Saturday, May 28, 2016

"Holiday" by Madonna

Song#:  1671
Date:  10/29/1983
Debut:  88
Peak:  16
Weeks:  21
Genre:  Dance-Pop

Pop Bits:  Madonna Louise Ciccone from Bay City, Michigan, would eventually become simply Madonna and take the world by storm. But before she was just Madonna, she began studying dance and ending up leaving the University of Michigan for the bright lights of NYC. Once there, she started working as a waitress while taking dance classes and getting opportunities to perform with dance companies and as a backing dancer for music artists. It was on one of her gigs as a backup dancer that she met Dan Gilroy. The two started a rock band called the Breakfast Club. Not long after, she left the band and with her boyfriend Stephen Bray formed Emmy. But it seemed that being in a band wasn't what she wanted and now that she was writing songs and getting more experience singing, Madonna wanted to move out on her own. Demos that she did with Bray got the attention of Sire Records and they signed her to a singles deal. Her first release was "Everybody" and that song became a Dance hit reaching #3, as did her next single "Burning Up." The results were good and Sire was ready to flip the bill for a full album. When it was mostly finished, Madonna was not fully pleased with the production of the tracks (done by Reggie Lucas), so she got her new boyfriend John "Jellybean" Benitez to step in and round out the production. In addition to remixing the existing tracks, Benitez fully produced a new song called "Holiday." It was selected as Madonna's third single and the first to fully represent her self-titled debut album. The song, which was paired with another track "Lucky Star," hit #1 on the Dance chart and soon it was climbing the Pop chart. It would peak in the Top 20 giving Madonna her first Pop hit.

ReduxReview:  I've been trying to think back to this time and how I felt about this song and this new Madonna singer. If I remember right, I kind of thought the song was slight and that she was a weak singer with a thin and whiny tone. She came off as some snotty youngster who woke up one day and thought "I think I wanna be a singer" and found a label that would select writers and producers to do all the work while she squeaked over the tracks. In other words, I wasn't impressed. In fact, I didn't buy one single from her debut album. I think I finally bought the LP after "Lucky Star" came out just so I could figure out what was going on with this singer. The LP didn't captivate me either, but there was something about Madonna that kept my attention. I wasn't sure what or why, but I had a distinct feeling I had misjudged her. Indeed I did and once "Like a Virgin" came out, it was all over. Instant Madonna fan. Later on, I was able to revisit her debut album and realize that for the most part, its a terrific album and the production is very clean and solid, especially on this track. It probably should have been a Top 10'er, but I'm not sure if folk were really ready to jump on the Madonna train yet.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  While most songs were in place for her debut album, she still needed one more track to round out the album. She was supposed to record a song written by former bf Stephen Bray that had already been done in demo form called "Ain't No Big Deal." Unfortunately, conflicts with Bray and the song came about and Madonna was kept from recording it. Still needing a song, Benitez found this one written by two members of the post-disco group Pure Energy. Curtis Hudson and Lisa Stevens had shopped the song to several artists, but no one bit until Benitez took it to Madonna.Years later in 1997, Bray would include the demo of "Ain't No Big Deal" along with others that he did with Madonna (including demo versions of "Everybody" and "Burning Up") and release them a Pre-Madonna. The cash-in project, which Madonna didn't authorize, was considered an interesting curiosity at best and it disappeared quickly.


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