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Madonna’s first hit ‘Holiday’ almost never happened

It’s hard to imagine Madonna’s namesake debut album — which came out 35 years ago, on July 27, 1983 — without “Holiday,” the classic party anthem that became her first mainstream hit and has given people all over the world cause to celebrate on the dance floor. But the song almost didn’t happen: It was a last-minute substitute for another track on her first LP.

“Madonna’s album was finished,” says “Holiday” producer and New York DJ legend John “Jellybean” Benitez, who was dating Madonna at the time and had been hired to do some remixes for her. There was just one problem: Madonna found out that a song she had recorded called “Ain’t No Big Deal” had already gone to disco act Barracuda, so the track was no longer an option. “She wasn’t so thrilled about that,” says Benitez.

With the “Madonna” LP then down to just seven songs, a replacement was urgently needed. “And I had a demo of ‘Holiday,’ so I played it for her, and she loved it,” the producer says.

Benitez, who had remixed “tons of records” but had never produced one from scratch, was given a one-week deadline by Madonna’s label, Warner Bros., in February 1983. “They said, ‘If you could have this song done by next Friday, you can make the album.’ I started on Monday and finished on Friday, and we delivered it.”

Madonna Holiday Single Cover

And deliver it did: After “Everybody” and “Burning Up” failed to make the Billboard Hot 100, “Holiday” became Madonna’s first single to hit that chart, reaching No. 16. The track also became her first No. 1 dance song (as a double-A-side single, with “Lucky Star”).

While “Holiday” jump-started one of the biggest careers in pop history, the tune was written by ex-spouses Curtis Hudson and Lisa Stevens-Crowder for their own group, Pure Energy. “I started out playing that chord progression as a ballad,” recalls Stevens-Crowder of the song’s keyboard inception. “But as I kept playing it over and over for a couple of days, I sped it up. And then Curtis came up with that bass line.” read more →

Madonna on Forbes’ America’s Self-Made Women 2018 list

#36 Madonna – Musician

Net Worth: $590M

The Material Girl’s Rebel Heart tour, which ended in late 2016, grossed $170 million.
Madonna continues to mint millions from clothing and perfume lines.
She’s a savvy spender, scooping up a triple-wide New York townhouse at the bottom of the market.
Her art collection reportedly includes pieces by Picasso and Dali.
With Beyonce and several others, Madonna owns a piece of streaming service Tidal, worth $600 million on paper after a 2017 investment by Sprint.

Madonna on Forbes' list

Full list at

Rumor: Drake and Madonna to work together on new music

Champagne Papi made a notso-surprise appearance at Wireless Festival on Sunday night.

It came a day after Madge checked out Migos at the same North London event.

But it was no coincidence, as a Drake source spilled to Wired: “Drake and Madonna are set to make some music together.”

“Madonna is in London putting the finishing touches to her new album and Drake promised to work with her on something.”

Daily Star

Gaultier on Madonna: “She’s a macho woman, the most macho of all the men”

“She’s macho in reality, she’s a macho woman, the most macho of all the men.”

“One of my assistants said to me I have a phone call from Madonna, and she wants you to call her back, and I say, ‘Yeah, OK.’ Because I thought it was a joke they were doing because they know I loved her. And after I called and it was her, ‘Hi, it’s Madonna.’ OK, so fabulous. And she asked me to do the Blond Ambition Tour. I felt like I belong to her or she belongs to me in some ways.”

Watch the full Jean Paul Gaultier interview for iD bellow, the part about Madonna starts around 8:35 :

Jean Paul Gaultier Talks About Clubbing in London, Madonna and His Teddy Bear

Madonna Skin Care - MDNA Skin

Susan Seidelman on Madonna, Desperately Seeking Susan

I revisited both this and Desperately Seeking Susan again over the weekend, back to back, and watching them like that I was really struck by how much Wren and Susan have in common, in that way that they’re both these kind of tough downtown women who are unapologetically looking out for themselves. But Smithereens, you developed from your own story. Susan was a movie that came to you.

It changed, once I got involved. It was set in the East Village, and the character of Susan wasn’t this downtown punk kind of person. At that time she was a little bit more like a hippie traveler. It was more like Diane Keaton, Annie Hall-ish, that kind of a character. And what I thought would be interesting — again, because I was familiar with downtown culture — was to kind of morph it a little bit into the characters I knew, and that I thought could be interesting in that role. And so the character of Susan changed a little bit, and then certainly when we cast Madonna.

It was like working with Richard Hell in Smithereens. He was a musician, a downtown musician, who had a really interesting presence. And I thought I could get a good performance out of them by incorporating what was interesting about their persona, and layering that onto the character in the script. And it does involve acting, Richard Hell and Madonna were saying scripted lines, and they were acting. So when people say, Oh it’s just Madonna being Madonna, that’s not true. But I felt very comfortable looking at people, seeing what could work cinematically, and then trying to capture that onscreen.

Madonna with Susan Seidelman

I read somewhere that she basically blew up and became a megastar, like while you were shooting.

During the nine weeks we were filming, she went from really relative obscurity — certain musical people in New York in the downtown scene knew who she was, she had like one video on MTV — but suddenly her Like a Virgin album was about to come out, and she got on the cover of Rolling Stone somewhere around the last week or two that we were filming.

And boom. Suddenly everything exploded, we went from being able to film on the streets with no security whatsoever, no entourage, no nothing, to suddenly we had crowds of people when we were filming.

She’s just so clearly a star in the movie. It just captures her charisma so beautifully — and in a way that a lot of other movies after tried and failed to do. Why do you think that thing, which you got right off the bat, proved so elusive for other films?

Well, I was also very lucky that she wasn’t a star at the time we were filming. So I wasn’t, and the movie wasn’t, capitalizing on a famous person’s persona. It was just something about her as a person, and the qualities that would make her a star later on, that we were able to capture.

But the good thing also about working with somebody who would be such a big star, is that later on they do have agents that are hanging out on the set, they do have their team, their managers and makeup artists and everyone kind of hovering around, giving input, looking over the director’s shoulder at the monitor, and giving notes — we had none of that. Which is just a wonderful way to work.


Madonna’s ‘special deal’ has Lisbon in a jam

Lisbon’s city council on Monday revealed details of a deal granting Madonna rights to park a fleet of cars in the packed Portuguese capital after being accused of special treatment for the US pop diva.

The weekly Expresso broke the story of a contract between the Material Girl singer and the city to rent a lot that can accommodate up to 15 vehicles next to the “palace” she occupies on the banks of the Tagus river.

The news provoked indignation across the political spectrum in a capital that suffers a lack of parking and bad traffic jams.

The Left Bloc, a coalition partner in the Socialist-led government, called for the parking problem to be dealt with “responsibly” given the difficulties residents face.

The main centrist opposition party PSD said it wanted to know “the reason why the mayor granted such an exception”.

The other centrist party CDS attacked Lisbon’s mayor Fernando Medina and accused him of “using heritage assets for his advantage”. “The city of Lisbon does not belong to Fernando Medina,” CDS said.

City hall decided on Monday to reveal the contents of the contract with Madonna, saying it was drawn up “to avoid traffic snarl-ups along a narrow but very busy road”.

Signed in January, the deal gives Madonna access to the land for 720 euros a month. It rules out access to the neighbouring “palace” building which is under negotiation to become the new East Timor embassy.

Madonna’s contract will cease if East Timor takes the building for its embassy.

The pop star set up in Lisbon last summer following in the footsteps of Hollywood actors Monica Bellucci, Michael Fassbender and John Malkovich drawn to Portugal’s capital which regularly ranks among Europe’s coolest.


How Madonna Helped Rosie O’Donnell Book Sleepless In Seattle

“Well, I had just done A League of Their Own and I was hoping to get another movie role. But A League of Their Own was not out yet. And Nora Ephron’s young son Jacob, who is now a grown gay man, he was in his teens, and he was a big fan of Madonna. So when Nora went to dinner that night and said to her kids ‘I auditioned this young woman, I think I like her. Her name is Rosie O’Donnell’ Jacob said ‘Oh my god, she’s friends with Madonna, I love her!’ So I blame my gay icon friend Madonna and gay Jacob for getting me the role.” (Rosie O’Donnell)

Cinema Blend

Judge tells Madonna to quit messing with her neighbors

A Manhattan judge has a message for Madonna: stop messing with your neighbors.

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Gerald Lebovits said the pop superstar was “merely harassing” fellow residents of her Upper West Side co-op for continuing to seek records from the board after she lost a legal bid challenging a rule that required her to be physically present in her $7.3 million pad when any of her family or staff are there.

She wanted access to board records including voting information and annual meeting minutes to “investigate how her lease was changed” and “how her family may use Unit 7A without breaching the lease.”

“Plaintiff does not need those materials anymore to prove a case that, by law, she is no longer allowed to prove,” Lebovits wrote in the decision released Friday.

Madonna sued Harperley Hall on West 64th Street and Central Park West in 2016 — two years after the board changed her original proprietary lease to say that her children and domestic help cannot live in the unit unless she herself is “in residence” at the time.

“Plaintiff is a world-renowned recording artist, performer and singer who is constantly on world tours,” she griped in her 2016 suit.

“As such, plaintiff owns many residences around the world and travels extensively worldwide,” she said in court papers.

Last September, Lebovits said she waited too long to sue and tossed the claim challenging the new lease.

Now he’s also tossing her demand for co-op records, saying that issue is moot.

Lawyers for Madonna and the co-op board did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

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