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15 years online

“Madonna – From Genesis to Revelations” – by Bruce Baron : Goldmine Magazine

Madonna’s first greatest hits “The Immaculate Collection” included two new songs, “Rescue Me”, and “Justify My Love”, but another title called “Get Over” didn’t make the final selection. This Madonna-Bray collaboration remains unreleased with Madonna’s lead vocal. Another version was recorded and released by Nick Scotti who had met Madonna at a party. It first appeared on the Soundtrack to the film “Nothing But Trouble”. This was produced by Madonna and Shep Pettibone and features prominent Madonna backing vocals. Another remixed version appears on his debut Reprise album. This was Stephen Bray’s last released collaboration with Madonna before he began a five-year hiatus that started with the birth of his daughter. During that time Bray built a recording studio and today lives in southern California.

Collaborations with Shep Pettibone however, continued with the album “Erotica.” It is rumored that some of the songs from this album started out as demo productions with her DJ and remixer Junior Vasquez including a title called “Love Hurts”. This song is said to have evolved into the Madonna-Pettibone song “Erotica” which became the album title track. Copyright records do not support this claim, but handwritten alternate lyrics (said to be Madonna’s) did appear on the auction block featuring this alternate chorus: “Sometimes you cross that line – Love Hurts- You gotta be cruel to be kind – Love Hurts – Tell me whats on your mind-Love stings – Love burns – Love sings – Love yearns – But most of all love hurts.”

There are also other unreleased orphans from the “Erotica” period. These include “Actions Speak Louder Than Words” which is copyrighted separately from the released “Words.” Another title called “Cheat” appears to contain a line that was used in “Thief Of Hearts,” but the copyright records also refer to the alternate title for “Cheat” called “Drunk Girl” which may have some connection to the released song “Bad Girl” which does appear on the album. “Deeper And Deeper” also started out with alternate arrangements and lyrics according to reports that Pettibone gave to EQ magazine (Fall, 1992). Two other tunes, “Shame” and “You Are The One” have never seen the light of day in any form, but do have copyright registrations. In fact, “Shame” has an original Madonna demo on file at the Library Of Congress.

Evidence does not support the other rumored titles from the “Erotica” sessions which include “Freak,” “No Entry,” and “Throb,” even though they appeared in trusted media publications. Early press for this album also spoke of “Show And Tell,” “Eating Out,” and “Out To Lunch,” which have not surfaced, and they do not appear in the copyright records. They may be early re-writes of the released “Where Life Begins,” or media error. Another title which was called “Queens Pearls” or “Queen Of Pearls” by the media eventually turned up as the club hit “Queens English” by former 1990 Blonde Ambition Tour dancers Jose and Luis. This song features Madonna backing vocals and was produced by Junior Vasquez. Alternate Madonna versions of this song could not be confirmed to exist.

Just after “Erotica” Madonna gave a demo of “Just A Dream” co-written and produced with Patrick Leonard to Blond Ambition Tour dancer and backing vocalist Donna DeLory. Donna used the song on her MCA Records debut, but the Madonna lead vocal recording remains unreleased. Today, Donna is the vocalist in the duo group Bliss.

When Madonna began to record for her 1994 “Bedtime Stories” album, she at first continued with Shep Pettibone as her main collaborator. Several songs were recorded before she abandoned his productions for work with producer Dave Hall, who offered a more R&B flavor. The Pettibone productions remain unreleased from these sessions. “Something’s Coming Over Me” (was later re-titled “Secret”), “I Will Always Have You” (was later re-titled “Inside of Me”), and “I’d Rather Be Your Lover” all have separate copyright registrations and demos different from the Madonna-Dave Hall productions at the Library Of Congress. Strangely, Pettibone is not credited as a co-author on these songs in the “Bedtime Stories” album credits (he only gets a “thank you for understanding”). He is credited as co-author for those three songs in the Warner-Chappell Publishing database.

Also never released are “Love Wont Wait”, and “Bring It”. “Love Won’t Wait” was eventually given to Gary Barlow to re-record for his 1997 Arista album “Open Road.” These were Madonna’s last collaborations with Shep Pettibone before he went on an industry hiatus. Pettibone is a favorite among Madonna fans and today sources tell me that Shep has been investing his millions in real estate, including a hotel in Oceanside, New Jersey. He has just recently returned to working on music.

Although Dallas Austin wrote/produced “Secret,” “Freedom,” and “Let Down Your Guard” for the “Bedtime Stories” album, the Dave Hall sessions for “Bedtime Stories” produced four other cuts that also never made the album. “Keep On” has a publishing record at Warner-Chappell and remains unreleased, but it could be an earlier version of the released “Don’t Stop” which shares that lyric. “Freedom” was later used on the various artist charity release “Carnival”. “Honesty” has a publishing record at Warner-Chapell Publishing that has never been released. And finally, “Let Down Your Guard” (listed as a “Rough Mix Edit,” track time 4:36) appeared as the B-side of the UK singles for “Secret.” No other official versions or remixes of “Let Down Your Guard” have yet surfaced.

The Dave Hall sessions for “Bedtime Stories” produced four other cuts that also never made the album. “Keep On” has a publishing record at Warner-Chappell and remains unreleased, but it could be an earlier version of the released “Don’t Stop” which shares that lyric. “Freedom” was later used on the various artist charity release “Carnival”. “Honesty” has a publishing record at Warner-Chapell Publishing that has never been released. And finally, “Let Down Your Guard” appeared on a UK picture disc b-side.