Today in Madonna History: September 16, 2015

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On September 16 2015, Amy Schumer was the Unapologetic Bitch during Madonna’s Rebel Heart concert at Madison Square Gardens in New York.

Amy was also the Special Guest opening act, performing her comedy in front of a sold-out crowd of just over 14,000 Madonna fans.  Amy was the opening act for both Madison Square Gardens shows (September 16 and 17) and on September 19 at the Barclays Center.

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Today in Madonna History: December 21, 2014

On December 21 2014, Madonna hit #1 on iTunes in 36 countries around the world with the release of six songs from her forthcoming album, Rebel Heart. In virtually every country the songs were released, they held six of the ten slots on the iTunes Top 10 chart. In seven of those countries, she had multiple #1’s across various iTunes charts. The lead single Living for Love topped the iTunes chart in twenty counties.

The other tracks made available for immediate download were: Ghosttown, Devil Pray, Unapologetic Bitch, Illuminati & Bitch I’m Madonna.

News of the surprise drop came when Madonna posted a link on Instagram late the previous night announcing the release as “an early Christmas gift” to those who pre-ordered the album. Fans immediately went to iTunes and drove the songs to the top of iTunes charts around the globe. Instantaneously Rebel Heart exploded on social media with the album topping the Billboard Trending 140 chart.

The early release of six songs from Rebel Heart came on the heels of a series of leaks which forced Madonna and her team to quickly devise a new marketing plan for the album.

Today in Madonna History: December 20, 2014

On December 20 2014, this press release was sent to media announcing an early Christmas gift from Madonna, the release of six songs from Rebel Heart, a response answer to the leaked (and unfinished) tracks from the album expected in March 2015.

Madonna has just released six songs from her new studio album Rebel Heart. The six songs are currently available for purchase now via preorder at iTunes and other music outlets with purchase of the album and a la carte as well. The music will also be available on all streaming services. Additional music will be released on Feb. 9th. The full album of Rebel Heart on Interscope Records is scheduled to be released the first week in March 2015.

Song titles that are currently available from the new album are Living For Love, Devil Pray, Ghosttown, Unapologetic Bitch, Illuminati and Bitch I’m Madonna which was recorded with Nicki Minaj. Producers include Madonna, Diplo, Kanye West, Billboard, was recorded in NY, LA and London.

The decision to release the songs much earlier than anticipated was due to the leaking of several work-in-progress demos earlier this week.

“I was hoping to release my new single Living For Love on Valentine’s Day with the rest of the album coming in the Spring. I would prefer my fans to hear completed versions of some of the songs instead of the incomplete tracks that are circulating. Please consider these six songs as an early Christmas gift,” commented Madonna.

Today in Madonna History: December 9, 2016

On December 9 2016, Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour premiered on SHOWTIME, on-air, on-demand and over the internet.

Here’s a snippet from the press release for the broadcast:

MADONNA: REBEL HEART TOUR was shot around the world and features a collection of live and behind these scenes footage culminating in performances at the Sydney Olympic Park in March of this year. The film is co-directed by Danny B. Tull and Nathan Rissman, both of whom have worked extensively with Madonna on her feature films and tour movies. Madonna will be honored later this year as Billboard magazine’s 2016 Woman of the Year award, at a star-studded event held in conjunction with the publication of Billboard’s Women in Music list, which identifies the 50 most powerful female executives in the industry each year.

“When it comes to putting on a show, there is only one Madonna – an iconic performer that we’re thrilled to have on our air,” said David Nevins, President and CEO, Showtime Networks Inc. “With her unique creative vision and unmatched stage presence, our viewers will see an arena show packed with visual theatrics, stunning costumes and intricate choreography, featuring new hits and beloved classic songs.”

The set list for MADONNA: REBEL HEART TOUR spans all decades of the iconic superstar’s illustrious career, including songs from Rebel Heart (the No. 1 dance hits “Living for Love” and “Bitch I’m Madonna“) to classic fan favorites like “Material Girl” and “Holiday” and a “Dress You Up” medley that included “Into The Groove,” “Everybody” and “Lucky Star.” Memorable highlights from the tour include her first-ever live concert performance of “Take a Bow,” acoustic versions of “Like A Prayer,” “Secret” and “Don’t Tell Me.”  At each tour date during the song “Unapologetic Bitch,” Madonna would bring someone up from the crowd to dance with her during the song. Some nights it was a fan, another night it was Katy Perry. Other guest dancers included: Amy Schumer, Ariana Grande, Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Diplo, Gwendoline Christie, Graham Norton and Anderson Cooper.

Produced by Live Nation Global Touring, the Rebel Heart Tour kicked off on September 9, 2015 in Montreal and visited arenas in 55 cities on four continents over seven months. Madonna performed 82 shows, plus a special fan club show in Melbourne. The tour grossed $169.8 Million with 1,045,479 in attendance, making her the top grossing touring female artist in the history of Billboard Boxscore with over $1.31 billion in ticket sales sold over the course of her career. Madonna is also the fourth top grossing touring act (behind The Rolling Stones, U2 and Bruce Springsteen) since tracking began in 1990.

The Rebel Heart Tour was directed by Jamie King with musical direction by Kevin Antunes (the band’s keyboardist Ric’key Pageot, drummer Brian Frasier-Moore, guitarist Monte Pittman, and background vocalists Kiley Dean and Nicki Richards), lead choreography by Megan Lawson, hair by Andy LeCompte, makeup by Aaron Henrikson, and costume design by Arianne Phillips.

Today in Madonna History: October 5, 2015

On October 5 2015, Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour stopped in Toronto for the first of two sold-out shows. Canadian singer, Nelly Furtado, was brought on stage during the show as Madonna’s Unapologetic Bitch.

Madonna had this to say on Twitter after the show:

“Thank you Nelly for being my b**ch tonight!! Hope you put that banana to good use!… #unapologeticbitch in Toronto! #rebelhearttour.”

Today in Madonna History: January 29, 2015

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On January 29 2015, Rob Sheffield reviewed Madonna’s Unapologetic Bitch for Rolling Stone magazine’s singles review section (even though it was never released as a single):

Bitch, she’s Madonna. The queen of queens has given a taste of her upcoming album, Rebel Heart, with a few songs dropped in advance after an early leak of unfinished versions. And the girl’s in a feisty mood these days – Madonna writing herself a theme song called “Unapologetic Bitch” is like Springsteen doing one called “Jersey Guy Who Sweats a Lot.” These new songs range from the Nicki Minaj collabo “Bitch I’m Madonna” to the gospel-house pieties of “Living for Love” to the Yeezus-style industrial Kanye grind “Illuminati.” But “Unapologetic Bitch” is the standout: a breakup rant over a Diplo-produced dancehall groove, with Madonna shooting a few poison arrows into the heart of some dude who’s done her wrong.

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Today in Madonna History: January 23, 2016

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On January 23 2016, Madonna’s daughter Mercy James was the ceremonial Unapologetic Bitch during the first of two sold-out Rebel Heart Tour shows in Miami.  Ariana Grande was the Unapologetic Bitch at the second Miami show.

Madonna stopped the show to present Mercy with a birthday cupcake.  The crowd of 13,234 joined Madonna in singing Mercy “Happy Birthday”.

 

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