Madonna news - May 2003

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The English Roses get September 15 release

Source: RollingStone - 31 May 2003

Madonna's The English Roses will be published on September 15th. The first in a five-volume series of children's books is expected to be the widest, simultaneous multi-language book release in publishing history; in addition to the U.S. and U.K., the book will be published in more than 100 countries, including Lithuania, Italy, France, Thailand, and will appear in forty-two different languages.

Each of the five books will feature Madonna's text paired with a different illustrator. The identity of the first artist will not be revealed until the book's release date. The title and pub date for the second book will be announced on the day of Roses' release.

The book, published by Callaway Editions, will have an initial print run of 400,000 copies in the U.S. "It's hardly news that Madonna knows how to communicate," said Callaway publisher and editor Nicholas Callaway. "Now we will have a new generation throughout the world that will know Madonna as an inspiring storyteller."

Madonna wedding castle sold

Source: BBC - 31 May 2003

The world-famous Scottish Highlands retreat where the singer Madonna married has been sold. Skibo Castle has been bought for an undisclosed sum by a small group of members of the Carnegie Club.

The exclusive hotel is home to the club, which is named after the Scottish-born steel tycoon and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. The sale was forced by a group of American institutional shareholders who offloaded their majority stake in the property.

Millionaire businessman Peter de Savary took over Skibo 13 years ago and transformed it into a mecca for the rich and famous. Madonna wed Guy Ritchie there in December 2000 and Sean Connery and former US President Bill Clinton have played the resort's championship golf courses.

The new owners say they aim to take Skibo to an even higher level. Mr Savary is now planning to developing a similar venture at Bovey Castle in Devon. The castle has 20 bedrooms and prices are said to be in the region of £700 a night.

Hollywood 2nd most added song at US radio

Source: - 31 May 2003

Voted your #1 Pick to Click record on our survey with over 3,830 votes, the team of BIERY, BOULOS, CONNONE, SWERLING-SUSLOW along with KEN LUCEKS crew grab the #2 Most Added slot of the week!

Out-of-the-box action includes: Cadillac Jack@WXKS, Rob Roberts@Y100 along with KKRZ, KDND, KMXV, PRO-FM, WQZQ, KJ103, WSPK, KIXY, WABB, WBAM, WBFA, WDBR, WJBQ, WJMX, WMGI, WPRR, WYCR, WZEE and more! This thing has mass-appeal written all over it folks! #4 Most Disc-overed!

Of course, the Media Queen for the past couple of decades has had herself a GREAT ADD WEEK! MADONNA "Hollywood" gets the first week response from: KFMB/San Diego, WKRQ/Cincinnati, WSNE/Providence (the umbrella business must be booming!), WRMF, KLLY, KSII, KVUU, WINK and WKPK, THIS IS the Madonna song that you've been waiting for...very POP, very MAINSTREAM.

Madonna "Hollywood" (Maverick/WB)
KHKS' Marcus D sums it up: "Good record. Brings it back to what a Madonna record should sound like. More melodic than the last two releases." OTB at Y100, KMXV, Z104 and more.

Back to blond

30 May 2003

Back to blond It seems that after only a few months as a brunette, Madonna has again turned blond, possibly for the Hollywood video.
The Sun writes: "I know Madonna is famous for changing her image, but this is ridiculous.

The Queen of Pop has already ditched her brown locks and reverted to her trademark blonde barnet. Madge dyed her hair dark and wore a beret for a string of low key gigs while promoting her last single American Life.

But she obviously thinks blondes have more fun as she's been back to the hairdresser's. She was snapped strolling in Beverly Hills with a cup of coffee in her hand. Her blonde tresses peeped out from under a tweed flat cap.

An onlooker said: 'Madonna is an icon and has created some of the most memorable images of the past 20 years. She obviously didn't like her last style. Blonde suits her more.'"

New Hollywood home and Hollywood video

Source: NY Daily News - 29 May 2003

Madonna has a funny way of renouncing materialism. Even as she rails against the shallowness of our consumer culture on her song American Life, her Madge-sty has traded up to a $13 million spread in Beverly Hills.

It was only a few weeks ago that she listed her previous Beverly Hills home - which she bought from Diane Keaton in 2000 - for $10.9 million. The 7,000-square-foot Spanish-style hacienda, built in the 1920s, has eight bedrooms and a guesthouse. But apparently that wasn't enough.

She and husband Guy Ritchie have now snapped up the 11,600-square-foot mansion that actress Sela Ward and her husband, Howard Sherman, put on the market a few days ago. The French Norman-style house, built three years ago, sits on 1.17 acres off Sunset Blvd.

It has seven bedrooms, 15 bathrooms, a screening room, a library, a gym, a sauna, two guesthouses, a tennis court, a steam room and a 60-foot swimming pool.

The singer is in Los Angeles getting ready to shoot the video for her next single, Hollywood, in which we hear she goes glam in an assortment of multi-hued wigs. But we're sure she's absolutely sick about succumbing again to American life.

Which may be why she made a donation - said to be several million dollars - to London's Kabbalah Center for a bigger place for her to worship.

Film penned for Madonna *rumour*

Source: Sky News - 29 May 2003

Madonna is reportedly holding talks with former husband Sean Penn about her next movie role. The couple split up in the late 80s after a brief but very high-profile marriage.

Madonna and Sean have been feuding ever since. But Penn is said to be keen to sign his ex-wife for a role in the appropriately-named Madonna and Child. The film has been described as a romantic adventure about a middle-aged star who dreams of recapturing her youthful success. Filming on the movie is set to begin early next year.

Madonna's most recent films include Swept Away - which panned by critics and never released in UK cinemas - and Bond epic DieAnother Day. Her most succesful movies include Evita, 1996, and Dick Tracy, 1990.

Pavarotti wants duet *rumour*

Source: New magazine - 26 May 2003

The King Of Opera, Luciano Pavarotti, has sent good wishes to Madonna, requesting that they work together soon on something to suit both their tastes. My Madonna spies tell me she is thrilled. 'She loves his voice and has wanted to hook up with him for some time.

A few years back, she had hoped to appear at his Hyde Park concert as a surprise guest, but alas, it did not come off. Now, though, they plan to work something out very soon.' To get praise from him, my Madge sources reveal, sent her into seventh heaven.

Hollywood single and video *rumour*

Source: - 26 May 2003

Hollywood promo CD Hollywood has been released to German radio TODAY with the commercial Maxi Single following on July 7th. The single will be released the same day in the rest of Europe. No confirmed release-date for the USA yet.

According to unconfirmed reports, Madonna has filmed the video for her 2nd single from the American Life-album, Hollywood, last week in the USA. Parts of the video have been filmed in Venice, Los Angeles. It is believed that the video will be ready for TV-broadcast by mid-June. Stay tuned for more info on the video!

~ Thanx to BuySellMadonna for a scan of the Hollywood promo (on the right)

Madonna co-finances Kabbalah center

Source: - 26 May 2003

She credited Kabbalah, the ancient tradition of Jewish mysticism, for the "creative inspiration" behind her best-selling album Ray of Light. And now Madonna is repaying the debt. The pop superstar and her husband, the film director Guy Ritchie, are said to have donated some of the £3.65m cost of a new building for the Kabbalah Centre in central London.

The Estates Gazette, the trade paper of the property world, reported yesterday that the London Kabbalah Centre is moving into a Grade II-listed, 10,000sqft office building just north of Oxford Street - thanks to financial help from Madonna. She is one of a number of celebrities whose interest has helped the Kabbalah Centre to outgrow its small offices above a Vidal Sassoon hairdressing school in Grosvenor Street, four years after it first came to the capital.

Mick Jagger, Jerry Hall and Naomi Campbell also follow the Jewish mysticism. This includes wearing a red thread - a charmed wrist bracelet that keeps evil spirits away.

The esoteric teachings of Kabbalah are said to go back thousands of years to the beginning of Judaism. But the London centre is said to teach a simplified version - dubbed "Kabbalah-lite" - offering instant "spiritual wisdom". Critics argue it has a distinct New Age feel and is little more than the latest self-help fad.

"The Kabbalah is an incredibly powerful tradition going back thousands of years," said Jeremy Rosen, a rabbi at the Yakar educational centre in Hendon, north London. "What's being peddled at the moment is like a comic book version.

Everyone wants an overnight solution to their problems. People have this attitude that you just have to take this water and it performs magic. That's ridiculous. It may have a placebo effect, but that's nothing to do with its intrinsic qualities. This is the new Kabbalah of hocus pocus."

But despite the criticism, the pop queen, 44, claims Kabbalah is helping her to "unpick her ego". She is writing a series of children's books based on its parables and is said to have consulted the teachings about the best time to conceive her third child.

Belgian interview

25 May 2003

Today, Belgian Radio Donna and TV1 broadcasted parts of the interview they recently had with Madonna.

Another HMV review

23 May 2003

Read a late but interesting article on Madonna's gig at London's HMV at Screen India.

Chart update

21 May 2003

American Life, the album, is this week at #15 (US), #8 (UK), #21 (Australia), #3 (France)

American Life, the single, is this week at #86 (US), #35 (UK), #24 (Australia), #21 (France)
On the dance charts, it's at #1 (US) and #4 (Australia)

News bits on house & husband

21 May 2003

Some news bits from PeopleNews:

- Just when we thought England-loving Madonna might be selling up in the US and moving permanently to Britain, the Material Girl has bought a new place on Sunset Boulevard. Just days ago, Madge put her Beverly Hills Spanish-style villa on the market. However news of her real motives for the sale has emerged - she wants a house with a tennis court.

Her new $13 million French Regency design home is on Sunset Boulevard near the Beverly Hills Hotel and is comes complete with the all-important tennis court, perfect for the former fitness fanatic to perfect her ground strokes in time for Wimbledon.

- Guy Ritchie: Mayor of London - can you imagine it? No? Well Madonna can. Speaking on the LBC Breakfast show yesterday she said, 'I think he'd be good. He's very intelligent.' And she'd know, being very intelligent herself. Just as well Madonna can't vote.

- Just when you thought Swept Away was only to be found in the 6.99 pound bargain bin at Blockbusters and it was safe to go back into the cinema, Guy Ritchie takes on another film project. Thankfully he's reverted to what he does best (and really all he does), a gangster film.

It is to be a heist movie called Revolver set in Las Vegas, and will star friend-of-the-Ritchies and guaranteed bums-on-seats big name Brad Pitt as the lead. For nervous film-goers, the movie will not contain any trace of cinematic pest, Madonna.

Hollywood cover is a fake

21 May 2003

The rumoured Hollywood cover that appeared online earlier, turns out to be a fake. The picture is taken from an ad from Italian shoemaker Cesare Paciotto, which appeared in the American magazine 'Ocean Drive' in October 1999. Check Madonna Electronica to see the original picture.

Hollywood will be pink

21 May 2003

Thanks to Spanish Madonnafan Danielillo, who gives us following info: "In a recent interview for a Spanish radio station Madonna revealed the following:

* She's working on a musical for the cinema. It's an original script based on a real story about an actress of the 30-40's - very provocative and autodestructive.
* The Hollywood video will have lots of pink colour in it
* She's trying to tour next year and she'll come to Spain to play
* More things about her connection with Spain and stuff like that... "

Madonna sells Beverly Hills home

Source: - 19 May 2003

Madonna's Beverly Hills home, which she bought from actress Diane Keaton nearly three years ago, is up for sale.

Madonna is seeking $10.9 million for the 7,000-square-foot home, which was built in the 1920s and totally refurbished by Keaton, according to today's Los Angeles Times.

The 44 year-old singer-actress, who's married to British director Guy Ritchie, has a home in London, which she bought about the same time that she purchased her Beverly Hills home, according to the paper.

AL becomes 29th Dance hit

18 May 2003

American Life is set to top the Billboard Hot Dance/Club Play chart, issued 31/05/03, which means it will be her 29th no. 1 dance hit.

Madonna's scolding is music to mixers

Source: Kansas City - 16 May 2003

Music producers around the world -- ranging from top remixers to everyday kids -- are striking back against Madonna's recent anti-music piracy hoax, basing their latest dance tunes on the unauthorized use of her voice.

Apparently lashing out at Internet music swappers, Madonna or her supporters used the file-swapping program Kazaa to make available a spurious track from her American Life released three weeks ago.

People who downloaded the tune heard only a few seconds of silence, followed by the voice of Madonna -- who always has courted controversy to help sell records -- chiding, "What the f*** do you think you're doing?"

When John von Seggern, a Los Angeles digital deejay, musician and producer, got wind of it through the digital-arts e-mail list he subscribes to, he knew what he had to do. "I listened to it and thought, `That's funny. I should remix that,' " he said. "A couple of days later, someone (on the e-mail list) said, `I bet somebody will mix this over the weekend' and that was on a Thursday, so I had to do it then."

Anyone with a computer and music software such as Acid or Live can be a music producer. The programs allow users to arrange snippets of bass guitar, vocals or even car-traffic noise in any rhythmic way they want, creating new tunes out of samples of music.

Critics complain that the result is derivative, expressionless tunes that have more to do with using a mouse than coaxing music out of an instrument. But the democratization of musicmaking appeals to music lovers who want to do more than just listen to whatever the record companies release.

"There's a do-it-yourself thing going on," von Seggern said. "It becomes about your ability to conceive the music." A fellow member of the e-mail list posted the remix on her own site," It mushroomed out of control," von Seggern said.

Several tracks are available on the Net, most of them at Most of the tunes feature Madonna repeating the phrase over thumping bass drums, skipping high-hat cymbals and atmospheric chords.

Von Seggern, who says he doesn't like Madonna's music, realizes he and other remixers may be playing into the hands of her marketing machine. "The people I know said she halfway thought something like this would happen," he said. "It's certainly not going to hurt her."

But he was trying to make a point. "Once they put it out there, there's no way Madonna or the record companies can expect to control the music," von Seggern said. "The fact that I can grab her voice and remix it is proof of that. "I find it ironic that the modern music industry, which became big by selling rock 'n' roll as packaged rebellion, is now telling its customers, `Now, you behave,' while trying to sell rebellion."

AL climbs on dance chart

16 May 2003

Madonna jumps from #5 to #3 in the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play. If this track arrives to #1 spot, it would be the 29th number one in this list (followed by Janet Jackson with "only" 14).

Meanwhile, Madonna's album is at the top spot in European album chart for a third week in a row, followed by Norah Jones and Blur.

Report on Top of the Pops performance

16 May 2003

Madonna performed Hollywood at the recording of Top of the Pops last night. She lip-synched the song twice, against a background of 'Oscars', the first performance acting as a rehearsal. She didn't perform two tracks as previously planned.

This set was devised by the production team, Warners and with input from Madonna herself. Before she had even sung fans were asking for more. She joked that she wasn't going to do any more freebies like HMV and next time she would charge everyone a pound! Someone in the crowd was saying he'd pay a hundred and Madonna said teasingly 'What about 500? and the guy said yes and she said, 'I like the way you think'!

During the first run through of the song she forgot to mime to 'this bird has flown' but in the actual take she got it right. She was on great form, dancing enthusiastically, wearing wide leg black trousers, a low cut black top, a short gold jacket and gold shoes. Even the Cheeky Girls snuck out from their dressing room to watch Madonna in action! Her departure from the studios was delayed for security reasons.

A security guard said a, 'known stalker' had to be removed from the premises. When she left Lourdes was with her, holding hands with Madonna and carrying her mum's Louis Vuitton handbag. They sped away in a BMW. The performance will be broadcast on Top of the Pops, [tonight] Friday 16 May at 19.30.

Possible Hollywood release date

Source: Madonna Information Report - 15 May 2003

According to Warner Music Norway, Hollywood will be released as a single on July 7th.
Meanwhile, Calderone has Hollywood listed in his discography. It's been labeled on some boards as the Calderone Stereo Mix.

AL continues to drop in US charts

Source: Madonnarama - 15 May 2003

In week 3 on Billboard's album chart, Madonna has dropped out of the top 10 to # 15, selling about 58,000 copies. American Life has now dropped below fellow Warner Bros. labelmates Cher, Fleetwood Mac & Linkin Park (which were all released before American Life).

In 3 full weeks of U.S. sales, the album has sold less than 400,000 copies (LESS than Music sold in it's FIRST week). The single for American Life also takes a big dip on the Hot 100, falling to # 86 on next week's chart.

Judge may reject Swept Away law suit

Source: Daily Bulletin - 15 May 2003

A judge heard arguments Wednesday about whether a breach of contract lawsuit against Madonna and her husband should be thrown out of court because an opposing lawyer missed a hearing. The suit alleges that Madonna and her director husband Guy Ritchie broke a contract involving their film flop Swept Away when they did not compensate the person who claims he brought them the idea.

Superior Court Judge Soussan G. Bruguera did not indicate when she would rule on the possible dismissal. The judge also took under submission a request that attorney Morris Getzels pay more than $1,000 to compensate opposing lawyers for the cost of appearing at an April 1 hearing that he failed to attend. Getzels represents Vincent D'Onofrio not the actor who filed the lawsuit in October.

Madonna and Dannii get into the groove

Source: Undercover - 15 May 2003

A remix of Dannii Minogue's ' Don't Wanna Lose This Feeling' morphed with Madonna's 'Into The Groove' has been given the thumbs up for release from Madonna. 'Don't Wanna Lose This Feeling' will be the next single for Dannii and the 'Into The Groove' remix will also be included as a bonus on the single.

One label insider has confirmed to Undercover News that "Madonna heard the song and loved it. She approved it on the last 24 hours". Dannii's A&R guy said in her forum "the pressure is on to deliver another big hit and the thinking is that we go for broke with the biggest pop song we have".

'Don't Wanna Lose This Feeling' is from her first album in 6 years 'Neon Nights'. The song finally marks a liason between Madonna and a Minogue. Dannii's sister Kylie had recorded a Madonna reject for inclusion on one of the single's from her 'Fever' album but in the end Madonna's reject also became Kylie's reject.

Possible Hollywood cover *rumour*

14 May 2003

Fansite Madonnarama posted this picture, which is rumoured to be the cover for the upcoming Hollywood single.

Rumoured Hollywood cover

Madonna on Top of the Pops

Source: - 13 May 2003

It is confirmed that Madonna will be at the BBC studios next Thursday performing Hollywood on Top of the Pops. Madonna last recorded for TOTP in November 2000.

Madonna on British life and friends

Source: Reuters - 12 May 2003

Madonna is happy living in Britain now that she has made friends, the singer said in an interview on Monday. Madonna told BBC Radio One DJ Jo Whiley she had made good friends in Britain although she admitted she had found it difficult to settle in after marrying British film director Guy Ritchie in 2000.

"I used to get lonely and sad and complain a lot to Guy but I've got friends here now, some really nice friends," she said. "It's kind of cool because I see them when I come here and I see my other friends when I go there (to the United States)."

The singer, on a promotional blitz for her latest album, said she meets up with Gwyneth Paltrow when the Hollywood star visits Britain. Paltrow's boyfriend is Coldplay's Chris Martin, who Madonna rated as a musician. "I think he is incredibly talented," she said.

In recent months Madonna has been eager to rebuff press speculation that she is fed up with Britain and wants to return permanently to the United States. But while the singer said she has acquired English traits such as drinking pints of ale at the pub, she has kept her American accent. "I have to work on not having an English accent when I am talking to English people."

The pop star, who played an intimate concert on Friday to 650 fans at a London record shop, told Whiley she had been inspired at the start of her career by fellow vocalists Debbie Harry and Chrissie Hynde. "I thought they were really strong. I loved their sense of irony, which I think is missing from pop music right now."

Madonna's album, American Life, has topped the charts in the United States and Britain but has failed to impress the critics and sales have been down on her previous release Music.

~ You can stream the Jo Whiley interview here.

17 no. 1's outside the US

Source: - 12 May 2003

Including : Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Italy, Mexico, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, UK + Europe (overall).

The single has been #1 in 6 markets including: Canada, Denmark, Hong Kong, Italy, Portugal, Switzerland. The album is already Platinum in 6 countries / region including: Australia, Canada, Italy, Switzerland & Taiwan + Europe.

The album is already Gold in 15 countries including: Austria, Belgium, Czech, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, UK. [Denmark & Singapore are a few copies away from being Gold]

American Heart Coming home to Madonna

Source: John Payne, through - 12 May 2003

First of all, you have to understand that a superstar can't get a break. We build 'em up to bust 'em back down, and we delight in watching that fall. Madonna can't win in the eyes of the critics - and she can't lose in the minds of her fans.

Photo by Craig McDean

So, Madonna has put out her new American Life, which as of this writing has reached No. 1 on the SoundScan charts – her second No. 1 in a row, following Music in 2000 - and its utter putridity according to the pundits is as predictable as sunshine in L.A. Why? Because Madonna's a superstar, and because her name is Madonna.

Perversely - you also have to realize that I thought Madonna's version of Swept Away was just as good as the original movie, which never was all that great - I've always enjoyed getting contrary in this kind of situation: To slag Madonna, I figure, is so easy that her critics just have to be wrong, since they're wrong about most everything about 90 percent of the time.

Anyway, what's clear is this: People like to hate Madonna because she's successful, and because she's a successful woman. Perhaps far worse, haters hate Madonna because she just does not have to give a shit what you all think.

Actually, everything Madonna does continues to be right, and that includes pulling from release her first video from American Life, which featured explosions, a runway show of high-fashion army fatigues and Madonna dancing in a military uniform; at the end of it, she threw a hand grenade into the lap of a President George W. Bush look-alike. (In the new version, she's merely singing in front of a backdrop of different countries' flags.)

The backlash to her decision to pull the video included harsh words from the heavyweight political commentator Shakira, who called Madonna "spineless." Maybe so, but the "controversy" over the video was typically perfect pre-release publicity for the new album.

"Do I have to change my name?" Madonna asks at the outset of American Life. No, Madonna, it's too late, we know where you live. On the other hand, maybe she should change her name; that plus plastic surgery might allow her to get her music heard without the auto-wall of killjoy crap she's got to climb every time she puts out a new record (or makes a movie, or walks her dog).

For a fact, American Life wouldn't be getting slammed if it was by a 22-year-old newcomer named Desirée or Shaquina or XXXtina. In order to deal fairly with Madonna, or with any veteran artist, eventually you have to toss all of the baggage you carry about that artist's past achievements or failures (and, as much as possible, your own) and try to look at the product as if it's by someone you never heard of.

What it takes to appreciate Madonna is the ability to put yourself in the shoes of a 16-year-old girl. (I've tried it, must say it feels pretty good.) More than any big-struttin' ho, Madonna was always and continues to be America's older sister, someone the little girls understand and can receive some basic guidance from. That's a level she aims at with even the more politicized tunes on American Life, such as the titular opening track.

The anti-materialism lyrics of American Life are a decently stated put-things-in-perspective kind of thing: "I drive my Mini Cooper/And I'm feeling super-duper/Yo, they tell me I'm a trooper/And you know I'm satisfied/I do yoga and Pilates/And the room is full of hotties/So I'm checking out the bodies/And you know I'm satisfied."

Sure, coming from the very wealthy Material Girl, the above-stated sentiments might be a bit much to swallow. Seems to me, however, that she'd probably know the truth in those words better than anyone. In an electronically messed-with voice over semi-garagey electric-guitar strums and rudimentary pickings, I'm So Stupid warns on the perils of fame: "I wanted to be/pretty as the people around me/But now I know for sure that I was stupid."

Her theme is, as you'd expect, finding her place in the world in the arms of her love, with all of the complications that entails. The ballad Nothing Fails finds Madonna fondling her acoustic guitar, gazing sensitively into the gauzy distance and thinkin' about stuff. "When I get lost in space I can return to this place, 'cause... you're the one... I'm not religious, but I feel so moved."

It's been theorized that Madonna has lost her gift for tuning into the Zeitgeist, but in this unpretentious and well-sung number she displays an almost scientific approach to finding a "universal" message that Christians, Jews, Muslims and Shriners can all smile and nod to. But in X-Static Process - "When you're around I don't know who I am" - trouble brews as Madonna finds herself losing her self in her lover's ego. She's giving the little girls a word of caution: "Jesus Christ, will you look at me?" - domestic bliss ain't all it's cracked up to be. Then again, as she says in Love Profusion, "Only you make me feel good." Just look before you leap, 'kay, girls?

Aided by Music's returning producer/co-writer, Mirwais Ahmadzai, American Life boosts a leaner and less glossily electronic approach than their previous collaborations, and is loaded with funky little ditties about simple joys and simple problems. Atop some fairly tasty electronic thumping twined with her own acoustic guitars and well-placed change-ups and modulations, the spunky (and ambiguous) Hollywood says, "I tried to leave it but I never could... Hollywood - how could it hurt you when it looks so good?" Then she complains a bit about L.A. Radio stations always playing the same songs: "Push the button/change the channel." Good idea.

Despite her excellent acting when making lyrical statements about the burdens of fame and fortune, Madonna seems impervious to the normal pressures that would've completely messed up other big stars. You get the sense that she feels obligated to address these serious issues, to answer her critics, but that none of it is all that upsetting. Her act compels her to deepen her "message," such as it is. Not that we really expect our superstars to suffer or anything. We know it's all about who's got the best act, who's going to represent all those emo-shuns we've heard about on TV - fear, loneliness, heartbreak, dreams pursued/hopes dashed.

Even so, in Nobody Knows Me, featuring the Vocodered voice of Madonna atop de rigueur synth squishes and tightly gated drum-funk programs, one can imagine real feeling deeply ingrained in this particular icon. "Why should I care what the world thinks of me?" That is, yes, she does care what the world thinks of her. She says she'll just withdraw from the public eye, 'cause who needs this, huh?

Intervention ("I know that love will keep us together/I know that love will take us away from here") harps again on escape - from fame, from false expectations, etc., with love as salvation.

In Mother and Father, she finds she's never left home, though she knows she must: "I got to give it up/find someone to love me." She lapses back to her Diana Ross vocal chirps over a rudimentary urban old-school funk track, synths and squeaks and squawks and wocka-chocka electric guitar, and - uh-oh - she's rapping pop psychology, she's "A victim of a kind of rage." As we all are, I'd wager.

Your cruise down to the last song is painless and crisp. On Easy Ride, pensive, minor-key chording details Madonna's hopes for herself, her children and her husband. The arrangement is widescreen, string synths rolling counterpoint prettiness over Madonna's full-circle route to what she's been driving at all along: She wants a home, she's looked so long, and now suspects that, for better or worse, she's found one.

Mere actress though Madonna may be, it's not even like she can or does feel scorn toward her detractors; interestingly, she's at her most genuine and revealing with this endless shrugging at the perils of fame and the trap she's set for herself. Meanwhile, you might be someone who wishes for something really foul to happen in Madonna's life, to shake her up and out of her homey torpor.

That's because you're not a sympathetic 16-year-old girl, or a fat kid, or a gay kid. You may be someone who's more interested in tracking artists' career arcs than in the more pertinent idea of watching them follow their muses. Whatever the case may be, to every frickin' geek music expert who now feels compelled to dryly say, "John, it's just that her music sucks," my equally dumb but correct reply is: You just wouldn't know.

Billboard on AL in the chart

Source: Billboard - 12 May 2003

Hi Fred,

Just wondering, what's going on with Madonna's American Life single? A few weeks ago it was at No. 37. I haven't seen it since. I live in the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale area and it's in heavy rotation on the pop stations down here. Also, I see the video quite frequently on VH1 & MTV. In terms of Billboard's Hot 100, would you consider this song a flop?

Kenny Rogers, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.


Dear Kenny,

American Life will not go down in chart history as one of Madonna's biggest hits. As the first single from a new Madonna album, it received surprisingly little airplay. This week the song holds at No. 71 on Billboard's Hot 100. I can best explain the reason by quoting from the"Singles Minded" column that appears in the May 17 issue of Billboard:

"The release of the maxi-CD pushes the title 4-3 on the sales chart with a gain of 150% to 12,000 units scanned for the week (of which 8,500 are maxi sales). But with airplay down 40%, the song's ranking does not benefit from the sales influx on the Hot 100."

Part of the problem is timing. If the maxi-single had been released earlier, American Life could have benefited from having sales and airplay points combined. The late release means that the song never collected enough combined sales and airplay points in the same week to rise higher than No. 37.

But the main problem is that radio didn't cotton to American Life. There are some fine potential singles on the album, so Madonna could still earn a top-10 hit from her latest CD.

Report of HMV gig in London

Source: ABC - 10 May 2003

Madonna at HMV Madonna performed at a London record store before 500 fans on Friday to promote her new album American Life. The gig at a downtown HMV store prompted a mad scramble by fans who lined up for hours to secure free tickets to the exclusive event.

The queen of pop, who lives part time in London with her British husband, film director Guy Ritchie, arrived at the store on Oxford Street shortly after 4 p.m. local time, causing excitement to sweep through the line of patient devotees.

"To me, she's my idol. It doesn't matter how many years go by, she gets better and better. She's at her musical peak," said Tomasz Zaremba, 27, of south London, who lined up overnight to get a good position in the store.

Dressed in a black beret, polka-dot blouse, black trousers and heels, Madonna took to the stage 90 minutes later than scheduled. "I just want you to know how incredibly blessed and lucky I feel to be here right now," she told her fans. She sang live in an acoustic set backed by a five-piece band, opening with the title track to her new album.

Madonna then performed four more of her latest songs Hollywood, Nothing Fails, X-Static Process and Mother and Father before thrilling the crowd with old numbers such as Like A Prayer and Don't Tell Me, the hit single from her last album, Music. Ritchie watched the performance from the wings.

The gig wasn't without its hiccups. Madonna played guitar on some tracks and had to restart X-Static Process after fluffing one of the chord changes. She joked: "You guys are making me nervous."

Security was tight at the store which was closed at lunchtime in preparation for her arrival. HMV had brought in 50 security guards, and there were more than a dozen police officers in and around the venue. Madonna was accompanied by her own security team.

In a reference to the fans who had slept on the sidewalk overnight, Madonna told the audience: "I hope you take that determination, devotion and passion and put it somewhere else in your life. If you want to pay tribute to me, then do something important with your life."

This is the only chance fans will get to see Madonna play live in Britain in 2003. She doesn't plan to tour this country until next year.

ICON report of Paris gig

Source: - 9 May 2003

Hey Madonna fans! As promised last week, I am back with all the details to the latest Madonna promotional gigs that took place in France recently!

First of all, I would like to ask Madonna a question: How is it possible for a human being to be under such an intense schedule without failing to be as perfect as you are when in front of your public or on the recording of a TV show? Us, at Icon, followed Madonna for just 2 days of promotion in France and now feel as tired as after a full month spent on the road!

Once again, Madonna was very professional and wonderful this Tuesday evening in Paris for the recording of her appearance in a Madonna special called "La Chanson #1" (to be aired on French TV channel France 2 early next month). About 250 fans arrived at the "Carerre Studios" in La Plaine St Denis by 4.00pm and shared their thoughts on the upcoming recording before accessing the studio around 6.45pm.

Madonna arrived there with her band by 4.30pm for a private rehearsal. "La Chanson #1" is a show devoted to the best songs of a period, music genre or an artist alone. Host Daniela Lumbroso made some statements in French newspapers a few days before Madonna's arrival to say how honored and excited both her and her staff was to have Madonna visiting them to promote her new American Life album.

For those of you who do not have access to this TV channel, I would also like to add that tons of TV spots are already shown everyday, announcing the broadcasting of the show next month! As part of the concept, fans were invited to vote for their favorite Madonna track of all times before accessing the studio. Then, a compilation of Madonna's 15 best songs was made and revealed during the show. Fans who voted for the song ranked at the #1 position were entitled to win a free 2 weeks vacation in the islands!

Now, let's get back to the most important thing that happened this day: Acclaimed by her public, Madonna came on stage by 7.15pm and seemed really happy to be back in France. Wearing her famous beret, black shirt with white dots, dark grey pants, high-heeled shoes and stunning pink gloves, our lady was smiling and really kind to her audience.

Madonna performed 3 songs: American Life, Hollywood and Music (ranked #1 song later during the show). At the end of her first song, Madonna asked her fans if she should keep her gloves on or not. As most of them wanted her to keep them on, Madonna used one of her fingers to answer the few who wanted her to take them off!

No need to say that her sense of humor deserved a big applause and tons of laughs here… But don't think that Madonna forgot to be as sweet as she is used to be with her fans this time, because at the end of her performance, she threw the famous gloves to the audience (And no, I'm not the lucky guy who caught them…F*** it! ;-)

After a fabulous standing ovation, Madonna joined Daniela Lumbroso for a 30 minutes interview. Ok, Daniela asked Madonna some questions she now used to answer during all of her interviews, but she also asked some on her new album and the meaning of the songs and went very confused when Madonna told her she was wrong by assuming that some of the American Life lyrics made reference to our lady having sex toys in her bedroom!

Lumbroso, who was very impressed by her incredible guest, told her that her own boyfriend looked sexier than Guy Ritchie… An amused Madonna just answered that they would see about that backstage! But all the good things have an end, and after watching a special choreography of Vogue made by famous French dancer Mia Frye, Madonna then left the stage, giving a friendly sign of her hand to her fans.

Following Madonna's appearance, 4 hours of recording then took place. As the show was devoted to Madonna in its entirety, several French artists went on stage, paying tribute to some of her most famous songs: the L5 band performed Holiday, Ophelie Winter did Express Yourself, Billy Crawford did Into The Groove, Tina Arena did Don't Cry For Me Argentina, etc., and a special mention to French songwriter Pascal Obispo who performed a fantastic adaptation of Frozen.

An exhausted Icon editor left the recording by 1.30am and went back to his hotel, still excited by Madonna's performance but also ready for the special showcase organized in a secret place the next day in Paris… More to follow…

Madonna praises France's war opposition

Source: Ananova - 9 May 2003

Madonna has thanked France for its opposition to the Iraqi war, during a private performance for 200 guests of a radio station in Paris. Dressed in a low-cut black top and black glittery trousers, she performed the title track to her album, American Life.

The exclusive event, held at the city's Nobel restaurant, lasted 40 minutes. But for those not invited to the venue, the concert was broadcast by the radio station live over the internet and to nine European countries. As she thanked the French for opposing conflict in Iraq, she told fans: "Here in France I feel at home."

Madonna pushes sale of Timothy Taylor beer

Source: Daily Express, thanx to Madonnarama - 9 May 2003

She has enough money to bathe daily in the stuff but Madonna can expect a crate-load of her favourite tipple - Timothy Taylor bitter - to be delivered gratis after her public endorsement increased demand.

Madonna thrillde the small West Yorkshire-based brewery when she said her husband Guy Ritchie had educated her on the joys of donning a flat cap, going to the pub and ordering a pint. "I have learned to love real ale. Timothy Taylor's the best," she told Jonathan Ross in a recent interview.

In terms of advertising, her praise is priceless. "We are completely over the moon that she likes our beer," brewery managing director Charles Dent tells us. "We are just a small, local brewery and now we're getting phone calls from all over the place.

I shall be sending her a letter of thanks and - of course - some beer on us." He is also considering changing the strapline on company vans - from "Originally Brewed For Men of the Notrh" to "Brewed For Men Of The North and Now Liked by Madonna".

This is not the first time the star has given our homegrown products the thumbs up - she has regular deliveries of Cumbrian baker Jean John's Cartmel sticky toffee pudding. She'll be drooling over our Yorskhire pud next.

Belgian release for Swept Away

9 May 2003

According to the Kinepolis website, Swept Away will be released in their Belgian theatres on May 14th (instead of 21st, as earlier reported).

Madonna e-card

9 May 2003 introduces a new Madonna e-card, which streams the entire album. You can also watch the (second) American Life video. Check it out and send it to your friends who haven't discovered American Life yet.

Million copies in Europe but chart drop in US

Source: Hollywood Reporter, Reuters - 8 May 2003

American Life has passed 1 million in sales in Europe for the month of April to become Madonna's sixth release to win an IFPI Platinum Europe Award.

Meanwhile, the album drops from no. 1 to no. 8 in its second week in the US album chart.

M plays secret gig in Paris

Source: Madonnarama - 7 May 2003

Madonna has performed tonight eight songs from "La Cantine Du Faubourg" in Paris: American Life, Hollywood (with an "i've-forgotten-the-lyrics"-moment), Nothing Fails, X-static Process (an up-tempo version), Mother and Father (acoustic with an excellent rap-moment), Like a Virgin and Don't Tell Me.

She was really happy and talked a lot with the audience, said thing like "Love has nothing to do with religion, religion is judgement" and asked not to show her pictures of herself because she knows "what she looks like". Mondino and Gaultier were in the audience and she said that she was privileged to work with them and with Mirwais.

Possible B-side for Hollywood *rumour*

Source: Madonnarama - 6 May 2003

Unconfirmed, but reliable sources tell us that Madonna is currently considering which song to use as the b-side of 'Hollywood'.

Likely contenders are 'Can't You See My Mind' (rejected Bond tune) or 'Mr Ejector'. This is all we know at present.

Report of Paris show

6 May 2003

MADONNA IN PARIS : REPORT FROM THE "LA CHANSON #1" RECORDING. Madonna arrived at the studio of La Plaine St Denis (Paris) at 4 p.m. sharp, in her usual "Service Prestige" Mercedes, in order to shoot her part of the show "LA CHANSON #1 - MADONNA SPECIAL".

The principle of this show is as follow: A big star (Madonna) is invited to perform some of her hits, and is later confronted to French artists covering her old hits. Madonna, of course, simply taped her performances and interview and left before the other artists arrived (This will of course be fixed after the show is edited).

The audience, mostly composed by fans, was electric and extremely anxious to see Madonna. The recording started around 7 p.m., after much delay due to prolonged rehearsals of the other artists. The host of the show, Daniella Lumbroso, appeared before us, wearing a T-shirt with "AMERICAN LIFE" written on the front, and "FRENCH TOUCH" on her back.

Much to the audience's delight, she quickly introduced Madonna, which appeared on the beat of AMERICAN LIFE, ready to perform... only the playback started too early before she even had time to reach her microphone. Being a good sport as usual, she laughed, and went back backstage to start her big entrance once again.

She was, of course, wearing her usual beret, a short-sleeved black shirt with white dots, dark grey pants, high-heeled shoes, and pink gloves. This time was the good one: She delivered a flawless lip-synched performance of AMERICAN LIFE, very similar to the one she gave on CD:UK last week.

Before performing HOLLYWOOD, Madonna asked the audience “raise your hands if you like my gloves”. Most hands arose quickly. "Ok, now, those of you who don't like my gloves, raise your hand". Just a few courageous hands arose. Madonna laughed and gave us the finger, which made her and everyone present laugh.

During her performance, she majorly rubbed her ass when delivering the line "This bird has flown", which provoked the hilarity of the audience! She then took off her gloves and threw them to the fans.

She then started another lip-synch on MUSIC, missed the "Do you like to ..." line twice, kissed Mirwais, gave him her beret, and basically seemed to have a good time impressing her French fans! We were also treated with an excellent series of those famous knee-bends! Fans in the front rows (including your humble servant) were especially delighted by the many long eye-contacts she gently gave us.

After her three performances, Madonna sat for a 15 minutes interview, which , sadly, was certainly one of the most boring of this whole promo tour. But don't blame our girl! The host was simply incapable of asking one single interesting question.

Madonna, once again a good sport, smiled and was extremely friendly, despite her pre-written answers and the many "Yeah, I am", "yeah, I do". She spoke a bit of French with the audience, but declared her daughter was much better at French than she was.

When asked if, on top of a beret, she would agree to hold a baguette under her arm to look more French, she disagreed, and precised that "my armpits are too sweaty for that", which once again made the audience laugh.

After the host told her her own boyfriend looked way sexier than Guy Ritchie, Madonna seemed amused but answered that "we'll see about that backstage". Give credit to Daniella – she's incompetent, but she had balls! Sadly, these were the only funny bits of this dull interview. Obviously, Madonna was not impressed with Daniella's work. Can't blame her.

Madonna was then "treated" with an extremely odd looking choreography on VOGUE, executed by American/French dancer Mia Frye (creator of La Macarena), executed by 14 dancers. The look on Madonna's face was priceless, and she seemed very impressed by one of the most bendy male dancer.

After the song ended, she applauded and went to kiss Mya, much to the delight of the whole crew. Then came the time to leave: Madonna declared on a mocking tone that she was "hungry and thirsty" and needed her dinner. Daniella wished her "Bon Appetit", and that was it. No goodbyes, but a nice and friendly sign of her hand.

The audience gave her a standing ovation. But well, maybe she did come back, later in the show. How would I know, I left the recording early. As I'm typing these lines, the rest of the audience is still being hold hostage in the studio, suffering the other artists' (probably atrocious) interpretations of Madonna's hits, and it should go on for a few more hours.

Tonight, Madonna’s charisma and professionalism were flawless. I wished she would have been interviewed by a better hostess. But all in all, this was a meeting that fans present will not forget anytime soon!

More details about this recording will be added soon, and the full transcript of the interview will follow once the show is aired on French TV in early June on "France2" channel. Greetings, Gregory Engler, Madonna's Ashram

Performance at HMV

Source: - 6 May 2003

When Madonna performed at Tower Records in New York, fans lined up days ahead of time. That's why we're giving you ample warning: Madonna will be performing at the HMV in London on the afternoon of May 9th. HMV is on Oxford Street. Reserve your piece of pavement now.

Madonna confirms 2004 tour!

Source: Madonnarama - 3 May 2003

Madonna today confirmed that she would be touring in 2004 during the taping of two performances for the show CD:UK. The Madonnarama team were there to see her record (lip-synch) American Life and Hollywood.

During a short interview, Madonna told presenter Cat Deely how she planned to hit the road next year. The performance of Hollywood was particularly good, with Madonna looking more beautiful and relaxed than ever!

American Life will open the show on ITV1 tomorrow and Hollywood will be shown just before the chart rundown.

AL album is no. 1 hit!

Source:, E Online - 2 May 2003

We're proud to announce that Madonna's American LP has debuted at #1 in 2 new countries/regions, Mexico & Czech Republic. As of today the album is #1 in 16 countries/regions! There are still countries that we are waiting on reports from so there is a good chance this number will grow.

The list is:
1 UK [Gold]
1 Germany [Gold]
1 France [Gold]
1 Italy [platinum]
1 Canada [platinum]
1 Sweden [Gold]
1 Austria [Gold]
1 Switzerland [Gold]
1 Taiwan [Gold]
1 Belgium [Gold]
1 Norway [Gold]
1 Singapore [Gold]
1 Mexico
1 Czech Republic
1 Europe

The ones she almost topped:
Spain 2
Denmark 2
Australia 3
Finland 4
Holland 4
Ireland 7

It took more than a decade, but Madonna just landed her first back-to-back number-one album since her '80s heyday. By debuting in the top spot, American Life gives Madonna her second studio album in a row to hit number one for a grand tally of five peak performers.

First hitting the top spot with 1984's Like a Virgin, the 44-year-old mother of two continued her chart dominance over her next two albums before going a full 11 years without making it past number two.

After winning three Grammy Awards for Ray of Light in 1999, Madonna retook the top spot the following year with Music. For the week ended April 27, American Life scored a top spot replay by selling nearly 241,000 copies, according to SoundScan data.

Report of Cologne show

Source: Madonna Information Report - 1 May 2003

Here's a fan report from Madonna's performance at German TV show 'Absolute Madonna', recorded yesterday in Cologne:

Madonna and Olivier Giessen

"... The show then started and they interviewed a few stars that wouldn't be known outside Germany, and then it was time for Madonna, who had indicated that she wanted to get the performance in the can before the interview. We swiveled around, and when Madonna appeared, the crowd was deafening.

Madonna wore a black top, grey pants (I think), with a black hat (with a thick green silk band around it) stiletto boots, a necklace and a wristband with what looked like lots of diamonds. She also wore a red piece of string tied around the other wrist.

Madonna started to dance and lipsynch to American Life, and then there was a short break while they ironed out some difficulty with the playback tape. A bit of American Life blared out when she was expecting Hollywood. Madonna appeared to pissed at the delay, quipping "could I at least get some water if I'm going to be waiting here for hours?".

While she was drinking her water, Hollywood started playing so she hurriedly put down the water, put on some dark sunglasses, and then performed to that track. After that, she said that she was going to play an old track, and after suggestions that she play Like A Virgin, the playback for Music started. She did 4 deep-knee bends. At some point, she took the hairband out of her hair and let it flow down.

Madonna was very energetic during the performance, dancing most, if not all the way through. I've seen her in concert a few times, and she walked right past me after Up For Grabs in London, but this time, I was really struck by how tiny she is. She's superfit, and looked still really young. And boy did she move (probably because she didn't need to worry about singing live).

During a couple of songs, she came right up to us four and sang to us and looked at us. It was amazing.

The band consisted of a Stuart Price, Mirwais, Monty Pittman, and a couple of others. No choir this time around.

One of the cameras was right next to me, and if you see any shots of Madonna side-on from the right during the performance, that is exactly the perspective we had.

After the performance, it was time for the interview, so we swiveled back around to the interview set. Madonna came down and walked right by and went and sat down. Her hair was still down for the interview (which will be shown before the performance when it airs), so sharp viewers might notice that on Saturday.

Oliver Geissen (the host) interviewed her about the sex book (she yawned as if to say "next topic please!") Madonna said that she didn't regret doing it, because it's bad to have regrets, but she did say it might not have been the right decision.

She had different attitudes towards sex back then. They talked about the BA tour and the pope incident. They also talked about motherhood, being a good mom and about how strict she is. When Madonna met Guy, he just came up to her and started eating off her plate.

Madonna will never do a duet with Sting. She elaborated by saying that she likes Sting, but that duets are stupid and she just doesn't want to do any more. Madonna counted the people that live with her in the house, including a driver, a macrobiotic chef, nannie (etc) and when asked how she gets peace and quiet with all those people around, she said that she does shows.

While she was being interviewed, Madonna played with Oliver's buttons on his suit jacket sleeve, and he told her to leave them. She opened his jacket and tried to find the label to see what country it was made it. She asked if it was German (no). During the interview, when Oliver would speak to her, it was in German.

A translator would give Madonna an immediate translation, and likewise, when Madonna spoke the translator would let the Germans know what she said over really loud speakers. The sound sometimes totally drowned out Madonna and her thought process, and a couple of times she looked a little pissed. Especially once, when the translator started talking before Madonna had said anything - was the interview rehearsed?

After the interview, it was over - Madonna left pretty much immediately (and apparently flew straight back to London)."

1000 weeks on the album charts

Source: - 1 May 2003

Madonna has reached 1000 weeks on the album chart. Actually, she did this a couple of weeks ago, but Madonna has become one of a very select group of recording acts (Beatles, Queen, Elvis, Dire Straits, Simon and Garfunkel, U2, Madonna - in that order) to clock up 1000 weeks on the UK album chart!

Her full chart breakdown is as follows:
- Madonna (6): 123 weeks
- Like a Virgin (1): 152 weeks
- True Blue (1): 85 weeks
- You Can Dance (5): 16 weeks
- Like a Prayer (1): 70 weeks
- I'm Breathless (2): 20 weeks
- The Immaculate Collection (1): 202* weeks
- Erotica (2): 38 weeks
- Bedtime Stories (2): 27 weeks
- Something to Remember (3): 29 weeks
- Evita (1): 36 weeks
- Ray of Light (1): 116 weeks
- Music (1): 64 weeks
- GHV2 (2): 24 weeks
- American Life (1): 1* week
Total: 1003 weeks!

* Denotes these albums are currently on chart.
Incidentally, The Beatles, who are in the lead on this list, have 1285 weeks.

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