Madonna's “Like a Prayer” got a piano-ballad revamp from one of its original creators, co-writer and co-producer Patrick Leonard. Watch the video, below.
Leonard, along with vocalist Dana Williams, teamed up for a redux of Madonna's classic No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hit from 1989. Williams has a personal link to the song too: Her father, David Williams, played on Madonna's album of the same name. And bonus fun fact for Madonna devotees: The microphone Williams uses in the video is the same one Madonna herself used to record her “Like a Prayer” vocals.
Back in 2014, Billboard spoke with Leonard about the 25th anniversary of the Like a Prayer album, and we asked if he and Madonna knew they had something special on their hands when they completed the title track.
“I think there was a point when we realized that it was the title track, and the lead track, and it was going to be a powerhouse,” Leonard said. “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.”
Madonna's team has mailed out the official press release which confirms September 15th as release date for the Rebel Heart Tour dvd, blu-ray and digital concert film with concert album.
The cover is now confirmed to be the fantastic picture of our dear friend and fantastic photographer Josh Brandão! The picture was taken during the performance of Unapologetic Bitch at the Rebel Heart Tour concert in Prague.
MADONNA: REBEL HEART TOUR
LIVE DVD, BLU-RAY & DIGITAL CONCERT FILM TO BE RELEASED SEPTEMBER 15 WITH CONCERT ALBUM
MADONNA has announced that her record-breaking MADONNA: REBEL HEART TOUR will be released by Eagle Vision on September 15 on digital download, DVD and Blu-ray complete with bonus content, and an audio CD of highlights from her much-heralded tour.
The Material Girl will also release a live album featuring 22 songs from the Rebel Heart Tour, available on double CD and digital download.
The MADONNA: REBEL HEART TOUR film was recorded around the world and features both live and behind the scenes material, as well as previously unreleased footage culminating with performances at the Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, Australia in March of 2016. MADONNA: REBEL HEART TOUR is co-directed by Danny Tull and Nathan Rissman, both of whom have worked extensively with Madonna on her feature films and tour movies. A version of the film previously debuted on Showtime in December 2016.
The tracklist for MADONNA: REBEL HEART TOUR film and live concert album span all decades of the iconic superstar's illustrious career, including songs from her chart-topping Rebel Heart album to classic fan favorites. Of particular note to longtime fans will be the new interpretations of some of Madonna's timeless hits.
Praise includes: Madonna is Unstoppable (New York Times); Doesn't Miss a Beat (Washington Post); the Queen of Pop…an inspirational figure (LA Weekly); the ultimate professional (Entertainment Weekly); on fire (Rolling Stone); an authoritative diva far from the end of her reign (Time Out New York); the genre's greatest icon (Boston Herald); immeasurable (Detroit News); Queen of the World (Willamette Week); bigger, if not better than ever (San Diego Union-Tribune).
Produced by Live Nation Global Touring, the Rebel Heart Tour kicked off on September 9, 2015 in Montreal and visited arenas in 55 cities on four continents over seven months. Madonna performed 82 shows, plus the special “Tears Of A Clown” fan club show in Melbourne. The tour grossed $169.8 Million with 1,045,479 in attendance, making her the top grossing touring female artist in the history of Billboard Boxscore with over $1.31 billion in ticket sales sold over the course of her career. Madonna is also the fourth top grossing touring act since tracking began in 1990.
The Rebel Heart Tour was directed by Jamie King with musical direction by Kevin Antunes (with band keyboardist Ric'key Pageot, drummer Brian Frasier-Moore, guitarist Monte Pittman, and background vocalists Kiley Dean and Nicki Richards), lead choreography by Megan Lawson, hair by Andy LeCompte, makeup by Aaron Henrikson, and costume design by Arianne Phillips.
Stay tuned for pre-order info coming soon!
Photography: Josh Brandão
Yesterday Madonna posted a selfie on her Instagram, mentioning the movie she's preparing.
As most of us know, the movie Madonna is talking about is Loved, an adaptation of Andrew Sean Greer's novel The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells. Madonna bought the rights back in 2013 and discussed her plans to direct the movie during her interview with Harper's Bazaar in January of this year.
The tabloids obviously don't bother doing any research so they falsely linked the Instagram post to the recent news that Universal movies considers a biopic on Madonna's life. Since Madonna reacted to that news saying she disapproves and that "only she can tell her own story", they now announce Madonna is working on her own biopic.
So always check twice before believing these cheap tabloid stories or sharing them online.
Rolling Stone has compiled a list of the 50 greatest concerts that took place in the last 50 years, ranging from The Jimi Hendrix Experience Worldwide Tour in 1967 to the Beyoncé Formation Tour in 2016. Obviously, the Queen of Pop couldn't be missed in this list. The music magazine selected the iconic Blond Ambition Tour as most essential.
As Madonna's career was taking off in the mid-Eighties, most of her tours were relatively straightforward affairs, based around her singing and dancing. But for the stadium blowouts that supported her 1989 classic, Like a Prayer, she wanted to up her game. In the process, she reinvented the pop megatour itself. "I really put a lot of myself into it," she said. "It's much more theatrical than anything I've ever done." That year, Madonna had caused a nationwide controversy with the video for "Like a Prayer," which daringly mixed sexual and religious imagery. Blond Ambition extended that provocation and upped the spectacle.
The show opened with Madonna climbing down a staircase into a factory world inspired by German expressionist filmmaker Fritz Lang. She sang in a giant cathedral for "Like a Prayer" and under a beauty-shop hair dryer in "Material Girl." And, most infamously, she simulated masturbation while wearing a cone-shaped bustier on a crimson bed during "Like a Virgin." "The Blond Ambition Tour was what really catapulted her into the stratosphere," says Vincent Paterson, the tour's co-director and choreographer.
Madonna took a hands-on approach to the show, working with her brother, painter Christopher Ciccone, to design sets, and creating the costumes with fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier. "I tried to make the show accommodate my own short attention span," she said. "We put the songs together so there was an emotional arc in the show. I basically thought of vignettes for every song."
Starting out in Japan in April 1990 and hitting the U.S. the following month, the tour grossed almost $63 million. But it didn't go off without any complications: Madonna had to ditch the blond-ponytail hair extensions she wore early in the tour because they kept getting caught in her headset microphone. And in Toronto, the masturbation sequence almost got her and her dancers arrested in what became a bonding moment for her entire crew.
Madonna's close relationship with her collaborators would be a major theme in the blockbuster 1991 tour documentary Truth or Dare, especially in memorable scenes where she invited her backup dancers into her bed. Today, Blond Ambition's over-the-top intimacy is a staple of live pop music, from Lady Gaga to Miley Cyrus. In 1990, it was a revolution. "It was a kind of turning point," says Darryl Jones, who played bass on the tour. "A lot of young girls were watching."
The task of defining Madonna's impact is brutal. You could say she redefined the power of pop stardom. Or helped establish music videos as an art form. Or called her own shots in a career that amounts to living mythology. But that would still be selling Madonna short, since any rote discussion of her "great business skills" leaves out the impact of Madonna as a person -- the impish, unapologetic, philanthropic, often hilarious crusader who has been the LGBTQ community's raddest pop heroine since she introduced her armpits to a hand dryer in Desperately Seeking Susan.
As far as being an ally goes, she's the Elizabeth Taylor of pop; as far as iconography goes, she's like if Marlene Dietrich were an X-Men. That's a whole lot of gay credibility. Pride Month is not the same without Madonna and her music, and thus we recount 10 of her great gay moments.
1. Those Decades of AIDS Activism
Back in the '80s, we were hard up for celebrities who spoke out against AIDS (and it didn't help that we had a president who was, shall we say, reticent on the subject). But in 1989 Madonna and her Detroit-era dance instructor Christopher Flynn, who was then diagnosed with AIDS, fired up New York with a major benefit dance marathon. By that time, Madonna had already lost her good friend Martin Burgoyne to the epidemic. In footage from the event, she thrashes about with sweet abandon. That's fun to watch, but it's even cooler to see Flynn, who later died from the illness, open up about Madonna as a confidante who understood him.
2. The Documentary Where Madonna Is Queen, But the Gays Rule Too
The '91 documentary Truth or Dare is quite possibly the second most essential purchase for new Madonna fans after The Immaculate Collection. It gives you legendary performances (not just the masturbation-centric "Like a Virgin" but also "Oh Father," "Vogue," and "Keep It Together"), infamous cameos from the likes of Antonio Banderas, Kevin Costner, and then-beau Warren Beatty, plus scream-worthy interactions with her backup dancers, most of whom were gay. Truth or Dare is one of the first documentaries I ever saw that featured gay dudes hanging out. They go to a Pride parade, gossip about each other, and get an earful from Madonna when they're mean to another dancer. "Be nice to him. He doesn't have the thick skin that you have," she intones like the headmistress of homosexuality. Be sure to bring a hanky when she dedicates a show to her pal Keith Haring, who died just before the tour started.
3. Yep: Ellen Came Out With the Help of Madonna
Where were you when you learned Madonna was an instrumental part of Ellen DeGeneres' coming out? I'm still blown away. Here's Ellen herself remembering kind words from M.
4. The Drag Tribute That Rocked the '99 VMAs
The 1999 MTV Video Music Awards were perfect. You had Lauryn Hill winning Video of the Year, Ricky Martin owning America, Prince introducing TLC, and an amazing tribute to Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G. by their mothers, Afeni Shakur and Voletta Wallace. You also had a stunning, utterly gay moment in the form of a drag tribute to Madonna's career. One by one, drag queens toasted her most famous looks: the "Like a Virgin" wedding dress, the "Open Your Heart" cabaret look, the goth "Frozen" gown. Finally Madonna herself came out, patrolled the phalanx of queens, and declared, "All I have to say is it takes a real man to fill my shoes." Extra special props to the queen in the "Bedtime Story" gear who absolutely annihilated that runway.
5. The Pain of "In This Life"
One of the concluding tracks on Erotica, Madonna's much-maligned 1992 album that has since earned a major cult following (what kind of monster can't get into "Deeper and Deeper"?), is an elegy for the singer's friends who've died of AIDS. Her performance is understated and touching, which only serves to highlight what an underrated balladeer she's always been.
6. "Vogue" Is a One-of-a-Kind Gay Fantasia
Voguing is the hallmark of black and Latin dance balls in Harlem, and there's always been a debate as to whether Madonna's "Vogue" fairly samples from that culture. Its legendary video served up both real voguing and stylized non-voguing, and while there are definitely black and Latin dancers performing those moves alongside Madonna, you may question the validity of a white, straight pop star acting as the dance's unofficial figurehead. Either way, Madonna accomplished something astounding with "Vogue" -- she ushered an audacious, unapologetically queer art form into mainstream America, and that means gays everywhere got to witness (and recognize) a rare kind of performative ebullience. Plus, she got to revel in her serious love of old movie stars.
7. The 50 Million Times She's Denounced Homophobia
Madonna performs this act just about everywhere. In Russia while Putin looms like a Crisco-drenched albatross? Check. In an English interview way back in the '90s? Check. One of the finest: When she donned a Boy Scout uniform at the 2013 GLAAD Awards to present Anderson Cooper with the Vito Russo Award. She mocked the Boy Scouts' homophobic membership ideals and lamented the fact that she couldn't get in despite her well-honed ability "to scout for boys." A few years later on RuPaul's Drag Race, Bob the Drag Queen would mimic this look and assure us he was the most "prepared" queen of season eight.
8. The Sandra Bernhard Situation
For the better part of 30 years, one of Madonna's favorite hobbies was annoying David Letterman. She was propelled by his dry humor and always gunned to freak him out live on air. In her first major appearance alongside Dave, she arrived as a surprise guest while friend Sandra Bernhard lit up the stage with her usual sauciness. Everything about this pop culture moment is absurd and unforgettable: the matching jean-shorts, the cheeky implications of a love affair between Madonna and Sandra, and Dave's befuddlement. The queer rumors would then follow the "gal pals" around for a while, and in 2010 on Wendy Williams' show, Sandra lamented the end of their friendship. I certainly lament the era when celebrities loved being obnoxious on national television, played by their own rules, and didn't waste our time with boring on-set anecdotes.
9. Her Amazing Tribute to Her Late Friend, A-list Interior Designer David Collins
After Madonna's friend David Collins died in 2013, Madonna penned a letter describing his influence on her life. It's a moving tribute, and it contains one anecdote letting you know what a rad gay pal he was: "He took to calling me Muriel after we saw Muriel's Wedding, because he said it was sacrilegious and downright ridiculous to say my name in public or private. Did I mention his witty and irreverent sense of humor? Shame on me." She added: "In my darkest hours (and there were plenty of those) he always managed to say something that made me laugh and stop feeling sorry for myself. He never allowed me to indulge. He would say, 'Muriel, stop complaining, it doesn't suit you. Let's go to Ibiza!' And he meant it. He loved going to Ibiza: yes, the gorgeous men; yes, tripping the light fantastic; yes, the occasional tab of X; but most of all he went for the music."
10. The Greatest Reddit AMA Reply of All Time.
I'm still reeling from Madonna's single foray into Reddit, an AMA where she answered tons of questions. The best, though: "If you were a gay man, would you be a top or a bottom?" Madonna's lowercase response: "i am a gay man."
Sofia Boutella, who acts with Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe in 'The Mummy' was interviewed by Access Hollywood, where she recalled the life leasons learned from Madonna when dancing on the Confessions and Sticky & Sweet Tour.
Pop icon Madge said she was 'so proud' of her 'beautiful and brave friend' Ariana and urged fans to donate to the fundraising appeal.
Pop icon Madonna has congratulated her 'brave and beautiful friend' Ariana Grande for her One Love Manchester concert - and revealed she has donated to the fundraising appeal.
The show at Emirates Old Trafford on Sunday featured performances from megastars including Justin Bieber, Coldplay and Liam Gallagher and raised more than £2m in 24 hours for the families affected by last month's terror attack.
Twenty two people were killed and 120 more were injured when a suicide bomber targeted crowds leaving Ariana's show at Manchester Arena on May 22. Many of them were children.
Ariana returned home to the US 'broken' by the tragedy, but courageously returned this weekend to visit young fans in hospital and to perform at a huge benefit concert organised by her team.
In an Instagram post today, Madonna said: "Congratulation [sic] to my brave and beautiful friend Ariana for organizing the benefit concert in Manchester! Last night.
"Gathering so many great artists and bringing everyone together in the spirit of ❤️ and Peace and not bowing down to F.E.A.R.
"Im so Proud of you! and I would like to make a donation along with my manager Guy Oseary and encourage others to do the same!! We ♥️ Manchester."
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Congratulation to my brave and beautiful friend Ariana 🏅 for organizing the benefit concert in Manchester! Last night 🙏🏻. Gathering so many great artists and bringing everyone together in the spirit of ❤️ and Peace and not bowing down to F.E.A.R. Im so Proud of you! 💘💕and I would like to make a donation along with my manager Guy Oseary and encourage others to do the same!! 😂🎉💯♥️🙏🏻 We ♥️Manchester Www.Welovemcrcharity.org