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Voguerista

Madonna Shined a 'Ray of Light'

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What would Madonna's career have been like without "Ray Of Light"? One thing about her music is that most of it is timeless. To this day, I love "Ray Of Light" as much as the first time I heard it. Same with the video. This song fills me up with the light of the sky in an electric way. What was your first time hearing "Ray Of Light" like? What do you remember? Is this song and video still relevant and will it always be? To Ray Of Light..."a little piece of heaven".

On This Day In Billboard Dance History: Madonna Shined a 'Ray of Light' on Clubland

Incredibly, 50 Madonna songs have reached No. 1 on Billboard's Dance Club Songs chart, giving her the distinction of the artist with the most No. 1s on this survey. But only one of these tracks started in the folk world before entering the club scene.

No. 1 on the chart 22 years ago today (July 1), "Ray of Light" was an adaptation of the 1971 song "Sepheryn" by English folk duo Curtiss Maldoon. The song entered Madonna's field of awareness more than two decades later, when English musician and producer William Orbit sent her a version of the song -- renamed "Ray Of Light" and performed by the niece of one of the members of Curtiss Maldoon -- to consider for inclusion on her upcoming album.

Madonna liked it, and together with Orbit, she revamped the lyrics, updated the instrumentation and sped the BPM way up. By the time the song was released as the title track from Madonna's 1998 LP, the minor folk hit had been transformed into a synth-laden electronica anthem that would become both one of the biggest hits of Madonna's career and reflect who the pop queen had become by the late 90s. The reworked lyrics of the second chorus explored themes related to motherhood and spirituality, as her daughter Lourdes had been born two years prior, and Madonna had begun her exploration of Eastern mysticism and Kabbalah during this same period.

"This album is reflective of where I am in my life right now--in terms of my musical interests and in terms of my personal beliefs," Madonna told Billboard in 1998. "I feel like I've been enlightened, and that it's my personal responsibility to share what I've learned so far with the world."

Effectively, she completed this sharing by making people dance. While her previous LP, 1994's Bedtime Stories, had included slowed-down R&B tracks like "Take a Bow" and "Secret," "Ray of Light" spread its message of love and positivity via its embrace and expansion of the late '90s electronica genre, at that point being explored by scene stars like Moby, Björk, Underworld and more.

"I've been a fan of all kinds of electronic music for many years," Madonna said in the same Billboard interview, "and I wanted to incorporate that sound into my music."

Indeed, while many of Madonna's biggest hits -- "Vogue," "Like a Prayer," "Like a Virgin" -- certainly worked in nightclubs, the song's styles and structures firmly embedded them in the pop world. But with "Ray Of Light," Madonna was not simply making pop music that would work in the clubland, but music aesthetically connected to the roots of the genre, taking particular influence from the acid house that was a staple of the '90s underground rave scene.

Altogether, it got bodies moving around the globe. “Ray Of Light” spent four weeks at No. 1 on Dance Club Songs chart, from the charts dated June 20, 1998, through July 11. This run makes the song one of her longest leaders – “Holiday/Lucky Star” spent five weeks at No. 1 in 1983, “Music” later spent five weeks in this position in 2000, “Like a Virgin” spent four weeks in 1984-85 and “Hung Up” spent four weeks in the top spot in 2005.

"Ray of Light" was the second of three No. 1 Dance Club Songs singles from the Ray of Light album, after “Frozen” (2 weeks, April-May ’98) and before “Nothing Really Matters” (2 weeks, March ’99). Her 20th No. 1 on the chart, the song's lauded video was directed by Jonas Åkerlund, who had directed the infamous clip for The Prodigy's "Smack My Bitch Up." Meanwhile, the song won the 1999 Grammy for best dance recording, while the album won that year's best pop album trophy. Those two awards, along with the other one she won that evening, were the first audio Grammy awards of her career.

The 1999 Grammys ceremony was a long way from the underground club scene, and in fact even further away from the English folk world. Yet all of these musical stepping stones had helped Madonna create a song that remains one of the brightest lights of her enduring career.

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Ray of Light is one of her most important albums ever in her carrer, M took a great evolutionary leap with Ray of Light, with totally autobiographical lyrics, it would have been very different without it, i think that Erotica & Bedtime Stories are like the last chapter of the madonna that everyone knew until then, and 4 years later, without doing tours and with Ray of Light, something new begins

Edited by gonna dress u up

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On 7/4/2020 at 6:07 PM, gonna dress u up said:

Ray of Light is one of her most important albums ever in her carrer, M took a great evolutionary leap with Ray of Light, with totally autobiographical lyrics, it would have been very different without it, i think that Erotica & Bedtime Stories are like the last chapter of the madonna that everyone knew until then, and 4 years later, without doing tours and with Ray of Light, something new begins

So true and beautifully written. Thank you. 

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On 7/2/2020 at 11:44 PM, Voguerista said:

What would Madonna's career have been like without "Ray Of Light"?

i think that is impossible to answer.

her previous albums as well as her life circumstances led to ray of light.

would there be music – and what followed – without ray of light?
i don’t think so.

essentially, it was a chapter of her life journey and reflected her state of mind at the time.

i would have never thought it led to bitch, i’m madonna though :Madonna034:

Edited by nodoman

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32 minutes ago, nodoman said:

i think that is impossible to answer.

her previous albums as well as her life circumstances led to ray of light.

would there be music – and what followed – without ray of light?
i don’t think so.

essentially, it was a chapter of her life journey and reflected her state of mind at the time.

i would have never thought it led to bitch, i’m madonna though :Madonna034:

i wish ray of light whas het latest current circumstance in life 

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One of the best pop albums ever made. It has aged like fine wine - no matter when I've listened to it over the years, it seems to get better each time I hear it. I think this music is very therapeutic, both for Madonna recording/making it and the listener consuming it. The lyrics are also some of her best; she really tells a story and conveys so much emotion in these songs. Especially Little Star - such an endearing song, straight from her heart to Lola. I actually listened this this album a lot while in quarantine; it's such a great album to put on in the evening right before sunset and watch the sun go down.

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