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“Erotica Diaries” by Shep Pettibone : Icon Magazine

The Erotica Diary (May 1992)

I met Madonna at Oceanway Studios in Los Angeles to complete the orchestra parts for This Used To Be My Playground. We had to record a string arrangement – something I was excited about but had never done before. Madonna chose Jeremy Lubock to do the arrangements beacause he had done such a good job with her I’m Breathless Material and came highly recomended. Everything went fine until the point when the orchestra played their parts; we didn’t like what we heard. Madonna and I had to change the whole arrangement, right there in the studio, with a full orchestra sitting there getting paid for taking up space – around $15,000 for three hours, $3000 for every half hour over that. And of cource, Lubbock was talking to two people who didn’t know a C from a B natural. The pressure was on.

I can only sing the notes I hear at the moment, so that’s what I did. Madonna and I stood there over my little Mac, singing the notes, and Lubbock would go, Oh, that’s a G; Oh,that’s a B and that’s how it got done. We completed the session in 2 hours and 58 minutes – two minutes away from another three grand. The last day of recording fell on Memorial day. Madonna wanted to do the lead vocals again, insisting that it would sound better. It did. I finished off some edits before going over to a party Madonna was throwing in her Hollywood mansion.

The Erotica Diary (June-July 1992)

The schedule for recording at Soundworks in New York went something like this:

June 8 – Erotica
June 9 – Words; Why’s It So Hard
June 10 – Why’s It So Hard; Thief Of Hearts
June 11 – Thief Of Hearts; Goodbye To Innocence
June 15 – 8-track dumps w/no time-code
June 16 – Deeper And Deeper

And so on, and so on…