Today in Madonna History: November 26, 1987

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On November 26 1987, Who’s That Girl – Live In Japan was released on VHS and LaserDisc by Warner-Pioneer Video, exclusively for the Japanese market. Recorded in Tokyo on June 22 1987, the show initially aired as a television special in Japan in conjunction with Madonna’s sponsorship agreement with Mitsubishi. The special was the first ever television broadcast to make use of Dolby Surround Sound technology.

Elements of the Japanese release were also incorporated into the international 1988 release of the Who’s That Girl World Tour, Ciao Italia: Live From Italy, which was also released in Japan on LaserDisc in 1988 and on DVD in 2001. Meanwhile, the complete Live In Japan release has since been deleted from circulation.

Today in Madonna History: August 18, 1987

On August 18 1987, Madonna performed the first of three sold-out Who’s That Girl Tour concerts at Wembley Stadium in London.

In total, Madonna performed for 216,000 fans during the three nights at Wembley.

Today in Madonna History: August 15, 1987

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On August 15 1987, Madonna opened the European leg of the Who’s That Girl World Tour 1987 at Roundhay Park in Leeds, England.  Madonna performed for 73,000 fans during the show.

The title Who’s That Girl Tour came to Madonna during rehearsals when she looked at a gigantic image of herself, projected on a screen on the stage. She commented,

“Oh god, what have I done? What have I created? Is that me, or is this me, this small person standing down here on the stage? That’s why I call the tour ‘Who’s That Girl?’; because I play a lot of characters, and every time I do a video or a song, people go, ‘Oh, that’s what she’s like.’ And I’m not like any of them. I’m all of them. I’m none of them. You know what I mean.?”

Today in Madonna History: June 27, 1987

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On June 27 1987, Madonna opened her 19-city North American leg of  the Who’s That Girl World Tour 1987 at the Orange Bowl in Miami Florida.

Today in Madonna History: December 19, 1987

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On December 19 1987, Madonna’s haunting ballad The Look Of Love peaked at number nine on the UK Singles Chart. The third and final Madonna single from the Who’s That Girl soundtrack, it was released only in select European countries and in Japan.

The Look Of Love was written, produced and recorded by Madonna and Patrick Leonard during the second of a three-day studio session, with the title track of the soundtrack being written and recorded on the first day. Additional musicians were brought in for overdubs and mixing was completed for both tracks by the end of the third day.

Despite being a set-list staple on the Who’s That Girl tour – the song’s limited release, moderate chart success, along with the fact that it has not been included in any of Madonna’s subsequent retrospective collections has led to it being largely forgotten, although fans frequently cite it as an underrated gem.

In a 1991 interview with ICON magazine, background vocalist Niki Haris expressed fond memories of performing the track with Madonna during the 1987 tour:

“My favorite song ever to perform with Madonna was a song called The Look Of Love from the Who’s That Girl Tour [Niki sings: Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide…]. That is one of the greatest songs and Madonna sings it really great. That’s my favorite song of all time as far as singing with her.”

The single reached number six in Ireland, number eight in the Netherlands and number ten in Belgium, while it peaked outside the top-ten in Germany, Switzerland, France and Japan.

Today in Madonna History: December 12, 1986

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On December 12 1986, Open Your Heart was released in North America as the fourth single from True Blue. The song was written by Madonna, Gardner Cole & Peter Rafelson and produced by Madonna & Patrick Leonard.

The single’s worldwide b-side, White Heat, an album track from True Blue, developed a relatively high profile due to its inclusion as the flip-side to two of Madonna’s #1 hits–the aforementioned Open Your Heart and 1987’s Who’s That Girl, released only six months apart. Gaining further exposure as a set-list staple during the Who’s That Girl Tour, the live performance of White Heat foreshadowed some of the dramatic elements that Madonna would expand upon in future tours.

White Heat’s original submission for copyright was registered to Madonna & Leonard under the working title Get Up, Stand Tall with a 1985 date of creation. Notes from the registration on file also list the title Dangerous–but it is likely just another working title that was being considered rather than a separate recording.  White Heat is thought to have been among the earliest songwriting collaborations between Madonna & Leonard to be completed, coming shortly after their first composition, Love Makes The World Go Round, surfaced during Live Aid in the summer of 1985. The sequence of the registration numbers for the two songs suggests that they may they have been completed within a month or two of each other. Madonna’s version of Open Your Heart (which she revised from the Cole/Rafelson demo) is also thought to have been recorded with Leonard during the same time period.

The liner notes of True Blue dedicated White Heat to actor James Cagney, who in 1949 played ruthless, deranged gang leader Arthur “Cody” Jarrett in the Warner Brothers film, White Heat. Several clips of Cagney’s dialogue from the original motion picture were used in the song for dramatic effect.

Today in Madonna History: November 29, 1986

On November 29 1986, Billboard’s dance music editor Brian Chin reported on the postponed Madonna remix project, You Can Dance.

While a release the following spring would also come to pass, the accuracy of details regarding the album’s content would suggest it was already in the can a year ahead of its eventual release.

An early preview would be granted for one of the remixes, albeit in live form, when Madonna’s Who’s That Girl World Tour performance of Into The Groove the following summer would borrow heavily from Shep Pettibone’s remix for You Can Dance.

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