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: August 2, 2008

On August 2 2008, Madonna appeared on the cover of Woman & Home magazine.

Here’s a snippet of Madonna talking about her work in Malawi and giving back to the world:

I first became involved with Malawi as I got to know someone who lived in the Ivory Coast. He was friends with Victoria Keelan, who had come to his rescue because there had been a water shortage in the Ivory Coast. She asked if he had an idea of someone who could help with the situation with the orphans in Malawi. He had something to do with the distribution of my children’s books in the Ivory Coast. On the back of the book it says that all the proceeds are donated to a children’s charity. So he thought, “Madonna’s interested in children”. He got in touch with me and that’s how the whole ball got rolling.

I think the criticism that celebrities face when they are tackling humanitarian issues is down to the cynicism of the public. People like to criticise. It’s human nature. But I believe that if you have one iota of compassion, you can’t ignore what’s going on. You have to figure out ways to be a part of the solution.

Everything that’s going on in the world is pretty scary. And people know we are living on borrowed time – whether it’s global warming, the 36 wars that are going on at any given time or terrorism. A lot of people in privileged positions are waking up and thinking it’s a little bit absurd to be thinking about what their next film is going to be. There is a lot of social consciousness going on and that can only be a good thing.

I certainly hope that people realise there’s a lot more to being Madonna than taking off my clothes. I hope that the SEX book [which came out in 1992] is not the only thing that I’m identified with. I have done and plan to do many other things.

Today in Madonna History: November 26, 1992

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On November 26 1992, a Paris Catholic group called Avenir de la Culture (The Future Of Culture) filed 2 lawsuits against Madonna and her publisher for corrupting the French youth with pornography and to have all copies of the SEX book destroyed.

The lawyer representing the group had this to say about SEX:

“The book is part of a destructive trend which shocks the morals of young people.”

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Today in Madonna History: November 21, 1992

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On November 21 1992, Madonna’s SEX book was banned in Ireland (a month after it went on sale). The Censorship Board decided that any future shipments of the book should not be sold. Booksellers and fans voiced their opposition, but an appeal of the decision never occurred. Additional copies of the book were never made available, making the ban a silly waste of time.

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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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Today in Madonna History: April 20, 1992

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On April 20 1992, Madonna signed a deal with Time Warner to set up her own multimedia entertainment company called Maverick.

The 7-year arrangement (with an option to extend to 11 years) allowed Madonna to run Maverick with her then long-time manager, Freddy DeMann, and have its headquarters based in Los Angeles.

Madonna was advanced as much as $60 million for the deal that included music publishing, television, film, merchandising and book-publishing.

David Geffen said this of the deal:

“Madonna’s deal is certainly extraordinary, but I think she’s a great talent with a great will, and if she wants to do something she’ll do it. She works very hard, takes big risks and stays at the cutting edge of what’s happening.”

Charles Koppelman, the chief operating officer of EMI Records North America, had this to day:

“If anyone is going to get a deal of this magnitude, she is the kind of artist to give it to, she’s the exception: someone who taps into artists and musical genres before the rest of the world does. In other deals where artists get their own labels, such perks are usually window dressing to satisfy their egos. Madonna’s different. I would bet on her to make something more of it.”

The first two projects released under Maverick included Madonna’s own Erotica album and her coffee table SEX book, in October of 1992.

Today in Madonna History: November 1, 1992

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On November 1 1992, Madonna’s Sex book hit #1 on the Washington Post non-fiction bestseller list.

Here’s a snippet of Zoe Heller’s article on the Sex book in The Independent:

It starts out black and white, S & M, down and dirty. In various urban crypts and dungeons, we see Madonna bound up by multi-pierced lesbians (they point knives at her throat and crotch); Madonna biting at a male arsehole; Madonna whipping a large PVC-clad woman. There is Madonna as Weimar-style decadent, cavorting with gay strippers, and as cutie schoolgirl, being raped by skinheads in a school gym. You get the picture.

As Sex proceeds, colour photography is introduced – a washed-out, Fifties sort of pastel – and Madonna emerges from subterranea to expose herself on roadsides and in pizza parlours. Interspersed throughout are scraps of Madonna-think: a tribute to her vagina (‘It smells like a baby to me, fresh and full of life’), a horrifyingly cutesy account of masturbating for the first time (‘honey poured from my 14-year-old gash and I wept’). You get the prose.

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