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The Like a Prayer Era

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·         The Pre- Madonna Era http://www.madonna-infinity.net/forums/index.php?/topic/11688-the-pre-madonna-era/?p=542015

·         The First Album Era http://www.madonna-infinity.net/forums/index.php?/topic/11796-the-madonna-first-album-era/?p=547412

·         The Like a Virgin Era http://www.madonna-infinity.net/forums/index.php?/topic/12035-the-like-a-virgin-era/?p=557045

·         The True Blue Era http://www.madonna-infinity.net/forums/index.php?/topic/12055-the-true-blue-era/?p=557777

·         The Who’s That Girl/You Can Dance Era http://www.madonna-infinity.net/forums/index.php?/topic/12085-the-whos-that-girlyou-can-dance-era/?p=558619

·         The Like a Prayer Era http://www.madonna-infinity.net/forums/index.php?/topic/12134-the-like-a-prayer-era/?p=560321

·         The Immaculate Breathless Blond Ambition Era http://www.madonna-infinity.net/forums/index.php?/topic/12230-the-immaculate-breathless-blond-ambition-era/?p=562946

·         The Erotic Body of Girlie Sex Show Era http://www.madonna-infinity.net/forums/index.php?/topic/12452-the-erotic-body-of-girlie-sex-show-era/?p=570519

 

 

Legacy: http://www.madonna-infinity.net/forums/index.php?/topic/12134-the-like-a-prayer-era/?p=560323

 

Sources: http://www.madonna-infinity.net/forums/index.php?/topic/12134-the-like-a-prayer-era/?p=560324

 

Timeline:

·         Unreleased http://www.madonna-infinity.net/forums/index.php?/topic/12134-the-like-a-prayer-era/?p=560325

·         1985 / 1986 http://www.madonna-infinity.net/forums/index.php?/topic/12134-the-like-a-prayer-era/?p=560326

·         1987 http://www.madonna-infinity.net/forums/index.php?/topic/12134-the-like-a-prayer-era/?p=560327

·         1988 http://www.madonna-infinity.net/forums/index.php?/topic/12134-the-like-a-prayer-era/?p=560328

·         1989 http://www.madonna-infinity.net/forums/index.php?/topic/12134-the-like-a-prayer-era/?p=560329

·         1990 http://www.madonna-infinity.net/forums/index.php?/topic/12134-the-like-a-prayer-era/?p=560330

 

 

Press:  http://madonnaunderground.com/madonna-live/album-promo/like-a-prayer-promo-tour/'>http://madonnaunderground.com/madonna-live/album-promo/like-a-prayer-promo-tour/

 

Memorabilia: http://madonnaunderground.com/madonna-live/album-promo/like-a-prayer-promo-tour/

 

Videos: http://www.madonna-infinity.net/forums/index.php?/topic/12134-the-like-a-prayer-era/?p=560332

 

Articles: 

 

Overview:

·         Like a Prayer reached the number 1 position in the Album top 100 charts in Holland for one week only

·         Like a Prayer is known for being Madonna’s most personal album to date, Madonna wanted to reach a more mature audience and therefore had a much more mature sound

·         She described the album as a collection of songs "about my mother, my father, and bonds with my family.â€

·         The album was dedicated to Madonna's mother, who died when she was young.

·         Pepsi and Madonna signed a deal, they would sponsor her upcoming ‘Like a Prayer’ world tour and the song and her would premiere in their commercial. Commercial was made and aired, however after seeing the music video to LAP and the heavy criticism they cancelled their deal with Madonna, she was allowed to keep the money though. The large campaign Pepsi set up (posters, cans, shirts) are now rare and valuable collector’s items

·         The Like a Prayer music video was one of the most controversial in the history of music video’s, a black Jesus? burning crosses? of course the mainstream crowd didn’t ‘get it’. Such a shame according to Madonna and director Mary Lambert, as the story they wanted to tell was falsely implied

·         Herb Ritts was reponsible for the album cover artwork

·         Madonna’s brother Christopher Ciccone created the artwork for the LAP 12″ vinyl single

·         Madonna performed at the 1989 MTV Video Music Awards and gave the world a sneak preview of her upcoming Blond Ambition Tour, singing Express Yourself

·         Madonna originally wanted to keep her own haircolor for the promotion of the record (brown), however the recording of Dick Tracy forced Madonna to go back to blond

·         Like a Prayer was released one day earlier to set release date in Holland by mistake, a record store in Friesland received a copy and thanks to him Dutch radio station KRO aired two songs off the album (Cherish and Love Song).

·         Warner Music wasn’t amused and for a long time refused to deliver to the record dealer in Friesland

·         Because of the negative vibe surrounding the Like a Prayer music video, two Dutch fans planned a positive action by sleeping outside a music store in order to be the first to buy the LP the next day, little did they know that the album went on sale one day earlier

·         Like a Prayer was the first LP, CD and MC that was patchouli scented (and still smells like this today)

·         The video to Express Yourself was announced in Holland with a 30 second teaser saying: Madonna is coming

·         Dutch TV show Countdown had set up an interview exclusively with Madonna (well so they said), unfortunately this was the same interview that M had given to MTV. They made it look like they had a live connection through satellite with M in LA

·         Cherish was the third single with a video directed by Herb Ritts

·         In Europe Dear Jessie was later released as a single, America chose Oh Father as next single (France released a 7″ single of this as well). Oh Father received a beautifully shot video, while Dear Jessie was given an animation treatment without Madonna in it

·         Keep it Together was the very last single off the album and only released in Japan and the USA (and later re-issued in Australia as well)

·         Spanish Eyes was only issued as a promo only 7″ vinyl in Spain

·         "Spanish Eyes" was re-titled "Pray for Spanish Eyes" on certain editions of the album.

·         In the album's notes "The powers that be" (Madonna and Patrick Leonard) are credited as the producers of "Act of Contrition"

·         At the end of the 1980s, following the release of Like a Prayer, Madonna was named "Artist of the Decade" by several publications.

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Legacy

Critical Acclaim

·         Entertainment Weekly's Nicholas Fonseca felt that Like a Prayer marked "an official turning point" of Madonna's career, which earned her "a long-awaited, substantive dose of critical acclaim". 

·         Mark Savage from BBC noted that the album's release "marks the moment when critics first begin to describe Madonna as an artist, rather than a mere pop singer". 

·         Glen Levy from Time stated: "Madonna has always been a keen student of pop-culture history, and her creative powers were probably at their peak in the late 1980s on the album Like a Prayer." 

·         Hadley Freeman from The Guardian opined that Like a Prayer shaped "how pop stars, pop music, music videos, love, sex and the 80s were and should be".

·         Jon Pareles, from The New York Times, said that " [Like a Prayer] defiantly grabbed Christian language and imagery". 

·         According to the list of "All-TIME 100 Albums" by Time magazine's critics, Like a Prayer is one of the 100 greatest and most influential musical compilations since 1954. In 2003, 

·         Rolling Stone magazine named it the 239th greatest album of all time. 

·         The album was also featured in the "Women Who Rock" list made in 2012, at number 18. 

·         Like a Prayer is also featured in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die

·         In 2006, Q magazine placed the album at number 14 in its list of "40 Best Albums of the '80s". 

·         In 2005, a poll of half million people on British television network Channel 4 placed Like a Prayer at number eight on list of "The 100 Greatest Albums in Music History". 

·         In 2012, Slant Magazine listed the album at number 20 on its list of "Best Albums of the 1980s", saying: "By the late '80s, Madonna was already one of the biggest pop stars of all time, but with Like a Prayer, she became one of the most important".

·         Taraborrelli: "Every important artist has at least one album in his or her career whose critical and commercial success becomes the artist's magic moment; for Madonna [...] Like a Prayer was. [Madonna] pushed onwards as an artist, using her creative wit to communicate on another level, musically." 

·         Kenneth G. Bielen, author of The Lyrics of Civility: Biblical Images and Popular Music Lyrics in American Culture, wrote that with the album Madonna began to be seen as a serious artist; "Five years earlier, she was a dance-pop 'Boy-Toy'. With Like a Prayer, she proved she was an artist who could think with more than her body".

·         Thomas Harrison on the book Music of the 1980s, documented that Like a Prayer pushed boundaries by addressing "uncomfortable song topics".

·         Annie Zaleski from The A.V. Club, praised the album for "starting a conversation about religion—which remains one of the most incendiary topics a musician can address. [...] All of this pointed to Madonna establishing herself as a serious artist (emphasis on the "art") who had significant things to say. The album's sustained run at No. 1 buoyed her self-assurance and bravery, and validated that people were willing to follow her even as she transitioned into adulthood. And even today, Like a Prayer remains provocative and progressive: The racial tension alluded to in the "Like a Prayer" video is striking, while the album's themes of religious and sexual oppression still feel all too relevant. Madonna dictated pop's future direction while also being firmly in control of her own fortunes.â€

·         Christopher Rosa from VH1: "Like a Prayer was the first pop album to evoke what female artists explore today: sexuality, religion, gender equality and independence. It was pioneering, and no woman in music has come close to doing something as groundbreaking." He believed that the album was her peak of cultural and musical influence, saying that "Madonna went from bubbly pop act to a serious artist who received her first bout of universal acclaim. Like a Prayer will be always more influential than the "definitive" albums of contemporary female artists, such as Blackout (2007), The Fame Monster (2009), and Beyoncé (2013).â€

·         Madonna tried to experiment with different forms and styles with the videos and in the process constructed a new set of image and identity. With the release of Like a Prayer, Madonna's impact culminated during the 1980s, and many publications named her the artist of the decade.

·         LA Weekly's Art Tavana opined that "Like a Prayer was the moment when Madonna went from being the voice of America's teenagers to the worldwide high priestess of pop". 

·         According to Douglas Kellner, the album and its singles were particularly influential on the music video field.

·         Taraborrelli wrote that the song and its video also served to enhance Madonna's reputation as "a shrewd businesswoman, someone who knows how to sell a concept." 

·         Stewart M. Hoover wrote that the music video pushed boundaries by "bringing traditional religious imagery into the popular music context".

·         Daniel Welsh from The Huffington Post, wrote that the video "catapulted Madonna to the ranks of music video heavyweight, and proved to the world she really meant business". 

·         The music video for "Express Yourself" was also noted by critics for its exploitation of female sexuality and came to the conclusion that Madonna's masculine image in the video was gender-bending.

·         Authors Santiago Fouz-Hernández and Freya Jarman-Ivens commented that "the video portrayed the deconstructive gender-bending approach associated with free play and self-reflexivity of images in postmodernism."

·          Author John Semonche explained in his book Censoring sex that with True Blue and Like a Prayer, Madonna pushed the envelope of what could be shown on television, which resulted in increase of her popularity.

 

Like a Prayer

·         "Like a Prayer" is considered to be one of the best songs of Madonna's career.

·         It was ranked sixth on Blender magazine's list of "The 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born".

·         In 2004 Rolling Stone included it in their list of "The 500 gGreatest Songs of All Time", at number 300 (when Rolling Stone updated the list in 2010, the song dropped to number 306). 

·         For NME's "The Greatest Pop Songs in History" list in 2011, the track was placed at number three. Priya Elan from the publication noted it as Madonna's "calling card", bestowing the singer with a "legendary" status.

·         In 2003, Madonna fans were asked to vote for their "Top 20 Madonna singles of all-time", by Q magazine. "Like a Prayer" was allocated the number one spot on the list.

·         In 2014, La Weekly placed the song at rank two on their list of "The 20 Best Pop Songs in History by Female Artists". Art Tavana from the publication opined that "'Like a Prayer' was the moment when Madonna went from being the voice of America's teenagers to the worldwide high priestess of pop." 

·         At their ranking of the best songs from the 1980s, Pitchfork Media listed "Like a Prayer" at number 50.

·         Campbell noted that the popularity and the media mayhem around the song and the video, helped introduce the concept of free publicity.

·         As author Judith Marcus explained in her book, Surviving the Twentieth Century, Madonna used the church to make her own point on victimization. For Marcus the main impact lay in the fact that the clip ultimately portrayed an empowerment message, questioning and "attacking" the Church's male prejudice and continuous female subjugation throughout history.

·         The song was noted by Campbell for the mix of choir and organ, which according to him paved the way for gospel music to be more mainstream than before.

·         In 1999, the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance held a seminar on the different implications and metaphors present in the song; it was headed by professors Martin Katz, George Shirley and Michael Daugherty. The main topic discussed was the fact that there can be different metaphorical meanings of the song, as the word "like" can be taken in separate contexts.

·         Taraborrelli commented that "in the end, the events surrounding 'Like a Prayer' only served to enhance Madonna's reputation as a shrewd businesswoman, someone who knows how to sell a concept." "Madonna the pop star was going to do it her way, no matter what Madonna the businesswoman had agreed to do".She maintained all along that the Pepsi commercial and the music video were two different commodities and she was right to stand her ground. Taraborrelli noted that after "Like a Prayer", the recruitment of pop stars and athletes to sell soft drinks became commonplace. However, none of them generated the level of excitement on par with Pepsi's failed deal with Madonna.

 

Express Yourself

·         "Express Yourself" is noted both for its song and its accompanying music video, both of which are considered feminist odes to freedom.

·         As author María José Coperiás Aguilar wrote in her book Culture and Power, the release of the song was in context of the anti-feminist or the "backlash" ideology dominant in the U.S., since the rise of the “New Right†in the 1980s and the government of Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush.

·         Aguilar went on to explain that the 1980s and the 1990s were characterized by a conservative reaction against the ‘excesses’ of the 1960s and 70s. This reaction was channeled mainly by the media's strong attacks against feminism, generally describing activists as "tortured people with hairy legs", "radical, bitter, man-hating, separatist and lesbian", accompanied by messages advocating a feminization of women that turned them into beautiful ornamental objects, and tended to increase the cultural differences between the sexes.

·         "Express Yourself" appeared as a refutation of some of these reactionary premises. The title, Aguilar noted, seemed to raise the question of the urgency of a feminine voice to develop and emerge—a concern that recalled the tradition of French feminists like Helene Cixous and Luce Irigaray. 

·         The video stood out conspicuously to Aguilar for its chaotic texture through the rapid editing of the multiple shots that constituted it. Since chaos has traditionally been associated with the female ontogenetic principle as opposed to male principle of order, the video in turn came to be associated with duality between order/chaos, male/female, good/evil, light/dark etc.

·         Aguilar also drew parallel between Metropolis and the music video. Madonna borrowed different phallic symbolism from the film, including the smoke-billowing chimneys, the tall skyscrapers and the oppressive environment of industrial work. However, unlike Metropolis which portrayed repression of a rebellious proletariat, the chaotic nature of "Express Yourself" video showed freedom instead.

·         Caryn James from The New York Times added that "asked about the video, [Madonna] made a distinction that any honest feminist would respect, however politically incorrect it may seem. 'I have chained myself', she said. 'There wasn't a man that put that chain on me.' You don't have to buy Madonna's next loopy bit of symbolism—'I was chained to my desires'—to believe the feminist subtext she finds in the video. 'I do everything by my own volition. I'm in charge, O.K.' Madonna in chains, though, is far removed from those unfortunate women who don't know that they have options.â€

·         Madonna also complained about the feminist criticisms of her "crotch-grabbing", saying that "if male singers like Michael Jackson can get away with it, why can't women?" According to  theorist Douglas Kellner, Madonna deliberately appropriated traditional feminine images in the beginning of the video, but contrasted them with her "crotch-hugging" male poses near the end, and discordant images of women assuming the male position.

·         Feminist author Susan Bordo pointed out, "it is the postmodern nature of the video that has most entranced academic critics, and its various ways of constituting identities that refuse stability, that remain fluid, that resist definition."

·         "Express Yourself" has also influenced numerous music artists. Spice Girls member Melanie C said "Madonna was doing the girl power thing a long time before the Spice Girls... 'Express Yourself' is one of the routines that I know and I used to really like doing that one because it is where she shows her bra and holds her crotch."

·         In 2010, singer Christina Aquilera paid tribute to "Express Yourself" with the music video of her single, "Not Myself Tonight". She commented "One of my favorite videos ever is 'Express Yourself' by Madonna which came across as really strong and empowering which I always try to incorporate through my expression of sexuality... I love the direct reference I made to Madonna with the eye glass moment and the smoke and stairs. I was paying tribute to a very strong woman who has paved the way before." 

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Sources:

·         http://madonna-mdolla.blogspot.com/2008/08/1986-jan-borderline-is-re-released-as.html

·         http://madonna-mdolla.blogspot.com/2008/08/1990-jan-warner-bros-records-releases.html

·         https://genesistimeline.wordpress.com/2010/02/12/like-a-prayer-1989/

·         http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/the-rolling-stone-interview-madonna-19890323

·         http://pop-aboutmadonna.blogspot.com/2010/02/

·         http://people.com/archive/cover-story-everyone-said-it-wouldnt-last-vol-28-no-24/

·         Bronson, Fred (2003). The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits. Billboard books. ISBN 0-8230-7677-6.

·         Dunn, Leslie C.; Jones, Nancy A. (1994). Embodied Voices: Representing Female Vocality in Western Culture. Cambridge University PressISBN 0-521-46012-3.

·         Fouz-Hernández, Santiago; Jarman-Ivens, Freya (2004). Madonna's Drowned Worlds. Ashgate Publishing, LtdISBN 0-7546-3372-1.

·         Harrison, Thomas (2011). Music of the 1980s: American History Through Music. Greenwood Pub Group IncISBN 0-313-36599-7.

·         Hoover, Stewart M. (2006). Religion in the Media Age. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-31422-4.

·         Inglis, Ian (2006). Performance and Popular Music: History, Place and Time. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. ISBN 978-0-7546-4057-8.

·         Kellner, Douglas (1995). Media Culture: Cultural Studies, Identity, and Politics Between the Modern and the Postmodern. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-10570-6.

·         McKeen, William (2000), Rock and roll is here to stay, W. W. Norton & CompanyISBN 0-393-04700-8

·         Metz, Allen; Benson, Carol (1999). The Madonna Companion: Two Decades of Commentary. Music Sales GroupISBN 0-8256-7194-9.

·         O'Brien, Lucy (2008). Madonna: Like an IconBantam PressISBN 978-0-552-15361-4.

·         Rooksby, Rikky (2004). The Complete Guide to the Music of Madonna. Omnibus.

·         Semonche, John E (2007). Censoring sex: a historical journey through American media. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 0-7425-5132-6.

·         Taraborrelli, Randy J. (2002). Madonna: An Intimate BiographySimon & SchusterISBN 978-0-330-45446-9.

·         Taraborrelli, Randy J. (2009). Michael Jackson: The Magic, The Madness, The Whole Story, 1958–2009. Grand Central PublishingISBN 978-0-446-56568-4.

·         Voller, Debbi (1999), Madonna: The Style Book, Omnibus Press, ISBN 0-7119-7511-6

·         Walters, Barry (2004). "Madonna". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone Album GuideSimon & SchusterISBN 0-7432-0169-8.

·         Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig, eds. (1995). "Madonna". Spin Alternative Record Guide. New York: Vintage BooksISBN 0-679-75574-8.

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Unreleased

Demos for the 1988 "Like A Prayer" album generated two songs that to this day have not been released in any form or even submitted to the US copyright office. According to Bray, he owns Madonna demos for "Love Attack", and "First There's A Kiss" which he co-wrote and co-produced with Madonna. He also prefers the original demo version of "Express Yourself" which he describes as "better than the released version I always thought". He also holds another demo version of "Keep It Together".

As the "Like A Prayer" album ran its course, many fans were surprised that no dance remix was issued for "Cherish" as is the normal custom when songs are released as singles. Billboard Magazine reported that "a Madonna song" had been remixed by Hank Shocklee and Phil Castellano during this period which has never surfaced. This is believed by some to be the unreleased dance mix of "Cherish". Also appearing on this album is the Prince-Madonna collaboration "Love Song". An outtake of this track has recently surfaced on the Prince bootleg "Jewels From The Vault", and is only one of several unreleased Prince-Madonna collaborations that are rumored to exist from that recording session.
 

Like a Prayer

1988 BY ALIEN MEANS Confirmed as written by Prince Rogers Nelson), published by Controversy Music. Supposedly sent to Madonna after Blonde Ambition Tour. May or may not have been recorded by Madonna. Prince demo cassette on file Library Of Congress PAU-1-152-963. Bruce Baron recently listened to this track at the Washington DC Library Of Congress, and he writes: This is actually an unreleased Prince (The Artist) tune supposedly sent to Madonna for recording consideration. I do not recall the exact source of this rumour, but it has been around for years, and was supposedly inspired by the 1990 Blonde Ambition Tour. It has never been established that Madonna actually recorded it with Prince or on her own. The Prince collectors usually have lots of bootleg unreleased tracks, but this one had never surfaced in the collectors market. Many are the demos he had sent to other female vocalists which he did quite often. Therefore I decided to request a listen at the copyright office to check it out. If this demo had been sent to me for consideration, it would be like the same feeling as receiving a totally "WRONG" piece of clothing as a birthday gift from a relative. "Thanks, it's - neat". The song appears to be about asking young people not to commit suicide: "Explore the interplanetary space between your mind. Don't go out by alien means". The instrumentation is a wild blend of guitars and percussion. Not much of a melody, but Prince in full form. His vocals are just as insane with multi-layered falsettos and voices. The date of creation on the registration is actually 1988, so this could not have been inspired by the 1990 BAT. It could be possible that it originates circa the Prince/Madonna duet "Love Song" and was then sent to her later? How much truth there is to this story we may never know, but this song did not make me think of Madonna when I heard it. 
------------------------------------------------------------------------------ --
1988 EXPRESS YOURSELF Original Madonna demo written & produced with Stephen Bray. Bray considers this to be better than released version. 
1988 FIRST THERE'S A KISS Song never used, Madonna demo written & produced with Stephen Bray for "Like A Prayer" album. Existence confirmed with Bray, but never filed copyright. This track was supposedly rejected from the "Like A Prayer" album. It is a song about safe sex and aids and again surfaced unofficially. 
1988 KEEP IT TOGETHER Confirmed original Madonna demo written & produced with Stephen Bray. Different from the released version. 
------------------------------------------------------------------------------ --
1988 LOVE ATTACK Song never used, Madonna demo written & produced with Stephen Bray for "Like A Prayer" album . Existence confirmed by Bray, but never filed copyright. This track was supposedly rejected from the "Like A Prayer" album because it didn't fit the sound of the album. Still unofficially released. 
------------------------------------------------------------------------------ --
1988 LOVE SONG - Outtake is extended version of collaboration with Prince from "Like A Prayer" album found on Prince bootleg release "Jewels From The Vault". 
------------------------------------------------------------------------------ --
1988 POSSESIVE LOVE Madonna demo written with Patrick Leonard given to Marilynn Martin to record for her 2nd album "This Is Serious". 
------------------------------------------------------------------------------ --
1988 UNCONFIRMED TITLE (S) Portions of 2-3 other collaborations rumored to be unfinished with Prince from "Love Song" sessions. There may also be others that were from the abandoned "From Dusk To Dawn" Prince Soundtrack (unconfirmed) 
------------------------------------------------------------------------------ --
1989 CHERISH (REMIX) Unreleased dance remix suspected to have been done by Hank Shocklee & Phil Castellano 
------------------------------------------------------------------------------ --
1989 DOG HOUSE Existence not confirmed. Unreleased track inspired by Brenda Lee's "You're In The Dog House Now" for Dick Tracy "Im Breathless" album. Media rumor 
------------------------------------------------------------------------------ --
1989 QUEEN OF MISERY There seems to some confusion about this song. In an old Rolling Stone magazine interview, frequent Madonna collaborator Pat Leonard mentioned writting this song with Kevin Gilbert (aka: Hank Panky remixer). From what I understand this song was written about Madonna, not neccessarily for her to record. Some fans feel that it may have been offered to her and that a Madonna demo may exist. I have never found any evidence to support this idea. The song appeared on the first Toy Matinee album (band featuring Leonard and Gilbert) with no Madonna participation. This song is about a woman who looks for love through a series of one night stands. You can link to lyrics at http://www.kevingilbert.com/40abc/misery.html
Kevin Gilbert had a hand in breaking Sheyl Crow as a solo artist (she used to sing with Toy Matinee in LA), but he died shortly after her first album took off. He also worked on Madonna's "I'm Breathless" album. 
------------------------------------------------------------------------------ --
1989 GOODBYE MY FOREVER FRIEND Unused song, demo recorded circa "Like A Prayer" album 1989. There does exist a VERY, VERY LOW QUALITY recording of this song (there's no music in it, just Madonna's singing). It definitely sounds like Madonna to me. The copy I've heard is very muffled and low quality, but I'm convinced it's Madonna. The story I was told about this recording is that it was taken from Madonna's tape player in her dressing room by a theater employee while she was appearing in "Speed The Plow". If this story is true, shame on them - but we don't even know for sure if this is Madonna. The original tape was said to have been labeled "To Sean" as if it was going to be sent to him (makes a good story). The recording is of poor quality, a simple vocal demo with no music. The melody is not well structured and the vocalist drifts off key all over the place. It does sound like Madonna, or at least a good impersonation of her doing a crude demo. The first part of the lyrics are: 

Goodbye to you
Goodbye and farewell
I will miss you
I will miss you 
The days wont be the same
The nights full of pain
Why did this happen
Why did this happen - to us 

I hesitate to call this an unreleased Madonna song since we are not sure if it's her, and she never really got to finish it according to the story I heard. This song does not come close to the quality of her other studio demos, and seems to be more of a home recording of a preliminary song idea. It remains a curious CD-R collectable.
1989 MORE "I'm Breathless" album studio rehersal demo surfaced on bootleg 7" 
------------------------------------------------------------------------------ --
1989 PIPELINE Unused song, existence unconfirmed. 

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1985

January 10: Madonna begins filming "Material Girl" video in Los Angeles, CA, directed by Mary Lambert and meets 24-year-old actor Sean Penn on the set. "Like A Virgin" single is certified gold (1 million units).

They met when Penn visited the set of her Material Girl video. He was one of America’s hottest serious young actors. She was the rocker with the most famous black bra in the world. He had a reputation as a love ’em, propose to ’em, leave ’em kind of guy, having mentioned marriage to Elizabeth McGovern. She was just ending a relationship with record producer Jellybean Benitez. They started off as friends, dating non exclusively, but by the spring Penn had met her family in Detroit (while Madonna was there on tour) and had brought his parents to see her L.A. show.

June: While in Nashville, he hurls a rock at a photographer, camera-whips him, then punches out a reporter.

August: The families met each other at the marriage that August in Malibu. Presiding over the nuptials, Judge Merrick was only disturbed by the paparazzi choppers flying overhead, not by the couple’s prospects. “I felt they were as much in love as any couple I’ve married,†he says, “and I’ve married hundreds of them.â€

August 16: Madonna and Sean Penn are married on her 27th birthday on a clifftop in Malibu, CA with Cher, Martin Sheen, Rob Lowe, Carrie Fisher, Diane Keaton, David Letterman, Rosanna Arquette, Christopher Walken, Steve Rubell and others in attendance, and will honeymoon at the Highlands Inn, Carmel, CA; after the honeymoon, Madonna begins work on a new album.

 

1986

April: In an L.A. nightclub, Penn sees songwriter David Wolinski bussing Madonna, an old acquaintance, and savagely attacks with fists, feet and a chair. He’s fined $1,000 and gets a year’s probation. “The marriage had been undergoing stress all the time,†says a friend of Madonna‘s, “but this was the first major stress, the first really traumatic episode for her. Wolinski was someone she knew, and it really shook her up.â€

August: Sean and Madonna are accosted by paparazzi outside their Central Park West apartment. Penn baptizes one photog, Anthony Savignano, with saliva. Savignano shoves him. Penn socks him and a fellow photographer, Vinnie Zuffante.

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1987:

April: While making Colors, a movie in which he plays a cop, Penn assaults Jeffrie Klein, an extra who is trying to snap some candids of the star. The attack is a violation of Penn’s probation for the Wolinski incident.

May: The LAPD picks Penn up for speeding and running a red light. An alcohol content of .011, just above the legal limit, is found in his blood. The charge is reduced to reckless driving, but it’s another probation violation.

June 1987: Because of the twin offenses, Sean is sentenced to 60 days in the pen. In a move that raises questions about preferential treatment, he eventually serves five, leaves to make a movie in West Germany, returns to serve another 28 and gets the rest of the time off for good behavior.

 

August 16:  While in London for the Who's That Girl tour, Madonna celebrates her 29th birthday today at the Groucho Club. On hand were actor John Hurt, Lady Helen Windsor (daughter of the Duke of Kent and first cousin of Queen Elizabeth II) and singer Boy George. Also, present was Pat Leonard and his 3 and half year old daughter Jessie.

He will tell Smash Hits magazine (APRIL 19 – MAY 02 1989) issue:

https://allaboutmadonna.com/madonna-library/steve-bray-pat-leonard-madonna-like-prayer-smash-hits-1989

"Madonna and Jessie have been friends since she was born. Madonna's a godmother almost. They play and dance. In fact, in London at Madonna's birthday party they danced for about 2 hours together. In fact, she got her drunk on champagne - I could kill her. Ha ha!" He will also say of the song "Dear Jessie" - "The music was very playful and it sounded like a child and Madonna came up with 'pink elephants and lemonade'. I was saying it's got a very Beatles-like attitude like "Dear Prudence" (an old hippy-esque Beatles song) and she said, "Dear Jessie." Jessie now listens to the album and proudly announces, "It's my song."

 

 In a Billboard interview on March 21, 2014, Pat Leonard talked about Dear Jessie:

http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/pop-shop/5944767/madonna-producer-patrick-leonard-talks-like-a-prayer-at-25

 

"Dear Jessie" was inspired by your daughter, Jessie, who was a toddler at the time. What does your daughter think of the song now?

They hung out a bit, and she remembers a lot of that, even though she was very little. It wasn't arbitrary -- it was like they were kind of buddies. Jessie was on tour with us when she was just a baby. We have a lot of photos of them together in the studio. My daughter is 28 now and she's actually working for me as a writer and she's just an amazing human being.

I think Jessie feels like that's an interesting thing that she has out there, but I don't think she considers it her legacy (laughs). 

 

Every once in a while it comes up. Somebody will send her something, or say, "You're the Jessie?" And she thinks it's funny. It's sweet. It was really sweet of Madonna to do that. Even that little video that they used -- that animated video in the U.K. -- was an animation based on a photo of Jessie. It doesn't look anything like Jessie to me. But they wanted a photo of her for the video.

 

September 22: Prince returns to Minneapolis today from a trip he took to NYC and Paris. He has just finished a screenplay for a film called Graffiti Bridge that he wants Madonna to co-star in with him. A few weeks later, she arrives in Minneapolis to discuss possible collaborations. After studying the script, she calls it "a piece of shit" and tells a flabbergasted Prince that she's not interested in doing it. (paraphrased from Dance Music Sex Romance: Prince: The First Decade By Per Nilsen)

 

LATER:

In an interview with Rolling Stone (03/23/89), http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/the-rolling-stone-interview-madonna-19890323

 

You wrote and performed “Love Song†with Prince on your album. How did the collaboration come about?
Madonna: Well, we’ve been friends for years and admirers of each other’s work. So we’d always talked about getting together to write. And, in fact, there was a moment last year when we were possibly going to write a musical together. I went to his studio in Minesota and worked on some stuff, just to get the feel of what it would be like to collaborare. Because it’s a very intimate thing to write a song together. I can’t write with everybody. I’ve tried with a lot of people, and it doesn’t always work.
Prince and I didn’t really finish anything, though. We started a bunch of stuff, then we would go on to the next thing. We just tried to start as many things as we could. We worked for a few days; then I had to leave to do some other things. I decided that I didn’t want to do a musical with him at that time.

Meanwhile, I went and did Speed-the-Plow on Broadway. He came to see the play and brought me a rough mix of one of the songs we’d worked on. I thought it was just fabulous. I’d sort of forgotten about it. So I called him up and said I loved it and that, after I was finished with the play, I wanted to get together with him and work on it for my album. As it turned out, we did it in a very funny way. We sent tapes to each other back and forth between L.A. and Minnesota. Then we would talk on the phone, and he would play stuff for me over the line. I loved working that way.

We never talk about religion or politics. But “Love Song†does have a spirituality about it, the kind that exists between two people. It’s really about that push and pull of a relationship. The back and forth: I love you, I hate you. I want you, get away from me. You build me up and tear me down. That constant rubbing.

 

 

In another SMASH HITS (JUNE 28 – JULY 11 1989) interview in 1989 https://allaboutmadonna.com/madonna-library/madonna-interview-smash-hits-july-11-1989

The Oddness That Is Prince
I think Prince lives a very isolated life and I don’t, and that is the big difference between us. And I just try to be a positive influence on him I’ve always been a fan. I think he’s incredible and I also admire his… he’s very courageous and he causes lots of controversy too which is great… and I think he is a brilliant musician. We’ve gotten together a couple of times in the hope of working with each other in some way. Originally we were going to do a musical together and we were going to write the music for it – that didn’t really pan out. We just kept getting together. He seemed to fight the idea of just writing songs for a record together because he’s done that with so many people. He came to see me in the play I did last summer in New York and he, just for the hell of it, put together a tape of some rough things that we’d done in all of our meetings that we’d had. “Love Song†was one of the songs and I just said “You know, this is crazy, it’s such a great song – why not put it on the record?†It seemed to relate to all the other songs because it’s about a relationship that’s a hate/love relationship. So he agreed to it and we kind of sent the tapes back and forth to each other and we’d keep building it. It was like he would write a sentence and I would add on to it and then send it back to him and he would continue the story, basically. It was fun. I played the keyboards myself and because I don’t know that much, it kind of came out strange and interesting.â€

 

There will also be rumors later that Prince registered a song called "By Alien Means" in 1988 that was a product of these meetings.

 

1988 BY ALIEN MEANS Confirmed as written by Prince Rogers Nelson), published by Controversy Music. Supposedly sent to Madonna after Blonde Ambition Tour. May or may not have been recorded by Madonna. Prince demo cassette on file Library Of Congress PAU-1-152-963. Bruce Baron recently listened to this track at the Washington DC Library Of Congress, and he writes: This is actually an unreleased Prince (The Artist) tune supposedly sent to Madonna for recording consideration. I do not recall the exact source of this rumour, but it has been around for years, and was supposedly inspired by the 1990 Blonde Ambition Tour. It has never been established that Madonna actually recorded it with Prince or on her own. The Prince collectors usually have lots of bootleg unreleased tracks, but this one had never surfaced in the collectors market. Many are the demos he had sent to other female vocalists which he did quite often. Therefore I decided to request a listen at the copyright office to check it out. If this demo had been sent to me for consideration, it would be like the same feeling as receiving a totally "WRONG" piece of clothing as a birthday gift from a relative. "Thanks, it's - neat". The song appears to be about asking young people not to commit suicide: "Explore the interplanetary space between your mind. Don't go out by alien means". The instrumentation is a wild blend of guitars and percussion. Not much of a melody, but Prince in full form. His vocals are just as insane with multi-layered falsettos and voices. The date of creation on the registration is actually 1988, so this could not have been inspired by the 1990 BAT. It could be possible that it originates circa the Prince/Madonna duet "Love Song" and was then sent to her later? How much truth there is to this story we may never know, but this song did not make me think of Madonna when I heard it. 
 

 

 

November 26: Sean Penn shows up at her NYC apartment drunk after disappearing for 4 days expecting to spend Thanksgiving with her. Madonna claims this is the final straw in regards to their marriage. (NY Daily News)

 

Things came to a head Thanksgiving week. According to the first published report of the split, from gossip columnist Liz Smith, Madonna was steamed because Sean had gone four days without contacting her, then suddenly showed up in their New York apartment expecting Thanksgiving dinner. Instead of serving turkey, she served him divorce papers. But both Penn’s and Madonna‘s publicists say that story isn’t true. “The decision was mutual,†says Penn’s person, Lois Smith. “The thing about him disappearing for four days is nonsense.â€

“There was no one direct incident leading up to this,†says Madonna ‘s Liz Rosenberg. “It was a series of cumulative pressures. There were many moments in their marriage when it was shaky, and Madonna was finally forced to face the reality of the situation—that they weren’t happy together.†The papers, adds Rosenberg, weren’t served on Thanksgiving: Madonna didn’t start divorce discussions with her attorney until the following week.

December 4: Madonna files for divorce from Sean in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Los Angeles, CA.

December 16: Madonna and Sean decide to reconcile and she withdraws divorce papers filed in Los Angeles, CA on Dec 4.
 

December 20: In an interview with the L.A. Times published today, Madonna says she's been wearing "all black" lately to reflect a starker, more dramatic state of mind. This look will carry over to her next role she's currently filming in The Bloodhounds of Broadway.

http://www.madonna-decade.co.uk/bloodhounds-of-broadway.html

The experience of witnessing the decline and eventual demise of Howard Brookner, who was one of many artists afflicted by AIDS in this period, prompted Madonna to include the AIDS information leaflet that appeared in her studio album ‘Like A Prayer’ which was released in March 1989, a month before Brookner’s passing. 

Howard Brookner did not give his life to make ''Bloodhounds of Broadway.'' AIDS had already laid claim to it. It was a question only of when the disease would take delivery. He traded his days and months for the power of shivering behind a camera. By giving up AZT, he may also have allowed the virus to creep into his brain.

His exhaustion was chalked up to the cold nights of shooting on too low a budget and too short a schedule. Only his mother and Madonna noticed that he wasn't eating. ''He would take two bites and stop,'' his mother recalls. ''I thought: 'He's not eating. That's what wrong.' Mothers always think that.''

Madonna says: ''I knew something was wrong halfway through the movie, but I wasn't going to press him. He had a right to keep it private. Later, when he phoned and said, 'I have to tell you something,' he couldn't get it out. I said, 'I already know.' I think it was kind of a relief that I knew and that my feelings about him weren't going to change.''

Like many of his friends, Madonna is haunted by a specific memory: ''Long before I knew anything, Howard asked me if I had ever seen anybody die. He wanted all the gory details about a friend who had AIDS and I nursed him to the end and was in the room when he died.''

Madonna and Jennifer Grey perform a duet, "I Surrender Dear", during the film.  As this track was never released, either as a single or on a soundtrack album, the video release remains the only format on which the track is available.  

https://scontent.fewr1-2.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/14441034_964238787037424_2937150395729249906_n.png?oh=71128b92f89dd32d2f665ce7b68553ba&oe=59E655EC

December 24: Madonna begins filming Bloodhounds Of Broadway, starring Matt Dillon and Jennifer Grey, directed by Howard Brookner. In the photo is director Howard Brookner, Matt Dillon, Madonna, Brad Gooch, and Jennifer Grey.

December 26: Madonna wins 3 Billboard Music Awards: Top Pop Singles Artist, Top Pop Singles Artist - Female and Top Dance Sales Artist. 

December: Madonna is honored in The Guinness Book Of Records 1988 as the most successful singer for selling over 11 million copies of True Blue which hit #1 in 28 countries and establishing herself as the world's highest selling solo singing artist.

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1988:

January-February: Pat Leonard will tell a British magazine that Madonna and he wrote the bulk of their songs for this album in a 2 week time period. It is likely around this time because Madonna will tell Songtalk magazine in 1989 that she wrote "Cherish" just before she left for NYC to start rehearsing for Speed the Plow:

Pat Leonard to SMASH HITS (APRIL 19 – MAY 02 1989): https://allaboutmadonna.com/madonna-library/steve-bray-pat-leonard-madonna-like-prayer-smash-hits-1989'>https://allaboutmadonna.com/madonna-library/steve-bray-pat-leonard-madonna-like-prayer-smash-hits-1989

“Everything is very quick,†he explains. “We wrote ‘Like A Prayer’, ‘Spanish Eyes’, ‘Till Death Do Us Part’, ‘Dear Jessie’, ‘Promise To Try’ and ‘Cherish’ in a two week period. I was working on another album at the time, so she’d just come in on Saturdays or days off. Nothing took more than four hours ever.â€

Sickening, isn’t it ? Pat writes some music, then Madonna simply comes in: “She sits on the couch, takes a pad out and writes the lyrics and sings it and we’re done.â€

They also wrote some songs that didn’t make it onto the LP – something called “Supernaturalâ€: “It’s almost a novelty piece. The lyrics are about sleeping with someone who’s dead in a spiritual sense. It’s about sleeping with a ghost. It’s a real kind of weird funk tune with a very strange groove.â€

Steve Bray to SMASH HITS (APRIL 19 – MAY 02 1989): https://allaboutmadonna.com/madonna-library/steve-bray-pat-leonard-madonna-like-prayer-smash-hits-1989

“I come up with some ideas,†he explains, “and send them to her on a cassette and she’ll check them out and then we’ll get together and work on the arrangement on the ones she’s chosen?

Madonna will do all the words and will have quite a lot of say in the song’s final trimmings: “I’ve always kind of made the ribcage and the sceleton of the song already – she’s there for the last things like the eyebrows and the haircut, I guess.â€

 

For this LP they recorded four songs — me two that made it onto the final version, and two – “a safe sex song†called “First Is A Kiss†and another titled “Love Attack†– that simply didn’t fit the mood of the record.

“She`s very much into a “confessional attitude,†he says. “It’s like a musical National Enquirer (American so-called “news†paper) episode, that’s what I’m calling it. In Britain it would be The Sun, wouldn’t it? It’s behind the scenes, definitely, in Madonna’s psyche.â€

He says that those people who think that Madonna has planned to make a very personal record about her marriage and her parents, and that it’s all a clever scheme, are completely wrong.

“She writes in a stream of a mood really,†he explains. “This album, she needed to do it, I’m sure of it. I’m sure it was a cathartic (i.e. a sort of emotional outlet) kind of thing to do.â€

When they worked on the “True Blue†LP he remembers her as being very in love. It was obvious… if she’s in love she’ll write love songs. If she’s not in love she definitely won’t be writing love songs. That’s why the [ove songs we recorded aren’t on the LP – she didn’t feel that they were real enough for her at the time.â€

February 23: Madonna begins rehearsals for Speed the Plow in NYC.

March: Pat Leonard gives an interview in Musician magazine this month (for their May 1988 issue) in which he says that he and Madonna have laid the groundwork for the next album.

“We’ve written eight new songs so far. And they range from a string quartet to a shuffle. There’s a couple of gospel things that we decided to experiment with. And some things that sound very Manhattan Transfer. There’s one that’s very harmonically dense and much more jazz-oriented than anything you’ve heard from her before. So I think the new album is going to be quite different.â€

 

March: Marilyn Martin‘s This Is Serious album is released in March 1988.

The lead single “Possessive Love†which was written by Patrick Leonard, Madonna and Jai Winding but failed to chart. Martin recorded her version of “Possessive Love†in 1987 with Donna Delory on backing vocals. The album did not sell and she was subsequently dropped by her label. Martin sang back-up vocals on “Cherish.â€

 

Martin recorded her version of “Possessive Love†in 1987 (with Donna Delory on backing vocals). It was originally recorded by Madonna in 1988. Madonna’s original remains unreleased.

May-August: Madonna in MADONNA INTERVIEW : SONGTALK (SUMMER 1989:

https://allaboutmadonna.com/madonna-library/madonna-interview-songtalk-summer-1989

 She said she wrote "Oh Father" during the time she was in the play:

Interviewer: You were talking of having only your voice and organ on “Like a Prayer.†I love the beginning of “Promise to Try,†which is just you and an acoustic piano.

Madonna: Yeah, isn’t it pretty.

Interviewer: Yeah. That song and “Oh Father†seem to be companion songs.

Madonna: They are. Yeah, they absolutely are.

Interviewer: Did you write them at the same time?

Madonna: No. We did “Promise to Try†first. Pat and I. Once again, he just sat down and started playing. And I started singing. And we built it from there. We’d start stuff and we’d come back to it. With “Oh Father†he wrote the tracks, and I was doing the play in New York (Speed the Plow). He came to New York and I was in a very, very dark state of mind. We got together in this really dingy, awful little studio in the garment district in New York. It was grotesquely dirty and cramped, and that’s what came out of me.

 

Madonna on Oh Father In MADONNA INTERVIEW : SMASH HITS (JUNE 28 – JULY 11 1989)

https://allaboutmadonna.com/madonna-library/madonna-interview-smash-hits-july-11-1989

Writing Songs
“Lots of times Pat Leonard will come up with a piece of music like ‘Oh Father’ – we did very little to change it musically – he throws the music at me and I just listen to it over and over again. And somehow the music suggests words to me and I just start writing words down. Other times I will come to Pat with an idea for a song, either lyrically or emotionally and say ‘Let’s do something like this’ or I’ll have a melody line in my head which I will sing to him and he will sort of pound out the chords. It takes a lot longer to do it that way because I don’t play an instrument but ultimately it’s a lot more personal. Then with Steve Bray its the same thing. Sometimes he’ll come up with a track and he’ll have a verse and chorus but he won’t have a bridge (the bit in a song between the verse and the chorus) so we’ll write the bridge musically together.â€July: In an interview with Fame magazine (for their December 1988 issue) was done (in part) this month:

July: In an interview with Fame magazine (for their December 1988 issue) was done (in part) this month:

https://books.google.com/books?id=yj1PTnse9-gC&pg=PA368&lpg=PA368&dq=madonna+Fame+magazine+1989+July:+In+an+interview+with+Fame+magazine+(for+their+December+1988+issue)+was+done+(in+part)+this+month:&source=bl&ots=noAxlfdKfJ&sig=nrOQVbgBvYMWwRIwnEwPTgh1VDA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi6vYLY7dHUAhVGNT4KHdXEA_QQ6AEIKjAB#v=onepage&q=madonna%20Fame%20magazine%201989%20July%3A%20In%20an%20interview%20with%20Fame%20magazine%20(for%20their%20December%201988%20issue)%20was%20done%20(in%20part)%20this%20month%3A&f=false

Q: Then you’re not thinking of abandoning music to pursue an acting career?

M: Of course not. I’m just letting my creative juices take me where they will. There’s a writer’s strike going on right now and there aren’t a lot of great movies available to do so that just works out fine for me because I haven’t done a record in at least two years. I mean, I’ve had records out but it’s all from my album and I didn’t write the stuff over the past year. I'm going into the studio to record some stuff that's really different. As long as I can write songs, I'll make records. When I get tired of that, when it gets old or I don't have anything to say, then I won't do it.

September 2: The Miami Herald says today that Madonna will begin recording her new album next week.

September 25: Madonna returns: Madonna's three-month run in David Mamet's Broadway play "Speed The Plow" ended in August and she's ready to dive back into music. She's starting work on a new album in Los Angeles with co-producer Pat Leonard. The album may be released early next year. (Orange County Register)

September 29: According to Liz Smith, Madonna is locked up in an L.A. recording studio with her producer, Pat Leonard; they are working on her next album (still not titled) which will come out in January or February.

LATER:

In MADONNA INTERVIEW : SONGTALK (SUMMER 1989:

She said that "Act of Contrition" was purely conceived in the recording studio on a whim:

 

Interviewer: â€œAct of Contrition,†the closing track of Like a Prayer, has backwards masking and other mysterious elements. Did he have anything to do with that one as well? The credits only say, “Produced by the powers that be.â€

Madonna: Yeah, he did. He played guitar on it. He also played guitar on “Keep it Together.â€

Interviewer: I noticed on “Act of Contrition†that you have the choir from “Like a Prayer†reversed on that.

Madonna: Yeah, we turned the tape and played everything backwards.

Interviewer: Your idea?

Madonna: Yeah. And then, of course, the whole thing, the saying of the prayer (on “Act of Contritionâ€) and everything, that was totally conceived of in the studio, in the control room. Pat put out a microphone, and I just started fooling around; and that was free-form, too. Whatever was on my head. It’s totally unedited.

October 11: Madonna cut some tracks of her new record at D&D Recording in NY with Kieran Walsh doing the engineering chores. She is completing the album in Los Angeles. (Manila Standard)

 

December 12: Madonna signs a 2-year film contract with Columbia Pictures.

December 16: Madonna has a new album, titled Like A Prayer, coming out in February. (The Freelance Star)

mid-December: Madonna will work with Mary Lambert on the video to "Like A Prayer" - the first single for the album.

In MADONNA INTERVIEW : INTERVIEW MAGAZINE (MAY 1989), Madonna says of the video:

Becky Johnson: The first video off your new album uses the same song you chose to feature in the commercial, “Like a Prayer.†How would you compare the two treatments of the same song?

Madonna: The treatment for the video is a lot more controversial. It’s probably going to touch a lot of nerves in a lot of people. And the treatment for the commercial is, I mean, it’s a commercial. It’s very, very sweet. It’s very sentimental.

Becky Johnson: It’s the “lite†version. I saw the video. It’s pretty shocking. What struck me most about it is that it’s so unlike anything you’ve done before. It’s frightening. It’s dark. It’s violent. And it’s kind of bleak, despite the religious imagery.

Madonna: Well, originally, when I recorded the song, I would play it over and over again, trying to get a visual sense of what sort of story or fantasy it evoked in me. I kept imagining this story about a girl who was madly in love with a black man, set in the South, with this forbidden interracial love affair. And the guy she’s in love with sings in a choir. So she’s obsessed with him and goes to church all the time. And then it turned into a bigger story, which was about racism and bigotry. I wanted to put something in about Ku Klux Klan, use burning crosses… but then Mississippi Burning came out and I realized I was hitting the nail on the head a little too hard. Too obvious. So I thought I should take a slightly different approach. My original idea was much sadder. Kind of: this is reality, and reality sucks.

Then Mary Lambert got involved as the director, and she came up with a story that incorporated more of the religious symbolism I originally wrote into the song. The whole album has a lot of religious imagery in it. The video still has the sadness, but it’s got a hopeful ending. I mean, I had these ideas about me running away with the black guy and both of us getting shot in the back by the KKK. Completely insane. So Mary made it more palatable.

 

December 28: Madonna files assault charges against Sean at the sheriff's office in Malibu, CA: various newspapers and tabloids will report that Sean burst into their house and tied Madonna to a chair for 9 hours - both Madonna and Sean deny the stories.
December 31: Madonna and Sean are officially separated and will begin divorce proceedings. 

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1989
January: People Weekly reports Madonna has filed for divorce from Sean Penn and that she may provide a musical response with a track called “Till Death Do Us Part†on her upcoming album.

January 5: Madonna files for divorce citing "irreconcilable differences" in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Los Angeles, CA.

January 11-18: Madonna appears on Time Out: Madonna Interview

January 11-18 1989 issue.

January 18: Madonna purchases a $3 million estate in the Hollywood Hills, Hollywood, CA.

January 25: Madonna signs an unprecendented $5 million deal with Pepsi-Cola for a series of TV commercials and sponsorship of her next world tour. Joe Pytka directs the first commercial. Madonna later tells Rolling Stone (who interviews her today) that is currently overseeing editing of the “Like a Prayer†video – among other things.

In January 1989, while the music video was still being filmed, Pepsi-Cola announced that they had signed Madonna for US$5 million deal to feature the singer and "Like a Prayer" for the company's television commercial. The deal also included Pepsi sponsoring Madonna's next world tour. Madonna wanted to use the commercial to launch "Like a Prayer" globally before its actual release—the first time something like this was being done in the music industry. Pepsi also benefited from having their product associated with Madonna, thereby creating promotion. According to the company's advertising head Alan Pottasch, "the global media buy and unprecedented debut of this long awaited single will put Pepsi first and foremost in consumer's minds". Madonna had initially refused to dance and sing in the commercial, later accepted after being introduced to choreographer Vince Paterson.

February: Madonna appears in VOGUE (FEBRUARY, UNITED KINGDOM)

https://allaboutmadonna.com/images/madonna-magazines/1989-madonna-vogue-uk-february-cover.jpg

https://allaboutmadonna.com/images/madonna-magazines/1989-madonna-vogue-uk-february-01.jpg

https://allaboutmadonna.com/images/madonna-magazines/1989-madonna-vogue-uk-february-02.jpg

 

February 18: The blitz-tied to the March 21 release of her new album-officially begins with the splashy worldwide premiere of her already ballyhooed 2-minute Pepsi commercial. (A teaser for the spot will air during Wednesday's Grammy telecast on CBS)

Bob Merlis, Warner Bros. Records vice president and national publicity director, says:

"I want to emphasize that the record company is not the handmaiden of the corporate sponsor," Merlis said. "Our release plans have not been affected by their involvement. We're incredibly glad for the exposure this will afford, but the single was decided on before they were ever involved. That is not a means to get out the music."

Not to be overshadowed by all this, Merlis and manager Freddy DeMann hope, is the star and her music.

Added Merlis: "The irony is that the album is very human, shows her as a real person with foibles and emotions. She's not a god, and that comes across-believe it or not-in the Pepsi commercial."

Boasted DeMann: "It's the best album she's ever done, the first time she's really opened up to the world, taken her deepest thoughts and translated them for the world." (Los Angeles Times)

 

Pepsi Pre-Commercial [Teaser for Madonna's Pepsi Commercial] February 1989 https://vimeo.com/184197399

February 2: Pepsi aired the commercial during the global telecast of the 31st Grammy Awards in February 1989. A week later, the advertisement was premiered during NBC's sitcom The Cosby Show, which was one of the most popular shows of that time. Titled "Make a Wish", the two-minute commercial portrayed Madonna going back in time to her childhood memories. An estimated 250 million people around the world viewed the commercial, which was directed by Joe Pytka. Pepsi-Cola Company spokesman Todd MacKenzie said that the advertisement was planned to be aired simultaneously in Europe, Asia, Australia and North America. Bob Garfield from the Advertising Age observed that from "Turkey to El Salvador to anytown USA, around 500 million eyes [were] glued to the screen

February 2: Madonna begins filming Dick Tracy, starring and directed by Warren Beatty. (During the year 1989-90, Madonna and Beatty will be involved in a highly-publicized romantic affair).

February 26: Madonna participates in an AIDS Dance-A-Thon benefit at the Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles, CA.

https://youtu.be/6zC85ZYge7k

 

February: Madonna appears in SMASH HITS (FEBRUARY 22 - MARCH 07, UNITED KINGDOM)

https://allaboutmadonna.com/madonna-magazine-scans/scans-1989

 

March 2: The “Make A Wish†Pepsi commercial premieres on The Cosby Show tonight to a worldwide audience of 250 million. It is the first time an artist uses a new song (“Like A Prayerâ€) in a promotional campaign before its official release.

Madonna's Commercial for Pepsi March 02 1989

https://vimeo.com/184197398

March 3: The video for “Like A Prayer†debuts worldwide on MTV. Mass controversy ensues almost immediately.

The music video for "Like a Prayer" was directed by Mary Lambert and was shot at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood, California and at San Pedro Hills in San Pedro California. The release of "Like a Prayer" on March 3, 1989, received widespread acclaim from critics, journalists and academics.

March 4:  In Italy, the Roman Catholic group Famiglia Domani protest against the TV broadcast of "Like A Prayer" video and threatens legal court action for blasphemy because of its controversial religious symbolisms.

March 7: "Like A Prayer" single is released.

Madonna wrote "Like a Prayer" in about three hours. Writing and producing it with Leonard, it became the first song developed for the album. The singer has described "Like a Prayer" as the song of a passionate young girl "so in love with God that it is almost as though He were the male figure in her life."

Pat Leonard on Like a Prayer song:

http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/pop-shop/5944767/madonna-producer-patrick-leonard-talks-like-a-prayer-at-25

You've said before that "Like a Prayer" was the first song that was written for the album. When you guys finished that song, or at least had it at some sort of stage where it seemed like it was finished, did know that you had something special?
I think there was a point when we realized that it was the title track, and the lead track, and it was going to a powerhouse. It became obvious that there was something unique about it. And that somehow we made this thing work: with its stopping and starting, and a minimalistic rhythmic thing, and the verses, and these bombastic choruses, and this giant choir comes in. This is ambitious, you know?!

Madonna's further inspiration for the track came from the Catholic belief of transubstantiation. She introduced liturgical words in the track, but changed the context so that the lyrics had dual meaning. With superficial pop lyrics about sexuality and religion on the surface, the song had different meaning underneath to provoke reaction from her listeners. Leonard explained that he was not comfortable with the lyrics and the sexual innuendos present in it. He gave the example of the first verse for "Like a Prayer" which goes "When you call my name, It's like a little prayer, I'm down on my knees, I wanna take you there." Leonard understood that the dual meaning referred to someone performing fellatio. Being aghast he requested that Madonna change the line, but she was adamant about keeping it.

Madonna wanted to have gospel music as part of the song, with virtually no instrumentation, only the sound of an organ and her singing. So she started experimenting using just her vocals, giving away to the bridge being composed. After the full song was finalized, Madonna and Leonard decided to record it alongside a choir around September 1988. Both of them met with musician Andraé Crouch and vocalist Roberto Noriega, and signed their choir to provide background vocals. Crouch scrutinized the lyrics as he wanted to "find out what the intention of the song might be. We're very particular in choosing what we work with, and we liked what we heard." At Jonny Yuma recording studio, he got his choir together and explained to them what they needed to do during the recording session. He had listened to the demo of "Like a Prayer" in his car, and directed the choir accordingly. The choir was recorded separately, and Leonard wanted it to be added during post-production.

Madonna had her own opinion of how the different musical instruments should be played to achieve the sound that she envisioned. Pratt recalled that after the middle chorus was recorded, she notified the musicians of some changes in the production. "Jonathan, do less of the high-hat in the middle eight, and more of a fill towards the end. Guy, I want duck eggs [semibreves] on the end, and Chester, bring in your guitar on the second verse," she instructed. The team checked the instructions once more, and did a final recording with vocals and one with the strings.

 

March 18: Carole Robinson, director of program publicity for MTV and VH-1 says the “Like A Prayer†video is one of the station’s most requested videos. (Billboard)

 

March 19: Madonna appears in New York Times: Madonna Interview

March 19 1989

March 19: In Australia, "Like a Prayer" debuted on the ARIA Singles Chart at number three on March 19, 1989. The next week it reached the top of the chart, and stayed there for another four weeks. It was present for a total of 22 weeks on the chart, and was certified platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) for shipment of 70,000 copies of the single. "Like a Prayer" was also the top-selling single in Australia in 1989. In New Zealand, the song had a similar run as in Australia, by debuting at number three on the RIANZ Singles Chart, and reaching number one the next week. It was present for a total of 13 weeks on the chart.

After the Glee episode "The Power of Madonna" was broadcast, "Like a Prayer" again entered the chart at number 47, on May 15, 2010.[56] The song went on to sell over five million copies worldwide and is one of the best-selling singles worldwide.
 

March 19: Madonna explains the meaning of "Like a Prayer"- the song and video- to the New York Times. (has she ever explained in such detail, the plot of a video?)

http://www.nytimes.com/1989/03/19/arts/madonna-re-creates-herself-again.html?scp=4&sq=madonna,&pagewanted=1

Here is that extra bit from the 3/19/89 NY Times:

The song: " 'Like a Prayer' is the song of a passionate young girl so in love with God that it is almost as though He were the male figure in her life. From around 6 to 12 years old, I had the same feelings. I really wanted to be a nun."

The video: "A girl on the street witnesses an assault on a young woman. Afraid to get involved because she might get hurt, she is frozen in fear. A black man walking down the street also sees the incident and decides to help the woman. But just then, the police arrive and arrest him. As they take him away, she looks up and sees one of the gang members who assaulted the girl. He gives her a look that says she'll be dead if she tells.

"The girl runs, not knowing where to go until she sees a church. She goes in and seed a saint in a cage who looks very much like the black man on the street, and says a prayer to help her make the right decision. He seems to be crying, but she is not sure.

"She lies down on a pew and falls into a dream in which she begins to tumble in space with no one to break her fall. Suddenly she is caught by a woman who represents earth and emotional strength and who tosses her back up and tells her to do the right thing. Still dreaming, she returns to the saint and her religious and erotic feelings begin to stir. The saint becomes a man. She picks up a knife and cuts her hands. That's the guilt in Catholicism that if you do something that feels good you will be punished.

"As the choir sings, she reaches an orgasmic crescendo of sexual fulfillment intertwined with her love of God. She knows that nothing's going to happen to her if she does what she believes is right. She wakes up, goes to the jail, tells the police the man is innocent, and he is freed. Then everybody takes a bow as if to say we all paly a part in this little scenario."

 

March 21: The Like a Prayer LP / album is released [with an incense patchouli smell]

The Like a Prayer was recorded between September 1988 and January 1989

The album was commercially successful in Asia-Pacific countries. In Japan, Like a Prayer reached number one on the Oricon Albums Chart and remained on the chart for 22 weeks. At the 1990 Japan Gold Disc Awards held by the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ), Madonna won three awards for Best Album of the Year – Pops Solo, Grand Prix Album of the Year, and Grand Prix Artist of the Year; the last two were given for the best-selling international album and the best-selling international artist of the year, respectively. It also became her sixth platinum album in Hong Kong, the most for any international artist of the decade.

 

March 23: Madonna appears in the Rolling Stone: Madonna Interview

March 23 1989 issue.


March 25: Across Europe, the LAP single reached number one in Belgium, Ireland, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. It was Madonna's fifth number one song on the European Hot 100 Singles chart, reaching the top on March 25, 1989, and staying at number one for 12 weeks.

The track became Madonna's seventh number one single in Japan, and occupied the top position of the Oricon Singles chart for three weeks.

 

March 30: The Reverend Donald Wildmon of the American Family Association (AFA) threatens a 1-year boycott of all Pepsi-Cola products due to "Like A Prayer" video controversy only if the company doesn't cancel its sponsorship of Madonna.

 

April: Madonna appears in the following issues:

·         Spin: “Wishing on a Star†April 1989

·         SPIN (APRIL, UNITED STATES)

·         SMASH HITS (APRIL 05-18, UNITED KINGDOM)

·         SMASH HITS (APRIL 19 - MAY 02, UNITED KINGDOM)

Madonna appears in Smash Hits: Leonard, Bray on Madonna, Like A Prayer 1989

April 1: In the United Kingdom, Like a Prayer debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart, on April 1, 1989. It remained on this position for two weeks and a total of 72 weeks on the chart. The album was certified four times platinum on February 1, 1995 for shipments of 1,200,000 copies.

In the United Kingdom, the LAP song entered the UK Singles Chart at number two, before moving to the top the next week, remaining there for three weeks. Madonna became the artist with the most number-one singles of the 1980s in the UK, with a total of six chart-toppers. "Like a Prayer" became the tenth best-selling song of 1989 in the UK, with the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) certifying it gold, for shipment of 400,000 copies of the single. According to the Official Charts Company, it has sold 613,300 copies there as of August 2016

April 2: In Australia, Like a Prayer debuted and peaked at number four on April 2, 1989. It was certified quadruple platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) for shipments of 280,000 copies. In New Zealand, the album peaked at number two and was certified double platinum by the Recorded Music NZ. Like a Prayer has sold over 15 million copies worldwide.

April 4: Pepsi-Cola announces it has banned all US broadcasts of Madonna's commercial, cancelled her 1-year contract and sponsorship of a world tour due to numerous complaints and boycott threats from religious groups against her video.

April 4: In the Netherlands, Like a Prayer entered the MegaCharts at number four during the week of April 4, 1990. It eventually reached the top position, staying a total of thirty-two weeks on the chart. In Germany, Like a Prayer topped the Media Control albums chart for one month, and was later certified there times gold by the Bundesverband Musikindustrie (BVMI) for having shipped over 750,000 copies.

April 5: Pepsi-Cola Canada announces it will continue to broadcast Madonna's commercial in spite of "Like a Prayer" video controversy.

April 8: In the United States, Like a Prayer debuted at number 11 on the Billboard 200, on the issue dated April 8, 1989. It quickly rose to the top of the chart after its third week, where it remained for six consecutive weeks, making it Madonna's longest-running number 1 album. The album spent a total of 77 weeks on the chart. The album also reached a peak of number 55 on Billboard's R&B Albums list. It was eventually certified multi platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipments of three million units. After the advent of the Nielsen SoundScan era in 1991, the album sold a further 575,000 copies. Like a Prayer has sold over 4 million copies in the United States.

April 9: In France, the album debuted at number one on the French Albums Chart on April 9, 1989, staying there for two weeks, then descending down the chart, having spent a total of thirty-six weeks on it

April 22: Like A Prayer album hits US #1 for 6 weeks and "Like A Prayer" single hits US #1 for 3 weeks.

In the United States, "Like a Prayer" single debuted at number 38 on the Billboard Hot 100, and reached the top of the chart on the issue dated April 22, 1989

The track topped the Dance Club Songs chart, while reaching number three on the Adult Contemporary chart and number 20 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop songs chart. "Like a Prayer" was ranked at number 25 on the 1989 Hot 100 year-end chart, and was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in May 1989, for shipment of a million copies of the single. According to Nielsen SoundScan, it has also sold 1.1 million digital downloads as of December 2016.

May 1: In Canada, the LAP song reached the top of the RPM Singles Chart in its ninth week. It was present on the chart for 16 weeks and was the top-selling Canadian single for 1989.

May 1: In Canada, the album debuted at number two on the RPM Albums Chart on May 1, 1989. It remained on that position during four weeks, before dropping to the third position the week of May 29, 1989. The album was present for a total of 37 weeks on the chart, and was certified five times platinum by the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) for shipments of 500,000 copies.

May 9: "Express Yourself" was released as the second single from the album on May 9, 1989 by Sire Records. The song was included on the greatest hits compilation albums The Immaculate Collection (1990), and Celebration (2009). Express Yoruself was recorded in 1988; Johnny Yuma Studios (Burbank, California, U.S.)

"Express Yourself" was the first song that Madonna and producer Stephen Bray collaborated on for Like a Prayer. Written and produced by them, the song was a tribute to American funk and soul band Sly and the Family Stone. The main inspiration behind the song is female empowerment, urging women never to go for second-best and to always express their inner feelings.

The main inspiration behind the song is female empowerment, urging women never to "go for second-best" and to put their love "to the test". Madonna explained to Becky Johnston in the May 1989 issue of Interview:

https://allaboutmadonna.com/madonna-library/madonna-interview-interview-magazine-may-1989

"The ultimate thing behind the song is that if you don't express yourself, if you don't say what you want, then you're not going to get it. And in effect you are chained down by your inability to say what you feel or go after what you want. No matter how in control you think are about sexuality in a relationship there is always the power struggle... always a certain amount of compromise. Of being beholden, if you love them. You do it because you choose to. No one put the chain around this neck but me. I wrote 'Express Yourself' to tell women around the world that pick and choose the best for yourself, before that chain around your neck, kills you instead. It's my take on how man can express what they want, the same prerogative should be there for a woman too."

In Canada, the song debuted at number 82 on the RPM Singles Chart and reached the top in its ninth week. It was present on the chart for 17 weeks and was the eighth best-selling Canadian single for 1989.

 

May 10: "Express Yourself" video (filmed on a $5 million budget - the highest in music video history) premieres on MTV.

The Express Yourself music video was directed by David Fincher and filmed in April 1989, at Culver Studios in Culver City, California. It was produced by Gregg Fienberg, under Propaganda Films, with editing by Scott Chestnut, principal photography by Mark Plummer, and Vance Lorenzini as the production designer. "Express Yourself" music video was inspired by the Fritz Lang classic film Metropolis (1927), and featured an epigraph at the end of the video from the film: "Without the Heart, there can be no understanding between the hand and the mind". The video marked the first appearance of the Shep Pettibone remix of the song. It had a total budget of $5 million ($9.66 million in 2016 dollars), which made it the most expensive music video in history at the time it was made, and currently the third most expensive of all time.

The video portrayed a city full of tall skyscrapers and railway lines. Madonna played the part of a glamorous lady and chained masochist, with muscular men acting as her workers. In the end, she picks one of them—played by model Cameron Alborzian—as her date. Critics noted the video's exploitation of female sexuality and that Madonna's masculine image in the video was gender-bending.

 

 

May 16: "Like A Prayer" single is certified 1x platinum (1 million units).

May 17: "Express Yourself" had its world-premiere on May 17, 1989, on MTV and was an MTV exclusive for three weeks, being aired every hour on the music channel.

The concept of the video was to portray Madonna as a glamorous lady and chained masochist, with muscular men acting as her workers. In the end, she picks one of them—played by model Cameron Alborzian—as her date. When Fincher explained this concept to Madonna, she was intrigued and decided to portray a masculine persona. She was dating actor Warren Beatty at that time, and asked him to play the part of a slave working at a factory; Beatty politely refused, saying later that "Madonna wanted the video as a show case of her sexual prowess, I never wanted to be a part of it." She then thought about Metropolis and of its scenes displaying factory workers and a city with tall skyscrapers. Fincher liked the concept and it became the main backdrop for the video.

In Madonna 'Talking': Madonna in Her Own Words, she commented about the development of the video.

This one I had the most amount of input. I oversaw everything—the building of the sets, everyone's costumes, I had meetings with make-up and hair and the cinematographer, everybody. Casting, finding the right cat—just every aspect. Kind of like making a little movie. We basically sat down and just threw out all every idea we could possibly conceive of and of all the things we wanted. All the imagery we wanted—and I had a few set ideas, for instance the cat and the idea of Metropolis. I definitely wanted to have that influence, that look on all the men—the workers, diligently, methodically working away.

Madonna mentioned jokingly in a 1990 BBC Television interview on the program Omnibus, that the main theme of the video and the cat metaphor represented that "Pussy rules the world". She added that the idea of the cat licking the milk and then pour it over, was the director's. "It's great but believe me I fought him on that. I didn't want to do it. I thought it's just so over the top and silly and kind of cliched, an art student or a film student's kind of trick. I'm glad that I gave in to him."

May 23: Like A Prayer is certified 2x platinum (2 million units).
 

May 24: Madonna participates in "Don't Bungle The Jungle" benefit concert to save the world's rain forests at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, NY: she performs a rendition of Sonny & Cher's "I Got You Babe" with comic Sandra Bernhard.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=7&v=7-ogcIZH4Qc
 

May 31: Madonna wins Best Female Vocalist at the 1st annual International Rock Awards at Lexington Avenue Armory, Manhattan, NY.

 

May:  Madonna appears in:

Vogue: Madonna Interview May 1989

Interview: Madonna Interview May 1989

 

May: Express Yourself Teaser Commercial for MTV's Premiere of Madonna's "Express Yourself" Video May 1989 https://vimeo.com/187810783

May:  Madonna on Super Channel Madonna interviewed by Molly Meldrum for Super Channel rec: May 1989 https://vimeo.com/89168775#at=1

May:  Madonna on Good Morning Britain Madonna interviewed by Molly Meldrum for Channel 4's "Good Morning Britain" rec: May 1989

May:  "Express Yourself" was released in the United Kingdom on June 3, 1989, and entered the UK Singles Chart at number ten, moving to its peak of number five the next week. "Express Yourself" was the 20th best-selling song of 1989 in the UK, with the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) certifying it silver, for shipment of 200,000 copies of the single. According to the Official Charts Company, the song has sold 209,000 copies there.

 

June 3:  In the United States, "Express Yourself" was the highest debuting single at number 41 on the Billboard Hot 100, for the issue dated June 3, 1989, and after four weeks reached the top-ten of the chart, at number six. It eventually peaked at number two, held at the runner-up spot for two weeks by the Simply Red song, "If You Don't Know Me by Now" and the next week by Martika's "Toy Soldiers". "Express Yourself" was present for a total of 16 weeks on the Hot 100, and placed at number 55 on the year-end chart. The song reached the top of the Dance Club Songs chart of Billboard, while on the Hot Adult Contemporary chart, it peaked outside the top-ten, at number 12.

 

June 4:  In Australia, "Express Yourself" debuted on the ARIA Singles Chart at number 36 on June 4, 1989. After five weeks, the song reached a peak of number five on the chart, staying there for one week, before descending the chart. It was present for a total of 19 weeks on the chart, and was certified Gold by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) for shipment of 35,000 copies of the single. At the year-end charts of ARIA, "Express Yourself" was the 28th best-selling Australian single of 1989. In New Zealand, the song debuted at number five on the RIANZ Singles Chart, and reaching a peak of number two after three weeks. It was present for a total of 12 weeks on the chart.

June 11:  On the Swiss Singles Chart, "Express Yourself" was one of the highest debuting song on the issued dated June 11, 1989. After seven weeks, the song reached the top of the chart for one week, becoming Madonna's third number-one single there.

 

June:  Madonna appears in:

·         SMASH HITS (JUNE 14-27, UNITED KINGDOM)

·         SMASH HITS (JUNE 28 - JULY 11, UNITED KINGDOM)

 

June 21: Madonna's appeal has a look and a sound. Now, it also smells. A patchouli aroma envelops the new Madonna mystique. The east Indian oil was used to scent the packaging for her "Like a Prayer" album, which has sold 5.8 million copies since its March release.

"It was Madonna's idea," said a publicist for Warner Brothers, her record label. "She wanted to create a flavor of the '60s and the church. (The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution)

 

July: In July, 1989, LAP was certified Platinum by the Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique (SNEP) for shipments of 300,000 copies, and once again on 2001, for shipments of 600,000 copies in France.

July 1: "Express Yourself" was Madonna's sixth number one single on the Eurochart Hot 100 Singles chart, reaching the top on July 1, 1989, and staying at number one for three weeks. In Belgium, "Express Yourself" debuted at number 16 on the Ultratop chart on June 10, 1989, and reached a peak of number three.

July 1: In the Netherlands, "Express Yourself" debuted at number 27 on the Dutch Top 40, and reached a peak of five on July 1, 1989. The song reached a peak of number three in Germany, where it remained for two weeks, before spending a total of 18 weeks on the chart.

July 15: "Express Yourself" hits US #2.

"Express Yourself" was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in August 1989, for shipment of 500,000 copies of the single across United States.

July 22: The Cherish" black-and-white music video was directed by Herb Ritts and was filmed on July 22, 1989 at Paradise Cove Beach in Malibu, California.

Ritts was one of Madonna's preferred photographers at that time and so she asked him to direct the "Cherish" video. Ritts reportedly tried to talk her out of it by saying, "But I'm a still photographer. I don't know anything about film." Undaunted, Madonna replied simply, "Well you have a few weeks to learn." The video was conceptualized by Ritts, who wanted to portray mermen in their natural habitat, but Madonna baulked at the idea since she wanted to be portrayed as herself, but keep the mermen also.

 

August 1: "Cherish was released by Sire Records as the album's third single on August 1, 1989. "Cherish" was built around the themes of love and relationship, with William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet being one of the major inspirations. Musically constructed as a doo-wop-style pop song, it is regarded as a light-hearted track by critics

The song is built around the themes of love and relationships, with William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet one of its major inspirations. Madonna was reading Romeo and Juliet during the breaks during rehearsals for Speed the Plow, a Broadway show in which she was starring in 1988. On the third day of the Like a Prayer recording sessions, she presented Leonard with the lyrics of "Cherish", and explained that she had written the song "one sunny afternoon by the beach", but later confessed that it was actually written in her make-up room. "I wrote it in a superhyper-positive state of mind that I knew was not going to last", the singer recalled. Leonard introduced one line from the similar titled song by the 1960s band The Association, "Cherish is the word I use", after which Madonna decided to include it on Like a Prayer. The B-side of the single release of "Cherish" was a previously unreleased track called "Supernatural", composed during the recording sessions of her third studio album, True Blue (1986). In 2009, during an interview with Rolling Stone, Madonna confessed that she had never been able to predict if her songs would be successful, irrespective of her personal opinion of them. As an example, she cited "Cherish" as one of the most "retarded" songs she had written, but noted it became a commercial success.

In the United States, "Cherish" debuted at number 37 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. The next week it moved to number 28 on the chart, becoming the week's "greatest gainer" song. After three weeks, as "Cherish" entered the top-five of Billboard Hot 100, music industry prognosticators theorized that the song would become Madonna's eighth number-one song on the Hot 100. However, the song started facing competition from fellow singer Janet Jackson's single "Miss You Much", which also moved into the top-ten the same week. The popular media pitted the two women against each other and tried to create rivalry between them.

 
August 11: "Express Yourself" single is certified gold (500,000 units).
August 14:
In Canada, "Cherish" debuted at number 80 on the 
RPM Singles Chart on August 14, 1989. In its ninth week on the chart, the song reached number one, staying there for two weeks. The song was present on the chart for 17 weeks and was the ninth best-selling Canadian single for 1989.

August 16: Madonna celebrates her 31st birthday with Warren Beatty and other friends at the club Rubber, Los Angeles, CA.

August 21: "Cherish" video premieres on MTV.

August 28: Cherish world premiere took place on MTV on August 28, 1989
August 29:
"Cherish" single is released.

September 1: Madonna is named Top Female Artist of The 80s and the Artist With The Most Consecutive Top 10 Hits In The 80s with a total of 16 on the American Top 40 Book of Records countdown of the 1980s.

September 1: On September 1, 1989, "Cherish" was released in the United Kingdom and entered the UK Singles Chart at number 16. The next week, the song moved to its peak position of number three, becoming Madonna's 21st top ten single in the United Kingdom. According to the Official Charts Company, the song has sold 200,000 copies there.

September 6: Madonna performs "Express Yourself" and presents the Video Vanguard Award to George Michael at the 6th annual MTV Video Music Awards at the Universal Amphitheatre, Los Angeles, CA; "Express Yourself" wins Best Direction, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography and "Like A Prayer" wins the Viewer's Choice Award.

September 17: "Cherish" entered the Australian Singles Chart at number 17 on September 17, 1989, and reached a peak of number four, staying on the chart for 16 weeks. In the Netherlands, "Cherish" debuted at number 24 on the Dutch Top 40 chart, and reached a peak of number 15, the next week.

September 19: Madonna and Sean's divorce is finalized.
September 21:
Madonna is featured in People magazine's list of the "20 Who Defined The Decade".

 

October 7: "Cherish" hits US #2 - Madonna overtakes The Beatles on the list of all-time consecutive top 5 singles in US (16 singles) and is also tied with Michael Jackson for the artist with the most consecutive top 10 singles in the 1980s (17 singles).

The song eventually peaked at number two on October 7, 1989, the same week "Miss You Much" topped the Hot 100. "Cherish" became Madonna's sixteenth consecutive top-five single, a record in Hot 100 chart history. It was present on the Hot 100 for a total of 15 weeks. Unlike previous Madonna singles, "Cherish" was not a dance hit and did not make an appearance on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart, but was able to top the Hot Adult Contemporary chart, her third after "Live to Tell" and "La Isla Bonita". "Cherish" also helped Madonna to win the "Top Adult Contemporary Artist" trophy at the 1989 Billboard Music Awards. On the year-end charts of Billboard, "Cherish" ranked at number 59 on the Hot 100 and number 31 on the Adult Contemporary chart.
 

October 14: Madonna is named one of The Greatest Artists Of The Decade on NBC-TV's Friday Night Videos.

October 24: Madonna is chairperson for the AIDS benefit premiere of film It Had To Be You (starring Joe Bologna & Renee Taylor) at the Samuel Goldwyn Theatre, Beverly Hills, CA.

October 24: "Oh Father" released as the fourth single from the album on October 24, 1989 by Sire Records. 

The song was not released as a single in most European territories until December 24, 1995, when it appeared on the 1995 ballads compilation Something to Remember. Written and produced by Madonna and Patrick Leonard, the nexus of "Oh Father" was the presence of male authoritative figures in Madonna's life, most prominently her father, Tony Ciccone. Madonna's relationship with her father had soured, after her mother's death in 1963 and his remarriage two years later. While developing the Like a Prayer album, Madonna was in an emotional state of mind due to her personal problems, which is reflected in "Oh Father".

Musically, "Oh Father" is a baroque pop ballad. Leonard put together different types of chord progression and created the basic outline of a melody, which Madonna shaped and then wrote lyrics to fit the melody. 

When Madonna went to record "Oh Father", her troubled role in Speed-the-Plow was on her mind, with the result being that she vented her emotions in the recording of the song. Bill Meyers, who did the string arrangement for most of the songs on Like a Prayer, including "Oh Father", recalled that Madonna worked on the song with Leonard in "this really dingy, awful little studio in the Garment District in New York. It was grotesquely dirty and cramped, and that's what came out of it."

According to him, Madonna was moved while singing the song, since the theme suggested incest and the controversial topic of closet beatings. However, her insecurities about her childhood showed up in anxieties during her vocal performance. Meyers said that if Madonna bended a note or sang flat in a certain spot, she would go on doing that consistently as she did not like to vary her voice or change the tone. Madonna recalled that Leonard thought of the melody for the song. After the mixing was over, Meyers complimented Madonna by saying that it was her "strongest" vocal performance. In a 2014 interview with Billboard celebrating the 25th anniversary of Like a Prayer, Leonard explained the recording process of the song:

http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/pop-shop/5944767/madonna-producer-patrick-leonard-talks-like-a-prayer-at-25

"My favorite thing that we ever recorded, ever—or wrote—is 'Oh Father'... because we knew when we did it, that there was something about this that was in a way kind of the most *real* thing. [For] that song, the 'record' button was only pressed three times. That's it. So it's real. It's something that I really wanted to do and she was kind enough to say 'let's try this,' and it was not easy."

October: The Oh Father music video was filmed during the last week of October 1989 at Culver Studios in Culver City, California, and was directed by David Fincher, who worked with Madonna in her video for "Express Yourself". Described by Carol Clerk, author of Madonnastyle, as "harrowingly autobiographical", the video was shot entirely in black-and-white and recreates the death scene of a young woman, exploring the tempestuous relationship that ensues between the husband and the daughter she has left behind.

November 2: Madonna is honored as Artist Of The Decade by Musician magazine.
November 3:
Bloodhounds Of Broadway is released in New York, NY.

November 11: In the United States, "Oh Father" debuted at number 55 on the Billboard Hot 100, during the week of November 11, 1989. The song became Madonna's first single since "Holiday" in 1984 not to enter the top ten in the United States, peaking at number 20 on the week of December 30, 1989. This ended her streak of 16 consecutive top five singles and 17 consecutive top ten singles. It was present on the Hot 100 for a total of 13 weeks.

In Canada, "Oh Father" debuted at number 84 on the RPM Singles Chart on November 11, 1989. After nine weeks, the song reached a peak of number 14 on the chart, and was present for a total of 15 weeks. The single was Madonna's lowest charting single in Australia at the time, where it peaked at number 59, breaking a run of 20 consecutive top 40 singles.

"Oh Father" was not released as a single in most European territories until December 24, 1995, when it appeared on Madonna's 1995 compilation album Something to Remember. The 1995 single was released with different track listing and artwork which included a photography still from the 1989 music video. The song debuted and peaked at number 16 on the UK Singles Chart on January 6, 1996. It became the third single of her career to miss the top-ten position in the United Kingdom, after "Lucky Star" (1984) and "Take a Bow" (1994). According to The Official Charts Company, "Oh Father" has sold 58,730 copies in the UK as of August 2008. The song also appeared on the Irish Singles Chart for one week at number 25 on January 4, 1996. The song was more commercially successful in Finland and Italy, where it reached number six on both national charts. On the European Hot 100 Singles, the song debuted at number 73 on January 13, 1996. The next week, it reached its peak position at number 62 and became her lowest-charting single on the chart up to that point.

November 16: Madonna is #50 in Rolling Stone magazine's list of "The 100 Greatest Albums Of The 1980s".

December: Madonna is voted Artist Of The Decade by her fans on MTV's Rate The 80s special.

December 10: "Dear Jessie" was released as the fifth single from the album on December 10, 1989 by Sire Records.

Written and produced by Madonna and Patrick Leonard, the song was inspired by Leonard's daughter Jessie. The release of "Dear Jessie" was limited to the United Kingdom, certain other European countries, Australia and Japan. The track is composed more like a children's lullaby rather than a pop song.

One day, while recording of the title track was going on at Jonny Yuma Studios, producer Patrick Leonard had to pick up his daughter Jessie from school and, since his wife was out of town, had to bring her back to the studio. Madonna, who was initially angry with Leonard for his late arrival, struck up a rapport with Jessie. She commented: "It was like as if I was my mother and [she] was me. We were playing in our backyard again." Witnessing their connection, Leonard approached Madonna with a song he had written for his daughter, titled "Dear Jessie". Madonna changed some of the lyrics and agreed to record the track for Like a Prayer; it was finished within the next three days.

"Dear Jessie" was released as the fourth single from Like a Prayer in Europe, while it served as the fifth single from the album in Australia and Japan; it was never released in the United States. The single cover used a photo from 1987, taken by Herb Ritts. It showed Madonna in bed, clutching a bed sheet to her bosom and sporting a pair of Minnie Mouse ears. The photo was a reference to the early criticism of Madonna's work, when reviewers had described her voice as "Minnie Mouse on helium".

The music video was produced by Animation City, an animation company in London, England, and was directed by Derek Hayes. The video is mainly animated and does not feature Madonna, except as the cartoon fairy Tinker Bell. Along with Hayes, there were six animators who worked on creating the fantasy imagery. It was included on the 1990 promotional-only video compilation She's Breathless.

December 10: In the United Kingdom, "Dear Jessie" debuted at number nine on the UK Singles Chart, for the issue dated December 16, 1989.

After two weeks, it reached a peak position of number five on the chart, staying there for another two weeks. It was present on the UK Singles Chart for a total of nine weeks, and was certified silver by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) for shipment of 200,000 copies of the single. According to Official Charts Company, the song has sold 255,000 copies in the UK as of August 2008. In Australia, the song reached number 51 on the ARIA Singles Chart, remaining there for two consecutive weeks. On the international chart for Japan, "Dear Jessie" reached the top 40, but could not move up above number 25. In Germany, the song reached a peak of number 19 on the chart, but it remained within the German Top 100 for a total of 19 weeks. In Ireland, the song reached a peak of number three, remaining on the chart for a total of six weeks The song failed to reach the top 20 in Austria, and was present on the chart for two weeks It also failed to reach the top ten in Spain and Switzerland, reaching a peak of number 17 and number 16, respectively. "Dear Jessie" entered the Dutch Top 40 at number 37, ultimately reaching a peak of number 25. On the Pan-Eurochart Hot 100 Singles, compiled by Music & Media, "Dear Jessie" peaked at number nine.

December 23: "Dear Jessie" hits UK #5. Madonna wins a Billboard Music Award for Top Adult Contemporary Artist.
December 24:
Madonna is #4 on the list of "Top 20 Pop Artists Of The 80s" voted by readers of The Los Angeles Times newspaper.
December 25:
Madonna is named one of the "25 Most Intriguing People In The World For 1989" by People magazine.

 

1989: Madonna appears in

Songtalk: Madonna Interview Summer 1989

 MAX (SEPTEMBER, BRAZIL)

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1990

January: Warner Bros Records releases a full-page advertisement in magazines which proclaims Madonna as "Artist Of The Decade".

January 6: "Oh Father" hits US #20 and completes her run of 16 consecutive Top 5 singles in US.

January 9,10,11: Madonna holds open auditions for male dancers for her new world tour at Landmark Studios, Hollywood, CA.
January 23: Like A Prayer is certified 3x platinum (3 million units).

January 30: "Keep It Together" was released on January 30, 1990 by Sire Records as the sixth and final single from the album in the United States, Canada and Japan.

Written and produced by Madonna and Stephen Bray, the main inspiration behind "Keep It Together" was Madonna's relationship with her family—whom she dearly missed after her divorce from actor Sean Penn. The song was dedicated to American funk and soul band Sly and the Family Stone. The lyrics deal with the realization of how important Madonna's family has been to her life. In Australia, it was released as the B-side of "Vogue", while it was not released in the United Kingdom at all, where "Dear Jessie" served as the album's final single.

 She said, "Because in Catholicism you are a born sinner and you are a sinner all your life. ... I could not escape my past, nor could I relax". Saddened by what was happening with her, Madonna missed her family, her father and her siblings. She confessed to Becky Johnston for Interview magazine:

https://allaboutmadonna.com/madonna-library/madonna-interview-interview-magazine-may-1989

I didn't feel close to anybody in my family when I was growing up. [...] I didn't feel close to my older brothers, they were just typical older brothers who tortured me all the time. And I didn't feel close to my sisters. There was a lot of competition in our family, [...] so, I worked really hard in school. I was a straight-A student, and they all hated me for it because I did it more for the position I was going to have in my father's eyes that for whatever I was going to learn by studying. Then when I got a little older—when I was in high school and started dancing really seriously—I'd say I got closer to my brothers. My oldest brother opened my eyes to lots of things [...].

February 3: In the United States, "Keep It Together" debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 56, on the issue dated February 3, 1990. The next week, "Keep It Together" jumped to number 41, becoming one of the greatest gaining songs.

February 10: In Canada, "Keep It Together" debuted at number 85 on the RPM Singles Chart on February 10, 1990, and after eight weeks, it peaked at number eight. "Keep It Together" was present on the chart for 15 weeks and placed at number 86 on the RPM Year-end chart for 1990.

In Australia, "Keep It Together" charted on the ARIA Singles Chart along with "Vogue". It debuted on the chart at number 19 and reached the top the next week, remaining there for five consecutive weeks. The song was present for a total of 35 weeks on the chart and reached number three on the Australian Year-end chart for 1990. It was certified double-platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) for shipment of 140,000 copies of the single. After its release in Japan, "Keep It Together" appeared for two weeks on the Oricon Singles Chart, and reached number five. The single was not released in the United Kingdom, where "Dear Jessie" was the final single from Like a Prayer instead.

February 14: Bloodhounds Of Broadway is released on home video.
March: Madonna breaks box-office records as 1,500 concert tickets are sold to fans across America in only 68 seconds.
March 1: "Vogue" video premieres on MTV.
March 8: Madonna wins Worst Female Singer and Worst Video ("Like A Prayer") in Rolling Stone magazine's 14th annual Readers Poll.
March 12: Like A Prayer is named The Grand Prix Album Of The Year at the 4th annual Japan Gold Disc Awards in Tokyo.
March 30: "Vogue" single is released.
March 31: "Keep It Together" hits US #8.

It peaked at number eight on the Hot 100, on the issue dated March 31, 1990. During the next few weeks, the song fell quickly from its peak as Madonna's next single, "Vogue", began to get massive radio airplay.

April 11: "Keep It Together" single is certified gold (500,000 units).
April 13,14,15: "Blond Ambition World Tour 1990" opens with 3 sold-out concerts at the Marine Stadium, Makuhari, Japan.

 

April 28: "Keep It Together" makes its final appearance on the Hot 100 was at number 83 on the issue dated April 28, 1990. "Keep It Together" topped the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart, and peaked at number 66 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. Three months since its release, it was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipment of 500,000 copies of the single.

May 1:  Madonna guests on Fox-TV's The Arsenio Hall Show.
May 26:  Madonna is honored with Pop Artist Of The Decade, Dance Artist Of The Decade and Dance Single Of The Decade ("Into The Groove") in Billboard magazine's "Music Of The 80s" Poll.

 

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Videos:

·         Express Yourself - MTV Video Music Awards https://youtu.be/pehMBaHgpWE

·         USA TV report on Pepsi / Like a Prayer controversy 1989 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQPfSw_hBhw

 

Music Videos

 

·         Like A Prayer Music Video / Directed by Mary Lambert / Cast: Madonna and Leon Robinson https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=rDnUIXF2ly8

·         Like A Prayer 12″ Dance Mix Edit Video / Directed by Mary Lambert / Cast: Madonna and Leon Robinson https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqW3OwfEbPM

·         Express Yourself Music Video / Directed by David Fincher / Cast: Madonna, Cameron Alborzian, Todd Gordon and Gustav Vintas https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsVcUzP_O_8

·         Express Yourself Music Video Extended / Directed by David Fincher / Cast: Madonna, Cameron Alborzian, Todd Gordon and Gustav Vintas https://www.dailymotion.com/video/xkxt1_23-madonna-express-yourself-ext_music

·         Cherish Music Video / Directed by Herb Ritts / Cast: Madonna and Tony Ward https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=250&v=HSyB7I6Lzm4

·         Oh Father Music Video / Directed by David Fincher / Cast: Madonna https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=qvVvN0QvzTk

·         Dear Jessie / Music Video / Directed by Derek Hayes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGYmN-1UQzI

·         Keep It Together - Madonna Blond Ambition Japan Tour '90 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-AMYZD8cre4

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Madonna Producer Patrick Leonard Talks 'Like A Prayer' at 25

http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/pop-shop/5944767/madonna-producer-patrick-leonard-talks-like-a-prayer-at-25

 

Mention the name Patrick Leonard to a Madonna fan, and their ears should immediately perk up. After all, it was Leonard who co-wrote and/or co-produced many of Madonna's classic hit singles like "Live to Tell," "Open Your Heart," "Frozen" and "Like a Prayer."

producer-patrick-leonard-650x977i.jpg

Producer Patrick Leonard

 

The latter cut was the lead single and title track from Madonna's 1989 album, which now celebrates its 25th anniversary. It was released by Sire/Warner Bros. Records on March 21, 1989, and shot to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 shortly thereafter. It spent six weeks atop the chart -- her longest run at No. 1 for any album.

 

Madonna's "Like A Prayer" at 25: Classic Track-By-Track-Review

 

To celebrate a quarter century of "Like a Prayer," Billboard spoke to Leonard -- the primary co-writer and co-producer of the set -- to discuss the making of the album and his recollections of working with Madonna. (Would you believe "Like a Prayer" was written in one day? And the entire album was written in less than two weeks?)

 

In our lengthy chat, we discuss everything from where Prince pops up on the album (it might surprise you), to Leonard's all-time favorite song they did together. Not to mention those rumors that he's working with Madonna on her next album.

 

In addition to his partnership with Madonna, Leonard has worked with many other artists, including Jewel, Elton John and Roger Waters. He's currently working with Leonard Cohen on his upcoming album.

Billboard: When you were working with Madonna on the album, you had already worked with her on "True Blue" and "Who's That Girl," and you had worked with her on tour as the musical director for the Virgin Tour and the Who's That Girl Tour. What was it about your working relationship that made it so successful? Clearly there was something very special between the two of you. Is there something tangible that you can actually name?

Patrick Leonard: The one thing would be that, in terms of musical spirits, like any good collaboration, we're sort of on opposite ends of the spectrum, in terms of our approach to music.

I started playing the piano when I was three-years old, and studied music my whole life. It's my language. And for her, it's much more just about creativity, and a natural gift, what the impulse says is right.

So, that thing of, almost opposites makes nice chemistry. And it always did with us, because I could write something somewhat complicated and and somewhat complex -- certainly especially in the pop realm -- and she would respond collaboratively with something that anchored it in something very simple and central.

And when I say simple, I don't mean stupid. I mean just not complicated. You know, simple in that beautiful way that when something is really simple, it's not easy to do something simple. . . . When you look at most well-known collaborations over the decades of music that we're familiar with, they're always opposite types of people that are doing the best work. David Gilmour and Roger Waters. John Lennon and Paul McCartney. And I'm certainly not comparing Madonna and I to those people, but you know what I mean. 

The other thing is that we're both from Michigan. We're both people that grew up in a place where it's 30 below zero a good part of the year and blue collar work ethics apply to everything. I still am a blue collar work ethic type of person, and so is she. So we shut up and we did the work. We had this creative chemistry, and then there was no futzing around. There was no question about what the job was.

Speaking of chemistry, there's been a lot of rumors that you guys are going to work together on her next album. Is that even remotely true?

I've gotten a bunch of people who have forwarded me a bunch of those emails (saying that they've) seen us in restaurants together. None of it's true.

Leonard co-wrote and co-produced the bulk of the "Like a Prayer" album with Madonna, including hits like "Cherish" and "Oh Father." Of the album's 11 songs, Leonard co-created eight of them with the diva. The set has gone on to sell four million copies in the U.S., according to the Recording Industry Association of America. 

You've said before that "Like a Prayer" was the first song that was written for the album. When you guys finished that song, or at least had it at some sort of stage where it seemed like it was finished, did know that you had something special?

I think there was a point when we realized that it was the title track, and the lead track, and it was going to a powerhouse. It became obvious that there was something unique about it. And that somehow we made this thing work: with its stopping and starting, and a minimalistic rhythmic thing, and the verses, and these bombastic choruses, and this giant choir comes in. This is ambitious, you know?!

Of the songs I've worked on in the studio -- which is in the thousands -- there is something different when you write something and you just have a sense that you can't break this, you can't really ruin this. It exists already. And that used to be what made a hit song.

I'm assuming you watched the Super Bowl when she performed "Like a Prayer"?

No, I actually didn't. . . I heard it was really cool! I think I might have seen a YouTube video or something of it afterward. You know, just to hear the song is really cool and to know that she's still doing the songs -- some of the songs that we wrote together -- makes me happy. A lot of people were like all the rage about that -- that she did that song. I'm just happy she's still doing it. I think it's great.

The "Like a Prayer" album proved to be very successful, spawning five top 20 hit singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart: the title track (peaking at No. 1), "Express Yourself" (No. 2), "Cherish" (No. 2), "Oh Father" (No. 20) and "Keep It Together" (No. 8).

Were there songs recorded for the album that the two of you worked on that eventually were just shelved or haven't been released?

I think there was one, but I'm not sure what it was a remnant of. It might have been a remnant of "Who's That Girl" or of "I'm Breathless." There was ever only one song, and it got released as a b-side, and I don't remember what it was called, even. I don't think it was "Like a Prayer"-era. [Note: Leonard may be referring to the "Cherish" b-side, "Supernatural."] My recollection is that we just wrote the songs that were going on the record and that was it. I mean, those songs were written one a day -- that's it. A few hours and they were done.

Prince turns up on the album, obviously, on "Love Song," the song he and Madonna did together. I've read that his guitar work is on "Keep It Together" somewhere.

What I know is that his guitar work is on, when you start "Like a Prayer," the guitar that you hear before the door slams…

The distorted guitar?

That's Prince.  What happened is, [Madonna] sent him something to play on and he played on it and sent it back. And we didn't feel that what he did served it. But that piece, that beginning, is him.

Recently, I listened to [the song "Like a Prayer"] -- I hadn't heard it years. There's a heavy rock guitar that's in the bridges -- I don't think it's Prince. There's a heavy guitar in the choruses and when I heard it, I thought: "Did we use his guitar in those bridges?" Because the sound is similar to the first sound [in the opening], but it's not exactly the same. . . . But I know for a fact that we did use that [Prince] thing as the intro, because we just thought it was crazy and really cool. I seem to recall that that's all we used, but I could be wrong.

With "Oh Father," were you surprised that song was chosen to be a single? That was a pretty bold move for her because it was such a slow, heavy song to come out as a big pop commercial single from her at the time.

My favorite thing that we ever recorded, ever -- or wrote -- is "Oh Father." That to me is the best thing we ever did. So, it didn't surprise me because we knew when we did it, that there was something about this that was in a way kind of the most *real* thing. 

[For] that song, the 'record' button was only pressed three times. It was pressed to do the track, live, with her singing live. Then we did the orchestra. And then we did a double of her vocal when we were mixing. That's it. So it's real. It's something that I really wanted to do and she was kind enough to say "let's try this," and it was not easy.

There's two or three guitar players playing. I'm playing keyboards. Jai Winding was playing keyboards. There was a percussionist and a drummer -- and she's singing -- all at the same time.

These days, people go "wow, that seems crazy." Those days it wasn't uncommon for everybody to be playing together even though you're not a band. But it was one of those things where the arrangement was tricky enough, that it really took some working out to get it all right.

Even all those weird synth overdubs and things -- all those things were being done live. We worked out all the parts, had all the sounds. I remember that we cut it live, and then put the orchestra on. You're not doubling the orchestra, so it's one pass for the orchestra.

When I say [the 'record' button was] pressed three times, it might have gotten pressed 10 [times] that day, but it was ultimately one that stayed there. If you see what I'm saying. When we were mixing it, [mixer] Bill Bottrell suggested that we double the choruses. I remember even being a little upset about it (Laughs). Like, look, "we've got an amazing record that we only pressed the record button twice -- can't we leave it?" He said, "three isn't exactly shameful." We doubled the lead vocal on the choruses, and that was it.

The whole album sounded so "live" with real instruments. It didn't sound computery or programmy, and I think that was surprising to a lot of people. Was there a focus to make it have more of a "live" sound?

I've always had that agenda, at least it was then. I've actually kind of cooled on it a bit, because I'm not sure it matters that much when people don't actually understand A) what they're listening to or B) even how to play in an ensemble unless they're 60-years old like I am. It's not something people really do very well anymore.

It was one of those things I was always on my soap box saying "let's get real musicians in." And I think also that we had done the tour or even a couple tours I think at that point, and I was musical director on those tours, so we had the experience of working with live players. We had a couple players that were part of the flock that we knew we could bring in, and my studio is very well set up. It wasn't in any way painful. It was fun and easy. 

It was kind of a process of getting the songs written, and the demos recorded, which was just you know, me, by myself making the demos and her singing. And then replacing the drum machines and the percussion with real people and getting background singers in and having guitar players come in and do parts. Most of the bass on the record is synth-based. Most of it is me playing bass. But on a couple things, there's bass players added. Like "Like a Prayer's" Guy Pratt and me. I think "Express Yourself" is Randy Jackson playing bass.

Was there something unique or special about including backup singers Donna De Lory and Niki Haris on the album? They also had worked with Madonna a lot on her previous tours. Was there something special about their sound that blended well with hers?

Yeah, it was. When we were putting the ["Who's That Girl"] tour together, I found Donna [because she] sang the demo for "Open Your Heart" and that's how her voice came to me. She sounded similar to Madonna, so, well, let's get her in to sing something, because it's going to blend really nice.

And Niki was somebody that someone recommended. . . She might have even just auditioned cold, I really don't recall. But they were chosen from many many many people. And we worked on the road together. It was just natural.

"Dear Jessie" was inspired by your daughter, Jessie, who was a toddler at the time. What does your daughter think of the song now? 

They hung out a bit, and she remembers a lot of that, even though she was very little. It wasn't arbitrary -- it was like they were kind of buddies. Jessie was on tour with us when she was just a baby. We have a lot of photos of them together in the studio. My daughter is 28 now and she's actually working for me as a writer and she's just an amazing human being.

I think Jessie feels like that's an interesting thing that she has out there, but I don't think she considers it her legacy (laughs). 

No, no, I didn't mean it like that! It's kind of a fun curiosity to have this song that was written about and inspired by you.

Every once in a while it comes up. Somebody will send her something, or say, "You're the Jessie?" And she thinks it's funny. It's sweet. It was really sweet of Madonna to do that. Even that little video that they used -- that animated video in the U.K. -- was an animation based on a photo of Jessie. It doesn't look anything like Jessie to me. But they wanted a photo of her for the video.

When you and Madonna worked together, she would mostly do the lyrics and you would bring in the music. Was there overlap where you would suggest ideas for different lyrics, or she would suggest a change in the music?

To my recollection‚ the norm was that I would go in the morning -- you know, I'd get to the studio very early, 8 o'clock, 7 o'clock sometimes. I had a gym in the studio, I used to work out there. So by 8 o'clock or so, I was working. I like to start really early in the day. She would come in about 11 and I would have the musical idea on whatever piece of gear I was using. I think it was just a Yamaha sequencer or something at the time. Or we might have been up like to an MPC 60 or something like that.

I would just put the track, the chord changes, some kind of drum beat, bass line -- something simple -- and say, "here's the idea, here's what I have for the day." She would listen, then we would talk a little bit. Oftentimes I'd say, "here's the verse, and here's the chorus," and she'd say, "no, it's the other way around, switch 'em." So I'd switch 'em. This thing is an hour old, it's not etched in stone.

Then she would just start writing. She'd start writing lyrics and oftentimes there was an implied melody. She would start with that and deviate from it. Or if there was nothing but a chord change, she'd make up a melody. But, a lot of the time in my writing there's a melody implied or I even have something in mind. But she certainly doesn't need that.

She would write the lyrics in an hour, the same amount of time it took me to write the music (laughs). And then she'd sing it. We'd do some harmonies, she'd sing some harmony parts, and usually by three or four in the afternoon, she was gone.

That's how "Like a Prayer" was written, and then the next day we wrote "Cherish," and then the next day we wrote "Dear Jessie." And that's how it was. We wrote the album in less than two weeks.

You wrote the album in less than two weeks?

Yeah. Because we wrote a song a day, and we didn't change them.  And oftentimes the vocal that she did was the lead vocal, we didn't even change the lead vocal. That was it. She sang it. It was done.

We learned that from [her album] "True Blue". . . "Live to Tell's" [vocal] was a demo, and so were a lot of others. It's not that they were demo vocals -- they were just never sung more than once.

I put the track together, she would sing it, and that was it. We learned from that. This idea of a ritualistic vocal session doesn't make any sense. You perform now. You know the song, perform it. And oftentimes, the energy that's there because you're in this creative space is much more pure than when you've thought about it and worked on it and practiced it in your car and all that stuff. It's like, eh, come on. Blue collar, once again. Get to work (Laughs).

What are you working on now?

I have my own media company and we're working on a lot of different projects that are interesting. Mixers of media, film and music and storytelling and novel writing -- and all kinds of different things. 

I'm working with a classical pianist named Iris Hond. We're doing a project called "Sara and the Hourglass" that we've co-created. It's new classical music with a kind of a story interjected using 80-piece orchestras...

It's really fun, because it ranges from the simplistic to Rachmaninoff complexity. She's an amazing pianist. So there's this thing where kids can look up and go "wow, this girl's like in her 20s and she's amazing and what she does, and she's choosing to do this with orchestras." It's something that the classical world needs and is open for, and it's really exciting. So I'm putting quite a bit of time into that.

My day-to-day right now is that I'm in the most luxurious position in that I'm writing and making a record with Leonard Cohen.

You've worked with him previously, correct?

I worked on his last record. We did four songs together and it did very, very well.

And when might we expect that album? 

I don't know, but we're working very quickly. I think that it should be done in the next relatively quick period of time, the next couple months, it will be finished.

Patrick Leonard would continue to work with Madonna after "Like a Prayer." He co-produced the bulk of her 1990 "I'm Breathless" album (including the cheeky top 10 Hot 100 single "Hanky Panky") and co-wrote and co-produced her No. 2 smash "I'll Remember" in 1994. He later worked with Madonna on her 1998 album "Ray Of Light," including the No. 2 single "Frozen" and the top 20 hit "The Power of Good-bye." He most recently collaborated with Madonna in 2008. He composed the music for her documentary film "I Am Because We Are."

 

Would you like to work with Madonna again?

I would love to, because it's always really musically satisfying. We've done some things -- little things -- over the years. But the record-making/sitting down and writing songs together, we haven't done it in ages.

There was a musical play that she was considering and we got together and worked on some music, and we wrote a couple songs from scratch. And there was one ballad, and I remember the day we did it.

I had written the music and she wrote the lyrics and went in and sang it. And she came out of the booth and we both kind of looked at each other and she said, "You know, I think some things never change." It was just an immediately great song.

You know, my music, her words, her voice. There's a chemistry that's really cool. I would love to [work with her]. But I also deeply respect her trajectory, and we're on very different trajectories. I'm very happy right now working with (Cohen), who's just probably the greatest poet on earth. Makes me really happy.

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Videos:

·         Express Yourself - MTV Video Music Awards https://youtu.be/pehMBaHgpWE

·         USA TV report on Pepsi / Like a Prayer controversy 1989 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQPfSw_hBhw

 

Music Videos

 

·         Like A Prayer Music Video / Directed by Mary Lambert / Cast: Madonna and Leon Robinson https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=rDnUIXF2ly8

·         Like A Prayer 12″ Dance Mix Edit Video / Directed by Mary Lambert / Cast: Madonna and Leon Robinson https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqW3OwfEbPM

·         Express Yourself Music Video / Directed by David Fincher / Cast: Madonna, Cameron Alborzian, Todd Gordon and Gustav Vintas https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsVcUzP_O_8

·         Express Yourself Music Video Extended / Directed by David Fincher / Cast: Madonna, Cameron Alborzian, Todd Gordon and Gustav Vintas https://www.dailymotion.com/video/xkxt1_23-madonna-express-yourself-ext_music

·         Cherish Music Video / Directed by Herb Ritts / Cast: Madonna and Tony Ward https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=250&v=HSyB7I6Lzm4

·         Oh Father Music Video / Directed by David Fincher / Cast: Madonna https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=qvVvN0QvzTk

·         Dear Jessie / Music Video / Directed by Derek Hayes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGYmN-1UQzI

·         Keep It Together - Madonna Blond Ambition Japan Tour '90 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-AMYZD8cre4

thanks so much for this awesome era history of it. Its everything. I love erotica and this era is probably my all time favorites of course there's so many i can't really say that. 

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STEVE BRAY AND PAT LEONARD ON MADONNA, LIKE A PRAYER – SMASH HITS (APRIL 19 – MAY 02 1989)

https://allaboutmadonna.com/madonna-library/steve-bray-pat-leonard-madonna-like-prayer-smash-hits-1989

 

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Madonna wrote her new LP in 27 minutes flat!!!!!

 

Er… well, it was two weeks, actually, but that’s pretty astonishing too. Chris Heart “probes†Madonna’s two songwriting pals, Pat Leonard and Steve Bray, who helped invent this miraculous “vinyl statement†and finds that she’s always telling huge fibs and gets children drunk on champagne…

 

Steve Bray and Madonna met each other 11 years ago, when she was an ambitious dance student and he was a drummer who worked as a waiter in a Michigan disco called The Blue Frogge.

 

Madonna has always told the story of how she took a fancy to Steve Bray and picked him up — “the first time in my life I asked a guy to buy me a drink — but he doesn’t reckon that’s strictly true.

 

“It’s completely erroneous (i.e. a lie). The truth is, she was dancing there at The Blue Frogge, dancing up a storm, and she was very attractive, and she is now, and I thought, ‘I’m going to buy that girl a drink.’ So I asked her and she said ‘yeah, a gin and tonic’.â€

 

They started going out for a while then “she abandoned meâ€. Over the next few years Steve Bray and Madonna went out with each other and split up several times, and played in various groups together. Finally when she got a record contract, he was furious that she wouldn’t let him produce her records and so he trounced off again. “I was pretty childish about it, to tell you the truth.â€

 

Then, after her first LP had been hugely successful, she called him and asked if he’d like to write some songs for the next one. “Like A Virginâ€, and since then they’ve continued to write songs – such as “Into The Grooveâ€, “Angelâ€, “True Blueâ€, “Causing A Commotion†etc.

 

These days Steve has about a million other jobs. He plays in the rather splendid group. The Breakfast Club, he writes songs for loads of people and he writes film screenplays, but he still managed tn write two songs on “Like A Prayer†– “Express Yourself†and “Keep It Togetherâ€. It is, he says, all quite simple.

 

“I come up with some ideas,†he explains, “and send them to her on a cassette and she’ll check them out and then we’ll get together and work on the arrangement on the ones she’s chosen?

 

Madonna will do all the words and will have quite a lot of say in the song’s final trimmings: “I’ve always kind of made the ribcage and the sceleton of the song already – she’s there for the last things like the eyebrows and the haircut, I guess.â€

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For this LP they recorded four songs — me two that made it onto the final version, and two – “a safe sex song†called “First Is A Kiss†and another titled “Love Attack†– that simply didn’t fit the mood of the record.

 

“She`s very much into a “confessional attitude,†he says. “It’s like a musical National Enquirer (American so-called “news†paper) episode, that’s what I’m calling it. In Britain it would be The Sun, wouldn’t it? It’s behind the scenes, definitely, in Madonna’s psyche.â€

 

He says that those people who think that Madonna has planned to make a very personal record about her marriage and her parents, and that it’s all a clever scheme, are completely wrong.

 

“She writes in a stream of a mood really,†he explains. “This album, she needed to do it, I’m sure of it. I’m sure it was a cathartic (i.e. a sort of emotional outlet) kind of thing to do.â€

 

When they worked on the “True Blue†LP he remembers her as being very in love. It was obvious… if she’s in love she’ll write love songs. If she’s not in love she definitely won’t be writing love songs. That’s why the [ove songs we recorded aren’t on the LP – she didn’t feel that they were real enough for her at the time.â€

 

Steve used to get on very well with Sean Penn as well as Madonna. “I think it was just two people who were basically incompatible at the end. They tried very very hard to try to make their relationship work but in the end there was something inherently incompatible in their natures.â€

 

Pat Leonard first got involved with Madonna just before her 1985 “Virgin†tour. He’d been in lots of rather serious groups, written songs for a few half-famous people and had played keyboards with The Jacksons on the “Victory†tour. Madonna’s management phoned him up and asked him if he fancied “musical directing†her tour.

 

“I just said no,†he remembers. “At that point ‘Like A Virgin†was out and I wasn’t interested. A girl rolling around on the floor ??? I’m not really into that sort of thing.â€

 

But then he was persuaded to meet with her anyway, and decided she was surprisingly all right. “I thought it’d be fun and pretty painless. It was only for a few months.â€

He threw a pre-tour party and at it played Madonna some music he’d written. She swiped it and turned it into “Love Makes The World Go Round†(off “True Blueâ€).

 

They’ve been writing songs together – such as “La Isla Bonitaâ€, “Who’s That Girlâ€, “The Look Of Love†– ever since. These days he also has about a million other jobs – he produces millions of people’s records, writes millions of songs and has started his own group – but he still managed to co-write most of the songs on the “Like A Prayer†LP. It is, he says, all quite simple.

1989-madonna-smash-hits-april-19-may-02-

“Everything is very quick,†he explains. “We wrote ‘Like A Prayer’, ‘Spanish Eyes’, ‘Till Death Do Us Part’, ‘Dear Jessie’, ‘Promise To Try’ and ‘Cherish’ in a two week period. I was working on another album at the time, so she’d just come in on Saturdays or days off. Nothing took more than four hours ever.â€

 

Sickening, isn’t it ? Pat writes some music, then Madonna simply comes in: “She sits on the couch, takes a pad out and writes the lyrics and sings it and we’re done.â€

 

They also wrote some songs that didn’t make it onto the LP – something called “Supernaturalâ€: “It’s almost a novelty piece. The lyrics are about sleeping with someone who’s dead in a spiritual sense. It’s about sleeping with a ghost. It’s a real kind of weird funk tune with a very strange groove.â€

 

“Dear Jessieâ€, one of the songs on the LP is, he reveals, about his three-and-a-half year old daughter.

 

“The music was very playful and it sounded like a child and Madonna started coming up with ‘pink’ elephants and lemonade’. I was saying it’s got a very Beatle-like attitude. like ‘Dear Prudence’ (an old hippyesque Beatles song) and she said ‘Dear Jessie’. Madonna and Jessie have been friends since she was born.

 

Madonna’s a godmother almost. They play and dance. In fact in London at Madonna’s birthday party they danced for about two hours together. In fact she got her drunk on champagne – I could kill her. Ha ha.

Jessie now apparently listens to the album and announces proudly ‘it’s my song’.â€

 

The very weird affair that ends the LP. “Act Of Contritionâ€, was, he explains, simply done on the spur of the moment.

“The engineer just flipped over the tape of “Like A Prayer†and played it backwards and Madonna just sat there with the microphone and said a prayer, just like that. The guitar on it is Prince’s, when they worked on their song together he heard ‘Like A Prayer’ and loved it and wanted to do something on it, so we sent him a tape and he played a bunch or stuff, none of which we used on the released version, but it worked beautifully for that piece.â€

 

Pat admits that he is a little concerned about all the fuss about Madonna supposedly showing a lack of religious respect.

“I don’t think a song like ‘Act Of Contrition’ is intended to offend anyone, just to be fun. But,†he confesses, †I think I would be offended — I was raised by a Catholic family, and the design of the world is made to offend the Christian religion. You’re talking about 50 years of Christian guilt and certain things go through you.â€

The “Like A Prayer†video hasn’t been a huge favorite amongst his living relatives.

 

“My mother got all freaked out,†he explains, “but then my sister told my mother, “What color do you think Jesus is in a black church, Mum?’ She said, ‘Oh, yeah. OK.'â€

 

His band too are getting full mileage out of his guilt.

 

‘Every time the phone rings,†he winces, “they say ‘The Pope on line three…'â€

 

He doesn’t reckon Madonna made the video to cause a fuss, but doesn’t think she’ll mind it too much.

 

“She’s always willing to deal with whatever reaction people have. Obviously if you’re on a hill dancing with half a dozen burning crosses behind you, someone’s going to say something.â€

 

© Smash Hits

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1989-madonna-songtalk.jpg

“The image gets in the way,†she answers, when asked why people don’t generally think of her as a songwriter. It’s an image she’s worked hard to establish in people’s minds, taking her from the Midwest to Manhattan and presently to a home high in Hollywood’s highest hills. As we speak, Madonna is more than famous: she’s gone from the musical to the mythic while still alive, as much a part of our collective awareness as were Marilyn Monroe, John Kennedy or the Beatles in their day.

 

It hasn’t happened by accident. She’s wise to the notion that it takes more than talent and charisma to shoot a star beyond all others into this pantheon; it takes controversy. “People are asleep,†she said, “and you’ve got to do what you can to wake them up.†She has awakened more than her share of sleepers in a variety of ways, from dancing before burning crosses and sporting stigmata on her hands in the video of “Like a Prayer†to visually fusing, in her “Open Your Heart†video, the madonna/whore dynamic inherent in all images since her first appearance wearing lingerie and crucifixes.

 

As soon as one controversy begins to fade, she launches a new one: As the “Like a Prayer†video started to shed its shock value, she released a video for “Express Yourself†in which she expressed herself nude and in chains. But what a lot of people still don’t understand about her is that beyond this rainbow of shifting images and calculated controversies is a serious songwriter who writes or co-writes the majority of her own material, from first singles like “Lucky Star,†which she wrote alone, to “Like a Prayer,†written with the enormously gifted Patrick Leonard. (Leonard, along with her old friend from Detroit, Stephen Bray, are her main collaborators.)

 

I spoke to Madonna on a typically bright Angelino afternoon; she was on break from the making of Warren Beatty’s Dick Tracy. She seemed openly relieved to be asked questions about her songwriting as opposed to the usual ones about her recently broken marriage, and remembered clearly the exhilaration she experienced writing her first song.

 

Madonna: I don’t remember the name of my first song but I do remember the feeling that I had when I wrote it. And it just came out of me. I don’t know how. It was like somebody possessed me. It was like I wanted to run out in the street and go, “I wrote a song! I WROTE A SONG! I DID IT!†You know what I mean? I was so proud of myself. (laughs) And then after that, they just kind of gushed out of me. Because I always wrote poetry in free-form verse and kept journals and stuff, but to be able to put it to music, that was a whole different thing.

 

Interviewer: How old were you then?

Madonna: About twenty-one.

 

Interviewer: It’s interesting to learn you have written so many of your own songs. I don’t think people realize that you’re a songwriter as well as everything else you do–

Madonna: You mean they don’t realize I’m a songwriter as well as a slut? (laughs) It’s the image that gets in the way. What am I supposed to do? The information is on the label. If they don’t read it, that’s not my problem. I’m not going to put a sticker on the outside of the album that says, “Listen–I wrote these songs!†You know, they pay attention to what they want to pay attention to.

 

Interviewer: This album, Like a Prayer, seems to be the most honest album you’ve done. Do you agree?

Madonna: I didn’t try to candycoat anything or make it more palatable for mass consumption, I guess. I wrote what I felt.

 

Interviewer: Have you candycoated things in the past?

Madonna: It’s not that I candycoated it. I just chose to write in a certain vein. It’s like anything–it’s like movies: There are brutally honest, frightening movies and there are really slick, commercial films, and I like both of them as long as they’re well made.

 

Interviewer: In the past, were you writing more about a character than about yourself?

Madonna: A side of myself. And a character. I’m constantly inventing scenarios that are a combination of something I know and something I imagine. But it’s just a side of myself that I chose to show. I definitely have that slick, glamorous, manufactured side that I feel very comfortable with showing to the public. But there’s the other side to me, too.

 

Interviewer: Is it harder, in songs to reveal you inner self?

Madonna: No, it’s not harder. In the past I wrote a lot of songs like that, but I felt they were too honest or too frightening or too scary and I decided not to record them. It just seemed like the time was right at this point. Because this was what was coming out of me.

 

Interviewer: When you say, “what’s coming out†of you, do you mean that you’re the kind of songwriter who is always working at it, or do you wait for inspiration?

Madonna: I wait for inspiration. I set out to record an album and that was my state of mind at the time.

 

Interviewer: How does your writing process work? I know that many of your songs were written with Pat Leonard. You’ve mentioned that sometimes you’ll come up with a melody and bring it to him and let him figure it out–

Madonna: Yes. In my very retarded fashion I will sing it to him. Or hum the melody line to him, and he will put it into a chord progression and we’ll come up with the song that way.

 

Interviewer: These are melodies that just pop into your head?

Madonna: Yeah. And I start singing them just from my head. Or if I think of a lyric, like a hook or a line, I’ll just put it to a melody and he’ll bang it out on the piano for me.

 

Interviewer: You must have a great working relationship to be able to connect with him at that stage of the process.

Madonna: We have a very good working relationship because we both come from the Midwest, and we both worked our butts off to get where we are. But, you know, he’s the one who studied music. He knows how to read music, how to write music. I don’t know any of that. I’m completely instinctual and he’s completely intellectual. So it’s a really good combination.

 

Interviewer: Does he every give you a finished melody to write words to?

Madonna: Yes, he does. But inevitably we fashion it to me. I don’t think he’s ever written a melody that I just took and said, “Okay, that’s finished, I’ll just slap some words on it.†It always needs to be worked.

 

Interviewer: One of my favorite songs on the album that you two wrote is “Oh Father.â€

Madonna: Isn’t that great?

 

Interviewer: It’s beautiful. And it’s one of those songs that has a near perfect marriage of words and music.

Madonna: That’s the great thing about Pat. I mean, Pat puts together these really strange chord progressions and these really great time signatures, and I’ll listen to it and I won’t even think about it. I’ll just put it on, and I’ll just keep playing it over and over again; it’s like free association. I’ll start singing words to it and making them fit. I don’t thing of structure. I don’t think of first chorus, first bridge.

 

Interviewer: Did you come up with the melody for “Oh Fatherâ€?

Madonna: No, no, Pat thought of that melody.

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Interviewer: It’s interesting that you were free-associating on that song and yet the words are so specific and thematic–

Madonna: Yeah, well, we definitely plugged into each other. I know, because I’ve tried to work with a lot of people. It’s really a relationship. It’s a relationship that works. There’s definitely a chemistry.

 

Interviewer: You mentioned how melodies will pop into your head. Do you have any idea where those ideas originate? Do you feel that they come from beyond you?

Madonna: (laughs) I’m such a sponge; and I love so many different kinds of music, and I’ve listened to so many different kinds of music all my life, it’s really… You know how you just keep memories in the back of your head all the time? I’m sure it’s everything that I’ve ever heard. And then it comes out in my own bastardized fashion. What I am is what I’ve digested throughout my life. What comes out of me. I don’t think it’s beyond, I just think it’s all stored up.

 

Interviewer: Have you every experienced writer’s block?

Madonna: Sometimes, yeah. Oh yeah, definitely. And when that happens, you just have to stop and go out or something. Go to a movie.

 

Interviewer: Some writers say that when nothing is flowing, they stay there anyway and try to force it–

Madonna: I do that, too. Sometimes me and Pat will sit through it. We’ll say, “Let’s write a crappy song today.†But then there are times when you just have to let it alone. And go get some inspiration. Ultimately, you can’t force it. But there is a certain amount of discipline required. When I have to write an album, I sit down and say, “This is it.†I sit down and write the album. I give myself a block of time. But every once in a while, it’s really tough.

 

Interviewer: Do you have any technique for staying in shape creatively?

Madonna: Yeah, just living. Just experiencing life, being really open and observant.

 

Interviewer: Is it tough for you, being one of the most famous people in the world, to stay open and observant?

Madonna: You can be open and observant in any situation. I mean, in a work situation, watching people on a set of a movie or whatever. I mean, humanity is everywhere. There are endless possibilities of ways to absorb the information.

 

Interviewer: You and Prince wrote “Love Song†together, which is a wonderful song. Did you and he work together or did he give you a track?

Madonna: No, he didn’t give me a track. We sat down and just started fooling around. We had a lot of fun. What happened is that he played the drums and I played the synthesizer and we came up with the original melody line; I just, off the top of my head, started singing lyrics into the microphone. And then he overdubbed some guitar stuff and made a loop of it and sent it to me, and then I just started adding sections to it and singing parts to it. And then I sent it back to him, and he’d sing a part to it and add another instrument and send it back to me…it was like this sentence that turned into a paragraph that turned into a little miniseries. So it was great. It was a completely different way to work. And because of our schedules and everything, and he was in Minnesota and he likes to work there and I like to work here. So we kind of sent it back and forth. He’s great. He’s a real interesting…unique talent.

 

Interviewer: And it was an easy connection from the beginning for the two of you?

Madonna: Yeah, it was. We started out being real admirers of each other’s work. And, you know, we’re already successful so we didn’t have to prove anything to each other. We were on the same level. And I don’t think he’s had that same opportunity with other people that he’s worked with. Because generally he tends to dominate everything.

 

Interviewer: â€œAct of Contrition,†the closing track of Like a Prayer, has backwards masking and other mysterious elements. Did he have anything to do with that one as well? The credits only say, “Produced by the powers that be.â€

Madonna: Yeah, he did. He played guitar on it. He also played guitar on “Keep it Together.â€

 

Interviewer: I noticed on “Act of Contrition†that you have the choir from “Like a Prayer†reversed on that.

Madonna: Yeah, we turned the tape and played everything backwards.

 

Interviewer: Your idea?

Madonna: Yeah. And then, of course, the whole thing, the saying of the prayer (on “Act of Contritionâ€) and everything, that was totally conceived of in the studio, in the control room. Pat put out a microphone, and I just started fooling around; and that was free-form, too. Whatever was on my head. It’s totally unedited.

 

Interviewer: You, Prince and Michael Jackson were all born in the same year, 1958–

Madonna: I know. Isn’t that weird? And I think Michael’s birthday is right near mine, in August…there are so many Leos in my life. I’m August 16.

 

Interviewer: The three of you have had such an enormous effect on popular music. Yet recently it seems that both Prince’s and Michael Jackson’s connection with the world has weakened while yours has strengthened and become more intimate and personal. Do you feel that?

Madonna: Yes. I think because I stay in touch with the world, and I think that Michael Jackson and Prince have really isolated themselves. And they live very isolated lives. There’s so much fearfulness and so much inhibition that comes with when you become a celebrity and you’re in the public eye all the time; I think you really have to fight that temptation to go into hiding and surround yourself with people who protect you and keep life out from you. I don’t want to live that way. I don’t want to crawl into a hole. I don’t want to go around with six bodyguards, you know?

 

Interviewer: You don’t wear disguises or anything?

Madonna: No, no. I go running everyday in my neighborhood. People bother me all the time, but it’s important for me to stay in touch with–it sounds cliched–with the street. I go to movie theaters. I can’t deal with separating myself that way. I didn’t struggle my way out of Michigan so I could crawl into a hole.

 

Interviewer: Both you and Prince have concentrated in your work on the separation in our lives between sexuality and religion. Has this been a conscious attempt in your life, to connect these two forces?

Madonna: Yes, absolutely. And I think that’s the problem in relationships. That’s why everyone has affairs and they cheat on their wives or their husbands. People separate things. They have someone they idolize, and then they idolize them so much that they put them on a pedestal and see them as so virginal and holy that they can’t have fun with them. And then they have to find people to have fun with and get low-down and dirty. They don’t let the id in themselves come out, know what I mean? I think you have to put the two together with people. You have to let both of them surface. And it has so much to do with being honest with yourself and the people you’re with. Say, “This is me and this is what I want.â€

 

Interviewer: Your song “Like a Prayer†deals with this subject. Do you recall how that one was born?

Madonna: I don’t know! It just…came out of my head. Pat had the chord changes for the verse and the chorus. We hadn’t written the bridge yet. I really wanted to do something really gospel oriented and a capella, with virtually no instrumentation, just my voice and an organ. So we started fooling around with the song, and we’d take away all the instrumentation so that my voice was naked. Then we came up with the bridge together, and we had the idea to have a choir. In almost everything I do with Pat, if it’s uptempo, there’s a Latin rhythm or feeling to it. It’s really strange.

 

Interviewer: Does he bring that to it or do you?

Madonna: (Pause) We both do. It’s like, we don’t know, we’re possessed. We both think that we were Latin in another life.

 

Interviewer: That’s interesting, because you’ve done both “Spanish Eyes†on this album and “La Islaâ€â€“

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Madonna: â€œLa Isla Bonita.†I know! I have no idea! It just happens.

 

Interviewer: You have the Italian in you this lifetime–

Madonna: Yeah, but Pat is about as white-bread as they come. I love Spanish music. I love that group Gipsy Kings. They’re so great. And I love Spanish singing. I’m very influenced by Spanish music. When I lived in New York for so many years I was constantly listening to salsa and merengue. I mean, that stuff was constantly blaring out of everybody’s radio on the street.

 

Interviewer: You were talking of having only your voice and organ on “Like a Prayer.†I love the beginning of “Promise to Try,†which is just you and an acoustic piano.

Madonna: Yeah, isn’t it pretty.

 

Interviewer: Yeah. That song and “Oh Father†seem to be companion songs.

Madonna: They are. Yeah, they absolutely are.

 

Interviewer: Did you write them at the same time?

Madonna: No. We did “Promise to Try†first. Pat and I. Once again, he just sat down and started playing. And I started singing. And we built it from there. We’d start stuff and we’d come back to it. With “Oh Father†he wrote the tracks, and I was doing the play in New York (Speed the Plow). He came to New York and I was in a very, very dark state of mind. We got together in this really dingy, awful little studio in the garment district in New York. It was grotesquely dirty and cramped, and that’s what came out of me.

 

Interviewer: The song “Cherish†is incredibly joyous. Were you in a happy mood when you wrote it?

Madonna: I was actually. It was before I went to New York. Absolutely. It was right before I left.

 

Interviewer: Was “Promise to Try†written for the little girl in you?

Madonna: (Softly) Yes. It was…yes, it was. I mean, it’s not just one thing. It’s my father talking to me, it’s me talking to me…and “Oh Father†is not just me dealing with my father. It’s me dealing with all authority figures in my life.

 

Interviewer: Does that include God as well? You say, “Oh Father, I have sinned.â€

Madonna: Absolutely.

 

Interviewer: In that song you also say, “I lay down next to your boots and I prayed…†Which kind of reminds of me of Tom Waits. Are you an admirer of Waits’s work?

Madonna: Oh, I love Tom Waits. I’ve always loved him. He’s great. He’s a great performer. I love watching him.

 

Interviewer: What other songwriters do you enjoy listening to?

Madonna: Prince. He never ceases to amaze me. I’ve heard all the tracks off of his next album that he hasn’t released yet and they’re incredible. Stephen Sondheim, who I worked with for Dick Tracy. I never really appreciated his stuff because I didn’t pay that much attention to them (his songs). And having to learn his songs, which are unbelievably complex. I just have the utmost respect and admiration for him. An incredible songwriter. Incredible.

 

Interviewer: Complex musically and lyrically?

Madonna: Oh, yes. There’s not one thing that repeats itself. It’s just unbelievable. When I first got them, I sat down next to him and he played them for me, and I was just dumbfounded. And then, forget about making them my own, just to learn to sing them–the rhythmic changes and the melodic changes–it was really tough. I had to go to my vocal coach and get an accompanist to slow everything down for me. I could hardly hear the notes, you know what I mean? So it was a real challenge. And they definitely grew on me.

 

Interviewer: So you eventually mastered them?

Madonna: I think so. When we ended up recording them, I think Stephen was very pleased.

 

Interviewer: You’re an actress, a dancer, a singer and a songwriter. Can you say what the most powerful art form in your life is?

Madonna: God, it’s tough. I like visual arts. I’d have to say music even though I love movies and dramatic arts. Music is the most accessible art form. And I think everybody relates to music. It is completely universal and therefore the most powerful for me, too.

 

Interviewer: Do you have a favorite song of your own?

Madonna: (Pause) No, I don’t like to say that. It’s like having ten children and saying I have a favorite child. It’s not fair.

 

Interviewer: You wrote “Lucky Star†alone. Did you write it on guitar?

Madonna: No, I wrote in on synthesizer.

 

Interviewer: Yeah? You say you’re not a musician and yet you play guitar and keyboards.

Madonna: I know, but I’m lazy and I don’t practice because I’ve gotten involved with so many other things in my life, and I just had to make a sacrifice. Of course, Stephen Sondheim encourages me to start playing the piano again. Maybe I will.

 

Interviewer: Do you remember hearing “Like a Virgin†for the first time?

Madonna: I though it was sick. I thought it was sick and perverted and that’s why I liked it.

 

Interviewer: And that appealed to you?

Madonna: Yeah! Sick and perverted always appeals to me.

 

Interviewer: And it sounded like a song you could pull off well?

Madonna:Yeah. Because there were so many innuendos in it. I thought, “This is great. This will really screw with people.â€

 

Interviewer: You like that, when people get upset?

Madonna: Yeah, controversy. I thrive on it.

 

Interviewer: You’ve certainly generated a lot of it. After “Like a Virgin†there was “Papa Don’t Preach†and, of course all the controversy surrounding your video for “Like a Prayer.â€

Madonna: It’s not really that I thrive on it. It’s that I think it’s necessary. I think art should be controversial. I think it should make people think. About what they do believe in and what they don’t believe in, and if they don’t believe in it, that’s good too. I mean, everything is just kind of opium for the masses. It puts people in a trance. I think it’s good to hit people over the head with this stuff and make them question their own beliefs.

 

Interviewer: Is is hard to get an album scented with patchouli?

Madonna: (laughs) Yes, it is. I had to work hard for that.

 

© SongTalk Magazine

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Express Yourself: The Making of Madonna's 20 Greatest Music Videos

The directors who worked alongside the MTV-era maverick tell their stories

 

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/making-of-madonnas-20-best-music-videos-20150225/express-yourself-1989-20150225

 

1. "Express Yourself" (1989)

 

The first of Madonna's collaborations with David Fincher is also her best — and one of the priciest (at $5 million, it was the most expensive video ever made at the time). Heavily influenced by Fritz Lang's Metropolis, with its sci-fi cityscape and surreal factory scenes featuring men struggling with giant machines, "Express Yourself" is a perfect melding of Fincher's expressionist impulses with Madonna's shape-shifting allure. Here, we see her juxtaposed against various versions of herself, each representing a different kind of seduction: A pantsuit-wearing, Marlene Dietrich-like figure with a monocle; a shimmying coquette in a corset; a submissive wife chained naked to a bed. Meanwhile, Fincher's camera swoops and cranes and tracks around the impressive sets and through fields of blown-out light, expressive shadow, and thick layers of steam. (The director's feature film debut, Alien 3, would actually repurpose some of this aesthetic.)

 

"This one I had the most amount of input," said Madonna. "I oversaw everything — the building of the sets, everyone's costumes, I had meetings with make-up and hair and the cinematographer, everybody. Casting, finding the right cat — just every aspect. Kind of like making a little movie. We basically sat down and just threw out all every idea we could possibly conceive of and of all the things we wanted. All the imagery we wanted — and I had a few set ideas, for instance the cat and the idea of Metropolis. I definitely wanted to have that influence, that look on all the men — the workers, diligently, methodically working away."

Both Metropolis and "Express Yourself" end with the same epigraph: "Without the heart, there can be no understanding between the hand and the mind." But what was for Lang a plea for reconciliation between workers and bosses becomes, for Madonna, a creative credo.

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AWARD

 

 

1989 BILLBOARD MUSIC VIDEO AWARDS

Best Video for "Express Yourself"

 

THE FACE MAGAZINE

Top Albums of 1989: #13 "Like A Prayer"#1 "3ft High and Rising" by De La Soul
Top Singles of 1989: #23 "Like A Prayer"#1 "Pacific State" by 808 State

 

BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS

Top Adult Contemporary Artist

 

BRAVO OTTO AWARDS

Female Singer (Silver)

 

INTERNATIONAL ROCK AWARDS

Best Female Vocalist

 

MTV

Artist Of The Decade Award

 

 

MTV VIDEO MUSIC AWARDS

Best Direction In A Video for "Express Yourself" (Director: David Fincher)
Best Art Direction In A Video for "Express Yourself" (Art Directors: Holgar Gross and Vance Lorenzini)
Best Cinematography In A Video for "Express Yourself" (Director of Photography: Mark Plummer)
Viewers Choice Award for "Like A Prayer"

 

 

Nomination for Best Editing In A Video for "Express Yourself" (Editor: Scott Chestnut)

Lost to "Straight Up" by Paula Abdul (Editor: Jim Haygood)
Nomination for Best Female Video for "Express Yourself"Lost to "Straight Up" by Paula Abdul
Nomination for Video Of The Year for "Like A Prayer"Lost to "This Note's for You" by Neil Young

 

MUSICIAN MAGAZINE

Artist of the Decade

 

Q MAGAZINE

Recordings Of The Year: "Like A Prayer"

 

RECORD MIRROR MAGAZINE

Best Albums of 1989: #1 "Like A Prayer"
Best Singles of 1989: #10 "Like A Prayer"#1 "Back To Life" by Soul 2 Soul
Albums Of The '80s: #5 "Like A Prayer", #59 "Madonna", #92 "Like A Virgin" #1 "Sign O' The Times" by Prince

 

ROCKBJÖRNEN

Best International Artist
Best International Album for "Like A Prayer"

 

ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE READERS' PICKS

Best Albums of 1989: #4 "Like A Prayer"#1 "Full Moon Fever" by Tom Petty

 

SOUNDS MAGAZINE END OF YEAR LIST

Albums Of The Year 1989: #19 "Like A Prayer"#1 The Stone Roses - The Stone Roses

 

THE VILLAGE VOICE MAGAZINE

Top Albums of 1989: #18 "Like A Prayer"#1 "3ft High and Rising" by De La Soul
Top Singles of 1989: #7 "Like A Prayer"#1 "Fight The Power" by Public Enemy

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So this is the supposed long version of Love song. Definitely not a demo, anyone can confirm it's fake?

 

 

 

It's in the Prince bootleg but I hope with a better sound quality:

 

https://www.discogs.com/it/sell/release/1017027?ev=rb

 

Does anyone have this cd and can share the track?

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"First is a Kiss" is also said to be on the same Japanese promo (or more likely a bootleg) as "Love Attack".

 

WTF?!?!?!?!?!

 

Is this possible??

 

Sorry @@groovyguy I love your detailed posts but I don't believe this story!

Thanks for pointing that out @@Enrico! I edited that post in the unreleased section

 

 

The true story about the 2 tracks â€œFirst Is A Kiss†and “Love Attack†is mentioned by Stephen Bray as posted in the 1989 Timeline & commented on by Bruce Baron:

 

Steve Bray to SMASH HITS (APRIL 19 – MAY 02 1989): https://allaboutmadonna.com/madonna-library/steve-bray-pat-leonard-madonna-like-prayer-smash-hits-1989

 

For this LP they recorded four songs — me two that made it onto the final version, and two – “a safe sex song†called “First Is A Kiss†and another titled “Love Attack†– that simply didn’t fit the mood of the record.

 

Bruce Baron: Demos for the 1988 "Like A Prayer" album generated two songs that to this day have not been released in any form or even submitted to the US copyright office. According to Bray, he owns Madonna demos for "Love Attack", and "First There's A Kiss" which he co-wrote and co-produced with Madonna. 

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