Deep Dive: 25 Years Of Madonna’s Erotica And Sex

This week it’s been 25 years since the simultaneous release of Madonna’s Erotica album and her still controversial S&M-filled coffee table book, Sex.

Legendary Rolling Stone critic (and longtime JMG reader) Barry Walters has written a deep dive into their legacy and how they addressed the then-raging AIDS pandemic, which tore through Madonna’s inner circle. Walters unpacks quite a bit, so let’s just start with his opening paragraphs:

In 1990, Madonna was as astronomically popular as a boundary-bulldozing, unapologetically bacchanalian performance artist could get. Drawing from Harlem drag balls, “Vogue” went Number One nearly worldwide. The tour showcasing it, Blond Ambition, mixed spectacle with social commentary so sharply that it reinvented the pop concert and yielded the smash documentary Truth or Dare. And that year’s The Immaculate Collection, her first greatest-hits set, would eventually rank among the world’s biggest-ever albums, despite MTV banning its gender-blurring and cinematically exquisite “Justify My Love” video.

Some loathed this classically trained dancer/DIY provocateur – a megastar peer of Prince and Michael Jackson since her 1984 blockbuster Like a Virgin – with a venom reserved for successful women forging their own path. But for her vast audience, she was nothing less than liberating, and her uninterrupted string of hits defined pop for a decade. What some considered violations of taste made her more commanding: Even the way she toyed with ordinarily unflappable talk show hosts like David Letterman was more rock & roll than actual rock stars.

Nearly everything changed two years later with Erotica and Sex. Released respectively on October 20th and 21st, 1992, the first fruits of her multimedia Maverick entertainment company weren’t flops; her fifth studio album, Erotica racked up six million sales worldwide and yielded several hits, while Sex – an elaborate coffee table book created with fashion photographer Steven Meisel and Fabien Baron of Harper’s Bazaar – sold out its limited 1.5 million printing in a few days, an unparalleled success for a $50 photography folio bound in metal and sealed in a Mylar bag to evoke condoms. It remains one of the most in-demand out-of-print publications of all time.

Read the full piece and share your memories.

  • TJay229

    I still have my Erotica Book!

    • FAEN

      Good for you!

  • bkmn

    I remember how much she pissed off the Catholic church. That is what really made me a fan.

    • FAEN

      They waged war against her and women because they wanted to control their bodies and have sex for pleasure(GASP) while these sick bastards were raping children. Appalling.

  • Natty Enquirer

    My partner and I had Sex on our coffee table for quite a long time.

    • netxtown

      good thing the book was wrapped 🙂

    • Daveed_WOW

      A+ for endurance

    • Ragnar Lothbrok

      Sturdy furniture is important.

    • JCF

      I see what you did there!

  • Daveed_WOW

    Also part of the package was the film “Body of Evidence” one of the best Bad Movies of the Nineties.

    Roger Ebert thought it was so hilariously inept that he didn’t know who to blame:

    “I don’t know whether to blame the director, the cinematographer or the editor for some of the inept choices in this movie. One example: Dafoe is addressing his opening remarks to the jury, and the camera pulls focus so that we see an attractive young female juror sitting in the front row. She gives Dafoe an unmistakable look. We in the audience are alerted that the movie is establishing her for a later payoff. We’re wrong. She’s just an extra trying to grab some extra business.”

    http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/body-of-evidence-1993

    • Talisman

      I remember one critic said something like “Erotica, the album; Erotica, the book; & Erotica, the movie…and each is worse than the previous”.

  • HZ81

    Awesome. I will always unapologetically love this woman. Erotica and SEX are two reasons why.

    And Deeper and Deeper is everything.

    • Daveed_WOW

      Ironically, it’s one of her best albums and it’s the most neglected. Go figure. Deeper and Deeper is one of the best pop songs ever. Instant classic.

      • TJay229

        I loved “Waiting”

      • HZ81

        Really is. And Secret Garden, Bad Girl, Waiting —tons of great shit. And it set the groundwork for generations of pop stars taking the wrong lessons from it. It seems so many following in Madonna’s wake equate getting naked with artistic maturity. Madonna wanted sexual freedom for women which shocked the status quo because she was in control if it.

        I’m in need of about three more coffees before any kind of clarity settles in, but I hope that made sense. 🙂

        • FAEN

          I could use another coffee myself.

          It’s interesting to hear Madonna somewhat wince at her earlier years now that she has children. It’s been fascinating to watch her evolve.

          • HZ81

            Agreed on both parts. As I get older, I’ve winced at a thing or two, too, from my past. I guess it’s natural but still, she has nothing to wince about. Chrissie Hynde said the same thing about her early lyrics—and those were some classics.

            More coffee time.

          • FAEN

            I’m always up for more coffee.

            Curious-what do you listen to these days?

          • HZ81

            There was a study rather recently that concluded that people stop listening to new music on average in their early 30s. I am not in my early 30s any longer, let’s just say that, but…

            I’ve been adoring Grace Jones lately—including her last album Hurricane, which is brilliant. Because of Ivanka Trump’s mentioning of Nirvana “punk” phase, I’ve been listening to the Damned and the Germs a lot of late, too.

            As for new-new artists? Slim-pickings. The Future is the only one of late I listen to that comes to mind.

            And not to turn this into some kind of Stan Queen war, but this generation has, arguably, Taylor Swift as its Madonna. Mine had Madonna. Nuff said. 🙂

          • FAEN

            LOL-you will smite me for this but I have hummed the words to some of Taylor’s songs from the past album.

            Nirvana, Queen, Madonna, ABBA, Bowie etc are all classics and I’ll listen to them with the same joy if not more until I die but I’m a little proud that I buck that study thanks to Sirius radio. I have found so many interesting bands on Alt Nation and the more I listen the more I can see the influence of other artists.

            I have been blasting ‘The Bravery’ of late. I’m sad that they are no longer together but they went as far as they could go according to them.

          • HZ81

            How dare you enjoy that singing slice of Wonderbread!?!? 🙂

            I have Sirius myself so with try to Alt Nation it more I think my problem, as it were, is that there are just so many more channels to discover music, therefore exposing so much more music than back in my Rolling Stone-reading, tape-buying days. It’s overwhelming. I simply can’t keep up. Same with TV. I can’t physically sit and watch that much television.

            Not that I am in the library catching up on the canon or anything. But, Lordy.

          • HZ81

            Also, I saw the Bravery in 2007 (?) with Ash. Awesome.

          • FAEN

            That’s amazing. I never got to see them unfortunately.

          • HZ81

            They were really good. I hadn’t heard much of them before, actually. I was there for Ash (Tim Wheeler makes my special areas happy). They were just like really breaking then or were on the cusp because the show wasn’t even sold out and it was a 1k club. But they were a lot of fun and were rockstars onstage without that “we’re hipsters so we don’t do anything” attitude.

          • Joseph Miceli

            I’m in my 50’s and there are some bands out there like Shinedown and Buckcherry that I’ve discovered. I wonder if people stop listening to new music because they turn off their radios and turn on their ipods. You have to be willing to expose yourself to new music.

          • HZ81

            True. I’ve right along those study lines, though. I expose myself to new music and I turn back to my library often. Here and there, I pick up stuff but mostly no.

            I do love Lit Up by Buckcherry. A jam.

          • Phillip in L.A.

            Try CousteauX, HZ81!

          • Joseph Miceli

            Really? I wonder what Susan Sarandon thinks of “Rocky Horror” then. (snicker!)

          • FAEN

            HA! Always good to see you J. Always.

          • FAEN

            Still waiting for her ‘revolution’. 🙄

          • UrsusArctos 🐻

            I used to be able to separate the actor from the character, but the last year has seen a VERY important touchstone from my late-teens soiled beyond reclaiming. I – just – can’t – watch – RHPS these days. It brought so much joy, but that was then, this is now.

          • Daveed_WOW

            Her material was for adults and curious children. I certainly knew who I was during my childhood.

          • FAEN

            As did I.

        • Daveed_WOW

          She was a grown up woman going deep into issues. This album is a key Culture War artifact. She got serious about things. Puritans saw their privilege deteriorate and they pushed back.

        • Philly Mike

          I adore Ray of Light I can listen to that CD over and over.

      • JDS

        The video of that song is full of symbolism.

        • Daveed_WOW

          I think the bursted balloon symbolizes obviousness.

      • Strepsi

        Erotica is underrated, as are Bedtime Story (the song and album) and Hard Candy. Deeper and Deeper IS everything, but her cover of Fever is also awesome (and yes, we used to sing “you give me beaver”)
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBjw9qqyk8I

        • Daveed_WOW

          Bedtime Story is good too.

    • jerry

      And in the Deeper video, kudos for the appearance of schlock horror film favorite Udo Kier.

  • netxtown

    she did put the YAY! in Gay! Those were the days!

    • *All in the Family Tune* Those were the gays…

      Sorry, I’ll show myself out.

  • Eric Hufford
    • TJay229

      Yes…!
      With Christopher Walken & Mark Margolis. It was a great video too!

      • Joe in PA

        I was just going to type: look at how young CW looks. 🙂

  • Ragnar Lothbrok

    Wow, looking back, she really was quite the phenomenon.

  • Joe in PA

    My Madonna story:

    circa 1990ish, road trip with my mom and nephew to help us all get over the passing of my father earlier that year. My 15 y/o nephew was driving, he got to choose the radio station, Vogue came on…we start chair-dancing in the car…we look over to a car that was passing us, 4 twenty-somethings VOGUEING! They obviously were tuned to the same radio station. We all laughed including my mom.

    • FAEN

      That’s lovely lol.

    • TJay229

      😂 😂 😂

      The first time I met her, was at the Sound Factory, Jose brought her to the club one early morning (the Sound didn’t really kick til about 3:30-4am) and she was just standing under Juniors booth dancing… Jose says “Girl, She’s here…!” I was like “Uh yeah girl, I see…” so he grabbed me by the arm and marches towards her… I was to pass out!!!

      “This is my girlfriend TJ, She’s a Fan…”
      She smiled and said “Nice to meet you” but before I can say anything she says to Jose ” Let’s dance..” she grabs him and toward the floor they go.

      Was I supposed to be left behind as Junior is playing “Work This Pussy”?

      HELL TO THE MUTHERPHUCKING NAW..!

      I dashed right with them. 😂

      There we are, alongside the whole club carrying on to “Work this Pussy” It👏Was👏Grand 👏Prize👏. And to top it off… She stepped on my foot, and when I said ouch, She says “Sorry Girl”

      I will never forget that night.

      I met her again at Webster Hall for Bedtime Story Party.

      • Phillip in L.A.

        Thanks for the great story, TJay229!

        Can you name the famous 1960’s “pop culture milestone” for which Ms Ciccone auditioned–but was rejected–and also for which Mr Bruce Springsteen declined to audition?

        Hint: A natural Pussy has it.

    • ErikDC

      My Madonna story:

      My paternal grandmother’s funeral, February 1993.

      My older cousin, older brother, and I were all listening to Madonna’s “Erotica” album on the way home from the viewing.

      “Where Life Begins” comes on and they make fun of me because I have no idea what “eating out” means.

      • stanhope

        Doll just change t w a t for b u t t h o l e and you’ll keep lunch down

  • Piernudo15

    Am I the only gay man who has never been a fan of Madonna? My friends always threaten to revoke my gay card because I do not worship her.

    • Lazycrockett

      No you arent.

    • Statistics Palin

      I won’t listen to her music unless I’m on a treadmill. I find her tedious, and I find her self-promotion ludicrous.

    • FAEN

      You’re definitely in the minority but no worries 🙂

    • Lazycrockett

      In the early 90’s I was all into girl rock. Liz Phair, Tanya Donnelly, PJ Harvey, Julianna Hatfield, Courtney Love, The Breeders and the like.

      • Lazycrockett

        Oh and of course Throwing Muses.

      • Were you a Bikini Kill fan? I think I was too young and “missed” them, but I came to like their songs when I was in college.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfPskatvJm4

        • Lazycrockett

          I remember them but they weren’t around very long right?

          • Wikipedia says that they put out their first album in 1993 (I was 10). And that they were active from 1990-1997, so, yeah, not too long.

      • Daveed_WOW

        Madonna is also girl rock 🙂

        • Lazycrockett

          She can’t play guitar.

    • royinhell

      You are not alone. I own exactly one Madonna song (Ray of Light- not for the song but for the time it reminds me of). I don’t hate her, I have just always found her… meh.

    • Gustav2

      Never a fan here either.

    • TrueWords

      As long as you love men your gay card can NEVER be revoked

    • Dazzer

      In the “Madonna v Cyndi Lauper” War, I chose Cyndi – and have never regretted my choice.

      I did sort of meet Madonna once. She was in her car and fighting with Guy Ritchie and they nearly ran me over on a zebra crossing. I was so shaken that I shouted at them both that they were fucking wankers and should look where they were going and I had a good mind to report them to the police.

      If I’d been a bit faster in my wits back then, I’d have thrown myself on the bonnet, bounced off and then threatened to sue them until they’d paid off my mortgage.

      As it is, I console myself that she’s probably a better driver to this day because of that one meeting. (Would still have preferred the money, though.)

      • band

        Only Cyndi worshippers think there was ever a “‘Madonna v Cyndi Lauper’ War.”

        • Daveed_WOW

          Sigh. I don’t see why they need to be pitted against each other. You can have them all.

      • Canadian Observer

        Damn, I must be older than I thought, I have vague memories of the Babs v. Bette wars. Of course I was a little precocious.

      • fiizok

        It was clear from the beginning that Cyndi Lauper had a sense of humor about herself and her public image. That quality is incredibly endearing. (Madonna has always been the polar opposite. No sense of humor as far as I can tell.)

        • CarbonMade

          If you watch the video for Human Nature, you’ll see prime examples of Madonna having a sense of humor.

      • CarbonMade

        I don’t understand why there would even be a “war.” They’re very different artists with very different music and careers. Both are great and don’t need to be ranked one over the other.

    • MichaelJ

      No your not. I’ve found some of her songs catchy and fun, and she gave a fine performance in “Evita.” But on the whole I’ve been put off by her immodesty (in all senses of the word), finding whatever sincerity there is behind what she says and does overshadowed by calculated self-promotion.

      My opinion of her is perhaps influenced by a couple of people whose lives have intersected with hers on a personal non-romantic level (i.e., neither were lovers and neither through the music or entertainment industry), including one who knew her before she was famous. None of them hate Madonna, but what they have had to say about her was not flattering.

      • Daveed_WOW

        Some artists are like that. They are not great friends, great lovers or great parents.

    • paddis

      No, you are not alone. I never could see or hear what others did in her.

    • Ross

      I don’t worship Madonna.

      But I have always admired her.

      Bette?

      Worship.

    • StudioTodd

      I used to loudly and actively hate on Madonna and her music. I thought she was far more popular and successful than she deserved to be, based on her weak singing voice and what I thought was questionable talent and looks.

      Then I was forced to see Truth or Dare, which gave me a whole new respect for the woman. I had yet to be convinced about her singing voice (although it was obviously something she was working hard to improve), but after seeing the film, I was amazed at her ability to market herself and to get her message out to the public, no matter the opposition she ran into.

      I began to pay more attention to what she would say in interviews and to her public activities, and was truly impressed by her advocacy and unadulterated love for the gay community at a time when standing up loudly and proudly for us was not necessarily good for a celebrity’s career. There weren’t many at the time who were outspoken in terms of our need for civil rights and equality, the political and social stigma that we suffered as a result of the never-ending AIDS crisis and how much inspiration she took from gay culture.

      The vast majority of celebrities were either silent or lukewarm when it came to LGBT activism. I admired Madonna’s commitment and passion and her refusal to tone down her message.

      It seemed to me (either because it was true or because my point-of-view was different) that her voice and her music became better and more mature after this point as well. My respect, admiration and appreciation for Madonna’s work quickly evolved into full-fledged fandom.

      She is a legend and I thank her for her love and support, for having the courage of her convictions and for not backing away from us at a time when it would have been easy to do so.

  • Gustav2

    “You know when I was a kid growing up a lot of things were sacred in our country. Women were sacred, looked upon with great honor. That’s obviously not the case anymore as we see from recent cases.”

    • FAEN

      Says the man who works for the pussy grabber in chief.

    • Daveed_WOW

      Just one of a long string of amazingly bold lies.

  • Statistics Palin

    As a vocalist, Madonna was a great aerobics instructor. I wrote her off when she boogied in front of burning crosses in “Like a Prayer.” “Erotica” was just tedious.

    • FAEN

      To each his own.

    • Dagoril

      Funny. Like a Prayer & Oh, Father was when I really started liking her. I hated her early stuff.

  • mdub in Puyallup

    I still have my copy of “Sex,” but the Mylar is a bit torn because I actually wanted to read it. Nowhere near as provocative as offerings today, it was an insight into a world I had heard of, but never experienced. While I do not particularly care for her latest music, her earlier works will always be a reminder of the promises of the future.

    • FAEN

      I hate to admit it but I stopped listening after ‘Confessions on a dance floor’ which I quite enjoyed.

      • mdub in Puyallup

        Deeper and Deeper, Secret, and Express Yourself (my favorite song EVER!), resonated with me like very few songs have since. Although I am a sucker for Katy Perry’s Firework.

        • FAEN

          I have enjoyed all of those and continue to. Haven’t listened to Perry much. I’m more a Sia, Adele and Bjork fan these days but Madonna will always be a staple.

  • AdmiralPecker, USS JMG
    • djcoastermark

      Sir, yes, Sir Picky.

      • AdmiralPecker, USS JMG

        At ease, Sailor.

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          • pj

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    • Phillip in L.A.

      I. Does “displaying affects with each other” = “displaying affection….”?
      II. Or does it refer to a session of group therapy?
      (a) Yes.
      (b) No.
      (c) I only.
      (d) II only.
      (e) Both I and II.

    • JCF

      “displaying affects? Shouldn’t that be “displaying affection”?

  • TrueWords

    What made Madonna legendary is the way she pushed boundaries. Back in the 80s, exploiting sexuality wasn’t that obvious for a female artist.

    She paved the way for all the Britney’s, Gaga’s, Xtina’s,… in today’s music biz.

    And she had/has an opinion…until then too many female artists were puppets, constructed and controlled by their management.

    Madonna was the first female artist who took things into her own hands, deciding how everything should be done, and with her in the spotlights.

    She pushed boundaries in sexuality, fashion…good for her…

    https://feedlimmy.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/madonna-girl-gone-wild-male-models.gif

    • bambinoitaliano

      I think many still play the puppet roles and take the easy way out rather than challenging the establishment.

      • Phillip in L.A.

        Abbastanza facile dire per un uomo-bambino!
        (supponendo che tu sia uomo)

    • Dayglo

      You nailed it. She paved the way for a lot of shrill little girl singers who are simply not creative. Madonna was always about new ideas (or usually appropriating old ones) whereas many of these new girls literally have never read a book. Madonna had a self awareness about her sexuality. These new girls mindlessly grind around onstage like there’s an angry pimp waiting for them in the wings.

      • acde

        I always thought there was an angry pimp waiting in the wings

    • fuzzybits

      True that. And way earlier for me was Yoko Ono paving the way for singers I listened to like Lena Lovich and Nina Hagan.

      • stanhope

        Don’t forget GRACE JONES!

    • Daveed_WOW

      How do you pause it?

      • TrueWords

        You can’t…just like you can’t STOP Madonna…

  • kelven

    I have Deeper and Deeper on my playlist right now, and I think I pretty much have a few of her songs on it at anytime. She really is a huge cultural influence. Oh, and I just saw this old classic on my YouTube feed for those who haven’t enjoyed it. (Yes, that is genuine surprise from the three at the end!)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oiJkANps0Qw

  • TrueWords

    STRIKE A POSE…good documentary currently on Netflix it sheds a much needed light on the dancers and Madonna…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Hqh7lwaNKw

    • djcoastermark

      Thanks for this. Hubs is getting it now. Madonna and co. really did set the tone and open so many doors back then.

    • Dazzer

      One of her backing dancers back then – although he didn’t appear in the film was a guy who went on to have a tremendously good career as gay porn star “Caesar”.

      • GanymedeRenard

        Hmm… Intriguing. Do you happen to know his porn surname? *giggles*

  • coram nobis
    • houstonray

      I could watch that movie anytime. The ‘added’ song at the end that she sings still makes me cry.

  • Jmdintpa

    fan or not she did stand up with us back when no one else would. of course she made her money also but she worked hard and she is a performer not just a singer, dancer etc. she said things ladies werent supposed to and talked about things ladies werent supposed to. she pissed off the establishment back then. she riled up the republicans and church ladies. For that i will always like her.

  • worstcultever

    I bought the Sex book just because it was a thing. And like everything with her, there was some cool/artistic/sexy stuff – but ultimately I found it kind of forced and joyless. Like any kind of commoditized sex, I guess.

    When it comes to Madge, just give me The Immaculate Collection on a loop forever. All those incredibly great, immortal singles.

    • houstonray

      The Immaculate Collection is one of the greatest collections ever.

    • Phillip in L.A.

      “forced and joyless” is perfect criticism of her that crystallizes my similar opinion

  • Joseph Miceli

    “Justify My Love” by Madonna and “Freedom” by George Michael define that era for me. Young, thin, a head full of dark black hair and a cocaine spoon up my nose, I danced nonstop until a decade later I realized I was now dancing alone. I put up my cha cha heels and entered middle age, but whenever I hear one of those songs I feel like I’m back on that dance floor again and love and sex were as easy as falling off a log.

  • motordog
    • GanymedeRenard

      Now I feel ancient.

      • StudioTodd

        “Madonna…that doesn’t ring a bell.”

        FU, kid.

        • GanymedeRenard

          Oh, don’t blame the kid. Blame the parents!!

  • Anastasia Beaverhousen

    Madonna will always mean “Holiday” to me. From the time she performed it on LIVE AID until seeing her sing it in the Rebel Heart tour in NYC last year, that song marks dates in my life. I love her and will always remember and thank her for what she did for our community. When they ask what three people do you want to have dinner with… one is always Madonna.

  • Daveed_WOW

    Streaming on Amazon Prime now.

  • fuzzybits

    I remember being in a club at the time and someone bringing the Sex book in. He turned the pages while we gathered round because he didn’t want it to get soiled. Lol.

  • JWC

    Madge definetly understood marketing

  • houstonray

    I bought the Sex book. Kept it for years in its sealed mylar package. In 1998, my apartment was broken into and they grabbed that among all the other stuff they took.

    Still bitter about that….

    • Jean-Marc in Canada

      Man, that really does suck. I keep my copy in the safe and only bring it out for special friends and occasions.

  • Talisman

    I was 13-ish when Madonna hit it big, and I had an on-again, off-again relationship with her music. I don’t know why, but the Erotica album, the persona she adopted, and the promotional blitz around it just turned me off to her, and I really stopped listening to her music. I should probably go back and give her a second chance.

    • ByronK

      Go straight ot Ray of Light then. I had the same on and off thing about her until that album. I doubt she’ll ever come close to achieving the same level of artistry that she did on that album.

  • Jean-Marc in Canada

    Ah yes, Sex and Erotic, I remember both like it was yesterday. As for my copy of SEX, it remains secure. I don’t know how many times I’ve had offers made, but I ain’t sellin’

    • djcoastermark

      Does that last sentence have a hidden meaning ? 😉

      • Jean-Marc in Canada

        LOL cheeky bugger, but nope. I’ve had people every once in awhile make an offer to buy the book and I’m not going to sell. The last offer I got was ridiculously high…but I’m not desperate for cash so, here it stays.

  • fuzzybits

    Can’t find it anywhere but Jackie Beat did a good parody called”Vague.” I recorded it on VHS from a show on cable access.

    • ByronK

      French and Saunders did a very funny take off on the movie as well.

    • Phillip in L.A.

      I remember Ms Beat’s performance! Was that from Ms Summer Caprice’s “Decoupage”?

      • fuzzybits

        Not sure. I just saw that one video.

  • fiizok

    When she first started getting kinda famous, Madonna was wearing exactly what all the girls at the punk rocks shows in Los Angeles were wearing: lots of lace, lots of crucifixes. Of course the punk girls were horrified and changed what they were wearing immediately. But I noticed that wasn’t the last time Madonna borrowed someone else’s style to pass off as her own. PS – I’m a HUGE fan of Julie Brown’s viciously funny satire movie “Medusa:Dare to be Truthful.”

    • Phillip in L.A.

      Agreed. See my post above/below about her stealing from Malcolm McLaren (who also stole just about everything he did from others as well)

    • Danieruw

      “Vague” was brilliant! One of the funniest things I’ve ever seen.

  • ByronK

    I’m embarrassed when I look back to when she first started and I thought she was going to be just another flash in the pan. And I know I risk having my membership revoked and all my toaster ovens confiscated, but I only just saw my first Madonna concert with the Rebel Heart tour. I ridiculous amount of money for decent seats but I have to admit, it was worth every penny. I thought it was spectacular.

  • Cuberly Deux

    Still my favorite bit of Madonna themed humor.

    https://youtu.be/–FH899C8dI

    • Jeffrey

      I love all things French & Saunders

    • ByronK

      My absolute fav!!! I still kill myself laughing every time I hear it.

  • overandover17

    So Joe, Madonna’s recent performance of Deeper and Deeper on her Rebel Heart Tour was taken down (audio at least) on Youtube. Let’s talk about how those in power fuck over those who have nothing. Slavery still exists and will forever as the sun requires slaves to be: a minor light gives itself to something greater to shine.

  • GanymedeRenard

    “Unapologetically bacchanalian”. A true perl! Brilliant, Barry Walters!

    • Phillip in L.A.

      One cannot be Bacchanalian if one is apologetic, so this ‘perl’ [sic] is actually an oxymoron

      • GanymedeRenard

        You can certainly apologize for being bacchanalian in a pearl*-clutching society, in a sorry-but-not-sorry kind of way. I know, that’s another paradox. 🙂

        *Spell mistake amended. Thanks!

        • Phillip in L.A.

          unabashedly? unashamedly?

          • GanymedeRenard

            Unabashedlyunashamedlyunapologetic? XD

          • Phillip in L.A.

            More-expressive suggested replacements for “unapologetically”

          • UrsusArctos 🐻

            I thought that was DGAF (Don’t Give a F…

  • coram nobis

    I believe “Erotica” was done before, PDQ Bach if I’m not mistaken. The Erotica Symphony. (He also composed a concerto called “Primavera”, formerly called the Spring Concerto, or at least till it emerged that he had had two wives named Vera.

    • Phillip in L.A.

      Hell, her biggest hit was stolen from Malcolm McLaren & The Bootzilla Orchestra’s “Deep in Vogue” (1989). Madge knows how to “Steal Like An Artist”!
      https://youtu.be/KG44JJ6Ihyo

    • fiizok

      Good old Schickele…now there’s a creative genius!

  • Ginger Snap

    I have 2 copies of her book one still sealed and the other open and still on my coffee table.

  • Phillip in L.A.

    I don’t care much for Madge, and there is no way I will toil through any more of that purple prose for any reason that is not attached to a paycheck.

    (With apologies to “legendary” J.M.G. reader Barry Walters, whom I hope is still alive; that word often is reserved for the dearly-departed.)

    https://youtu.be/35U3shZWR80

  • Andrew Iverson

    I still have my copy of that metal bound book, somewhere, and sadly it damaged in a move. 🙁

  • Jim Foy

    I was living in the E Village in the early 80’s and knew by sight this girl who at first I thought was a squatter and I was aware that she worked at Danceteria or at least hung out there. I knew of Madonna from Holiday and some of her earliest songs but it all didn’t jell for me till I saw her filming the scenes from Desperatly Seeking Susan at Loves Saves the Day. Then Madonna started working out at the Dancers School, later the Joy of Movement on Lafayette St and was in my aerobics class. Her unshaven legs and arm pits led us to believe she was a lesbian. Every MTW & Sat morning and hour and a half Madona would bust ass with the rest of us. But she never did any of the mat work. She was very unpretencious and approachable. When the Virgin Tour started, I guess contractually she was required to have security. The security would enter first then Madonna would enter the club, that was the only indication she was a star, otherwise she acted and behaved just like anyone else. She stopped going for awhile and she started going to Pineapple on Houston when she was seeing JFK jr. When she returned to my aerobics class she was now dating Sean Penn who would sit outside the classroom watching her every move scowling, he was not friendly nor talkative to any of us.
    After the aerobics class I would hit the weight room. Randy Jones, the cowboy from the Village People who lived around the corner from me, would spot me and push me to get some muscle on my 145 lb, 6’4″ frame. Randy is one of the nicest and friendliest people you would ever want to meet.
    Barry Bostwick, John Bolger (Parting Glances, hung like a horse) and many soap stars. local celebrities worked out there as well.

  • Phillip in L.A.

    Nina Hagen–“Smack Jack” (1982)

    https://youtu.be/nIDnN34ZZaE

  • Tiger Quinn

    Good to see Madonna getting some love lately – there was even a lovely defense of her on Will & Grace.

  • stanhope

    She had me as a life long fan when they threatened to jail her because her act wasn’t in keeping with catholic values and she went on anyway. My Madonna story sort of….in sophia patrillo voice..picture it..soldier field chicago…i was on the outs with my rich and very competitive boyfriend. The sky was dark and looked like the deluge of the ages was to happen any moment. Because I had great media connections, i got stupendous tickets to the Madonna concert. I knew he would be there as she was the only woman who could make him wet his pants. I arrive with my date, a top makeup artist from Paris, tanned dark from St Tropez, slick coal black hair, a face worthy of L’uomo Vogue and a body that looked chisled from one solid piece of fine Egyptian alabaster. A singular white helicopter circled overhead which, against the black clouds, was astonishing. My boyfriend brought his female assistant. In french my date exclaims there she is! He is dressed in all white with a shirt that is deeply cut on both sides revealing that body that the sean cody boys could only dream of. The gods had my boyfriend 3 rows in front of us. To this day I think somewhere up there Madonna was looking down and laughing and saying..make that bitch eat it. LMAO. Thanks Madonna for changing the world.

  • CJAS

    “Secret Garden” is a brilliant track. And her SNL performances of “Fever” and “Bad Girl” were memorable.