Today in Madonna History: May 25, 1985

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On May 25 1985, Madonna performed The Virgin Tour at Cobo Arena in Detroit, Michigan. The show was filmed by Daniel Kleinman, and released by Warner Music Video and Sire Records on November 13 1985.

Here is the dialog from Madonna’s famous Virgin Tour introduction (filmed by James Foley for the video release, it was not present during the concerts):

“I went to New York. I had a dream. I wanted to be a big star, I didn’t know anybody, I wanted to dance, I wanted to sing, I wanted to do all those things, I wanted to make people happy, I wanted to be famous, I wanted everybody to love me. I wanted to be a star. I worked really hard, and my dream came true.”

Madonna Live: The Virgin Tour was an enormous success.  The home video release was the top selling music video cassette of 1986 in the USA, and the video was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipment of 100,000 copies.

Today in Madonna History: May 23, 1985

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On May 23 1985, Madonna performed her Virgin Tour concert in front of a sold-out crowd of 16,000 fans at Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens. The show generated $238,264 in ticket sales.

Here’s a great photo of the Beastie Boys hanging outside Maple Leaf Gardens before the show (on Church Street just north of Carlton):


Maple Leaf Gardens was primarily a hockey and concert venue from 1931 until 2001. The building sat dormant until November 2011, when it reopened as a Loblaws grocery store.  To celebrate the history of the building, Loblaws kept centre ice, created art out of some of the seats and commemorated important dates on some of the supporting columns.  Here is one of those columns:


Jay’s note: I’d like to say that I made a special trip to Loblaws just to take this photo, but it’s the long-weekend here in Canada — and I really wanted one of their amazing chocolate dip donuts!

Today in Madonna History: November 11, 1985


On November 11 1985, Madonna Live: The Virgin Tour was released on home video in the U.K. and France. The concert was filmed on May 25th, 1985 at Cobo Arena in Madonna’s home town of Detroit, Michigan. The concert film was directed by Daniel Kleinman and the music was produced by Madonna & Patrick Leonard.

At the beginning of the video Madonna declares:

“I went to New York. I had a dream. I wanted to be a big star, I didn’t know anybody, I wanted to dance, I wanted to sing, I wanted to do all those things, I wanted to make people happy, I wanted to be famous, I wanted everybody to love me. I wanted to be a star. I worked really hard, and my dream came true.”

The live performances of Like A Virgin and Dress You Up were released as music videos on MTV to promote the live video release.  Both videos were nominated for Best Choreography at the 1986 MTV Video Music Awards.

Though it was also released on laserdisc in some countries, to date it has sadly not been officially reissued on DVD.

Today in Madonna History: August 14, 2012

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On August 14 2012, Madonna’s first make-up artist, and close friend, Debi Mazar spoke to’s beauty editor, Sophia Panych about what Madonna’s hair and make-up was like for The Virgin Tour in 1985:

Her hair was long and wild, and she had just had her bangs cut. She had this thick, curly, gorgeous hair—thicker than anyone else I knew—and it didn’t really need much. I just tried to make sure her bangs nicely framed her face and make sure it moved well, rather than creating a polished look. Really, it was more about the music and the show. We just wanted her to look good, get on stage, and do the damn tour. Plus, she was in her twenties: Her skin was good, and as long as you had bright lipstick and good hair, the crowd didn’t care—they just wanted to dance.

Today in Madonna History: May 23, 1985

Madonna receives Canadian sales award Maple Leaf Gardens-Toronto-1985 (550)

On May 23 1985, Madonna accepted a Canadian Quadruple Platinum certification award for shipment of over 400,000 copies of her second album, Like A Virgin, within Canada. The award was presented by WEA Canada’s VP of sales Garry Newman to Madonna and Sire Records president Seymour Stein prior to her sold-out Toronto concert at Maple Leaf Gardens.

Like A Virgin was eventually certified (in July, 1992) with the rare Canadian Diamond certification for shipment of over one million copies in Canada. The only other Madonna album to date to receive Diamond certification in Canada is True Blue, which managed to achieve the feat within a year of its release. To date, only eighteen albums in total (by any artist or musical group) have received a Diamond certification in Canada.

Today in Madonna History: April 10, 1985

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On April 10 1985, Madonna’s Virgin Tour opened with 3 sold-out concerts at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle, Washington.

During a 2009 interview with Rolling Stone, interviewer Austin Scaggs asked Madonna regarding her feelings and emotions during the tour, since it was the first time she was playing in arenas. Madonna replied saying, “That whole tour was crazy, because I went from playing CBGB and the Mudd Club to playing sporting arenas,” she told the magazine. “I played a small theater in Seattle, and the girls had flap skirts on and the tights cut off below their knees and lace gloves and rosaries and bows in their hair and big hoop earrings. I was like, ‘This is insane!’ After Seattle, all of the shows were moved to arenas.”

Madonna had three shows in Seattle – April 10, 12 and 13 – and all three were sellouts by the time she took the stage that first night. The Beastie Boys opened for Madonna and they weren’t well received by the pro-Madonna crowd. The show was a year before “Licensed to Ill” was released.

Their 30-minute set got off to a bad start when one of the Beastie Boys declared himself King of the Paramount, and generally made the pro-Madonna audience feel like a swarm of hillbillies, P-I pop music critic Gene Stout wrote in his review.

“Dressed in what looked like a Boy George outfit, she looked reluctant, almost scared, and kept her eyes on the ground as she and her small entourage swept past a modest gathering of fans,” Stout wrote.

Madonna started the show with Dress You Up, followed with Holiday, and performed Borderline for the first time live as her seventh song. Madonna ended by debuting Material Girl as her encore.