One of Madonna's most important albums ever, True Blue is celebrating its 22nd birthday today. Released on June 30th, 1986, True Blue showed Madonna's first ever true re-invention as she took the first step to become a serious recording artist instead of a teen pop icon.
Madonna co-wrote and co-produced all the songs on her 3rd record and showed a variety of styles and themes on the album. The centerpiece of the set is the Mad-Eyes favourite Live To Tell, a gorgeous ballad. After 22 years, it's still named as one of Madonna's best vocal performances, some of her best lyrics, and is easily Madonna's first ever serious song. The sad, but at the same time self-empovering and introspective lyrics, which are open for a lot of interpretation, keep on influencing fans up to today.
The rest of the album contains such classics as the controversial Papa Don't Preach with the subject of abortion, the powerful love song Open Your Heart, which was first written with Cyndi Lauper in mind, but Madonna ended up rewriting it into an obsessive anthem directed towards her hesitating man.
The most popular song on the record all around the world has to be La Isla Bonita, Madonna's first ever Spanish/Latin-tingled track, one of her biggest hits ever. Other songs include Where's The Party, the never happened 6th single that got a lot of airplay, the title track which is a tribute to the girl groups of the 1950s, and White Heat, another powerful love anthem, featuring quotes by legendary Jimmy Cagney from the 1949 gangster classic which shares its title with the song. The last 2 tracks on the album are actually more remembered for their throwaway filler quality, they are among Madonna's least loved album tracks!
Even though True Blue feels slightly outdated today with its typical 80s synth-pop instrumentation and is more like a collection of songs than an actual album with a concept, it will always remain as an important landmark in Madonna's amazing career. It also claims the title of the best selling Madonna studio album with a staggering 24 million copies sold worldwide, and is among the all-time top 10 best selling female albums ever!
True Blue is also notable for being represented on all of Madonna's tours since its release, so of course the speculation among fans is heated, whether Madonna decides to sing her now-concert staple La Isla Bonita yet again, or she finally re-invents the most demanded Open Your Heart...
Fortunately for many fans, Madonna's new single Give It 2 Me is going to see a 8-track maxi-single release on August 5th, 2008. The tracklist is the following:
01 Fedde Le Grand Remix
02 Oakenfold Extended Remix
03 Oakenfold Drums In Mix
04 Eddie Amador Club
05 Eddie Amador House Loves Mix
06 Tong & Spoon
07 Jody den Broeder Club
08 Bongo Joe Mix
~ Before fans freak out at the late release date, please keep in mind that a maxi-single like this is totally considered as a "for the fans" release in 2008 and will NOT affect the chart performance of the single. Thankfully Warner is giving us the famous USA maxi-singles in Madonna's very last Warner-era, a nice guesture in a period where physical singles are considered dead.
Guy Ritchie's mother last night dismissed speculation that Madonna wants to divorce her son as 'total tosh'.
Amber, Lady Leighton, said there was 'no conversation about divorce because there is no divorce' and described allegations that couple had spoken to lawyers as 'works of fiction'.
She added: 'It is absolute rubbish, worse than that. Guy will be furious at me talking to you but I feel I can't just let these reports go unanswered as they make me so angry and they are hurtful intrusions into their private lives.
'They are no different to most other couples and we all know that being together can be hard sometimes and marriages are not always a bed of roses.
'But like other couples they work at keeping their relationship happy and fresh and they are a close and loving couple who have a family to bring up.'
Mr Ritchie, 39, flew to New York on Friday night to see Madonna and their children after a week of reports that she had asked him for a divorce.
The couple are said to be leading separate lives and it has been stated that a formal announcement of a split has been planned for the end of November after Madonna finishes her world tour.
But at her home near Somerton, Somerset, on Friday, Lady Leighton, 62, said: 'I spoke to Guy this morning, not about divorce but about a new feature film project he has got under way. 'There's no conversation about divorce because there is no divorce.
'Madonna is in New York at the moment finishing off a tour and he will join her there after the weekend.
'That is not a couple splitting up. I'll say it one more time, they are not getting divorced; the speculation is TT – that's total tosh.'
Madonna, 49, who is worth £300million, had been reported to have consulted top divorce lawyer Fiona Shackleton, who represented Sir Paul McCartney in his split from Heather Mills. Mrs Shackleton's office has refused to comment.
Meanwhile Mr Ritchie was said to have had informal talks with family law firm Forsters. But the firm would only say: 'We are not instructed in this matter.'
The couple's busy schedules mean they are unlikely to spend much time together this summer.
Madonna is said to be planning to flit between her homes in New York, Los Angeles and London.
She is also working to promote a world tour on the back of her latest album, Hard Candy, which starts in Europe in August, although ticket sales in America are sluggish.
Mr Ritchie has been editing his new gangster movie RocknRolla, due to be released in September.
Madonna has three children – Lourdes, 11, by former personal trainer Carlos Leon, Mr Ritchie's son Rocco, seven, and David, two, who was adopted from Malawi.
David's natural father Yohane Banda, 33, said he would prefer his son to be raised by Madonna than her husband if they separate.
The farmer, whose second wife is due to give birth to her first child any day, said: 'I would say Madonna because when I was first approached I was told about Madonna wanting to take my son.
'And every time people ask me about my son they say he is now Madonna's child or has been taken by Madonna.
'So I think that if the two separate, my son should go to Madonna.' He said any bid to get his son back was 'out of the question'.
With no wedding ring on her finger and no husband in sight, Madonna and her three children – and Carlos Leon, 11-year-old daughter Lourdes's biological dad – visited Manhattan's Kabbalah Centre Friday night for Sabbath services.
So where was Guy Ritchie, rumored to be splitting with Madonna? British tabloid reports had him in London, but headed to New York this weekend. Britain's Sun has an unnamed source saying Ritchie seeks to keep the couple's marriage going, although Madonna is focused on rehearsals for her upcoming world tour.
On Thursday, it was reported in the London Times Madonna had consulted noted divorce British attorney Fiona Shackleton, who had represented Paul McCartney and Prince Charles in their bitter divorces from, respectively, Heather Mills and Princess Diana.
On Friday night, Madonna's group came in three waves, with Leon and Lourdes arriving first, quickly followed by an SUV carrying her son (with Ritchie) Rocco, 7, and adopted son David, 2, each child with a nanny.
Fifteen minutes later, around 8:45, Madonna arrived, wearing a black skirt and a black tank top over a white T-shirt. The service had just about ended, with a dinner about to begin. Madonna stayed some 20 minutes before leaving with Rocco and David for her home on Central Park West, according to a source.
In Manhattan to rehearse for her upcoming world Sticky & Sweet Tour, which kicks off Aug. 23 in Wales, Madonna has stuck to a rigid schedule.
First, according to a source, she works out at home. Then, at 2:15 each afternoon, Madonna leaves for a studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where she and members of the tour practice numbers.
Meanwhile, the children and several nannies, often also accompanied by Leon, spend time playing outside or in Central Park, the source says.
Even though touring is said to be the most profitable way in the music industry nowadays, the American economy is making sure that 2008 is not going to be remembered for the biggest tour grosses. Fortunately Madonna is among the very few acts that are unaffected, and is undoubtedly the biggest touring female artist, even in America:
Four-dollar-a-gallon gas prices are eating away at the summer-concert business, with top festivals and tours taking unexpected box-office hits over the past few months. Bonnaroo and Coachella fell short of sellouts for the first time in years, tours such as Stevie Wonder, Janet Jackson, Maroon 5 and George Michael are struggling, and even perennial sure things like Bruce Springsteen and Nine Inch Nails are soft in some cities. "It has an effect when people are filling up their cars for $80," says Alex Hodges, chief operating officer for Nederlander Concerts in Los Angeles. "How many concerts are they going to go to with all the other costs?"
Coldplay canceled several early shows due to production problems, but sales for the remaining dates are strong. "When this tour plays, I don't think there will be a single ticket available," says John Vlautin, spokesman for promoter Live Nation. For Springsteen, who sold out 10 shows at New Jersey's Giants Stadium in 2003, tickets are still available for the three shows there this year. And several top tours, including Wonder and Maroon 5/Counting Crows, are offering bargain-basement prices, such as four lawn tickets for about $100.
In a year with more festivals than ever, the biggest have endured sales dips for the first time in years. Coachella failed to sell out in April, and Bonnaroo missed selling out its 80,000 capacity for only the second time since it began in 2002. "It was just shy," says co-founder Rick Farman. "We're happy with how it turned out, considering the economy and gas prices."
Numerous shows are still doing strong business despite the economy. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers shrewdly put tickets on sale the day after their Super Bowl appearance in February and have been selling out everywhere. Madonna - who is playing stadiums in Los Angeles and San Francisco - has sold out 15 of her 25 shows and 88 percent of the total seats. And Radiohead, Bon Jovi, the Dave Matthews Band, Journey/Heart/Cheap Trick, Jimmy Buffett, the Warped Tour and country acts such as Kenny Chesney and Rascal Flatts have reported strong sales.
"Anything that went on sale prior to [mid-June] is probably in good shape," says Randy Phillips, president of concert promoter AEG Live. "My concern is going forward. I hear oil is predicted to reach $200 a barrel on the open market - if that keeps ratcheting up, I'm not sure what the impact is going to be."
And smaller acts are especially feeling the economic pinch. Rose Hill Drive, a hard-rock band from Boulder, Colorado, have had to cut other costs since gas hit $4 per gallon, which amounts to about $100 per tank, roughly every day for their 15-passenger van with a trailer attached. "We just have to watch it," says singer Jake Sproul. "As far as hotels, if we're not getting a deal, we just can't stay there, and we have to stay at friends' houses whenever we can. If gas prices go up much more, that's when we have to start camping and eating peanut butter and jelly."
The London attorneys alleged to be representing Madonna's director husband Guy Ritchie in their rumoured divorce have denied having any involvement in the case.
The superstar couple has been plagued by rumours of a split for months, and reports heated up when it was claimed the pair had begun to seek legal advice from top lawyers.
Ritchie was reported to have hired Mayfair law firm Forsters, which specialises in 'high net worth' family law cases, to represent him.
But a spokesperson for the company has dismissed the reports, stating: "We are not acting for Guy Ritchie in this matter."
And Ann Northover, head of Forsters' family division, has reinforced the fact, adding, "I can only say I have no involvement at this moment."
Madonna is rumoured to have met with Fiona Shackleton, the attorney who represented Sir Paul MCCartney during his court battle with Heather Mills earlier this year (08).
Shackleton's employers, Payne Hicks Beach, is refusing to comment.
The hype for Madonna's Sticky & Sweet Tour is still going strong as tickets are selling like hot cakes across the globe.
Sticky & Sweet has already surpassed the 1 million-ticket mark and 14 concerts have yet to go on sale. Madonna has a total of 55 concerts scheduled for her tour. Eight concerts in South America, four concerts in Europe and two concerts in North America still haven't been announced.
90 percent of Sticky & Sweet Tour tickets are already sold out. Live Nation's chairman of Global Music and CEO of Global Touring, Arthur Fogel, said, "With Sticky & Sweet, Madonna is on track to break her own record as the top grossing female artist of all time."
Madonna is ranked by the Recording Industry Association of America as the best-selling female rock artist of the twentieth century and the second top-selling female artist in the United States. Even the Guinness World Record lists her as the most successful female recording artist of all time.
Is Madonna on her way to breaking her own ticket sales record?
~ This is not an official confirmation yet, but it's possible that Madonna is indeed going to add a few more shows here and there.
Madonna Tickets Breeze Past One Million Mark - Sticky & Sweet Tour Heading Toward Record-Breaking Numbers
Material Girl Leaves Doubters In The Dust For Biggest Tour Of 2008
Neither wind, nor rain, gas prices, nor the economy can slow down the momentum of Madonna fans who are turning out in record numbers all over the globe to scoop up tickets for the upcoming Sticky & Sweet Tour.
Today, Live Nation confirmed that Mexico City's Foro Sol Stadium shows scheduled for November 29th and 30th sold more than 100,000 tickets in just three hours, resulting in back to back sellouts at the famed stadium.
Mexico City joins the growing list of sold out Madonna shows in Paris, Lisbon, New York, Zurich, Boston, Chicago, Denver, East Rutherford, NJ, Oakland, Las Vegas, Houston, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver all of which sold out within hours of going on sale.
To date Madonna has sold out 90% of the tickets available for her 42-date global tour, which kicks off in Cardiff, Wales on August 23rd.
With more than 70,000 tickets sold for the Sticky & Sweet Zurich Show at the Military Airfield Dubendorf on August 30th, Lisbon's 75,000 tickets sold and 50,000 tickets sold for her Vancouver dates and four Madison Square Garden shows sold out in New York City in addition to the nearby Izod Center in East Rutherford for a total of 65,000 New York area tickets sold, Madonna has sold more than 1 Million tickets thus far on her global tour.
Madonna, whose most recent CD Hard Candy debuted at Number One in over 30 countries, has made it her personal mission to challenge herself to top her previous tours. With rehearsals well under way for Sticky & Sweet, Madonna and famed director and long-time collaborator Jamie King are creating an extraordinary never-before seen stage set, groundbreaking audio and eye popping visual effects. Madonna will be joined onstage with a new band and 18 dancers that reaffirm that this is a singular event that Madonna fans can not miss.
"With Sticky & Sweet, Madonna is on track to break her own record as the top grossing female artist of all time," said Arthur Fogel, Live Nation's of Chairman of Global Music and CEO of Global Touring. "Her sales are extraordinary in every market she's playing and illustrate what an unparalleled live draw Madonna is for music fans all over the world."
For a while, rumours about Madonna & Guy divorcing have been circulating, especially in the British press, but we didn't post any of it, because it was unclear whether they were true. We still don't have an official confirmation, but now the rumours are getting very strong, and now there's an article from The Times which can be considered as a reliable source:
She did it for Macca - now can she do it for Madonna? Fiona Shackleton, the divorce lawyer who ensured that Sir Paul McCartney retained all but £24.3 million of his £825 million fortune, has been lined up by the pop star.
Madonna, whose fortune is estimated to be worth £300 million, is understood to be seeking legal advice on a possible divorce from her husband of seven years, the film director Guy Ritchie. Ms Shackleton, 52, is the lawyer of choice for the rich and famous after what was regarded as the spectacularly well-handled split of Sir Paul from Heather Mills, who was rumoured to be pushing for £80 million.
Dubbed the "steel magnolia" for her tough but pragmatic negotiation tactics, Ms Shackleton instructed the top divorce silk, Nicholas Mostyn, QC. They secured such a successful result that Ms Mills emptied a jug of water over Ms Shackleton's head after hearing the judge's ruling.
Ms Shackleton also acted for the Prince of Wales in his divorce.
Yesterday Madonna's spokesman refused to comment on the claims. But one lawyer told The Times that the word in legal circles was that Madonna had gone to Ms Shackleton after making an approach to another firm. Guy Ritchie is thought to have had dealings with a lesser-known Mayfair law firm, Forsters.
There has been speculation for some time over the marriage of Madonna, 49, and Ritchie, 39. It is thought that the couple did not have a prenuptial agreement, which means that the starting point for any settlement would be a 50-50 split.
She's about to begin her Sticky and Sweet World Tour, and 4 Minutes, the first single from her new album, Hard Candy, is topping the charts. And now Madonna can add documentarian to her growing list of accomplishments.
I Am Because We Are, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year, focuses on the suffering of Malawian children whose parents died of AIDS, an issue of critical importance to the superstar.
What made you decide to do the documentary?
"I was approached by a woman who lived there who said, 'Look, you have children; you're a mother; you write children's books; you donate money to children's charities, so we know that you care. There's a state of emergency going on here, over a million children orphaned by AIDS. People pay attention to what you do and what you say, so could you please help?' I just thought, 'How can I say no?'"
What was it like to film in Africa?
"When I experienced what was going on first hand, I just got sucked into the whole thing. Thank God I did. I met some amazing people and, hopefully, I've changed the lives of a lot of children. Just as important, I think it's been an incredible growing and learning experience for me. I think the film is really important because it's not really just about what's happening in Malawi, it's really about the importance of how connected we all are, and how responsible we are for one another."
Did you know it would give you another child?
"No, of course not. But I'll never forget meeting my son, David. If I could, I would have adopted 10 more children. There's just so many that need parents and one's more beautiful and lovely than the next."
You have some high-profile collaborators on your new album Hard Candy, from Justin Timberlake to Kanye West. Who was in charge in those recording sessions?
"I like to work with people who have strong opinions. Justin, Timbaland and Kanye - they are all pretty much superstars in their own right and have a very strong sense of what they like and what they want - but so do I. So it was like many forces meeting all together in a room and it was good give and take. There was a lot of chemistry."
You seem to have a very strong sense of what it takes to survive in this business.
"I guess so. I mean, people say that about me, but I don't really think of myself as a business woman. Maybe I just have good intuition."
As the music world changes, you've been called a master at reinventing yourself. What's the secret to staying current?
"I think it's because I'm curious. I pay attention to what's going on around me. I'm always looking for new energy, new talent, new voices. When you do that I think it's easier to come up with fresh ideas. It's not that my career has been based on surprising people, but it's been about challenging myself - to constantly do new things that are going to broaden my own mind and in the process, hopefully, connect with other people."
How's the fight going to keep the media from invading the privacy of your children?
"It's a constant battle. I try to avoid places where I think my kids are going to get inundated by paparazzi. In England, there's a law against photographing children. So it's a little bit easier there. Airports we can't avoid. Sometimes it's just unavoidable. I don't like to live in a gilded cage. I don't want to live my life behind closed doors. I want to be out in the world and I want to be free, and yet, still careful and watchful."
In the media section of Madonna.com, now you can find the first Madonna interview they dug up from the vaults: the Breakfast with Madonna interview from 1990, by MTV. Let's hope we'll get some more cool classic videos soon!
I often criticize Madonna in this space for her nutty politics and her membership in Kabbalah. But there's one thing you can't beat and that's Madonna live and in person.
So let's clear up reports from Tuesday that her big fall tour isn't selling out. With the sole exception of Los Angeles' Dodger Stadium, the Sweet and Sticky tour, I am told, will outpace Madonna's last tour significantly.
Indeed, Dodger Stadium is the only venue Madonna hasn't sold out. Of course, the show isn't for five months. The fact that she's sold half the stadium now for November is pretty darn impressive.
So where did this bad news come from? Warner M. Group, which lost Madonna to Live Nation, has been on a tear planting negative stories about the latter organization.
WMG, as I predicted, has done little to nothing to promote Madonna's Hard Candy album as retribution for her exit to Live Nation. That a CD with a hit single, the Justin Timberlake-Michael Jackson sound-alike duet 4 Minutes, has sold only 500,000 copies is an utter disgrace. But WMG only has itself to blame.
It didn't take a rocket scientist to predict this. WMG has just this and a greatest hits album left with Madonna, and then she's gone. Her departure is a huge embarrassment to the ailing, much-mocked record company.
But here's what's better: I'm told Live Nation is on the brink of cutting a similar deal with WMG's act Nickelback. Nickelback, which has hits like "The Reason" and "Photograph," is a contemporary hit-maker act, a rarity these days. Grabbing them from WMG could be Live Nation's coup de grace.
Live Nation is also rumored to be making deals with Epic Records star Shakira for concerts and CDs. Is it happening? Well, hips don't lie.
But Live Nation did not do the deal with the Rolling Stones that I long ago exclusively reported on. In the end, I'm told, it made more sense for Live Nation to keep putting on Stones concerts. But album-wise, the group is not a big seller. It's likely to continue doing one-off deals with Interscope, which did such a good job with the "Shine a Light" soundtrack.
As for Madonna, we needn't worry about her or Live Nation. She's already sold out four shows at the Garden and out in New Jersey at what used to be the Continental Airlines Arena - now the Izod Arena. She's also sold out most of her venues in Europe. And Dodger Stadium? Those Angelenos are just mellow. They'll get to it in time.
Meanwhile, a better question to ask is why can't WMG cough up a follow-up single to 4 Minutes? That is, assuming they would want to. Hard Candy is full of candidates such as Miles Away and Give It 2 Me.
But WMG hasn't had made a move. By contrast, Mariah Carey - whose sales have outpaced Madonna's considerably - is already on her third single from her contemporaneous release, "E=MC2."
With nearly 1 million tickets sold to date along with sold out performances in Paris, Lisbon & Zurich; New York, Boston, Chicago; Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and 2 Mexican stadium shows on Monday, Madonna's Sticky & Sweet Tour is once again poised to be the tour of the year!
The demand for tickets in Paris for Madonna's September 20th performance was so staggering that a second and final performance was added on September 21st. The Sticky & Sweet Zurich show at the Military Airfield Dubendorf August 30th is sold out at 70,000 and her show date in Lisbon 14-September is also sold out with over 75,000 tickets.
In Vancouver, Madonna's October 30th performance sold 50,000 tickets in a record breaking 29 minutes. This past Monday, Madonna's Sticky and Sweet Tour sold out two Foro Sol stadiums in less than 3 hours adding to a list of sellouts that include four sold out Madison Square Garden shows in New York City; 2 sold out performances in Toronto, Montreal, Chicago, Denver; and additional sell-outs in E. Rutherford, Boston, Oakland, Las Vegas, and Houston.
And now, London fans who missed out on tickets will have a new opportunity to see Madonna with newly announced special guest Paul Oakenfold on 11-September at Wembley Stadium. With the completion of the production for Madonna's Sticky & Sweet Tour, promoters Live Nation announced today that the sight-lines are better than previously anticipated and as such a limited number of tickets in all price levels are now available from www.livenation.co.uk or 24 hr box office 0844 576 5483 (all tickets subject to booking fee). Tickets will be limited to 6 tickets per person.
Paul Oakenfold has long been one of the most important--if not the most important--name in modern club culture. He was one of the first DJ's to have a residency on the Island of Ibiza, leading to both a new sound and a yearly festival. He started regular "Balearic" club nights in London, attracting a crossover audience and remixed legendary bands such as The Stone Roses and the Happy Mondays, Along with production partner Steve Osborne, he's remixed tracks by legendary bands New Order, The Cure and Massive Attack.
In 1991, he first worked with U2 remixing "Even Better Than the Real Thing" and "Mysterious Ways" from their Achtung Baby album. It was the start of a long partnership with that band which included his spot as DJ on their historic ZOO TV tour and the remixed versions of the band's "Beautiful Day," a number one hit for U2 on the U.S. and U.K. dance charts.
Over the years, he's remixed tracks for everyone from Madonna to Elvis Presley to Justin Timberlake to Muse to Snoop Dog. He's the first electronic artist ever to be in the Guinness Book of World Records--for being the biggest DJ in the world. He's the only DJ to have a display case in the Hard Rock Cafe's Rock & Roll Museum. He has worked on the music for major Hollywood filmsincluding Swordfish, Collateral, Planet Of The Apes & Matrix Reloaded".
Madonna's Sticky & Sweet Tour begins 23-August at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium with stops in Nice, Berlin, Zurich, Amsterdam, Dusseldorf, Rome, Frankfurt, Lisbon, Paris, Vienna and Athens in addition to the 11-September Wembley date.
Live Nation is on the defensive about the health of its $120 million Madonna deal.
Big sales around the world for the Material Girl's upcoming Sticky & Sweet Tour have been overshadowed in music industry circles by chatter about the large number of tickets still available for a key stop in Los Angeles in November and softer-than-expected sales of her latest album Hard Candy.
The tour so far has grossed more than $74 million in sales for 13 dates in Europe and piled up a string of sellouts at arenas across North America, according to Live Nation.
Arthur Fogel, chairman of global music and CEO of the global touring division at Live Nation, projects the tour will gross more than $250 million in ticket sales - surpassing her record-breaking Confessions Tour two years ago, which pulled in $195 million worldwide.
But just over half of the 43,000 seats available for a Nov. 6 date at Los Angeles' Dodger Stadium - 27,000 tickets in all - have been sold in their first three weeks of availability, raising red flags about the limits of US demand for the 49-year-old Madonna at this stage of her career.
It also comes as Live Nation's management has been at odds over the strategy of handing out big-bucks, all-encompassing contracts, known as 360 deals, for aging stars like Madonna and Jay-Z. The rift led to last week's exit of company chairman Michael Cohl.
To be sure, Madonna's sales have been better at other venues.
A Nov. 4 show at San Diego's Petco Park has sold 29,000 of 35,000 seats. And over 33,000 out of 42,000 available tickets were sold for a Nov. 26 stadium date in Miami.
And her US arena dates, including three nights at Madison Square Garden, have sold out.
But at the biggest venues, consumers in the US are not rushing for Madonna tickets with the same fervor that they are in Europe and other parts of the world.
An Aug. 30 show at the Military Airfield Deubendorf in Zurich, Switzerland, sold over 70,000 tickets in days in May, and an October date in Vancouver, BC, sold 50,000 tickets in 29 minutes.
The economy could be a factor - top tickets for Madonna are running as high as $500 at a time when food and gas costs are soaring.
Her latest album is doing solid but unspectacular business in the US. Hard Candy has sold 544,000 copies domestically, according to Nielsen SoundScan. That's barely half of what rapper Lil Wayne recently sold in the first week for his latest album "Tha Carter III."
Analysts note that the album could be hard pressed to match the business of her last album Confessions On A Dance Floor, which sold more than 1.6 million copies in the US.
Fogel, who has produced Madonna's last three tours, said concern about ticket demand is overblown.
He noted that there are close to five months to go before the US stadium shows in question open, and each one has already grossed $3 million to $4 million in sales.
Live Nation stock closed down 3.92 percent, or 46 cents, at $11.27.
Just recently a demo version of the Hard Candy album track Heartbeat has leaked online. The recording features Pharrell singing most of the song, doing the verses with different lyrics, and the chorus and breakdown are sung by a female vocalist, supposedly Nicole Scherzinger from the Pussycat Dolls.
The melody and the production of the song is the same as Madonna's final version, so the latest rumour is that Pharrell wrote the track for Nicole but Madonna took a hold of it, with minimal input.
Personally we don't think that can be assumed from a demo like this one, in our opinion it's possible that Pharrell sung this version with gimmicky vocals and improvisational lyrics just to show Madonna the rhythm of the song, before she recorded the officially released version. Fact is, Madonna earned a co-writer and a co-producer credit for Heartbeat.
A fansite dedicated to The Neptunes production team further suggests the vocal demonstration idea. You can listen to the demo @ TheNeptunes.org!
Exactly one and half a decade ago today, one of Madonna's most loved video clips had its premiere on MTV. Rain, the 5th single released from the underperforming Erotica effort, received a gorgeous video that can only be described in superlatives. It was directed by the very talented Mark Romanek and basically the video is about "making a video".
Instead going for a straightforward performance video, the clip shows Madonna and the Japanese crew shooting the scenes, putting together the parts and even Madonna taking a break and smoking a cigarette, who's seen wearing a short black wig throughout the video. The most notable aspect of the fantastic clip (which won 2 technical awards at the 1993 MTV VMA) is that it was shot in black and white and later on it was manually coloured, but with blue as the dominant colour. Madonna surely has those gorgeous blue mad-eyes in this video! ;-)
Rain, arguably the only "classic" released from Erotica went onto becoming a moderate hit all over the world, reversing the trend set by the previous flop Bad Girl in many countries. In the USA, where Rain was the 4th and last single (its B-single was a new remix the hip hop influenced album track Waiting with an actual rappear featuring), this great ballad climbed to #14 in September 1993, mostly on the strength of airplay, which was the precursor of the chart performance of her then-upcoming direction, consisting mainly of downtempo songs and ballads, her trademark style of the mid-90s.
Rain is also notable for being the last later-single of a Madonna project that made animpact on the US charts and it even kept Erotica afloat in the lower half of the album chart. In the UK, it became Madonna's 33rd Top 10 hit when it reached #7 there. Interestingly, the B-single of Rain in that country was the 1986 single Open Your Heart, because it was being used in a Peugeot car commercial at the time.
Rain is also notable for getting remixed by Daniel Abraham for the radio version, which wasn't well-received by fans, simply because it killed the strong production of the album version and removed the double vocals of the spoken bridge.
While in the video an edit of the album version can be heard, Madonna opted to perform the Radio Remix on the Girlie Show later that year, where she replaced the spoken bridge with a few lines of 'Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)' by The Temptations and then her dancers paid homage to Gene Kelly in an extended outro. Unfortunately Rain has not been performed ever since, we can only hope that Madonna revisits this great track on her upcoming tour...
The #1 goes to Prince's classic, Purple Rain. We'd argue that EW forgot to include one of the best pop albums ever, 1989's Like A Prayer!
An electronic musician and a member of Madonna's touring band since 2001, Price attracted acclaim for his remixes of No Doubt's It's My Life and The Killers' Mr Brightside before co-writing and co-producing Madonna's Confessions On A Dance Floor in 2005. He recently produced Seal's System and is currently working on the new Keane album.
We were at Madison Square Garden in the middle of the 2004 Re-Invention Tour, and it had got to that point where everyone was just completely bored. Touring with Madonna is like taking everything you've learned from the age of 14 about playing small pubs and clubs in bands and chucking it all out of the window.
It's more like Cirque Du Soleil than the Pheasant & Firkin, put it that way. Essentially, the show has so many moving parts that if you go out on a limb you might end up losing a limb.
Madonna can be quite spontaneous, but she's not spontaneous when it comes to doing a show in front of 20,000 people! Similarly, the soundcheck is often quite a choreographed affair, but this time she just started messing around.
She started playing this very basic, two-chord riff on the guitar and making up these lyrics about how she loved New York. It was just a real fun, mess-around song. Later I went into her dressing room with a guitar and a portable multi-track and said, "We're just going to stick something down for a reference", so we had a rough sketch of the song.
Later on in the tour we were playing Slane Castle with Iggy Pop, and while we were watching him Madonna said, "Let's make the song a bit like The Stooges." She was making a documentary on that tour, I'm Going To Tell You A Secret, and there was a scene in it that featured New York, and she decided she wanted a kind of Stooges version of I Love New York to play over it.
So I took the riff and the guide vocal away to a friend's house in Reading. We went into his bedroom and propped the bed up against the wall to make room for the drum-kit. His brother played guitar, I played bass and we tracked this Madonna song in the bedroom of a house on the Wokingham Road! And that's the version that appears on the documentary.
Right after that, we started making Confessions On A Dance Floor. Madonna said, "We're doing a dance record. I really like this song, but it doesn't fit in. Let's work on it." That week I was going to Australia to DJ and I promised to try and figure something out while I was away.
As a travelling producer, working by yourself, you don't want to book into a two grand-a-day studio. It's overkill. You're looking for smaller places. I was in Sydney and I found this guy who said he had a small studio – I got there and it was literally a shed in his back garden! Right, OK! Let's see what we can do! So I effectively started remixing it in a shed in Australia.
I did what I normally do when I remix. I pull it all back to just the vocal, stick in a kick drum and try and work around it. I had this old Yamaha ZX100 keyboard which had a nice Detroit-y sound. That's where one of the main keyboard lines in the album version of the song came from. I remixed it and reworked it, and it went from Detroit rock to Detroit techno.
I was sending it backwards and forwards to Madonna from Australia. Obviously the time difference couldn't have been worse, but that was how the final version of the song began to emerge. While I was away patching together the track, she was forming the lyrics. When I came back to London I took a version of the track to a club where I was DJing and it really worked on the dancefloor.
Then we came back to Olympic Studios in London and reunited to finish it for the album. As a collaborator she knows exactly what she wants, but on the other hand she wants you to do it! She'll say, "You need to be the visionary now; I'll be the visionary later." It's a complex chemistry but it plays out really well.
What's brilliant about Madonna is that she's blissfully unaware of how a computer really works, so she's not there saying, "Can we try this effect?" or (pointing at a screen), "Can we move that bit over there." There's none of that. She sits on the couch and says, "I don't like it", or, "I like it." You're left to do your own thing without someone leaning over your shoulder.
Madonna works on instinct a lot more than people realise. I Love New York travelled all round the world, but everything – the riff, the vocal melodies, the lyric ideas – really came pouring out at that initial soundcheck.
In an interview with SCI FI Channel's SCI FI Wire, child star Freddie Highmore says that he recently laid down his last voice tracks for two upcoming sequels to French filmmaker Luc Besson's largely animated 2006 family film Arthur and the Invisibles. Based on Besson's own series of children's books, Arthur and the Vengeance of Maltazard is slated to hit theaters in 2009, followed by Arthur and the Two Worlds War possibly in 2010.
The live-action portions of the movies were shot more than a year ago, and time was of the essence as producers wanted to get Highmore's voice recording sessions completed before the 16-year-old actor's voice changed too much. Also returning to the voice cast for the second and third installments are David Bowie, Madonna, Snoop Dogg, Jewel, Robert De Niro and Harvey Keitel.
Made for around $86 million, the first Arthur pic was the most expensive European animated feature at the time it came out. It grossed $113 million worldwide but only took in $15 million in the U.S., where it was distributed by MGM and the Weinstein Co.
Earlier this year, Besson's EuropaCorp picked up rights to Mathias Malzieu's sci-fi novel La Mecanique du Coeur (The Mechanics of the Heart), and plans to make an animated feature from it. Highmore was most recently seen in Paramount's adaptation of The Spiderwick Chronicles, which will be released on DVD on June 24.
Madonna gets 2 nominations for the Teen Choice Awards 2008. The show is scheduled to air on FOX at 8 pm ET on Monday, August 4th, 2008.
Chris Brown, "With You"
Jonas Brothers, "When You Look Me in the Eyes"
Madonna featuring Justin Timberlake, 4 Minutes
Miley Cyrus, "See You Again"
Rihanna, "Don't Stop the Music"
Flo Rida Featuring T-Pain, "Low"
Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown, "No Air"
Lil Mama featuring Chris Brown & T-Pain, "Shawty Get Loose"
Madonna featuring Justin Timberlake, 4 Minutes
Nelly featuring Fergie, "Party People"
Check out the rest of the nominations here!
Warner Belgium has revealed the tracklists for the international editions of Madonna's new single Give It 2 Me. The single will be released on July 11th in selected European countries. Currently there's no info whether the UK tracklist is going to be any different, but it's likely to be the same. At this point, no plans for a USA maxi-single were announced. (Thanx to Evy @ MadonnaNed!)
International 2-track single
1. Album Version 4:47
2. Oakenfold Extended Mix 7:08
International 3-track single
1. Album Version 4:47
2. Oakenfold Drums In Mix 5:55
3. Eddie Amador House Lovers Remix 7:56
Things just keep getting better and better for Robyn. Having just finished an amazing sell out UK tour, she has now been asked to support the world's sweetest pop star Madonna on her recently announced European Sticky & Sweet Tour. This is a major honour as Robyn will be one of the few performing artists to appear on tour. Additional Sticky & Sweet concerts will feature special guest DJ's as support.
The Swedish popstrel said "Having been a fan of Madonna since I was a little girl, I'm very excited about sharing a stage with her and playing to her audiences...I'm thrilled."
With nearly 1 million tickets sold to date along with sold out performances in Paris, Lisbon & Zurich; New York, Boston, Chicago; Montreal, Toronto & Vancouver and more, Madonna's Sticky & Sweet tour is once again poised to be the tour of the year! Robyn recently completed a whirlwind tour of the States where both her live shows and eponymous album met with rave reviews across the board. Her star shows no sign of waning any time soon...
Robyn will appear on the following dates:
26-August Nice Stade Charles Ehrmann
28-August Berlin Olympic Stadium
30-August Zurich Military Airfield Dubendorf
02-September Amsterdam Arena
04-September Dusseldorf LTU Arena
09-September Frankfurt Commerzbank Arena
14-September Lisbon Parque da Bela Vista
23-September Vienna Danube Island
27-September Athens Olympic Stadium
Give It 2 Me, the second single from Hard Candy breaks into the UK Top 40 singles chart and it comes in at #36. It is the 66th time for Madonna, and as we all know, out of 66 chart entries, she reached the Top 10 a massive sixty times!
The single is only available as a download so far, the tentative physical release is still 3 weeks away, so Madonna can still go on and on and on and is undoubtedly going to score her 61st Top 10 single with the ultra-catchy Give It 2 Me!
Breaking news! Madonna.com has officially announced that Madonna's Sticky & Sweet Tour is going to make a show in Mexico City, Mexico on Saturday, November 29th! She's going to perform at the Foro Sol. It's Madonna's first show in Mexico since The Girlie Show 15 years ago!
Tickets will go on sale Wednesday, June 25th at 11 am local time and the ICON presales will be held on Thursday, June 19th at 11 am local time. Congratulations to the Mexican fans, and let's hope that more Latin American dates will be announced very soon!
In less than 24 hours, the government has changed its mind and now says it will allow the National Stadium to be used for Madonna's upcoming concert in Chile. The decision was announced this morning by the spokesperson for the government administration, Francisco Vidal, after he met with the sub secretary of Chiledeportes, Jaime Pizarro, and Deputies Álvaro Escobar and Marco Enríquez-Ominami to address the issue.
"Madonna will perform, because it works with another event that Jaime (Pizarro) had with the Telethon, who had asked to reserve the stadium during the end of November, and you can all understand that the Telethon holds first priority, but it is possible as long as the agreements reached with Chiledeportes are complied with." announced Vidal.
"Now, even I am excited about Madonna, she is coming, and I'll see you on December 10th in the National Stadium as well", added the minister.
The controversy over the use of the Nuñoa facility for non-athletic type activities returned with a vengeance yesterday after Vidal backed Chiledeportes' decision not to offer up the location for the "material girl".
~ It's looking good for the Latin American fans, hopefully the official dates will be announced very soon.
Take a look at Madonna's hot new video for Give It 2 Me and keep in the back of your mind that she turns 50 this summer. She struts her stuff in heels and clothes that show off a still stunning body, and, thanks to assistance from Pharrell Williams, the song is as current as anything else on the pop music makret.
Once again it's time to be in awe of Madonna's amazing staying power as one of the world's top pop stars for 25 years. Don't get wrapped up too much in the superlatives. Just enjoy the video.
After Junkie XL remixed 4 Minutes, another Dutch DJ gets his hand on a Madonna single. It was announced in the Dutch media today that Fedde le Grand made a remix of Give It 2 Me and is going to be available on his MySpace.
It is currently not known if his remix is going to be commercially available on a physical or a digital single. Fedde le Grand is already popular among Madonna fans since the Hard Candy Promo Tour, where Kevin Antunes, Madonna's current musical director created an electrifying mashup between Fedde's 2006 hit single 'Put Your Hands Up For Detroit' and Madonna's own megahit Music.
Pharrell Williams admitted he reduced Madonna to a sobbing wreck while working on her recent album Hard Candy.
The producer said he made the icon cry like a baby during recording sessions for the record.
"I totally made her cry like. Like a baby. I had to get her a towel," he told Shortlist. "We were alone recording the album and she kept talking a lot of rubbish, so I shouted a lot of rubbish and she started crying her eyes out."
The N.E.R.D man admitted he had been quite nasty to Madonna, but said he had no plans to make their scrap public until the singer spoke about it herself.
"I just said some really nasty stuff, I guess. And yeah, she cried for a really long time actually," he said. "To be honest I can't believe she told someone about it. The whole situation was quite intense. It's totally weird to make Madonna sob, but even stranger when she tells everyone, 'Pharrell made me cry'.
Madonna.com has finalized another European tour date: the Sticky & Sweet Tour is going to stop by in Vienna, Austria on Tuesday, September 23rd! The show will be held on the Danube Island and is said to be a general admission concert, just like the one in Lisbon.
Tickets will go on sale Monday, June 23rd 10 am CET and ICON fans will have presales on Wednesday, June 18th 10 am CET. This is surely a fantastic treat for all the Eastern-European fans!
Three of pop music's biggest stars - Madonna, Michael Jackson and Prince - celebrate their 50th birthday in 2008.
Full name: Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone
Born: August 16, 1958, Bay City, Michigan, USA
Also known as: The Queen of Pop, Material Girl, Madge, Esther, Mrs Ritchie.
Biggest hits: Holiday, Into The Groove, Like A Prayer, Vogue, Ray Of Light, Music.
Quote: "A woman who pulled herself up by her bra straps and has been known to let them down occasionally" (Bette Midler, introducing Madonna at Live Aid in 1985).
Madonna's mother, also called Madonna, dies of breast cancer. The tragic event has a lifelong impact on the singer. "You walk around with a big hole inside you, a feeling of emptiness and longing," the star says later.
Madonna moves to New York in 1977, where she studies with choreographer Alvin Ailey and takes modelling jobs.
Early music demos recorded with her boyfriend Stephen Bray make their way to Sire Records boss Seymour Stein, who demands to meet her, even though he is in hospital with a heart condition. Impressed with "the drive, the zeal, the ruthlessness" of a young Madonna, he signs her on the spot. But her first few releases only make an impact in clubs.
Holiday becomes Madonna's first breakthrough hit in the US, reaching number 16 in late 1983. Her first top 10 hit comes a year later with Borderline, a song she later disowns. She is more proud of the subsequent, career-defining hits Like A Virgin and Material Girl. The sell-out Virgin Tour begins in 1985 with support from the Beastie Boys.
She also hits number one with Into The Groove, plays Live Aid, and marries actor Sean Penn on a Californian clifftop, their vows drowned out by the roar of helicopters circling overhead.
True Blue, with its iconic Herb Ritts cover, cements Madonna's reputation as the first lady of pop, reaching number one in 12 countries and spawning five hit singles.
Papa Don't Preach, which deals with teenage pregnancy, confirms the star's willingness to tackle controversial issues while Live To Tell's raw vocals (recorded on the first take) show new emotional depth.
A year later, she separates from Sean Penn, and the couple are granted a divorce in 1989.
The release of Like A Prayer marks the moment when critics first begin to describe Madonna as an artist, rather than a mere pop singer. The title track's video, which shows the star kissing a black saint, causes storms of protest – but sends her straight to number one.
A coffee table photo book, Sex, finds Madonna in a number of sexually explicit poses with the likes of Naomi Campbell and Vanilla Ice. The book is derided in the press, and the dark and seedy Erotica album suffers as a result.
Two years later, she makes a bizarre, expletive-filled appearance on David Letterman's talk show. Madonna asks the host to smell her underwear, smokes a cigar and quizzes Letterman on whether he urinates in the shower. When she refuses to leave the stage, several audience members shout "get off".
The show marks a low point in public perception of the star.
Madonna's casting in Evita helps to rehabilitate her image - and her film career. Meanwhile, she falls pregnant to fitness trainer Carlos Leon, giving birth to her first daughter, Lourdes, in October.
Ray Of Light marks a musical return to form. Its laid-back blend of dance and electronica catches the pop superstar in a reflective mood, musing on fame and parenthood. She continues to mine this rich seam of futuristic pop with Beautiful Stranger in 1999 and Music in 2000, albeit with diminishing returns.
In the meantime, she meets Guy Ritchie at a party thrown by Sting's wife Trudi Styler. The couple have a son, Rocco, before tying the knot in Scotland days before the new Millennium.
After the lacklustre American Life album, Madonna looks to the past for her Re-Invention Tour. Highlights including the yoga-inspired dance routines of Vogue, and a bagpipe version of Papa Don't Preach.
She follows it up with a love letter to disco, Confessions On A Dance Floor, produced by the tour's musical director Stuart Prince. Based around European dance music - including a prominent Abba sample on Hung Up - sells 8 million copies, but its singles perform badly in the US.
The accompanying tour draws flack when Madonna performs Live To Tell while strapped to a mirrored cross, wearing a crown of thorns.
Madonna visits Malawi, arriving by private jet in the capital, Lilongwe. She says she is in the country on a humanitarian mission to visit Aids orphans, but government officials say plans to adopt a child.
A week later, Yohane Banda tells the Associated Press news agency the star has adopted his 13-month-old son, David. "I know he will be very happy in America," he says.
Madonna denies she has used her status to "fast-track" the process, and the adoption does not receive final approval until 2008.
Showing no signs of letting up the pace as she approaches 50, Madonna parts company with record company Warner Brothers to sign a ground-breaking contract with concert promoters Live Nation.
She is also inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, releases an album, Hard Candy, directs her first film, Filth and Wisdom, and produces I Am Because We Are, a documentary about Aids orphans in Malawi.
After celebrating her 50th birthday, the megastar is due to embark on another world tour in September.
Look who's expressing himself.
Madonna's younger brother, Christopher Ciccone, is penning a memoir about his famous sister set for release next month, publisher Simon & Schuster announced today.
"Ciccone's extraordinary memoir is based on his life and 47 years of growing up with and working with his sister-the most famous woman in the world," the company said in a press release.
The publishing house has ordered a monster first printing of 350,000 copies of Life With My Sister, set to hit shelves July 15.
Madonna's publicist, Liz Rosenberg, said there would be no comment "at this time."
The book was cowritten by Wendy Leigh (whose oeuvre includes salacious bios of JFK Jr., Arnold Schwarzenegger, Liza Minnelli and Princess Grace) and will be released on the Simon Spotlight Entertainment imprint.
The company began telling retailers several months ago that it was readying a major celebrity tell-all but kept the identity of its subject a secret, asking booksellers to order blind.
No word yet on what exactly the younger Ciccone, a noted Miami-based designer, plans to dish about his famous sibling, with whom he's worked closely in the past.
Madonna has vowed never to act again - because she would prefer to establish herself in Hollywood as a filmmaker.
The star has repeatedly tried her hand at acting since launching her singing career in the 1980s, playing lead roles in films such as Desperately Seeking Susan, Dick Tracy and Evita, for which she won a Best Actress Golden Globe in 1997.
But since directing the upcoming comedy Filth and Wisdom, the 49-year-old insists she has found her calling.
When asked if she still dreams of an acting career, she responds: "Absolutely not, because now I've tasted directing. It's like Eve and the apple, I have to have a second bite. If you're an actress, it's not your vision.
"The director tells the story, you are the chess piece that is moved around. That doesn't suit my personality."
And the Holiday hitmaker is so fond of filmmaking, she insists she even prefers it to making music: "You have more time to tell a story. You have an hour and half or two to save the world."
She's busy promoting her first documentary and her seventh No. 1 album, but the world's most famous kabbalah devotee already has her sights set on a new project: a documentary about the Arab-Israeli impasse.
Pop diva Madonna has said that her film would focus on children and would provide a second chance for her to collaborate with director Nathan Rissman, who once served as the singer's gardener and as her children's nanny.
At the Cannes Film Festival, the pair spoke about and promoted I Am Because We Are, a documentary that Madonna wrote and Rissman directed. The film is about the more than 1 million children orphaned in Malawi because of AIDS. The singer adopted an infant from the country in 2006.
That's all well and good, but Israelis who are certainly accustomed to hearing foreign celebrities' vague proposals for projects involving their country have other pressing concerns, such as whether the singer will stop in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem on her upcoming concert tour.
The 49-year-old visited Israel last year as part of a High Holy Days pilgrimage with The Kabbalah Center.
The singer, who also visited Israel in 2004, last performed a concert in the country in 1993.
The Mad-Eyes team held a poll about the preferred 3rd single for Hard Candy and the results are in: Miles Away won by a landslide (30%), 2nd place is for Beat Goes On (19%) and the 3rd is Devil Wouldn't Recognize You (16%).
Thanx for the participation and be sure to vote in the fan favourite poll: Several Madonna singles haven't been performed on tour in a long while. Which one would you definitely like to hear on the Sticky & Sweet Tour? (part 1: 1983-1989). Vote here!
Fantastic news for Greek fans: Madonna.com just added Athens, Greece to the Sticky & Sweet Tour schedule! Madonna is going to perform in the Olympic Stadium on Saturday, September 27th. It's Madonna's first ever show in Greece.
Tickets will go on sale Friday, June 27th at 10.30 am local time while the ICON presales will start on Tuesday, June 24th at 10 am local time. There are likely 3 more dates to be officially confirmed in Europe: one date between Lisbon and Paris and two dates between Paris and Athens.
According to MTV.com Madonna's new video Give It 2 Me is going to make its debut on the show Total Request Live today, June 10th at 3.30 pm ET/PT. This is great promo, the lighthearted video that features Pharrell is surely going to catch the audiences and hopefully viewers are going to vote for it on the video countdown of the show.
Give It 2 Me is expected to stabilize sales of Hard Candy as 4 Minutes is cooling down after nearly 3 months of great radio airplay and amazing sales. You can help Give It 2 Me with streaming the video here (streaming points are counted for the Billboard Hot 100) and keep an eye on its chart performance along with its parent album on our chart news page.
There's no official info on the physical releases, but it's likely that just a selected few countries are going to get the new physical Madonna single. HMV has a tentative release date set to July 7th, while eil.com mentions July 14th, as reported earlier.
UPDATE: The radio add date has been pushed back to June 24th!
How will pop icons handle turning 50?
Besides being three of the most famous (infamous?) musicians of their generation, Prince, Madonna and Michael Jackson have something else in common:
They're all turning 50 this year. Prince's birthday is today. Madonna and Jackson get to blow out their candles Aug. 16 and Aug. 29, respectively.
So is this cause for celebration? Or alarm? "In two of the three cases, I'd say it's cause for celebration," says Jonathan Cohen, senior editor of the music trade magazine Billboard.
"As for Michael Jackson... it's just sad. Knowing how old he is just makes it all the more creepy." Jackson's career has yet to recover from allegations of child molestation (despite his acquittal in a 2005 trial), financial woes (he narrowly avoided foreclosure on his Neverland Ranch in Los Olivos, Calif., this year) and increasingly strange behavior that have earned him the nickname Wacko Jacko.
Prince, on the other hand, is riding high after a scene-stealing performance in April at Coachella, an ultra-hip music festival in the California desert. And don't forget His Purple Badness' rain-soaked halftime show at last year's Super Bowl, too -- as if anyone who caught the electrifying performance could. "Prince is sui generis," says music industry analyst and former record company executive Bob Lefsetz, publisher of the Lefsetz Letter blog.
Prince "has the icon status of a Paul McCartney," Lefsetz says.
As for Madonna and Jackson, "they've both had too many visits to the plastic surgeon," Lefsetz says. "They're trying to be young, trying to be somebody they're not." On the new Madonna album, Hard Candy, the Material "Girl" collaborates with several younger hitmakers, including Timbaland and Justin Timberlake. They're featured on 4 Minutes, a Top 5 single.
"This record feels like a bit of a cop-out," Cohen says. "Ten or 20 years ago, Madonna was the one discovering hungry new talents and presenting them to the world for the first time. It's not the case anymore.
"I can't say I'm a huge fan of Madonna's new music, but it seems to have revitalized her a bit, after uneven responses to her past couple of projects. She remains a huge superstar internationally, if not so much here in the United States."
It's business as usual for Prince on his latest album, "Planet Earth," released last year.
"Prince is still writing the same kinds of songs he's been writing forever," Cohen says. "The messages are timeless. You don't hear him coming out with confessional acoustic ballads about middle age or things like that. I don't think anyone really wants to hear that from him anyway."
Jackson's landmark 1982 album "Thriller" has sold 27 million copies in the United States alone. It's second only to "The Eagles: Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975" on the Recording Industry Association of America's list of the best-selling albums of all time. Jackson hasn't put out a new album since "Invincible" in 2001.
If nothing else, Prince, Madonna and Jackson can take some consolation in the fact they'll always be younger than the Rolling Stones. Mick Jagger -- oops! We mean Sir Mick Jagger -- has never lived down saying he'd rather be dead than singing "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" when he was 45.
Jagger (the same guy who once sang: "What a drag it is getting old") turns 65 next month. The rest of the Stones are sexagenarians, too. And "Satisfaction" is still on their set list.
"A lot of artists from that era are still performing," says Jim Henke, chief curator at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. "This idea of Hope I die before I get old' doesn't really hold true in pop music anymore," Henke says.
Jackson is a two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, enshrined for his accomplishments with the Jackson 5 and for his solo career. Prince and Madonna are inductees, too. "I don't know how many teenagers are listening to any of them, but they still have their audiences," Henke says.
As they pass the half-century mark, Prince, Madonna and Jackson are entering largely uncharted territory. In pop music, "maturity" can be a dirty word. Growing old (or older) gracefully is tricky business, a contingency some pop stars didn't count on.
"When people said they couldn't foresee doing what they're doing at their ages -- well, they couldn't foresee doing something else, either," Lefsetz says. "When you're 20, you don't even believe you're going to be 50, never mind what you'll be doing.
"This is what they do. Wannabe musicians don't give up when they reach 50. Why should the stars?"
All indications are Prince and Madonna will remain major players for years to come. "I believe Prince will be like an old jazz musician, playing until he drops," Lefsetz says.
"With Madonna, does she retire? One would think not, because she loves the spotlight too much.
"Does she reinvent herself as some kind of torch singer? Unfortunately, she doesn't have a good voice.
"I think her next move is to act her age and try to get her audience to rally around her."
Madonna is set to kick off a world tour in August. Last fall, she inked an unprecedented recording and touring deal with mega-promoter Live Nation, worth $120 million.
"A lot of people were skeptical about the deal, because there aren't a lot of models of female pop artists who are still out on the road as they're approaching 60," Cohen says.
"God knows what her show will be like at that point, but I would never write her off. Given her prior history, I'm sure she'll find a way to make it cool."
As for Jackson's prospects, your guess is as good as the experts'. "Michael Jackson has become a joke, for all the obvious reasons," Lefsetz says.
Still, you can't entirely rule out a comeback by the artist formerly known as the King of Pop. "No one can predict what he'll do next," Lefsetz says.
Adds Cohen: "If he could get his act together, behave like a normal person, put out a record and go on tour, he could do huge business. People are clamoring for that."
Prince, Madonna and Michael Jackson -- all born in the Midwest in the summer of '58 -- became three of the biggest music superstars of the 1980s and remain revered pop-culture icons despite roller-coaster careers. As Prince turns 50 today, we compare the lives of the Purple One, the Material Girl and the King of Pop.
Prince: Minneapolis, Min., June 7
Madonna: Bay City, Mich., Aug. 16
Michael Jackson: Gary, Ind., Aug. 29
Prince: 2/2/1 (deceased)
Michael Jackson: 2/2/3
Prince: His 1986 movie "Under the Cherry Moon" with Kristin Scott Thomas
Madonna: Her 1986 movie Shanghai Surprise with first husband Sean Penn
Michael Jackson: His 2005 trial on child-molesting charges (he was acquitted)
Prince: Giving away free CD to every concertgoer on "Musicology Tour"
Madonna: "Sex," a book of soft-core photos of herself (and Vanilla Ice!)
Michael Jackson: National TV interview with then-wife Lisa Marie Presley
Prince: Changed his name to a glyph as protest against Warner Bros.
Madonna: Sacrilegious video for Like A Prayer
Michael Jackson: Paying off family of a young boy whom he allegedly molested
Prince: Purple suit and gold tie with the perfect accessory, Beyoncé, on the 2004 Grammys
Madonna: Jean Harlow-style glamour on her video for Vogue
Michael Jackson: Big Afro and his original nose on his video for "Ben"
Prince: 39.5 million (top seller: "Purple Rain," 13 million)
Madonna: 63.5 million (Immaculate Collection, 10 million)
Michael Jackson: 60.5 million ("Thriller," 27 million)
Michael Jackson: 13
Prince: "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" (No. 3, 1994)
Madonna: 4 Minutes (No. 3, 2008)
Michael Jackson: "You Are Not Alone" (No. 1, 1995)
Prince: Super Bowl halftime show, 2007
Madonna: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction speech, 2008
Michael Jackson: Can't remember (OK, 1988's Bad Tour)
If you happen to catch Madonna's worldwide Sticky & Sweet Tour this summer, pay careful attention to the Material Girl's onstage garb. That's because she may be wearing creations from the collective mind of Heatherette, the New York-based design duo who've helped the likes of Gwen Stefani, Pamela Anderson, Mya, Kelis, Pink and Paris Hilton look their best.
On May 23, at the "M Is For Madonna" exhibit at the World of Wonder Storefront Gallery in Los Angeles, where more than 100 artists from around the globe showed off their Madonna-inspired work, MTV News caught up with Heatherette's Traver Rains and Richie Rich.
They told us they've been approached by Madonna's camp about designing the outfits she'll be sporting when her tour kicks off August 23 in Cardiff, Wales. The trek picks up stateside on October 4 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
"Liz Rosenberg, her publicist, just contacted us and said that she wants us to come up with some sketches, some ideas and some inspirations for her tour," Richie Rich explained. "I think, basically, for Madonna's tour, we'll come up with some sketches, some inspirations and listen to the album to get some ideas, and as young designers, we'll come up with what we think is happening right now. That's why Madonna's a genius - she picks out the new blood, and we'll see what happens."
But for Heatherette, their mission will be especially challenging, given Madonna's iconic, ever-changing style over the years. They said they're intent on not replicating any of the styles she's rocked in the past, but they're certainly up to the task.
"She already did the cowboy hat, so we'll need to think of something else," Rich joked.
Madonna's new studio album Hard Candy has been certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. Gold certification means shipments of 500,000 copies at retail. Up to this point, the hard sales of the record are actually exactly half a million, so it's likely that the album is going to get a Platinum certification when the US leg of the Sticky & Sweet Tour kicks off, or when the new compilation is released.
Madonna is now certified for 63,5 million albums in the USA, which puts her just above Mariah Carey, who both are only second to Barbra Streisand among female artists, but while Mariah's latest album is not certified yet, Madonna has several undercertified catalog albums.
Madonna's album certifications in the USA:
Madonna / The First Album: 5x Platinum
Like A Virgin: 10x Platinum
True Blue: 7x Platinum
Who's That Girl: Platinum
You Can Dance: Platinum
Like A Prayer: 4x Platinum
I'm Breathless: 2x Platinum
The Immaculate Collection: 10x Platinum
Erotica: 2x Platinum
Bedtime Stories: 3x Platinum
Something To Remember: 3x Platinum
Evita: 5x Platinum
Ray Of Light: 4x Platinum
Music: 3x Platinum
American Life: Platinum
Confessions On A Dance Floor: Platinum
Hard Candy: Gold
According to the Croatian promoter, the Zagreb date fell out because they were unable to pay the demanded price for Madonna. The same happened with Belgrade, Serbia so Madonna is supposedly going to perform in Budva, Montenegro on September 23rd, who managed to pay the price.
Another date could be added in Vienna, Austria for September 25th. Keep in mind that this info is not yet on Madonna.com or on Live Nation, but it's likely to be the real deal. No further news on the missing European dates, like Spain or Greece, but not looking good for them at this point...
Sony Ericsson and Warner Music International are partnering to bundle Madonna's latest album, Hard Candy, on handsets in 27 countries. Starting this month, the bundles will come in two versions - one with five tracks from the album, another with the full release plus extra wallpapers and ringtones.
Sony Ericsson already started offering vouchers with its W890 Walkman, allowing those in Scandinavia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to buy the album later, and those in Belgium and Czech Republic get a CD with their W380i handsets. Now the handset maker is bundling the album digitally also in south and central America and the Caribbean.
Samsung had already struck a deal to pre-bundle Hard Candy on its F400. Sony Ericsson said it hoped its move would drive up mobile music adoption, which still languishes behind expectations.
SonyEricsson has previously pre-loaded Def Jam artists on to another of its handsets and SonyBMG has stated its intention to make a bigger splash in all-you-can-eat mobile music downloads.
Vodafone got the exclusive on the Madonna album but staggered track releases by the week. A special remix of the 4 Minutes single has also been doing the rounds as a mobile offering, also used by Verizon.
A 4th show was added for Madison Square Garden, NYC for Sunday, October 12th. Tickets will go on sale on Friday, June 13th at 9 am via Ticketmaster, while members of ICON are having presales on Monday, June 9th at noon. The 4th show in MSG is most likely the last date to be added to the US itineary of the Sticky & Sweet Tour.
Tickets go on sale Saturday for Madonna's appearance at the Traverse City Film Festival. But don't bother trying to order them by phone or online. They'll be available only at the State Theatre in downtown Traverse City, where the pop star will show her new film, "I Am Because We Are," on Aug. 2.
Festival founder Michael Moore has said Madonna will personally introduce the documentary, which describes the plight of impoverished people in the African nation of Malawi.
Madonna and Moore are friends and Michigan natives.
The theater seats about 540 people. Tickets cost $25 each. Moore said Wednesday that all the money from the ticket sale will go to Madonna's Raising Malawi Foundation.
It would be impossible for Madonna to come to Lima on her Latin America tour, which is to begin in December, said Jorge Fernandez, an entrepreneur in the entertainment business at Show S.A. company.
Fernandez assured that it was not likely for the Queen of Pop to make an appearance in Lima due to the fact that she charges approximately $4 million per concert.
He explained that this amount could not be raised in a concert in Lima even if the National Stadium were filled to its full capacity.
"I am aware that a group of businessmen have come together to try and get the money but they themselves know that producing this event in Peru is a utopia. We don't even have a decent stage or good sound equipment to host a show like the one Madonna will put on in her new world tour," said Fernandez to Terra News.
According to Terra, the experienced producer said that the Andean country would be ready for a concert of this magnitude next year.
"We need more places to host events, more companies that provide sound, lights and scenery. After taxes were reduced things have taken off, that's why now there is more demand than offer and that is hurting us," explained the producer.
Madonna, who was ranked the "Best Selling Female Rock Artist of the Twentieth Century" by the Recording Industry Association of America, is scheduled to perform in countries such as Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Mexico near the end of this year.
~ Keep in mind we've had no official confirmation about Latin American tour dates yet, but those 4 countries are likely to be visited by Madonna after she wraps up the US leg of the Sticky & Sweet Tour on November 26th in Miami.
Madonna's new video Give It 2 Me can now be streamed online at Yahoo and is available for download on UK iTunes. Meanwhile, online record shop eil.com published the supposed tracklist of the UK release of the single, and according to them, the release date is set to July 14th.
Madonna's duet with Justin Timberlake is now the Madonna single with the most weeks in the Top 10 of the UK singles chart. With its 11th week in the Top 10, it breaks the tie with Hung Up, the only other Madonna single that spent double-digit number of weeks in the Top 10.
4 Minutes has not left the Top 10 since its release, and after it became one of Madonna's longest running UK #1s with 4 weeks at the top, the Top 10 run record is a fantastic addition to its incredible chart performance!
Check out our chart news page for more on Madonna's current appearances on worldwide charts!↑ Back to top of page