It sort of popped up out of nowhere when she was getting ready to do You Can Dance. Her lawyer contacted our manager and said we needed to talk. We went over and met with him. She and Stephen Bray had already done the song; but I hadn’t even heard the version they had done.They took the demo I had given her and worked it into a different song. They gave me credit since I had the original song copyrighted. I would’ve collaborated and made changes. But I was told, ‘Well, she’s too busy. She’s overseas doing a movie.’ I was okay with it, though, because they gave me credit. But the original song had a certain magic, and the changes took that essence away. The original Spotlight was another Holiday—the rhythm, the basic groove. I think they were trying to get away from that sound. Sometimes artists don’t want their sound to be identified with specific writers.”

Today in Madonna History: March 21, 1989

On March 21 1989, Madonna’s Like A Prayer album was released.

Written and produced by Madonna with Patrick Leonard, Stephen Bray and Prince, the Like A Prayer album was considered to be a major artistic leap forward for Madonna, and was certainly her most personal offering to date at the time of its release.

Allmusic’s Stephen Thomas Erlewine offered this 5-star (out of 5) review of the album:

Out of all of Madonna’s albums, Like a Prayer is her most explicit attempt at a major artistic statement. Even though it is apparent that she is trying to make a “serious” album, the kaleidoscopic variety of pop styles on Like a Prayer is quite dazzling. Ranging from the deep funk of Express Yourself and Keep It Together to the haunting Oh Father and Like a Prayer, Madonna displays a commanding sense of songcraft, making this her best and most consistent album.

Happy 33rd anniversary to one of our favorites – the phenomenal Like A Prayer!

Today in Madonna History: February 1, 1986

jellybeansidewalktalk-1 jellybeansidewalktalk-2 jellybeansidewalktalk-3 jellybeansidewalktalk-4

On February 1 1986, John “Jellybean” Benitez’ Sidewalk Talk peaked at #18 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the USA.

The song was written by Madonna, arranged by Jellybean and Stephen Bray, produced by Jellybean and included the uncredited backing vocals of Catharine Buchanan and Madonna.

jellybeansidewalktalk-end

Today in Madonna History: October 3, 1985

gambler-uk-cover-550 gambler-label-550 gambler-uk-back-sleeve-550

On October 3 1985, Geffen Records released Gambler as a single in Europe. It was the second Madonna single released from the Vision Quest soundtrack.

Concerned about potential overexposure, Warner Brothers successfully managed to suppress a North American release of the track, although the music video was serviced to MTV. It was issued as a single in most other major markets – including Japan, Australasia & South America.

Gambler was written by Madonna, produced by Jellybean Benitez and arranged by Stephen Bray. Extended and instrumental remixes by Benitez were also issued commercially outside North America.

Today in Madonna History: September 10, 1986

true-blue-single-cover-550 true-blue-canadian-cassette-maxi-single-cover

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 23, 1986

On August 23 1986, Papa Don’t Preach spent the first of two weeks at #1 on Billboard’s Hot Maxi-Singles Sales chart.

Despite being more of a pop/rock song than a club-oriented cut – both in its original form and in Stephen Bray’s extended remix version – Papa Don’t Preach nevertheless managed to reach #4 on Billboard’s August 30th Hot Dance/Club Play chart due to the massive buzz surrounding the song and its undeniable crossover appeal.

 

%d bloggers like this: