Today in Madonna History: March 22, 2001

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On March 22 2001, Madonna’s What It Feels Like For A Girl music video premiered.

The video was directed by Madonna’s then-husband, Guy Ritchie, and was deemed to be “Too Hot for TV” by MTV and VH1 because the video depicted gunplay, assault and suicide.

MTV released this statement about the video and their decision to ban it:

It’s been some time since Madonna ruffled the feathers of MTV or VH1 execs with a controversial video — perhaps not since 1992’s Erotica clip — so just under a decade later, the first lady of shock pop is out to prove she can still make ’em sweat.

Unlike the steamy segments of Erotica, 1990’s Justify My Love, and the one that started it all, Like a Prayer, it’s not the sexual content of What It Feels Like for a Girl that raises the red flag, it’s the violence — a concerted no-no in the post-Columbine, and more recently post-Santana, decision-making process.

The music in the video, it should be noted, is a dance remix of the version found on Madonna’s latest album, Music. The album cut will serve as the LP’s third single.

 Directed by her husband, British filmmaker Guy Ritchie (Snatch, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels), the clip depicts gunplay, violent assault and suicide — elements MTV and VH1 prohibit in any videos they air. In it, the pop diva portrays a self-described “nihilistic pissed-off chick” who cruises around town inflicting damage on any man that crosses her path.
After picking up Grandma at the “Ol Kuntz Guest Home,” Madonna crashes into a car full of men who wink at her, threatens male police officers with a squirt gun before sideswiping their vehicle, and mugs a man at an ATM with a stun gun before wrapping her stolen car around a lamppost in what appears to be an intentional act.

The video “shows my character acting out a fantasy and doing things girls are not allowed to do,” Madonna said in a written statement distributed by her record label, Warner Bros. “This is an angry song and I wanted a matching visual with an edgy dance mix.”
Although What It Feels Like for a Girl won’t be added to the music channel’s regular rotation, MTV and VH1 will air the clip just once.

Today in Madonna History: November 28, 2000

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On November 28 2000, Madonna performed a mini-set at London’s Brixton Academy. The show was part of the Don’t Tell Me Promo Tour, which began only two months after the birth of her second child, Rocco, and consisted of a few small club dates as well as television performances and interviews to promote the second single from her Music album. Aside from the promotional aspect, Madonna also used the club shows as an opportunity to test the waters for performing live shows again following a seven-year hiatus from touring. The Brixton gig closely mirrored her set at New York’s Roseland Ballroom several weeks earlier, with one notable exception being the addition of Holiday to the UK set-list.

The full London set-list consisted of:

  1. Impressive Instant
  2. Runaway Lover
  3. Don’t Tell Me
  4. What It Feels Like For A Girl
  5. Holiday
  6. Music

The Brixton Academy performance was streamed live across the internet to an estimated 9 million viewers.

Today in Madonna History: November 5, 2000

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On November 5 2000, Madonna performed a mini-concert to promote the Music album at the Roseland Ballroom in New York City.

During the show Madonna performed: Impressive Instant, Runaway Lover, Don’t Tell Me, What It Feels Like For A Girl and Music.

Today in Madonna History: April 20, 2010

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On April 20 2010, The Power of Madonna – Glee episode (Season 1, Episode 15) aired on the Fox network.

When cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) demands that Madonna’s music be played over the school intercom system, Glee club director Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison) sets the club a Madonna-themed assignment, hoping to empower the female club members.

Glee: The Music, The Power of Madonna, an EP containing studio recordings of songs performed in the episode, was released on April 20, 2010. Its tracklist includes Express Yourself, a mash-up of Borderline and Open Your Heart, Vogue, Like A Virgin, 4 Minutes, What it Feels Like for a Girl, and Like a Prayer.

The iTunes edition features a bonus track, Burning Up, which was not performed in the episode.

Lynch received the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her performance in the episode.

Today in Madonna History: April 17, 2001

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On April 17 2001, Madonna’s What It Feels Like for a Girl – the third single from Music was released by Maverick Records. The song was written by Madonna, Guy Sigsworth and David Torn, who was credited later, while production was handled by Madonna, Guy Sigsworth and Mark Stent. The spoken intro, recited by Charlotte Gainsbourg, is an excerpt from the 1993 film The Cement Garden.

Lyrics:

Girls can wear jeans
And cut their hair short
Wear shirts and boots
Cause it’s okay to be a boy
But for a boy to look like a girl is degrading
Cause you think being a girl is degrading
But secretly
You’d love to know what it’s like
Wouldn’t you?
What it feels like for a girl

Silky smooth
Lips as sweet as candy, baby
Tight blue jeans
Skin that shows in patches

Strong inside but you don’t know it
Good little girls they never show it
When you open up your mouth to speak
Could you be a little weak

Do you know what it feels like for a girl
Do you know what it feels like in this world for a girl

Hair that twirls on finger tips so gently, baby
Hands that rest on jutting hips repenting
Hurt that’s not supposed to show and
Tears that fall when no one knows
When you’re trying hard to be your best
Could you be a little less

Do you know what it feels like for a girl
Do you know what it feels like in this world for a girl
Do you know what it feels like for a girl
Do you know what it feels like in this world
What it feels like for a girl

Strong inside but you don’t know it
Good little girls they never show it
When you open up your mouth to speak
Could you be a little weak

Do you know what it feels like for a girl
Do you know what it feels like in this world for a girl
Do you know what it feels like for a girl
Do you know what it feels like in this world for a girl

In this world
Do you know
Do you know
Do you know what it feels like for a girl
What it feels like in this world