Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Madonna: UK Singles 1992/1993


It all started off so innocently. Madonna sauntering through a genteel song called “This Used To Be My Playground”, and all of a sudden, we had “Erotica” and the “Sex” book. Whilst it was undoubtedly quite exciting watching a pop star strip off for fun (or art, as she claimed), it gave Madonna a bit of a reputation as a disturbed nymphomaniac, although anything that upsets The Daily Mail had to be good. It tended to damage her career slightly, and even Madonna herself in recent years thinks the book in particular was a possible mistake.

“Erotica” may well be one of the weaker albums in her back catalogue, but it’s not as bad as it’s reputation suggests. The so-called “explicit” version was only explicit because it included a re-mix of a song already on the album with a couple of rappers muttering inanely over the top - not one of the “proper” songs had to be edited for the so called “clean” versions. Indeed, re-review this period of Madonna’s career, and you will realise just how “pop” most of the “Erotica” singles actually were. In this article, I shall detail Madonna’s UK singles from the period, again mentioning any notable “oddities” from around the globe that I own where appropriate. Singles from 94 and 95 will be covered next month.


This Used To Be My Playground

Recorded for, but not on the soundtrack album of, the film “A League Of Their Own”, in which Madonna put in a decent comic turn alongside Geena Davis and Tom Hanks, this famously was the first Madonna song to have a title greater than five words in length. It was a lush ballad, which trundled along at a snails pace, and was as far removed from “Rescue Me” or “Erotica” as it was possible to get.

The single was not to be included on the next LP, but instead turned up on a compilation called “Barcelona Gold” (Warner Bros 7599-26974-2), a various artists set consisting of songs that were due to be played at the 1992 Special Olympics. Rather curiously, the album version was shorter than the so-called “short” mix on the single! Madonna had also contributed another song to a various artists set at the same time, as a remix of 1989 B-side “Supernatural” surfaced on the “Red Hot And Dance” charity collection (Epic 471821 4).

Madonna had also “released” another single at more or less the same time, “Shine A Light”. This single actually dated from the pre-Warner Brothers days, when Madonna was trying to make it as a drummer, then singer, with bands like The Breakfast Club and Emmy, and was released without her official say so. It appeared on the Receiver label on CD (Receiver RRSCD 1007), backed with “Little Boy“ and “On The Ground“, although planned vinyl picture discs were withdrawn from sale. It wasn’t the first “early years” release, but all of the others had been dreadful dance records made with an Otto Von Wernherr, with minmal Madonna involvement, making “Shine A Light” the first important release from the pre-1982 days. Madonna’s “new wave” days are probably worth an article in their own right, so we won’t go into more details here.

Since the release of “Rescue Me”, UK chart rules prevented an artist from issuing any more than four formats, and so “Playground” appeared on what would you might call the four standard formats of the time - 7”, 12”, Cassette and CD. The 12” and CD included an instrumental, which was longer than the “long” version which appeared as the B-side on all formats. The “short” mix later appeared as one of the US “Backtrax” CD Singles (Sire 9 15987-2) with “Hanky Panky”.

This Used To Be My Playground (Short Version)/(Long Version) (7”, Sire W 0122)
This Used To Be My Playground (Short Version)/(Long Version) (Cassette, Sire W 0122 C)
This Used To Be My Playground (Short Version)/(Instrumental)/(Long Version) (12”, Sire W 0122 T)
This Used To Be My Playground (Short Version)/(Instrumental)/(Long Version) (CD, Sire W 0122 CD)


Erotica

The first single from the LP of the same name, the UK release of “Erotica” is both dull and exciting - depending on which formats you are looking at. The single was remixed to within an inch of it’s life over in the US, but the UK release was of little interest, as the remixes - I think - were completed too late for the UK market. So, all you got was a radio edit and an instrumental - and if you bought an extended play format, you got the album mix as a “bonus”. Ho hum.

The single was due to be issued as a 12” Picture Disc, and therefore, would have become Madonna’s first UK single to not be released as a black vinyl 12” - the single was already being issued on three other formats. The picture disc used the famous “toe-sucking” picture that was to be used on the rear of the album. However, there had recently been a toe-suck scandal involving a member of the Royal Family in the UK, and the release was pulled, as it was felt the image on the front of a single would have been a bit too controversial. Most copies were destroyed, but some survived and are now worth a fortune. Counterfeit copies exist, indeed if you see one being offered with a so-called “backing card”, it’s a bootleg - no backing inserts were produced, and the inserts offered with the counterfeit are actually just a proof of the picture disc image, which were produced in large numbers, and turned up at record fairs soon after for a tenner each. There is no track listing on the back, as far as I am aware, which also gives the game away, as all other Madonna picture discs with backing cards had the track details printed on the back.

One quote about how many survived was 138, but as the catalogue number of the picture disc was W0138TP, this seems astonishingly unlikely. Warners decided to press up a black vinyl 12” as the “official” fourth format, and it was pressed after the other formats had been produced, so ended up being released two weeks after the other formats - and thus coincided with the release of the album. All copies came with a free poster, and once they had sold out, that was it - had further copies been pressed minus poster, they would have been counted as a fifth format - and thus exempt from the chart. As such, the TW catalogue suffix, used to denote a 12” with poster by Warner Brothers, was printed not only on the sticker on the front but also on the rear sleeve and the labels of the 12” itself - the first Madonna single to do so. It also means that any copies without the poster are, therefore, worthless.

Some remixes of “Erotica” would turn up as B-sides of the “Bad Girl” single in 93, but at the time, the only other mix of the track to appear in the UK was the version with different lyrics known as “Erotic”, which was included on the one track UK promo CD that was tucked inside the “Sex” book (Maverick PRO CD 5648). An edited version of “Erotic” surfaced on a US promo CD (Maverick PRO CD 5665), whilst the US Promo 12” double pack offered up no less than eleven remixes (Maverick PRO A 5860), came in a unique picture sleeve, and included several mixes that did not get a commercial release at the time in the States.

Erotica (Radio Edit)/(Instrumental) (7”, Maverick W 0138)
Erotica (Radio Edit)/(Instrumental) (Cassette, Maverick W 0138 C)
Erotica (Radio Edit)/(LP Version)/(Instrumental) (CD, Maverick W 0138 CD)
Erotica (LP Version)/ (Instrumental)/(Radio Edit) (12” with free poster, Maverick W 0138 TW)
Erotica (LP Version)/ (Instrumental)/(Radio Edit) (Withdrawn 12" Picture Disc, Maverick W 0138 TP)


Deeper And Deeper

Despite being housed in yet another atrocious picture sleeve, “Deeper And Deeper” is a monumental pop record. None of the more “suggestive” songs would be issued as singles, so - the controversy about “Body Of Evidence” notwithstanding - the rehabilitation of Madonna, after the “Sex” book had caused the moral majority to want her hung drawn and quartered, began here.

Chart rules now allowed a UK single to include additional remixes on a single, as long as the playing time was kept to under 40 minutes, and the mixes were all of the A-side. No more than six mixes could be used, but that still gave the record company something to play with, and after the pointlessness of the “Erotica” UK 45, “Deeper And Deeper” came laden with remixes. The 7” and Cassette editions included an Instrumental mix, exclusive in the UK to those two formats, whilst the CD played the radio edit, and five mixes. The 12” Picture disc (pressed at 33rpm, not 45) showed on the front a stunning Madonna image from 1991, and replaced the edit with an additional remix. This meant that, despite the CD being the format of choice as regards album releases, it would have been possible to get hold of all seven mixes of the track released in the UK by buying the 7” and 12” copies only - vinyl, obviously, was not dead just yet.

The track was actually remixed multiple times for overseas releases. The US Promo 12” double pack (Maverick PRO A 5928) offered up the likes of the “Momo’s Fantasy” remix, whilst the accompanying US Promo CD (Maverick PRO CD 5896) included edited mixes of remixes from the double pack. In 1993, a Japanese CD EP was released that included six mixes (but not the six on the picture disc) along with mixes of “Erotica” and “Bad Girl” (Maverick WPCP 5244).

Deeper And Deeper (Album Edit)/(Instrumental) (7”, Maverick W 0146)
Deeper And Deeper (Album Edit)/(Instrumental) (Cassette, Maverick W 0146 C)
Deeper And Deeper (Album Edit)/(Shep’s Deep Makeover Mix)/(David’s Klub Mix)/(Shep’s Classic 12”)/(Shep’s Fierce Deeper Dub)/(Shep’s Deep Beats) (CD, Maverick W 0146 CD)
Deeper And Deeper (Shep‘s Classic 12“)/(Shep’s Deep Makeover Mix)/(Shep‘s Deep Beats)/(David’s Klub Mix)/(David’s Deeper Dub)/(Shep’s Deeper Dub) (12“ Picture Disc, Maverick W 0146 TP)


Bad Girl

1993, and the “New” Madonna continued to try and be known for her music, not for her flashing of the flesh. She performed this song on “Saturday Night Live” - just her and her band, performing live, none of the stadium gimmicks she usually did on tour. The original version of the front cover of this single was actually a topless photo, so she hadn’t quite turned into Mary Whitehouse just yet.

The UK release of “Bad Girl” was used to showcase some of the ‘missing’ “Erotica” remixes, although for some reason, no attempt was made to put different mixes on different formats - so the remix on the B-side of the 7” was available on the 12” as well. The 12” and CD also featured identical track listings, meaning just three remixes made their debut in the UK here. Oh well, it was better than nothing, and it does at least make this single one of the more interesting of Madonna’s UK 45s.

In the US, the Maxi Single formats featured new B-sides, in the form of remixes of another album track, “Fever”, with the US 12” featuring an extended mix of “Bad Girl” along with the “Oscar G Dope Mix” of “Fever”, amongst others (Maverick 9 40793 0). The US CD included the “Hot Sweat 12-inch” mix of “Fever” (Maverick 9 40793 2), whilst in Germany, remixes of “Deeper And Deeper” formed the flipside, with the “Shep Deepstrumental” mix of said track appearing on both the 12” (Maverick 9362 40810 0) and the CD (Maverick 9362 40810 2). To try and counteract the appearance of the “Fever” remixes, Maverick in the UK scheduled “Fever” to be released in it’s own right as a single exactly one month after the release of “Bad Girl”.

Bad Girl (Edit)/Erotica (William Orbit Dub) (7”, Maverick W 0154)
Bad Girl (Edit)/Erotica (William Orbit Dub) (Cassette, Maverick W 0154 C)
Bad Girl (Edit)/Erotica (William Orbit 12“)/(William Orbit Dub)/(Madonna’s In My Jeep Mix) (CD, Maverick W 0154 CD)
Bad Girl/Erotica (William Orbit 12“)/(William Orbit Dub)/(Madonna’s In My Jeep Mix) (12“ with free poster, Maverick W 0154 TW)


Fever

Madonna’s Hi-NRG version of the song popularised by Peggy Lee, the UK release of the single made available many of the mixes issued on the US “Bad Girl” maxi’s, but not all of them. The decision to issue the 7” as a picture disc meant no black vinyl 7” was pressed - the first Madonna 45 to not appear in such a style, and an indicator of things to come. The picture disc was numbered, and came with a backing insert, and featured the “album edit“ on the A-side, and the “Radio Edit Remix” on the flip - the Cassette edition featured the same tracklisting.

As per “Deeper And Deeper”, the CD single included the album edit with five new mixes, the 12” replaced the album edit with the “Oscar G’s Dope Dub” mix. In France, the cassette edition mirrored the UK one but came inside a “longbox”, making it rather difficult to store (Maverick 5439 18534 4), but this paled in comparison to the US 12” Promo Double Pack, pressed on Red Vinyl in the “Bad Girl” sleeve (Maverick PRO A 6074), and home to numerous “commercially unavailable” remixes, such as the “Back To The Dub 2” mix. Last time I looked, this little beauty was worth £125, but that might have changed in recent times.

Fever (Album Edit)/(Radio Edit) (Numbered 7” Picture Disc, Maverick W 0168)
Fever (Album Edit)/(Radio Edit) (Cassette, Maverick W 0168 C)
Fever (Album Edit)/(Hot Sweat 12”)/(Extended 12”)/(Shep’s Remedy Dub)/(Murk Boys Miami Mix)/(Murk Miami Deep South Mix) (CD, Maverick W 0168 CD)
Fever (Hot Sweat 12”)/(Extended 12”)/(Shep’s Remedy Dub)/(Murk Boys Miami Mix)/(Murk Miami Deep South Mix)/(Oscar G’s Dope Dub) (12“, Maverick W 0168 T)


Rain

Final 45 in the UK to plug “Erotica”, “Rain” was released just as Madonna announced her “Girlie Show” tour dates for the fall of 1993. At the time, “Open Your Heart” had been used for a car ad in the UK, and thus became the B-side. “Waiting”, of the album, was the B-side in the US.

All formats featured a remixed version of the A-side, whilst the 12” and CD included what was to all intents and purposes a new song, “Up Down Suite”. The track was actually a remix of a song called “Goodbye To Innocence”, which had been tossed away on a US only compilation called “Just Say Roe”, the remix on the single was over ten minutes in length.

The 12” was only pressed up as a picture disc - no black vinyl copies were made. For some reason, it was 1-sided, with all three tracks appearing on the same side, so the disc had to play at 33rpm. This - to date - is the only UK Madonna 12" picture disc to be issued in such a style. In the US, “Rain” was issued in a different cover, with the US Maxi CD including a remix of “Waiting” that was not released in the UK (Maverick 9 40899 2). In France, the longbox cassette version had the ‘Edit Two’ mix of “Fever” as the b-side instead (Maverick 5439 18419 4), another mega rarity.

Rain (Remix Edit)/Open Your Heart (7”, Maverick W 0190)
Rain (Remix Edit)/Open Your Heart (Cassette, Maverick W 0190 C)
Rain (Remix Edit)/Open Your Heart/Up Down Suite (Dub) (CD, Maverick W 0190 CD)
Rain (Remix Edit)/Up Down Suite (Dub)/Open Your Heart (12” Picture Disc, Maverick W 0190 TP)


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