On July 21 1987, the Who’s That Girl: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack album was released.
Who’s That Girl was released as the lead single from the soundtrack, it became Madonna’s sixth single to top the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making her the first artist to accumulate six number-one singles in the 1980s, and the first female performer to earn that many number-ones as a solo act.
The album’s second single, Causing a Commotion, was released on August 25, 1987. In the United States, the single quickly climbed up the chart, ultimately peaking at number two in the week of October 24, 1987, the same week Michael Jackson’s Bad advanced to the pole position. It remained in second position for three weeks, before descending from the chart.
The third song released from the album was the European single The Look of Love. In the United Kingdom, The Look of Love was released on December 12, 1987, and entered the UK Singles Chart at position 15. The next week, it reached a peak of nine on the chart, her first single to miss the top five since Lucky Star in 1984.
Regarding her contributions to the soundtrack, Madonna said:
“I had some very specific ideas in mind, music that would stand on its own as well as support and enhance what was happening on-screen and the only way to make that a reality was to have a hand in writing the tunes myself… The songs aren’t necessarily about Nikki or written to be sung by someone like her, but there’s a spirit to this music that captures both what the film and the characters are about, I think.”
The only Madonna song not to be released as a single or performed live from the soundtrack was Can’t Stop. Madonna had been performing her three other songs from the soundtrack during the Who’s That Girl World Tour for over a month prior to the album’s release.
On July 17 1993, Rain was released as a single in North America. It was the fourth and final North American single from the Erotica album.
Following a cool reception to Madonna’s previous North American single – the bleak-but-beautiful Bad Girl – Rain was given a glossy makeover by French record producer Daniel Abraham (who had recently completed a similar assignment with the video remix of Fever) to help ensure that it would receive a warmer welcome from radio programmers. The U.S. promotional CD that was serviced to radio by Maverick/Warner offered the choice between the sweetened “Radio Remix” (in full-length and edited form) or an edited album version, the latter of which was fittingly used in the song’s gorgeous music video.
As her label had correctly predicted, radio indeed favored the lighter, smoother sound of the “Radio Remix” over the darker, more experimental (and in our opinion, more interesting) production featured on the album edit.
While not an all-out smash hit, Rain was the first single from the Erotica album to impact Billboard’s Hot AC chart, where it reached the Top 10, and it is generally viewed as an initial recovery step following the backlash Madonna had faced in the wake of the Sex book.
Written and produced by Madonna & Shep Pettibone (unlike the majority of the tracks from Erotica, Tony Shimkin has not been added as co-writer, according to the Warner-Chappel publishing database), Rain was one of the earliest songs conceived during the Erotica album sessions. It appears as the first track on a two-cassette collection of demos from the album sessions submitted to the U.S. Library Of Congress for copyright registration.
The infamously sought-after set is often referred to by fans as The Rain Tapes because of the song’s prominent placement in its sequencing and also due to the likely unintentional visual prominence of the song’s title in the handwritten sleeve notes that accompanied the tapes.
Shep Pettibone created the song’s interesting use of panning percussion by digitally cutting and splicing samples of percussion breaks from an extended version of Scritti Politti’s 1985 hit, Perfect Way (he was not involved with the creation of the Perfect Way remix). Although no sample credit was given on the album, in light of the royalties Scritti Politti would have earned for having been included on Madonna’s Who’s That Girl soundtrack, perhaps she figured that they owed her one.
The Rain maxi-single was perhaps most notable for its inclusion of a non-album track, Up Down Suite, which was for all intents and purposes a dub remix of album outtake, Goodbye To Innocence (which remained unreleased at the time, aside from some vocal samples used in a promo-only remix of Fever). A new remix (featuring Everlast) of the Erotica album track, Waiting, was also included on the North American maxi-single, while its album version served as the single’s North American b-side.
With its poetically poignant and emotionally charged lyrics, percussive urgency and one of Madonna’s most ambitious uses of layered self-harmonization (not to mention it being accompanied by one of the most beautiful music videos ever created), it isn’t difficult to understand why Rain remains an enduring fan favorite.
I feel like I’ve known you before
And I want to understand you
More and more and more
When I’m with you
I feel like a magical child
Waiting is the hardest thing
I tell myself that if I believe in you
In the dream of you
With all my heart and all my soul
That by sheer force of will
I will raise you from the ground
And without a sound you’ll appear
And surrender to me, to love”
On April 23 2022, Rhino Records released a Record Store Day exclusive red vinyl pressing of Madonna’s Who’s That Girl (Super Club Mix). The limited five track EP celebrates the 35th Anniversary of Madonna’s soundtrack for the film, Who’s That Girl.
The EP includes the following tracks:
- Who’s That Girl (Extended Version)
- Causing a Commotion (Movie House Mix)
- Causing a Commotion (Silver Screen Mix)
- Who’s That Girl (Dub)
- Causing a Commotion (Dub)
On October 24 1987, Causing A Commotion climbed to its peak position of number-two in the U.S. on the Billboard Hot 100. It remained in the runner-up spot for three weeks, with Michael Jackson’s Bad blocking it from the top for the first two weeks and Tiffany’s I Think We’re Alone Now overtaking it on the third.
The song was the second and final Madonna single from the Who’s That Girl soundtrack in North America, while some international markets were treated to a third single – the underrated ballad The Look Of Love.
On September 12 1987, the Who’s That Girl: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack hit #7 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart in the USA.
Madonna had this to say about the music on the soundtrack:
“I had some very specific ideas in mind, music that would stand on its own as well as support and enhance what was happening on screen and the only way to make that a reality was to have a hand in writing the tunes myself… The songs aren’t necessarily about Nikki or written to be sung by someone like her, but there’s a spirit to this music that captures both what the film and the characters are about, I think.”