The surprising stories behind 6 of Madonna’s biggest hits

Madonna through the years

It’s safe to say that only a handful of recording artists can be said to embody pop culture. Madonna is one of them.

With a career that’s spanned three decades and 13 studio albums, and has seen her become one of the highest grossing solo artists of all time, Madonna has repeatedly rewritten the rules of what it means to be a popstar.

Of course with a career as legendary and iconic as Madonna’s there’s bound to be a few tales to tell. So, we’ve dug out our copies of True Blue, donned our leg warmers and delved into Madonna’s discography to pull out the surprising stories behind six of her biggest songs.

1. ‘Like a Virgin’ was inspired by a guy driving around a vineyard in a red truck

Released in October 1984, ‘Like a Virgin’ is the quintessential early Madonna record, with its inescapably catchy chorus, sexual motifs and bouncy synths. Yet the track wasn’t actually written with her in mind at all.

It was written by Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg, the duo behind ’80s classics like Cyndi Lauper’s ‘True Colors’ and ‘So Emotional’ by Whitney Houston, and was actually based on songwriter Steinberg’s own personal experiences.

Detailing how he just broke up with his then band, Billy Thermal, and had headed back to his father’s vineyards in the Coachella Valley, Steinberg tells how the idea for the song came to him while he was driving a red pickup truck.

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“I had been involved in a very emotionally difficult relationship that had finally ended and I had met somebody new,” he said. “I remember writing that lyric about feeling shiny and new – I made it through the wilderness, somehow I made it through – I made it through this very difficult time.”

Taking the lyrics to his songwriting partner Tom Kelly, Steinberg said that initially the track was going to be a “sensitive ballad”. Yet, the lyric “like a virgin” was a stumbling block. “How can you write a tender ballad called ‘Like a Virgin’? It just sounded ridiculous,” Steinberg recalled.

After becoming increasingly frustrated with the lack of direction for the song, Kelly started playing what would later become the bass line, adding a falsetto vocal.

After playing the track to Michael Ostin of Warner Bros records, it was decided that the song would be perfect for Madonna’s second album.

real full article here

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‘Strike a Pose’ scene – NPO3 zaterdag 5 november 20.30

In 1990 worden zeven jonge dansers – zes homo, één hetero – door Madonna gecast voor haar spraakmakende Madonna Blond Ambition World Tour. Hun reis wordt vastgelegd in één van de meest succesvolle documentaires ooit: Madonna: Truth or Dare – In Bed with Madonna (1991). De documentaire was een grote inspiratie voor veel homoseksuele mannen over de hele wereld.

Nu, 25 jaar later, nemen de dansers ons mee terug achter de schermen en onthullen ze de werkelijkheid over hun levens tijdens en na de tour in de ‘must see’ documentaire Strike a Pose.
Zaterdag 5 nov. 2016 om 20.30 uur op NPO3

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Madonna’s ‘Make My Video’ MTV Contest Winner, 30 Years Later: Angel Gracia Still Feels ‘True Blue’

“Make My Video” contest winners Angel Gracia and Cliff Guest with Madonna on MTV in 1986 (photo: YouTube)

Thirty years ago, MTV actually played music videos. And the network played a lot of Madonna videos. So many, in fact, that it devoted an entire day — Oct. 30, 1986, also known as “Blue Thursday” — to Madge’s “Make My Video” contest, running a marathon of fan-made “True Blue” music videos that ranged from semi-professional film-school projects to amusingly amateurish camcorder clips of tots in ballet-recital tutus or tweens in Desperately Seeking Susan lace hair-bows lip-synching into hairbrushes. A week earlier, the top 10 contest entries even took over the cable channel’s regular Dial MTV countdown show, and one of those contenders — a sepia-toned depiction of ‘60s malt-shop romance, lensed by Venezuela-born, Miami-based college student Angel Gracia on a $600 budget — won the $25,000 grand prize, and became the official video for “True Blue” in the States. And MTV history was made.

“It’s a bit shocking, actually. S—, I’m getting old,” Gracia laughingly tells Yahoo Music when he realizes he won the “Make My Video” contest three whole decades ago, when he was just 21. Gracia credits “True Blue” with launching his legitimate film career, which has included shooting commercials and even working with Ridley Scott. But he recalls that his video almost didn’t make it past MTV’s submission process at all.

“I sent it in, but the day before the deadline, the tape was returned to me with no explanation,” he reveals. “So I threw a fit and asked my dad to please fly me to New York overnight, so I could hand-deliver this thing.” After landing in New York at 6 in the morning and looking up MTV’s Times Square address in the phone book (“There was no Internet then”), a determined Gracia pounded the Manhattan pavement until 9 a.m., waiting for MTV’s office to open.

“I walked downtown, freezing my ass throughout, drinking coffee, just to warm up and keep walking. By the time I made it to MTV, I had an overdose of caffeine; I was hyperventilating and sweating cold when I went up to the counter,” he chuckles. “I go to the secretary and with far more broken English than I have now, I tell her, ‘I came all the way from Miami to deliver this video, because it was sent back to me with no explanation. I worked very hard on this, so it has to be in the competition!’ I still remember her horrified look. So she picks up the phone and calls somebody, and then two somebodys come out looking scared. So she must have said, ‘This guy is just dying for you to grab this tape.’ So I give them the same speech, and they said, ‘Sure, we’ll take a look at it.’ And they took the tape.”

As a relieved Gracia exited MTV’s headquarters, mission accomplished, he spotted a FedEx truck outside being loaded with what appeared to be rejected videotapes. “Later I found out that when they reached 3,000 [contest entries], they couldn’t view them anymore — because they had to view them all, select 10, and play them for hours on rotation for fans to vote, and they physically couldn’t view more than 3,000. They had underestimated Madonna’s popularity! So when I won and I was back [at MTV], they showed me the room where the tapes were, and there was a mountain of them on the floor. I guess I was number 3,001.”

It’s understandable why Gracia was so desperate to make sure his video was considered; the aspiring director had indeed labored hard on this passion project. Teaming up with a slightly older filmmaker, Cliff Guest, whom he’d met while interning on a local low-budget horror flick, he pooled all of his resources to make the shoot happen. Guest and his friends donated equipment, including a homemade steadycam, to the cause. Coral Gables High in Miami granted Gracia use of the school’s entire drama department, and let him film on campus. (Gracia’s younger sister, Anabel, and her two drama-student friends played the leading roles.) A friend’s father lent the crew a 1957 Thunderbird convertible. And four days and 600 bucks later, Gracia and Guest had a winning video on their hands.

Gracia admits that while he was “obsessed with MTV” growing up and “watched it religiously,” he wasn’t a massive Madonna fan; his tastes leaned more towards progressive rock. “I was into Genesis and Queen and all that stuff,” he says. “Madonna was not on my radar… I almost felt bad [for winning], in the sense that I wasn’t a real fan, but then it felt good that I got it right without being a fan. And the fans voted for it, so it’s like a bittersweet thing.” Guest, however, “was a real fan of Madonna” — so he was even more nervous than Gracia to meet the pop star when the directorial duo awkwardly accepted the “Make My Video” prize in person.

“I was shocked and frozen to be on live TV for the first time in my life,” Gracia recalls. “You know, the strange thing is that they wanted us to meet Madonna live, so we didn’t get to meet her until we were on the air. She was behind a wall backstage, but we could hear her, and she sounded very bratty. Very squeaky voice. So the first shock is when you hear her and you have a bigger-than-life image of the person, then when she comes out, she’s like this little thing. It was kind of weird to see someone so big and so small at the same time.

“And she seemed nervous, too. So we’re all nervous. So she comes in and we meet her for like a minute before we go on the air. She has the microphone on and she sits next to us they ask her to do a mic check, and she screams into it — she goes, ‘Blah, blah, blah!’ I can only imagine the poor guy in the sound booth, getting his eardrums blown by this mic check. And then she looked at us and said, ‘I’m glad you guys did the video, because it was my favorite.’ She actually said that to us right before, and then 3, 2, 1 — Madonna! We were stuttering, and my friend was completely paralyzed. But that was the extent of our conversation with her.”

But that wasn’t the extent of Gracia’s run on MTV. While an alternate video for “True Blue” starring Madonna and her pal Debi Mazar aired overseas, Gracia’s version spent weeks in high rotation on America’s regularly scheduled Dial MTV countdown program. “We were always in the top two against the Bangles’ ‘Walk Like an Egyptian,’ a song which I hated because it was always competing against us. I hated the Bangles,” he laughs. And later, Geffen Records, hearing that Gracia and Guest had managed to shoot a decent music video on a meager three-figure budget, offered them “a deal for a year to do some of their low-budget acts, for about $10,000 per video — which for us was an upgrade!”

And eventually, Gracia came to appreciate Madonna’s similarly strong work ethic, too. “That’s a strength that she was able to reinvent herself over and over. I was always shocked every time she came out with a new album and a new look and a new style,” he says. “She’s a visionary. She knows where the music is going, and she surrounds herself with really talented people. She may not be the best singer in the world, but you don’t have to be. There’s something to be appreciated, the amount of work she puts into stuff.”

So, did Gracia ever cross paths with Madonna again, after their bizarre, fleeting on-air encounter 30 years ago? “I did meet her coincidentally at a party years later, whenever Michael Moore was nominated for the Oscars for Bowling for Columbine,” he recalls. “She shows up and she’s with Guy Ritchie and I was like, ‘Oh, s—. I have to talk to her. I can’t just not say anything.’ So I just walked up to her and I go, ‘Hi, I’m the kid from that 1986 music video. I just wanted to thank you, because you started my career.’ I remember her shock — she was looking at me, rewinding her brain, just trying to remember the whole thing.

“She said, ‘Oh, great.’ We didn’t talk much. I’ve exchanged words with Madonna twice in my life, and it’s always been a short sentence. I felt a bit stupid, like a fan trying to get a picture with her. But I had to get that in there: ‘Somehow, let me thank you. I owe you my career in some way.’”

Yahoo

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W.E. at BFI Festival in London – 5 years ago today!

It is hard to believe its already been five years since I attended the BFI screening/premiere of Madonna’s incredible ‘W.E.’ in London.

The craziest part was finding out that her reserved seat was literally just behind me, now try and keep cool and simply focus on the movie then! Back then I wrote down the entire experience which is now a part of our ‘Live Reports’ feature, direct link HERE.

To check out the photo gallery of the event, click HERE

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MADONNA: REBEL HEART TOUR to Premiere on Showtime, 12/9 – press release

MADONNA: REBEL HEART TOUR to Premiere on Showtime, 12/9

MADONNA: REBEL HEART TOUR to Premiere on Showtime, 12/9

Today, Showtime Networks and MADONNA have announced that her highly-anticipated concert film, MADONNA: REBEL HEART TOUR will premiere on December 9 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME, on-air, on demand and over the internet. 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.

See below for a first look at MADONNA: REBEL HEART TOUR:

“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.”

As the premier destination for the best concert films and music documentaries, MADONNA: REBEL HEART TOUR joins a growing list of Showtime Documentary Films featuring music’s biggest names including recent concert films from The Who, The Rolling Stones, Lenny Kravitz, One Direction, Mumford & Sons, Billy Joel and Paul McCartney, along with the documentary films featuring Michael Jackson, David Bowie, U2, The Eagles, Nas, Elvis Costello, Public Enemy, The White Stripes, Ozzy Osbourne, Kings of Leon and The Police. For more information on the Showtime Music MAKERS collection, go to SHO.com/documentaries.

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 “Get 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. Madonnaperformed 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.

Showtime Networks Inc. (SNI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of CBS Corporation, owns and operates the premium television networks SHOWTIME®, THE MOVIE CHANNEL™ and FLIX®, and also offers Showtime ON DEMAND®, THE MOVIE CHANNEL™ ON DEMAND and FLIX ON DEMAND®, and the network’s authentication service Showtime ANYTIME®.Showtime Digital Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of SNI, operates the stand-alone streaming service SHOWTIME®. Showtime is currently available to subscribers via cable, DBS and telco providers, and as a stand-alone streaming service through Apple®, Roku®, Amazon and Google. Consumers can also subscribe to Showtime via Hulu, Sony PlayStation® Vue and Amazon Prime Video. SNI also manages Smithsonian Networks™, a joint venture between SNI and the Smithsonian Institution, which offers Smithsonian Channel™, and offers Smithsonian Earth™ through SN Digital LLC. SNI markets and distributes sports and entertainment events for exhibition to subscribers on a Pay-Per-View basis through Showtime PPV. For more information, go to www.SHO.com.

Photo Credit: Joshua Brandao

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Jay Z, Madonna nominated for Songwriters Hall

NEW YORK (AP) — Jay Z, one of contemporary music’s most celebrated lyricists and entertainers, is one of the nominees for the 2017 Songwriters Hall of Fame, and if inducted he would become the first rapper to enter the prestigious music organization.

Jay Z is the first rapper to be nominated for the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

The Songwriters Hall gave The Associated Press the list of nominees Thursday, a day ahead of its official announcement. Other nominees that could be inducted next year are George Michael, Madonna, Bryan Adams, Vince Gill, Babyface, Max Martin, Kool & the Gang and more.

Eligible members can vote for three non-performing songwriters and two performing songwriters until Dec. 16. Five songwriters, or songwriting groups, will be officially inducted at a gala in New York on June 15, 2017.

Other performing nominees include Cat Stevens, Sly Stone, Chicago, Gloria Estefan, Jeff Lynne and David Gates. Non-performing nominees are Kenny Nolan, Randy Goodrum, Tony Macaulay, William “Mickey” Stevenson, Allee Willis, Maury Yeston, Paul Overstreet and the songwriting duos Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham, and Steve Barri and the late P.F. Sloan, who died last year.

Songwriters are eligible for induction after writing hit songs for at least 20 years. Jay Z, who released his debut album, “Reasonable Doubt,” in 1996, has launched multiple hits in the last two decades, from “Big Pimpin’” to “Empire State of Mind.”

Read more at https://www.mb.com.ph/jay-z-madonna-nominated-for-songwriters-hall/#sCuAExvsgi42pbmy.99

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Madonna Celebration Album Promo – NEW!! Memorabilia, press pictures, releases and video’s!

We have finally uploaded our extensive ‘Celebration’ album promo to the ‘Album Promo’ page under ‘Music’.

Warner Music released this greatest hits compilation in 2009 as a single and double disc set, complete with double DVD featuring a selection of Madonna’s music videos. Two new tracks were added to the compilation ‘Celebration’ and ‘Revolver’.

In ‘Celebration’ we are proud to present a TON of promotional goodies for you to enjoy

  • Facts
  • Memorabilia – a ton of rare promotional memorabilia
  • Releases – a collection of various (promotional) releases of the album and singles
  • Pictures – a rare collection of official press images
  • Videos – view related videos
  • Music Videos – view the official Music videos to ‘Celebration’
  • Buy!

Enjoy ‘Celebration Album Promo’ now

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Madonna jokes about giving ‘good’ oral sex

Madonna joked she gives “really good” oral sex as she opened Amy Schumer’s comedy set at Manhattan’s Madison Square Garden on Tuesday (10.18.16).

The 58-year-old singer – who is known for her outrageous on stage behavior – couldn’t keep hold of her loose lips as she delivered an explicit monologue about performing fellatio on men who vote for Hillary Clinton in November’s US presidential election at the start of the comedienne’s gig in New York.

She quipped: “I’d better get off now because someone insanely funny is about to be on this stage, ladies and gentleman, one more thing before I introduce this genius of comedy. If you vote for Hillary Clinton I will give you a b**wjob. I’m really good. I’m not a douche and I’m not a tool. I have eye contact and I do swallow.”

The ‘Like A Virgin’ hitmaker went on to claim she never receives “d*** pics” from men and she no longer sees her manager Guy Oseary – who also represents Amy Schumer – because of how quickly the ‘Trainwreck’ star’s success has rocketed.

She finished off her monologue by introducing the 35-year-old funnywoman to her audience and admitting she wants to “one day” be able to do stand-up like Amy.

She concluded before being ushered off the stage: “[this] insanely talented woman who I am so jealous of because one day I want to do what she does.”

Although fans were no doubt surprised to see the pop star attempting to make people laugh, Madonna’s guest appearance came as a returned favor to Amy after she opened up three of her dates in New York on her ‘Rebel Heart’ world tour last year.

The terrible twosome had fans in hysterics at the concert as Madonna aggressively whipped up Amy’s dress, flashed her lace knickers to the audience and slapped her bottom before she stood behind her and pretended to hump her.

Despite the embarrassing scenario, Amy didn’t let her flesh-flashing moment faze her as she continued to shake her bottom while Madonna sang ‘Unapologetic Bitch’.

More at TheSpec.com

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