Today in Madonna History: September 15, 2014

On September 15 2014, Vice magazine’s blog THUMP published an article in which Stuart Price recalled his time spent collaborating with Madonna on her 2005 album, Confessions On A Dance Floor:

“Right before we made Confessions on a Dance Floor, I had made a record with a girl named Juliet [2005’s Random Order]; we had made that album over Thanksgiving in New York, when the city was completely dead, and it was just the two of us concentrating on working on it. [I went] straight from that to Madonna, and I assumed that would be a much different experience, but she completely surprised me.

The real eye-opener was about how focused she was on avoiding the kind of over-the-top, excessive, entourage-in-the-studio environment that I had expected. It was the total opposite, really. She helped to create an environment where we were like two kids working together in a studio. It was exactly the same feeling as it was when I was working with Juliet. She was really… I don’t want to say ‘smart,’ but she was really honest about music. She’s really instinctive in understanding that dance music comes from a very minimal way of working. It doesn’t come from throwing lots of money on a lavish production.

We spent five or six weeks in my apartment; the studio used to be upstairs in the loft. I would work on a track overnight, then she would come in and we’d start messing around. She would do vocal melodies and I would come up with a few ideas, and then she’d go, ‘Okay, I’m gonna go home and think about it.’ Then she’d come back the next day and have the hook for Hung Up or the chorus for Sorry. Then I would carry on working on more tracks to keep us going. It was more of a really fluid and almost childlike environment than anything that seemed too serious.

They always say that an album sounds like the time that you had making it. I know that with that album, it was a super-productive time, but it was also really fun and natural. And I think that comes across in the way it sounds.

It’s surprising that Madonna has such a simple work mode. I would have expected her to come in with her full entourage and play the diva, at least to some extent.

Well, don’t get me wrong—I think in a lot of parts of her life, she is the big-entourage person. But when it comes to being creative, she’s unexpectedly low-key. She’s great to work with, and I really mean that.”

Today in Madonna History: July 26, 2003

On July 26 2003, Hollywood hit #1 on Billboard’s Hot Maxi-Single Sales chart (renamed Hot Dance Sales), where it would spend an incredible seven weeks.

After an initial five-week run at the top, the single began its descent only to return to #1 for an additional two weeks following Madonna’s performance of Hollywood/Like A Virgin at the MTV Video Music Awards, which incorporated Stuart Price’s remix of Hollywood (released under one of his many pseudonyms, Jacques Lu Cont) and spurred renewed interest in the maxi-single.

Today in Madonna History: April 11, 2006

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On April 11 2006, Confessions Remixed, a triple 12″ vinyl set compiling Confessions On A Dance Floor remixes by Stuart Price was released by Warner Bros. Records. The limited edition set was issued in the U.S. and in Europe with a reported run of 3,000 copies pressed.

Considering the fact that many record shops still carry new copies of the set, we wouldn’t be surprised if the actual run was 3,000 in the U.S. and another 3,000 in Europe. Or perhaps its lack of any previously unreleased remixes and roughly fifty-dollar price tag simply stirred limited interest.

Today in Madonna History: September 21, 2005

On September 21 2005, legendary gossip columnist and longtime Madonna supporter Liz Smith continued to generate excitement for the release of Madonna’s album Confessions On A Dance Floor in her New York Post column: 

Disc Jockeys from all across the U.S. converged in a small, chic backroom down at 14th Street’s Lotus restaurant last Wednesday afternoon. They were there to listen to three tracks from Madonna’s soon-due ‘Confessions on a Dance Floor’ album, and to meet the CD’s brilliant British producer, Stuart Price. Although it was all very casual, with cocktails and munchies, the music men – and women – listened intently, in their own hectic, head-bobbing way. (And most of them looked like fresh-faced college students!) M’s sound went over big time, and Grammy-winner Price, only 30 years old, was mobbed. There were at least three dozen people in this confined space — Price could hardly move from all the handshaking, shoulder slaps and hearty hugs. He is worshiped in the dance community and uses another name on some work — Jacques Le Cont. He’s produced for No Doubt and many others. Talking about the songs, Price, who also has a very naughty sense of humor, said: ‘When dance music was young, there was a strong vocal, and the beat was underneath. Now, the vocal is not so prominent. Madonna and I wanted to make a dance album for today, which would satisfy everybody — those who want to really hear her voice and those for whom the driving thump-thump is the thing. I think we’ve succeeded.’ Music scribe Maggie Stein, who also writes under the nom de plume Odyssey Jones, said, ‘This is hopeful dance music. It has a positive message, in that it’s fun. Just fun. It’s what Madonna needed to do.’

Today in Madonna History: December 29, 2005

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On December 29 2005, Madonna’s Official Fan Club, ICON, published an interview with Stuart Price about his experiences working with Madonna on Confessions on a Dance Floor.

Here’s part of the interview they posted:

ICON: What’s the best part in being involved with Madonna’s new album?

STUART: Watching it take shape from a few demos done for fun into an entire spectacle with dancers, videos and nightclubs full of people!

ICON: What made you want to record this album in your home studio? Why not a big studio instead?

STUART: It wasn’t really thought about that much, we just found that we had got into several songs before we even thought about it. But that was the thing for much of the album concept; it wasn’t over-thought or analysed. We liked the sound of my studio and so thought why go elsewhere?

ICON: How would you describe your collaboration with Madonna?

STUART: Like finding your favourite musician, comedian and friend all in one!

ICON: How is working on a Madonna project different from working with a new artist?

STUART: it’s not in many ways. She is very fresh, exciting and full of ideas the same way as someone is when they do their first record. The difference is she has the experience and integrity of someone who understands the creative process very deeply and can therefore suggest directions and ideas that can inspire greater heights.

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Today in Madonna History: July 7, 2007

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On July 7 2007, Madonna performed Hey You, Ray Of Light, La Isla Bonita/Lela Pala Tute and Hung Up at the Live Earth benefit concert at London’s Wembley Stadium.

Madonna was joined onstage by Gogol Bordello. It was also her final live performance to feature longtime backing singer Donna De Lory, musical director/collaborator Stuart Price, as well as drummer Steve Sidelnyk and keyboardist Marcus Brown.

Today in Madonna History: June 6, 2006

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On June 6 2006, Get Together was released as the third international single from the album Confessions On A Dance Floor on Warner Bros. Records.

The initial marketing strategy for Confessions On A Dance Floor included plans to release Jump as its third single. Plans shifted when Get Together proved to be the most popular digital download from the album (excluding its previous two singles, Hung Up and Sorry), warranting its release ahead of Jump, which became the fourth single.

Get Together was written by Madonna, Anders Bagge, Peer Åström & Stuart Price with production by Madonna & Price. The final version also includes a small sampling of string elements from the song’s original production (which only became evident once the original demos leaked to the internet several years later), hence the unusual “Original Production by Bagge & Åström” credit inclusion in the liner notes of the album and single.

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