Madonna news - Jan. 2024

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Docu director explains why Madonna was snubbed for 'We Are The World'

Source: Fox News - 29 January 2024

The musical performance of "We Are the World" on Jan. 28, 1985, was one of the biggest nights in music history – and now its being retold.

In an interview with Fox News Digital, "The Greatest Night in Pop" documentary director, Bao Nguyen, explained the decision process that led to Madonna and Prince being left out of the legendary musical performance. 

"The film explains it really well," Nguyen began. "[Producer] Ken Kragen and his staff, [producer] Harriet Sternberg – Harriet wanted Madonna. Ken didn't want Madonna because he thought that Cyndi [Lauper] sort of served the purpose of being the female pop icon at that time, and it was as simple as that. They wanted voices that really were distinct from each other and that represented their genre."

The 1985 performance of "We Are The World" – written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie – was produced by U.S.A for Africa to raise awareness and funds for a worldwide hunger relief program. 

Bao Nguyen explains why Madonna and Prince were snubbed from the 1985 'We Are the World' performance

Bao told Fox News Digital that this process led to Kenny Rogers' role in the performance and Lionel Richie representing the pop genre. 

"You have a generational icon like Ray Charles, like everyone had a distinct voice," Nguyen continued. "I think Ken, just from what I've learned in researching, is that at the end of the day, [he thought] ‘I can just pick Cyndi over Madonna.’"

As far as Prince being snubbed from the legendary night – which aired March 7, 1985 – Nguyen explained that he had conversations with Sheila E., a close friend of Prince at the time, who explained she couldn't convince Prince to be a part of the performance.

"He wouldn't work well in that room. That's basically what happened, and it was just the environment that he wouldn't feel comfortable in," Bao explained.

Watch the video here →

You want to sue Madonna for being late on stage? She’s an artist not a service industry worker

Source: The Guardian - 19 January 2024

At first glance, the news that two New York concert-goers are suing Madonna for arriving on stage two hours late for a show at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center is hard to read without an involuntary roll of the eyes. There’s something about the terms in which their discontent is expressed that feels faintly pathetic. Hang on, you went to a gig and got upset because it finished late, you “had to get up early to go to work the following day” and, worse, faced “limited public transportation” en route home?

It is not an argument destined to cut much mustard with anyone who – like the claimants – is old enough to remember a time before golden circles, cordoned-off glamping areas at festivals, corporate packages, VIP suites, lounges and viewing platforms, “ultimate bars” and all the other latterday additions that have turned gigs into a branch of the hospitality industry. A time when a degree of discomfort and inconvenience was part of the gig-going deal. It seems to speak rather loudly about an entitlement on the part of the audience; a tendency to treat artists as though they work in a branch of the service industries: “I’ve paid my money, you had better do exactly what I want or else.”

Celebration Tour at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. Photo by Adam Graham.

So there’s a certain irony about the fact that a considerable chunk of the Madonna show that occasioned the lawsuit involves a recreation of the arty, post-disco early-80s New York demimonde from which the singer sprung, complete with a dancer in character as Jean-Michel Basquiat and a mockup of the entrance to the Paradise Garage club. It seems doubtful that anyone who attended a show by Basquiat’s noise-rock band Gray, or turned up to hear the Garage’s genius but drug-addled resident DJ Larry Levan, ever considered getting the lawyers in because a late start meant they faced “limited public transportation” home.

Then again, no one who attended a gig in the days when discomfort and inconvenience were standard paid the astronomical sums people are expected to cough up for tickets these days. The cheapest seats for Madonna’s London shows were £50, the most expensive were £432.25, and that is assuming you didn’t miss out on the hugely oversubscribed initial sale and end up taking the resold tickets route: one site, Viagogo, was advertising tickets at £1,870 each. And this, it should be added, is not uncommon pricing for big arena shows. Nothing generates a sense of entitlement like spending the best part of a grand on a couple of gig tickets, and if attendees have to leave before the end to catch the last train home, they’re going to feel short-changed and angry. There, one suspects, lies the nub of the problem: it isn’t really a matter of latterday gig-goers not knowing they’re born or making unreasonable demands on an artist, it’s a simple question of economics.

Ariana Grande channels Vogue on new single 'Yes, And?'

Source: Variety - 11 January 2024

Ariana Grande's first single under her own name in more than three years arrives with a feel-good, bouncy lilt in the melody and rhythm, and a clear inspiration from Madonna's "Vogue" (along with a splash of mid-'90s Janet Jackson). But first impressions can be deceiving, because the lyrics bear a refreshingly positive I-am-who-I-am, be-yourself-and-keep-it-moving message — but with teeth, as well as some well-placed expletives.

The upshot is in the lead-in and chorus: "If you find yourself in a dark situation, just turn on your light and be like, 'Yes, and?'," which continues with "Say that shit with your chest, and/ Be your own fuckin best friend… Keep moving like, 'What's next?'"

Ariana Grande in the music video for Yes, And

But the inspiration for those lyrics lies other places in the song: "Boy, put your lipstick on," followed by "I'm so done with caring what you think" and "Don't comment on my body, do not reply/ Your business is yours and mine is mine."

The song's video, inspired by Paula Abdul's 1988 video "Cold Hearted" (released five years before Grande was born), dropped several hours after the single.

As for other inspirations, the Madonna element is clear — there's even a slightly robotic spoken middle section — although it does not use a "Vogue" sample: the song was written and produced by Grande with longtime collaborators Max Martin (the most successful songwriter-producer of the last 25 years, from Britney Spears to the Weeknd) and Ilya Salmanzadeh.

It adds up to a radio and dancefloor-friendly re-entry for the singer that has still has a tough edge — and sets the table for the long-awaited album she's said is coming later this year.

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