Wednesday, April 27, 2011

M is for Madonna

The letter “M” is an easy one for me, at least this first time around:

M is for Madonna

I have been a Madonna fan since day one! When she first started getting played on the radio back in 1982-83, I was a young student at Fordham University in the Bronx and I was just beginning to develop my love for dance, R&B, and the then new rap music. The hot New York radio stations back in the day were KTU, Kiss FM, and WBLS, and I’d spend my days and nights getting to know the latest songs to hit the dance floors around the nation and I was loving it.

Then one day this song started being played in heavy rotation all over the place. The song was called ‘Everybody’ by a fresh new artist named Madonna and I couldn’t get enough of it. As soon as it was made available I headed on down to Crazy Eddie’s on Fordham Rd. to pick up the 12-inch single. To my dismay, the cover had not a trace of this curiously intoxicating singer’s face, only a scene of a New York street with lots of cityscape extras. At least I’d had the song all to myself to play over and over again…

Madonna - Everybody by foxysoul

Soon after ‘Everybody’ came another 12-incher: a two-sided one featuring the songs ‘Physical Attraction’ and on the B-side, ‘Burning Up.’ Of course with the release of these new songs, Madonna’s race to the top of the charts was only beginning to pick up steam. This cover featured an Andy Warhol-like paintings of Madonna a dozen times over, yet it was still hard to tell what she looked like. At first, many assumed she was African American, mostly from the vibe of her music, but on this one it was at least clear that she was white and blonde.

Not long after the second single was released, Madonna’s first full album, complete with an up-close facial portrait of the young singer on the cover, was unleashed on the world and the rest is history. Of course, to cover Madonna’s entire career from that first CD all the way to the present day would take pages upon pages of text, not any sort of project for a blog entry. But as I wrote recently on Y!CN, Diana Ross was my first diva, and I used the word “first” because once Madonna came along, it has been all about her ever since.

Check out a review of Madonna’s classic debut album by me on Y!CN right here.

Ever since that time, Madonna’s been with me through all my ups and downs, for almost 30 years now. I can associate periods in her career with the times in my life…

I remember the first time I heard ‘Like a Prayer,’ my all time favorite Madonna song, on the radio when I was working as a bank teller in Massapequa. A couple of radio jocks on Hot 103.5 radio station (now Hot 97), their names were Stevens and Gridnik, locked themselves away in the studio playing their own version of the song before its much anticipated premiere, thereby ruining its authentic debut. They played the song over and over again, and it was a very similar sound to the real one. The two were fired for the stunt.

Madonna - Like A Prayer (Live) by Schutzengerl1205

And then there was the ‘Who’s That Girl’ Tour, the one that followed the terrible movie of the same name and the one where she sported the worst hairdo of her career. It was during this tour that I first saw her in concert, with my ex, Joe (see “Remember Me”).

Joe and I were both big Madonna fans, and her music played backdrop to many memorable times during our twenty-plus years together. I remember like it was yesterday that time in Italy when the skies were dark and the wind was howling over the sea and Madonna’s ‘Sky Fits Heaven’ played in the background. It was something I always think of when I hear that song. (Check out “A Defining Post”)

Madonna even played a role in Joe and my afterlife…well, the afterlife of our breakup. About a year after our relationship ended, Madonna had gone on tour to promote her latest (and last!) CD, ‘Hard Candy.’ He, I and our friend Rich all took a ride to Jersey to see her at the Prudential Center. That proved to be another night I’ll never forget, although for different reasons. The awkwardness of our relationship at that point provided an uncomfortable backdrop to a memorable show.

There’s so much more I can say about Madonna, but that’ll be for another time. For now, take a last look at one of my favorite Madonna videos, ‘Bedtime Story’:

Madonna - Bedtime Story by matsou75

and remember...

M is for Madonna, my inspiration and my comfort...

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