Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone started a revolution with her unique fashion style and infectious bubblegum disco.  She had left her dance scholarship at the University of Michigan behind to pursue a career in dance in New York City.  While working small jobs, she performed in modern dance troupes and formed the bands Breakfast Club and Emmy and the Emmys.   She convinced DJ and record producer Mark Kamins to play the tape of her song 'Everybody' one night at the Danceteria nightclub in New York.   The crowd response convinced Kamins to help her get a record deal. After being rejected by Island, she signed with Sire Records founder Seymour Stein for two 12" singles.  Her first single was produced by Kamins who worked closely with his friend Arthur Baker and studio musician Fred Zarr on the awkward first session for both Madonna and him.  'Everybody' went to number three on the US dance chart and led to an album deal.  She started recording tracks with Warner Brothers producer Reggie Lucas, who also brought two of his own songs ('Borderline' and 'Physical Attraction') to the project; but, after a disagreement over the sound of the finished tracks, Lucas left without changing anything.  Madonna enlisted  a DJ at Funhouse disco John "Jellybean" Benitez to help her finish the album.  Benitez was also able to provide a new song for the album:  'Holiday'.  

The album credits would eventually include Madonna on vocals, background vocals, and cowbell; Tina B. , Christine Faith, Gwen Guthrie, Brenda White, and Norma Jean Wright on background vocals; Dean Gant on synthesizer, piano, and electric piano; Curtis Hudson, Reggie Lucas, Paul Pesco, and Ira Siegel on guitar; Raymond Hudson on bass; Anthony Jackson on electric bass; Bashiri Johnson on percussion; Bob Malach on tenor saxophone; Ed Walsh on synthesizer; and Fred Zarr (appearing on every track) on synthesizer, piano, drums, electric piano, Moog synthesizer, Fender Rhodes, and Moog bass.  

Madonna would explain her ambitions at the time:   "Stardom...I want to make a lot of love.  I don’t think about money. It just gets there. Up until a year ago I was still broke and living on the street. But I still feel the same way. Money will never be a problem for me. If you worry about it, it’s a problem...I’m always fallin' in love. But I get in trouble because I think it’s love then I realize it’s not, but the other hperson is in love and then I have this problem til I think it’s love again and have the courage to get out of the last one...Fantasies are essential. Without fantasies I would have died of starvation."

'Madonna' slowly worked its way up the charts, going gold after a year and a half and eventually selling over ten million copies worldwide.  It charted at number twenty-eight in Germany, twenty in Japan and on the US R&B chart, sixteen in Canada, fifteen in Austria, ten in Australia, eight in France and in the US, seven in the Netherlands, six in New Zealand and the UK, and number two in Sweden.  

Madonna looks back:   "The songs were pretty weak and I went to England during the recordings so I wasn't around...I wasn't in control...I didn't realize how crucial it was for me to break out of the disco mold before I'd already finished the album. I wish I could have got a little more variety there ... From the very beginning of my career, people have been writing shit about me and saying, 'She's a one-hit wonder, she'll disappear after a year' ... The ones that said I was talentless, that I was chubby, that I couldn’t sing, that I was a one-hit wonder. They pushed me to be better, and I am grateful for their resistance.”

"Everybody"  went to number three on the US dance chart.

"Burning Up" caught fire at number thirteen in Australia and number three on the US dance chart. 

"Holiday" (Curtis Hudson, Lisa Stevens) made it to number thirty-two in Canada, twenty-six in Italy, eighteen in Switzerland, sixteen on the US pop chart, eleven in the Netherlands, nine in Germany, four in Australia, two in the UK, and number one on the US dance chart. 

"Lucky Star"  hit thirty-six in Australia, fourteen in the UK, eight in Canada, four on the US pop chart, and number one on the US dance chart. 

"Borderline" crossed over to thirty-six in Germany, twenty-five in Canada, twenty-three in Switzerland, twelve in Australia, ten on the US pop chart, four on the US dance chart, and number two in the Netherlands and the UK.


full album:

(writing credits) producer(s)

1. "Lucky Star"   (Madonna) Reggie Lucas, John "Jellybean" Benitez  5:37
2. "Borderline"   (Lucas) Lucas 5:18
3. "Burning Up"   (Madonna) Lucas, Benitez  3:45
4. "I Know It"   (Madonna) Lucas 3:47
5. "Holiday"   (Curtis Hudson Lisa Stevens)  Benitez 6:08
6. "Think of Me"   (Madonna) Lucas 4:54
7. "Physical Attraction"   (Lucas)    Lucas Benitez  6:39
8. "Everybody"   (Madonna) Mark Kamins 4:57

bonus tracks
9. "Burning Up" (12" Version) Madonna   Lucas Benitez   5:59
10. "Lucky Star" ("New" Mix) Madonna Lucas Benitez 7:15

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