Today in Madonna History: June 8, 1992

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On June 8 1992, Madonna began recording sessions for the Erotica album at Soundworks, in New York.

While the writing and recording of Madonna’s previous albums had typically unfolded rather quickly, Erotica marked a change of pace in the creation of a Madonna record. Songwriting sessions for the set had occurred sporadically throughout the previous year with Shep Pettibone, Tony Shimkin and Andre Betts, in between movie projects and photo shoots for her upcoming coffee table book, Sex.

In contrast to the slick production qualities of the albums that preceded it, Madonna wanted Erotica to feature a darker, more gritty and less polished sound. This led to the decision to carry over many of the original demo vocals recorded during the songwriting process at Shep’s home studio to the final versions, with mainly lyrical additions/changes, musical overdubs, background vocals and final mixing taking place during the sessions at Soundworks.

One notable change that did occur in these final recording sessions was Madonna’s decision to swap her original lyrics for the song Goodbye To Innocence (which had gone through various incarnations in an attempt to keep the track off the cutting room floor) with the lyrics of the torch classic, Fever.  An earlier arrangement of Goodbye To Innocence with lyrics intact was later featured on the pro-choice compilation album, Just Say Roe, while a dub version of the same arrangement was retitled Up Down Suite when it appeared as a b-side on the Rain maxi-single. Another rough demo of the same track (streaming above), which is referred to as the “Straight Pass” mix on its original submission for copyright registration (which indicates that mixing of the track had not been finalized and that it is not mastered), leaked to file sharing services in February, 2008.

The “Straight Pass” mix bears some similarity to another unreleased track that was discarded early in the recording sessions, You Are The One. Aside from the lyrical paradox (with “You are the one” flipped to “I am the one”), both feature samples from Arabic singer Fairuz that would be reworked into the released version of the Erotica album’s title track and lead single.

Today in Madonna History: October 31, 1992

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By October 31 1992, Madonna’s Sex book had sold a record 500,000 copies in the USA.  The controversial coffee table book was released on October 21 1992.

Is yours wrapped or unwrapped?

Today in Madonna History: October 26, 1992

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On October 26 1992, Madonna’s SEX book was banned in Japan due to its controversial photos which violated the country’s censorship laws.

Here is Madonna’s perspective on pornography:

I don’t see how a guy looking at a naked girl in a magazine is degrading to women. Everyone has their sexuality. It’s how you treat people in everyday life that counts, not what turns you on in your fantasy. If all a person ever did was get off on porno movies I would say they are probably dysfunctional sexually, but I don’t think it’s unhealthy to be interested in that or get off on that. I’m not interested in porno movies because everybody is ugly and faking it and it’s just silly. They make me laugh, they don’t turn me on. A movie like In the Realm of the Senses turns me on because it’s real. I’ve been told there are some good Traci Lords movies but I’ve never seen them. I wouldn’t want to watch a snuff movie. I wouldn’t want to watch anyone get really hurt, male or female. But generally I don’t think pornography degrades women. The women who are doing it want to do it. No one is holding a gun to their head. I don’t get that whole thing. I love looking at Playboy magazine because women look great naked.

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: April 30, 2020

On April 30 2020, Madonna’s 1994 Bedtime Stories album topped the U.S. iTunes Albums Chart after her fans kicked of th #JusticeForBedtimeStories campaign.

This is how the Daily Mail reported it:

More than 25 years after its initial release, one of Madonna’s most under-appreciated albums is getting some love.

Bedtime Stories, the Material Girl’s sixth studio album released in 1994, shot to the top position of the U.S. iTunes chart on Thursday, thanks to a fan-led hashtag campaign ‘#JusticeForBedtimeStories’.

The campaign follows in the footsteps of #JusticeForEMC2, a similar move made by the Mariah Carey fandom in support of her 2008 album, as well as an effort on behalf of Janet Jackson’s 1986 record Control.

Madonna’s Bedtime Stories marked a transitional time in the career of the now 61-year-old performer, after she pushed the envelope with 1992’s salacious Erotica album and the publication of her Sex book, and before her Golden Globe-winning role as buttoned-up Evita Peron in 1996’s musical film Evita.

And while Bedtime Stories‘ final track, Take A Bow, spent seven weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 – to date her longest-running number-one single – only one of the album’s other singles, Secret, managed to break the top 10.

Still, Bedtime Stories remains to this day one of Madge’s most cohesive and melodic albums, containing one of her best songs of all time – the brazen and unapologetic anthem Human Nature.

Today in Madonna History: October 30, 1992

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On October 30 1992, the public libraries in Mesa, Arizona, cancelled their orders for Madonna’s Sex book after local residents protested its purchase.

Here’s a snippet from Vicki Goldberg’s New York Times article on the book:

Madonna’s new book, as even your butcher knows by now, is simply, classically titled Sex. It comes sealed in a Mylar bag (much as condoms do) with a label reading “Warning! Adults Only!” and a price tag of $49.95. Reportedly she does not want it open in bookstores, but HMV Records at Lexington and 86th Street will let anyone who gives a donation to Lifebeat AIDS see one page, for one minute, in a mock confession booth.

Warner Books, a Time Warner company, is the publisher (Ice-T must not have been enough trouble for one year). A million copies went on sale in five countries and five languages on Wednesday, attended by a good deal of deliberately decadent hoopla. The profit on the first printing could reach $26 million. Any questions?

Today in Madonna History: October 23, 1992

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On October 23 1992, one day after Madonna’s Sex book was released, it was confirmed that in Europe more than 100,000 copies had been sold, another 100,000 in England, 25,000 in France and the book was completely sold-out in Australia, not to mention North America where sales were topping 150,000 after a single day.

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