Today in Madonna History: September 8, 1983

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On September 8 1983, Madonna’s Lucky Star single was released in the UK.

Although Lucky Star was issued promotionally as a double A-side with Holiday in the US in September 1983, it was not released commercially in North America until August 1984 when it was issued as the final single from Madonna’s self-titled debut album.

Lucky Star was written by Madonna and produced by Reggie Lucas, with additional remixing by Jellybean Benitez. It is the most successful of her North American singles that were entirely self-written, reaching #4 on the U.S. Hot 100 and #8 in Canada (RPM Top 100). It was also her first Top-5 single in the U.S.

In the U.K., her self-written single Gambler was a bigger hit, reaching #4 in the fall of 1985, while Lucky Star peaked at #14.

Madonna wrote the song in 1982 after landing her first recording contract with Sire Records. It was rumoured to have been written about Mark Kamins, although we’re unsure whether that has ever been confirmed by Madonna herself.

Today in Madonna History: September 3, 1983

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On September 3 1983, Madonna’s first album debuted at #190 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart in the USA.

The album had a slow and steady climb, and peaked at #8 on the Billboard Top 200 on the week ending October 20 1984, more than a year after its release.

Madonna (the first album) would go on to sell 10 million copies worldwide.

Today in Madonna History: May 21, 1983

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On May 21 1983, Madonna’s Burning Up/Physical Attraction hit #3 on USA Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart.

Burning Up was written by Madonna and Physical Attraction was written by Reggie Lucas. Both were produced by Lucas with additional remixing by Jellybean Benitez on the latter.

Interestingly, the original copyright claim filed for the song Physical Attraction, which remains on file at the U.S. Library Of Congress, lists Madonna as its sole writer and Only Child Music (who handled Madonna’s songwriting publishing prior to the creation of Webo Girl) as its publisher, with no mention of Lucas or his publishing company, Likasa Music.

Burning Up went through several incarnations both before and after its official release. The earliest recording of the song to have surfaced is a live performance by Madonna with her band Emmy, likely from 1980. Although the lyrics underwent only minor revisions in later years, its initial guitar-driven arrangement and melody were relatively loose – if not underdeveloped. A more focused beat-driven version was recorded by Madonna with Stephen Bray in early 1982 and was featured on the four-track demo tape that brought her to the attention of Sire Records. In addition to the originally released version that appeared on the 12″ single, there are also two noticeably different album mixes of Burning Up. Early vinyl pressings of her debut LP featured a longer version with alternate guitar and synth parts and more prominently mixed backing vocals. This alternate album mix resurfaced in 1985 as the b-side to the Angel single in the UK, but it has never been officially released in digital or CD format.

Today in Madonna History: February 11, 1984

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On February 11 1984, Madonna’s self-titled debut album, Madonna, debuted at #85 on the UK albums chart, just as Holiday hit #7. It fell off the chart the following week, but re-entered at #55 on February 25. The album was re-released in Europe in July 1985 with new artwork, re-titled The First Album. A 2001 international remastered edition of the album restored its original artwork and title in all markets.

Today in Madonna History: August 14, 1984

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On August 14 1984, Madonna’s self-titled debut album was certified platinum by the RIAA to commemorate U.S. sales of more than one-million copies.

The album would eventually be certified five times platinum in the U.S.

Today in Madonna History: July 27, 1983

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On July 27 1983, Madonna’s eponymous debut album was released by Sire Records. The record was renamed Madonna: The First Album for the 1985 international re-release of the album.

The album was released with 8 tracks (produced by John “Jellybean” Benitez, Mark Kamins and Reggie Lucas):

  1. Lucky Star
  2. Borderline
  3. Burning Up
  4. I Know It
  5. Holiday
  6. Think of Me
  7. Physical Attraction
  8. Everybody

Five singles were released from The First Album:

  1. Everybody (October 6 1982)
  2. Burning Up (March 9 1983)
  3. Holiday (September 7 1983 – UK)
  4. Lucky Star (September 8 1983)
  5. Borderline (February 15 1984)

“Madonna was unhappy with the whole album, so I went in and sweetened up a lot of music for her, adding some guitars to ‘Lucky Star’, some voices, some magic… I just wanted to do the best job I could do for her. When we would playback ‘Holiday’ or ‘Lucky Star’, you could see that she was overwhelmed by how great it all sounded. You wanted to help her, you know? As much as she could be a bitch, when you were in a groove with her, it was very cool, very creative.”

— John “Jellybean” Benitez talking about Madonna and the album.

“I’ve refrained over the years in addressing aspects of Madonna’s career because I’m not a person who likes negative discussions. But what I will say is that in Madonna’s ascent to fame and fortune, there’s been a pretty vicious competition for credit in being involved. In other words, someone will say, ‘I launched Madonna.’ If I talk to a lot of people today, I will say I was Madonna’s first producer. I produced six of the eight tracks on her first record. I would say nine times out of 10, their response will be, ‘Oh yeah, I thought Jellybean did that.’ But Jellybean didn’t do that. Jellybean was a remixer, and we didn’t have time to remix records. It wasn’t something that I was interested in doing. Somewhere in this process of publicists and personal relationships, somehow he came out as the guy. Just for the record, one tires in a lifetime of hearing someone taking credit for something that you’ve done. Jellybean produced ‘Holiday’ and he remixed a couple of tracks, but remixing tracks for radio isn’t the same thing as producing one of the major breakout pop stars of the 1980s…it’s almost like I was fired or something. I wasn’t fired. I finished the record…and they put it out and sold a bunch of records. And everybody else ran around trying to take credit for it because it was so big that they couldn’t help themselves. … I must say, Madonna was great to work with in the studio. She really put in the work. She was a creative person.”

— Reggie Lucas, producer of Madonna’s first album.

Although its authenticity is unconfirmed, this is said to be an early track list of the album.

Today in Madonna History: July 7, 1984

On July 7 1984, Warner Bros. Records took out a full-page ad in Billboard magazine to congratulate Madonna on the Gold certification of her self-titled debut album.

The ad featured the first look at a new photo shoot Madonna had recently completed with Steven Meisel. This image would later appear on the back cover of her next album, Like A Virgin.

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