One June 30th 1986, 30 years ago today, Madonna released her third studio album True Blue.
In 1986, Madonna had released two studio albums and toured the US for the first time. With her third album, she wanted to prove to critics that her success wasn't temporary. She sat down with Steve Bray and Patrick Leonard to write more mature songs, with strong lyrics and vocals.
She succeeded in her goal: the album was critically acclaimed and generated no less than three #1 hits in the US (Live To Tell, Papa Don't Preach & Open Your Heart). Across the Atlantic, in the UK, there were also three #1 singles, though a different selection: Papa Don't Preach, True Blue & La Isla Bonita.
The album got certified 7 times Platinum (in 1995) and sold 25 million copies worldwide, making it her best selling studio album to date.
Final single La Isla Bonita has been one of Madonna's favourites, having been performed on six of her tours. Open Your Heart and (part of) Papa Don't Preach made a comeback on the MDNA Tour, while True Blue was performed on the Rebel Heart Tour for the first time in 28 years. Live To Tell was last heard as a highlight on the Confessions Tour 10 years ago.
Last night I attended the premiere of Strike A Pose in Antwerp. The raving review of my friends Dorrith & Marlous, who attended the Dutch premiere a few weeks ago made me quite curious about this documentary. Turns out all my expectations were exceeded.
The idea for the movie came from a simple question that many of us asked before: whatever happened to those wonderful guys that we got to know and admire in the 1991 Truth or Dare documentary? Even though many of today's fans didn't even get to attend any Blond Ambition show, most of us connect very well with those dancers. We know them by name, we reenact their Vogue dance moves, it almost feels like they're close friends, part of the big Madonna family. And many of us were inspired by them, and strengthened in our coming-outs.
Directors Ester Gould & Reijer Zwaan wrote letters to each of the surviving 6 dancers, and managed to convince them to take part in their film. In the beginning of the movie we learn what the lives of Slam, Carlton, Luis, José, Kevin and Oliver look like today, 25 years after that famous documentary. It tells their story, how each of them had to deal with life after the tour, life with its ups and downs.
The highlight of the film is of course the moment the 6 of them are reunited, for the first time in 25 years. There is even a truth or dare game, that reveals some of thei most personal secrets.
Strike A Pose is a truly beautiful project. Especially for everyone familiar with Truth or Dare, it feels nostalgic and emotional. It shows the downsides of fame, but also the wonderful connection and ever-lasting friendship.
Madonna doesn't feature in the film, except in fragments from Truth or Dare. M, her tour and documentary are however not at the centre of this movie: the dancers are. On the other hand, Madonna fans needn't worry: there's not a bad word about her in the film. Everyone relates positively to her.
Unfortunately none of the dancers could attend the Belgian premiere, since they are promoting the movie at the San Francisco Pride. Slam's mother, who still lives in Antwerp, was there, though she kept a low profile. We spoke to director Ester Gould after the screening:
Mad-Eyes: Did you consider bringing Madonna to the reunion of the dancers or did you explicitly chose not to draw away the focus on the dancers?
Ester: We discussed it at length and decided that the reunion should focus on the 6 dancers. Had Madonna been there, it would've had a different effect. We did reach out to her to include a scene where she dances Vogue with the dancers, one last time. But at the time, she was on her Rebel Heart Tour and it didn't work out.
M-E: So she is aware of the movie?
E: Her management asked us for a copy. And of course, she had to give clearance to use the footage from Truth or Dare. Which she did without any problem. And I'm pretty sure that she gives such clearance herself.
M-E: But you don't know if she saw it?
E: No. We did receive a lovely letter from Liz Rosenberg, saying that she liked the movie a lot, but that she didn't know if Madonna had already seen it.
M-E: I'm pretty sure she would like it
E: We hope so. And all the dancers were really positive about her and the whole tour experience. We saw some press coverage, that tried to find negative comments about her in the movie, just to sell their news stories. But everyone who saw the movie knows there's a positive vibe in it.
M-E: One of the main focuses is on the HIV status of 3 of the dancers, and how they dealt with it. What do you hope to obtain with this part of the movie?
E: When we did our first research for the movie, we saw so many comments from people who said they felt so inspired by these guys. And in many cases, the documentary had helped many of them to come out and live their life. But no matter how extravagant the dancers were in the movie, some were still hiding secrets. Being HIV positive is the new taboo. With the honest testimonials in Strike A Pose, we hope to break this taboo, to make people discuss the subject and to overcome their fears.
M-E: Thanks for this wonderful film and for bringing those boys back into our lives!
E: Thank you, you're welcome!
Watch the official trailer of the movie:
Some footage from the premiere at the Berlinale 2016:
Perhaps no other outfit is as closely associated with Madonna as the Jean Paul Gaultier corset she wore during her Blond Ambition World Tour in 1990. The gold piece, which was custom designed by Gaultier himself for the singer, was made with vintage lamé fabric and comes complete with that ever-so-iconic cone bra.
So what's the price tag on owning a piece of Madonna's history? The outfit just sold at Kerry Taylor Auctions in London for roughly $42,000. According to the auction house, Gaultier believes only two other versions of this corset exist, with Madonna herself owning one of them.
In the aftermath of the tragic events in Orlando, where a shooter killed 49 people and injured another 53 in LGBTQ club Pulse, Madonna reacted on Instagram with several posts.
We at Mad-Eyes pass our sincerest condolences to all friends and family of the victims. #loveislove #onelove #onepulse
Strangely, Madonna originally posted a picture of two men kissing, but the post was deleted (by herself or by Instagram?) and replaced with the above.
The post below of Madonna and Britney caused a stir with critics blaming her for self promotion.
Inexplicably, but not undesirably, the Queen of Pop showed up during President Barack Obama's first-ever appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon this evening (June 9) to perform a song. Rumors ran rampant this week about what she might be singing, but none of them accurately predicted this one: a rendition of her 1984 classic, "Borderline."
No interview, no rhyme or reason or #RebelHeartPromo — just crooning a fan favorite in front of super-fan Jimmy and company. (No doubt, she probably just wanted an excuse to rub elbows with POTUS backstage and offer him a complimentary Hard Candy Fitness membership once he's done with the whole President thing.)
The "Borderline" performance was a solid and straightforward affair, as M passionately crooned her tune and slowly spun around the stage. It wasn't until the very end, as Jimmy started to walk over to greet the icon, that she pulled a M-Dolla stunt, dropping to the floor with a devilish grin.
"Push me over the borderline. Push me!" she demanded of the late night host. And so, he did! Or, well…she pushed herself, rolling almost entirely off the stage. She does love a good push…
Madonna surprised everyone by performing a beautiful rendition of her 1983 hit single Borderline on Jimmy Fallon's "The Tonight Show".
Special guest on the show was president Barack Obama. Madonna shared some selfies with him on her Instagram account, claiming that for once she was left speechless.
Today 15 years ago, Madonna premiered the Drowned World Tour in Barcelona, her first stage tour after a hiatus of 8 years.
I remember the year 2001 vividly. It was a year full of changes in my life. I graduated and started looking for a job. And I finally came out, first to myself, then to friends and family. And a very important event in that process was my very first Madonna concert in Barcelona, coincidently also the tour opener. Meeting other Madonna fans, finally other people who understood my obsession with the Queen. Finally seeing that Queen live on stage, from front row. Incredible!
Becoming a die hard fan in the mid-90s meant reading about the Blond Ambition Tour and Girlie Show but learning to live with the disappointment of future tour plans that got cancelled time and again. Bedtime Stories didn't get promoted on the road when tour plans got cancelled in favour of filming Evita. When the movie was out, Madonna gave birth to Lola and Bedtime Stories was forgotten. Ray Of Light got released but was also denied a tour, for the same reasons: a movie and a pregnancy.
Then Music came out and just when fans started to think that a 42 year old Madonna might never tour again, she announced the Drowned World Tour. Remarkably, the title didn't refer to her most recent album. And even though Music was slightly more represented in the setlist, it was the spiritual vibe of Ray Of Light that set the tone of the show. Both albums dominated the setlist, while only two Bedtime Stories tracks were included. Most shockingly, Madonna refused to include her 80's hits in the tour. Only La Isla Bonita and Holiday made the cut. Rumour has it that the latter was only there because back-up singers Donna and Niki begged Madonna to perform it in the show.
The Drowned World Tour is Madonna's most conceptual show to date. The tour name actually referred to the book 'The Drowned World' by J.G. Ballard, in which the main character makes a journey through hell to eventually reach the Truth. Same story line as Drowned World / Substitute For Love and the idea behind Dante's 'Divine Comedy'. Each time the main character has to go through pain, insecurity and despair to eventually reach Divine Happiness. In Ballard's work was it the Truth, in Dante's it was the Heavenly Love and in Madonna's it was Lourdes and family happiness.
Ballard's novel was the first title out of four; each handling one of the four elements of nature. Madonna retold the story in her show by creating a section for each element. The Cyber-Punk Segment puts Water in the center, with shades of blue in the opening sequence. In fact, the opening track portrays the creation of the world. The stage components of the band members are the continents that drift apart as Madonna rises from the sea, like in Botticelli's 'Birth of Venus'.
The Geisha Segment takes inspiration from the elemnt Air. The wind blows through Madonna's hair right before she jumps of the Tree of Life and flies through the Sky (Fits Heaven). The Cowgirl Segment, while clearly referring to the Music album theme, is also a grateful theme to portray the element Earth. D Squared designed cowgirl pants, which seem covered by dirt. Finally, the Spanish Segment is all about Fire, as in the Spanish passion of Lo Que Siente and La Isla Bonita, as the stage is filled with burning candles.
While many critics complained about the lack of hit songs and the darkness of the show, fans raved about the show. It remained a rather exclusive show, as it was only performed in 5 cities in Europe and 12 cities in the US, good for a total of 47 arena shows. It sold 731,606 tickets and earned a total gross of $76,792,245.
Check out our tour diaries, pictures, tour book, and tour details here.
Madonna set to perform on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" Thursday, June 9 (11:35 p.m. ET on NBC). Thursday's episode will also feature President Barack Obama's first "Tonight Show" appearance.
"Where else besides 'The Tonight Show' and New York City can you have the President and the Queen on one show?," said Jimmy Fallon.
Madonna last appeared on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" on April 9, 2015, to perform her hit single "Bitch I'm Madonna" and to fulfill her dreams of performing stand-up comedy.
Learn your herstory, Little Monsters
Madonna has appeared to respond to rabid Lady Gaga fans who claim she is not a real gay rights activist.
The petition, started on Change.org, reads: 'Madonna and Mariah Carey, who are straight, have been exploiting the gay community for years (especially Madonna). Neither have done anything concrete for our community like Lady Gaga has.
'Mariah Carey recently received a GLAAD award for no reason whatsoever, while Lady Gaga has set up her Born This Way Foundation, which aims to help millions of LGBT youth.
'Madonna and Mariah Carey must donate a portion of their money earned (at least 10%) to the Born This Way Foundation.'
Some of the comments are even worse:
Yes, they are referring to the same Madonna who was one of the earliest and most outspoken allies to the LGBTI community. Madonna, who said it was a gay man – her ballet teacher – who inspired her and has repeatedly said she wouldn't have a career if it wasn't for the LGBTI community? The same Madonna who spoke out when her friends were dying of AIDS?
And while she hasn't responded to the petition directly, it does seem like good timing that Madonna posted a couple of posts to her Instagram.
She also referenced the tragic story of Kerry Max Cook, a gay man who served more than 20 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit.
Kerry Max Cook served more than 20 years in death row for a crime he didn’t commit. Convicted because he was "living a homosexual lifestyle"! Next week he will finally get a hearing with a new judge in Texas to hear new evidence of Kerry’s innocence, including DNA evidence. Join me and Steven Klein in his long struggle to prove his innocence and clear his name. #RightThisWrong @kerrymaxcook facebook.com/Chasingjustice ❤️#revolutionoflove
Learn your herstory, Little Monsters.
The 9th Circuit rules that a trivial taking isn't enough to establish copyright infringement.
On Thursday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals made it easier for musicians to sample small portions of song recordings by giving Madonna and her producer Robert "Shep" Pettibone a victory in a long-running lawsuit over the 1990 hit "Vogue."
The decision affirms a 2013 ruling by a California federal court that held on summary judgment that a 0.23 second sampling of a horn hit from the 1976 song called "Love Break" was de minimis, meaning small enough to be trivial.
"After listening to the audio recordings submitted by the parties, we conclude that a reasonable juror could not conclude that an average audience would recognize the appropriation of the horn hit," writes 9th Circuit judge Susan Graber in today's opinion. "That common-sense conclusion is borne out by dry analysis. The horn hit is very short—less than a second. The horn hit occurs only a few times in Vogue. Without careful attention, the horn hits are easy to miss. Moreover, the horn hits in Vogue do not sound identical to the horn hits from Love Break... Even if one grants the dubious proposition that a listener recognized some similarities between the horn hits in the two songs, it is hard to imagine that he or she would conclude that sampling had occurred."
That decision a decade ago has been controversial in the legal and musical community and has opened up copyright infringement liability for sampling musicians. For example, it may explain why a lawsuit was recently filed against Justin Bieber and Skrillex over "Sorry" in Nashville, Tenn., of all places. Even if there was no sampling in "Sorry," that jurisdiction has become friendly for plaintiffs in song-theft cases thanks in part to Bridgeport.
VMG Salsoul, the copyright owner of "Love Break," argued on appeal that the 9th Circuit should follow the Bridgeport decision by holding that the de minimis exception does not apply to infringements of copyrighted sound recordings.
But Graber notes that with the exception of the Bridgeport case, there's been "consistent application of the de minimis exception across centuries of jurisprudence" and believes Congress intentionally put limitations on the rights of a sound recording copyright holder. Further, she notes that the de minimis rule applies to other artistic works.
"A computer program can, for instance, 'sample' a piece of one photograph and insert it into another photograph or work of art," states the opinion (read here in full). "We are aware of no copyright case carving out an exception to the de minimis requirement in that context, and we can think of no principled reason to differentiate one kind of 'physical taking' from another."
The "Vogue" case raises the possibility of review by a Supreme Court currently with eight justices who may be on the lookout for disputes of the less politically charged variety. Here, the 9th Circuit directly acknowledges it is taking "the unusual step of creating a circuit split."
Madonna has affirmed her legal victory, although the 9th Circuit vacates the lower court's award of attorney fees because it deems the claim by VMG Salsoul not to be objectively unreasonable given what happened in Bridgeport.
Thursday's decision also brought a dissenting opinion from 9th Circuit judge Barry Silverman, who wasn't persuaded that there should be a de minimis defense to what he perceives as outright thievery. He writes, "True, Get a license or do not sample doesn't carry the same divine force as Thou Shalt Not Steal, but it's the same basic idea. I would hold that the de minimis exception does not apply to the sampling, copying, stealing, pirating, misappropriation — call it what you will — of copyrighted fixed sound recordings. Once the sound is fixed, it is tangible property belonging to the copyright holder, and no one else has the right to take even a little of it without permission."
The title of one of Madonna's most popular songs is right on the money: "Material Girl." With a personal fortune of $560 million, she's one of the richest self-made women in the country–and claims the top spot on our first-ever list of America's Wealthiest Female Musicians.
Though Madonna has been in show business for decades, her earnings power is as strong as ever. Her recently-wrapped Rebel Heart tour grossed $170 million, adding to her whopping career total: an estimated $1.4 billion on the road alone.
The latest cash infusion adds to a fortune already rich with royalties and the rising value of her real estate portfolio, which includes an outrageously large townhouse on Manhattan's Upper East Side purchased at the bottom of the market, as well as a fine art collection reportedly featuring the likes of Picasso, Kahlo and Man Ray.
Her secret? "I'm a workaholic," she once said. "I have insomnia. And I'm a control freak."
Celine Dion ranks second with a net worth of $380 million. [...] Barbra Streisand rounds out the top three with a fortune of $370 million. [...] Beyoncé Knowles claims the fourth spot, clocking in at $265 million. [...] Finishing at No. 5 is Taylor Swift, who at 26 is the youngest name on this list–and our larger list of America's wealthiest self-made women–with a net worth of $250m. [...]↑ Back to top of page