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Why didn’t the American OH FATHER 7” vinyl single come with a picture sleeve?


Tex20
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Does anybody have any idea why Madonna’s ‘Oh Father’ 7” vinyl single was released in the US without a picture sleeve? It’s strange how all the other singles from that album ‘Like A Prayer’, ‘Express Yourself’, ‘Cherish’ and ‘Keep It Together’ came with full colour picture sleeves but ‘Oh Father’ didn’t.

What was even stranger is that the US Cassingle of ‘Oh Father’ did have a picture sleeve. Why go to the trouble of creating a sleeve design for the cassingle but not the 7” vinyl single?

884DE77B-DC24-4A7A-88A1-D48CDDB4A92B.jpeg

Edited by Tex20
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  • Tex20 changed the title to Why didn’t the American OH FATHER 7” vinyl single come with a picture sleeve?

Didn't David Fincher say WB didn't really want this single released. He pushed M to do it as he had a great video in mind. So they probably didn't want to spend the money.

My other guess would be that WB felt the single was too Adult Contemporary. Older people were less likely to buy a 7" single and would be more likely to buy a cassette single. In fact WB was trying to phase 7" singles out, which is why from Vogue onwards none of her US 7" releases had picture sleeves. Cassette singles were a little bit more up market at the time than 7" singles. I think they assumed only young people bought 7" singles as they were cheap and young people wouldn't buy Oh Father so why spend the money. M had young fans so she was one of the few that continued to have 7" releases post 1990. 

In terms of Keep It Together. WB was desperate to restore M's top 10 status. KIT was a dance single and they probably thought would appeal to her younger audience, so they did the picture sleeve for the 7"

By the time of Vogue, as a I said above, WB was done with the 7". I guess the cassette single was selling well enough that they could mostly abandon the 7" format (for the record, the cassette maxi in 1987 did not sell as well as the 12" which is why the 12" stayed and the cassette maxi was shelved, it returned in 1992 and was gone again by 1994)

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19 minutes ago, me1981 said:

Didn't David Fincher say WB didn't really want this single released. He pushed M to do it as he had a great video in mind. So they probably didn't want to spend the money.

If they didn't want to release it as a single, couldn't they have made it a video only promo release in the U.S like they did later with Fever?

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From the 2011 David Fincher interview:

"I had kinda talked Madonna into releasing "Oh Father" as a single and we did this video and we were very happy with the video and nobody ever saw it because the song wasn't a hit so she came back to me and said, "You screwed me up. You wanted to make this video for the song and no one liked the song and I went to bat for you and now I have to make a video by Tuesday." And I said, "What's the song called?" And she said, "'Vogue'." And I said, "Okay, we'll get a bunch of stuff together and we'll make a video on Tuesday."

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1 hour ago, Husam Elzien said:

If they didn't want to release it as a single, couldn't they have made it a video only promo release in the U.S like they did later with Fever?

Yeah, but not sure that was a thought to the record companies back then, plus the video would have cost a bundle so maybe they hoped they would recoup some money through the single. Also M was so successful that if she asked for a single release back then, WB was probably willing to take the risk. Though not a massive risk. I think it was Prince who implied M pretty much got whatever she wanted at WB, to a point anyway. 

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22 minutes ago, Tyrone25 said:

From the 2011 David Fincher interview:

"I had kinda talked Madonna into releasing "Oh Father" as a single and we did this video and we were very happy with the video and nobody ever saw it because the song wasn't a hit so she came back to me and said, "You screwed me up. You wanted to make this video for the song and no one liked the song and I went to bat for you and now I have to make a video by Tuesday." And I said, "What's the song called?" And she said, "'Vogue'." And I said, "Okay, we'll get a bunch of stuff together and we'll make a video on Tuesday."

Thanks for that. It is interesting how quickly she often pulled things together back then

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4 hours ago, me1981 said:

Didn't David Fincher say WB didn't really want this single released. He pushed M to do it as he had a great video in mind. So they probably didn't want to spend the money.

My other guess would be that WB felt the single was too Adult Contemporary. Older people were less likely to buy a 7" single and would be more likely to buy a cassette single. In fact WB was trying to phase 7" singles out, which is why from Vogue onwards none of her US 7" releases had picture sleeves. Cassette singles were a little bit more up market at the time than 7" singles. I think they assumed only young people bought 7" singles as they were cheap and young people wouldn't buy Oh Father so why spend the money. M had young fans so she was one of the few that continued to have 7" releases post 1990. 

In terms of Keep It Together. WB was desperate to restore M's top 10 status. KIT was a dance single and they probably thought would appeal to her younger audience, so they did the picture sleeve for the 7"

By the time of Vogue, as a I said above, WB was done with the 7". I guess the cassette single was selling well enough that they could mostly abandon the 7" format (for the record, the cassette maxi in 1987 did not sell as well as the 12" which is why the 12" stayed and the cassette maxi was shelved, it returned in 1992 and was gone again by 1994)

Good read. 

I just remember back then we didn't know a single was coming out. We'd discover it during a weekly trip to the mall or record store. And then I could never figure out why one single would have all formats covered and why some would only have 1 or 2 or maybe 3 .. I wanted to collect them all. 

I wish I had this in mind then. 

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4 hours ago, captainjay said:

Good read. 

I just remember back then we didn't know a single was coming out. We'd discover it during a weekly trip to the mall or record store. And then I could never figure out why one single would have all formats covered and why some would only have 1 or 2 or maybe 3 .. I wanted to collect them all. 

I wish I had this in mind then. 

Apparently not even the record stores knew when a single was set for release, even when it was sitting in the back waiting to go on sale. Only albums got official release dates from what I have heard. Which is why Billboard kept changing certain rules to deal with it as the delays kept causing havoc with the charts.

You also hit on another point. Teens would trawl through looking for singles. Adults would generally not. So a kid at 12 was more likely to search for and find the plain 7" while an adult would need to have it right in their face with a picture sleeve or they would give up and buy something else. 

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Posted (edited)

Very interesting comments on this thread. I wish somebody who worked at Warner Bros. back in the day would shed some light on this.

I totally agree that this sleeve would have looked great in the large 12 inch format. Shame it never got a bigger format than cassingle or Japanese snap pack.

The French single was nice but didn’t feature the original Orange tinted sleeve design.

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Edited by Tex20
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Geez, 31 years ago, omg.🤦‍♂️👴🏻Im so old

All I remember is that in Australia it was her Last 7" double A Side with Vogue. Its counted as a Number 1 here. Along with Into The Groove And Angel which was also a Double A side on 12" an 7".

Vogue/Keep It Together: 7'' Vinyl

https://www.discogs.com/Madonna-Vogue/release/2559345

It was never released on cd when it came out down here.

Into the Groove and Angel were on 7" and 12" Vinyl.

https://www.discogs.com/Madonna-Angel/release/6874612

https://www.discogs.com/Madonna-Angel/release/2895606

https://www.discogs.com/Madonna-Angel-Extended-Dance-Mix/release/780753

The 12" Sold more as a double a side so they are both counted as number 1 here.

My brains dead, I cant go back any further than that.😉🤞

 

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1 hour ago, wtg1987 said:

I actually like that cover - it’s cute 😍

Oh, I like that cover too. But it was like Warner took a random funny photo (and the picture CD had a photo from the cherish video-clip). It has no sense. And I've always loved the "Oh, Father" cover.

Why "Dear Jessie" in Europe and not "Oh, Father"? I have never understood that.

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34 minutes ago, Aiwa08 said:

Oh, I like that cover too. But it was like Warner took a random funny photo (and the picture CD had a photo from the cherish video-clip). It has no sense. And I've always loved the "Oh, Father" cover.

Why "Dear Jessie" in Europe and not "Oh, Father"? I have never understood that.

I think dear Jessie was chosen as a potential Xmas number 1 in U.K. but it stalled at number 5 - I remember top of the pops played the video a lot too 

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38 minutes ago, wtg1987 said:

I think dear Jessie was chosen as a potential Xmas number 1 in U.K. but it stalled at number 5 - I remember top of the pops played the video a lot too 

I think they were going for a traditional UK novelty song that used to do so well over here at xmas. Number five isn't too bad, would have been interesting to see how Oh Father would have fared. 

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2 hours ago, Aiwa08 said:

Oh, I like that cover too. But it was like Warner took a random funny photo (and the picture CD had a photo from the cherish video-clip). It has no sense. And I've always loved the "Oh, Father" cover.

Why "Dear Jessie" in Europe and not "Oh, Father"? I have never understood that.

I think they chose that Minnie Mouse ears pic Cos it fitted in with the childhood theme of the song and video

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3 hours ago, Blue Jean said:

I think they chose that Minnie Mouse ears pic Cos it fitted in with the childhood theme of the song and video

My biggest problem with "Dear Jessie" is that I feel like it was something made by Warner, and hurt the "Like A Prayer" era in Europe. I always thought that Madonna had nothing to do with this release. "Oh, Father" would had worked better in Europe. But that is my opinion.

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OH FATHER didn’t climb past 36th place in France, it wasn't a hit.

Radio stations didn't often broadcast this song. However, the video was often broadcast on television.
I think that the French public would not have been receptive to DEAR JESSIE, which is still separate.
Already CHERISH had a hard time getting accepted, and EXPRESS YOURSELF had been abandoned... In my country the leading title of the album LIKE A PRAYER has monopolized all the attention, the other two singles have struggled to cope.

:Madonna008:

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