Today in Madonna History: April 21, 2018

On April 21 2018, Rhino Warner released two limited edition Madonna albums for Record Store Day:

  • You Can Dance – re-released on vinyl for the first time in 30 years. The Record Store Day version was pressed on red vinyl and included the obi strip, custom hype sticker and folded poster.
  • The First Album – re-released replica of the Japanese picture disc, repressed for the first time since 1987. Originally part of a 3-picture disc reissue set along with Like A Virgin and True Blue. Includes lyric insert notes in English and Japanese.

Today in Madonna History: January 20, 1988

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On January 20 1988, Madonna’s You Can Dance remix album was certified platinum in the USA for sales of 1,000,000 copies.

Patrick Leonard had this to say about working on the album:

“Remixing is a form of secondary creativity. Dance music elevates the DJ and the mixer to being almost on a level with the musician. In my opinion this is false. Manipulation of pre-recorded sound sources may be creative in a secondary sense, and may be valid in its own field, but it is pseudo musicianship. That’s why we tried to have a fresh approach to the songs for You Can Dance, as if we were developing and composing them for the first time.

Today in Madonna History: January 16, 1988

On January 16 1988, Spotlight entered Billboard’s Airplay chart at #37. The track would reach a peak of #32 three weeks later before falling to #40 in its final week.

Although Spotlight was not actively promoted to radio by Warner Bros. in the North America, radio’s eagerness to spin the cut regardless serves as a good indication that it likely would have continued Madonna’s hit streak at the time if it had been granted a proper single release.

Today in Madonna History: December 4, 1987

On December 4 1987, Madonna filed for divorce from Sean Penn in Los Angeles County Superior Court, California. Twelve days later, Madonna withdrew the divorce papers and the couple stayed together until January 5 1989, when Madonna filed new divorce papers citing “irreconcilable differences”.

Jay’s Note: I often wondered why Madonna released You Can Dance with so little promotion behind it (You Can Dance was released November 17/1987). Understanding that her personal life was falling apart at the time, it makes sense that she wouldn’t have been concerned with releasing singles or filming music videos to promote the remix collection.

I also found this quote from her about You Can Dance:

“I don’t know that I like it, people screwing with my records, remixing them. The jury is out on it for me. But the fans like it, and really, this one was for the fans, for the kids in the clubs who like these songs and wanted to hear them in a new, fresh way.”

Today in Madonna History: January 9, 1988

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On January 9 1988, Spotlight peaked at #15 on Billboard’s Hot Crossover Singles chart in the U.S.

Despite not being released as a single commercially outside Japan and receiving no direct promotion in the U.S., Spotlight managed to garner enough airplay for an eight-week run on the Crossover chart. It also appeared on the Hot 100 Airplay chart for five weeks, peaking at #32 in February, 1988.

Today in Madonna History: November 17, 1987

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On November 17 1987, Madonna’s first remix collection, You Can Dance, was released by Sire Records.

The LP version included the following tracks:

Spotlight
Holiday
Everybody
Physical Attraction
Over and Over
Into the Groove
Where’s the Party

The CD release included the following bonus tracks:

Holiday (Dub Version)
Into the Groove (Dub Version)
Where’s the Party (Dub Version)

The cassette release included this track listing:

Spotlight
Holiday
Everybody
Physical Attraction
Spotlight (Dub Version)
Holiday (Dub Version)
Over and Over
Into the Groove
Where’s the Party
Over and Over (Dub Version)
Into the Groove (Dub Version)

Patrick Leonard had this to say about working on You Can Dance:

“Remixing is a form of secondary creativity. Dance music elevates the DJ and the mixer to being almost on a level with the musician. In my opinion this is false. Manipulation of pre-recorded sound sources may be creative in a secondary sense, and may be valid in its own field, but it is pseudo musicianship. That’s why we tried to have a fresh approach to the songs for You Can Dance, as if we were developing and composing them for the first time.”

Today in Madonna History: April 25, 1988

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On April 25 1988, Spotlight was released as a single by Warner-Pioneer. Issued exclusively in Japan, it was the only commercial single release from the remix album You Can Dance. The song was written by Curtis Hudson, Madonna and Stephen Bray and was produced by Stephen Bray. Madonna wasn’t given a co-producer’s credit on the track – odd considering it was a leftover from the True Blue album sessions, for which she co-produced every song. The track was remixed by John “Jellybean” Benitez for its inclusion on You Can Dance.

In a 2012 interview with blogcritics.com writer Justin Kantor, Curtis Hudson recalled the circumstances surrounding the creation and release of Spotlight:

“During the time right after Holiday, when we’d go to her place and write, I presented Spotlight. I gave her a complete song, Spotlight. I had actually written it in case Warner Bros. asked her for another Holiday. She said she loved it and felt spiritual about it. But she didn’t use it or contact me again about it. It sort of popped up out of nowhere when she was getting ready to do You Can Dance. Her lawyer contacted our manager and said we needed to talk. We went over and met with him. She and Stephen Bray had already done the song; but I hadn’t even heard the version they had done.They took the demo I had given her and worked it into a different song. They gave me credit since I had the original song copyrighted. I would’ve collaborated and made changes. But I was told, ‘Well, she’s too busy. She’s overseas doing a movie.’ I was okay with it, though, because they gave me credit. But the original song had a certain magic, and the changes took that essence away. The original Spotlight was another Holiday—the rhythm, the basic groove. I think they were trying to get away from that sound. Sometimes artists don’t want their sound to be identified with specific writers.”

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