This Is How Madonna Was Introduced To The World 31 Years Ago

10514688_10100780229311110_7035064801298398155_nAs rumors continue to swirl that Madonna may swipe a page from the Beyonce playbook and release her hotly-anticipated next album by surprise next month (we vote for the national holiday on August 16), it’s strange to consider there was once a world when the entertainer wasn’t a household name. Yet it’s likely Queerty readers of a certain age can recall exactly where they were and what they were doing the first time they heard the icon’s distinctive vocals when she first began to get radio airplay. Thirty-one years have now passed since Madge’s brilliant and tirelessly-dedicated publicist Liz Rosenberg sent out p.r. materials introducing her white hot new client’s debut and self-titled album (arguably, it remains her most ebullient effort to date) to DJs around the country.

In her undated press release (presumably sent out on July 27, 1983 when the album was officially released) on Sire letterhead, Rosenberg announced the arrival of the new Queen of Pop to people who weren’t fortunate enough to catch her early Manhattan club performances. Here’s an excerpt:

Who is Madonna? The answer comes easy to tens of thousands of East Coast dance fans. Madonna is the name behind the music of the runaway dance/R&B sensation of the season. It’s safe to say there isn’t a music-and-motion fan on the Seaboard who isn’t familiar with the distinctive vocal stylings of this remarkable new talent.

It’s more than a little fitting that Madonna, her debut album on Sire records should be a dancer’s delight. Dancing was, after all, this Detroit native’s first artistic love. Trained in the art from pre-high school days, she enrolled at the University of Michigan to further her terpsichorean pursuits. She studied ballet, modern and jazz dancing and performed with the college’s famed dance company. Relocating to New York in the late Seventies, she performed for a two-year period with both the Pearl Lange and Alvin Ailey Troupes before deciding to branch out artistically to find a medium more suited to her concept of a total performer.

Less than six months later, on January 14, 1984, this “remarkable new talent” made her now-legendary appearance on American Bandstand in which she lip-synched to “Holiday” and informed host Dick Clark she “wanted to rule the world.” And, as the world learned decades ago, Madonna gets what she wants and, thanks to her advocacy for LGBT equality, the cultural landscape for gay people has never been the same since.

In other Queen of Pop news, a couple of demo tracks purportedly from the Erotica recording sessions have leaked, including this empowerment anthem “Shame”:

But let’s remember how it all began by watching her performance of “Everybody,” the anthemic single that inspired Sire’s Seymour Stein to sign her, below.

H/t: Madonna superfan Mike Killmon

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  • lykeitiz

    I remember when her 1st album came out, I thought she was a Cyndi Lauper wannabe. When “Lucky Star” was released, I remember thinking: “Yeah honey, you’ve had your lucky star….one good hit. Now sit down, you’re done.”

    Yep….I sure called that one!

  • myloginname

    @lykeitiz you were not alone. I thought the EXACT same thing. I was sure Cyndi Lauper was the hottest thing in a long time and Madonna would be gone in moments. I still love Cyndi and would rather have her for Christmas dinner than Madonna…but I think Madonna has perhaps had a more stellar career than I originally thought LOL.

  • QJ201

    Madonna played the local gay bar in the summer of 1983. That night they were carding and I didn’t get in. F*CK.

  • Stache99

    @lykeitiz: My first memory of her was her bit part in the movie Vision Quest in 1985. Yeah, she owned it too. Her PR was already in full tilt because rarely does Hollywood feature some unknown in a major movie.

  • Stache99

    @QJ201: You sure it wasn’t just another Drag Queen;) Seriously, you missed out.

  • Stache99

    I also remember her 1990 Arsineo Hall show appearance. She walks in looking all Marilyn Monroe and the crowd goes wild. By that time she really was white hot. People say so what. It was a big deal because I watched it and we didn’t have effing DVR’s or You Tube back then:)

  • michael mellor

    Madonna used gay men as a stepping stone to become very rich. Her dancing skills are modest at best, her vocal range non-existent.

    She sort of rode the wave of pornography that allowed female performers – but not male ones – to fake their bisexuality, their orgasms…and their oral skills. Some might even say that her voice was deliberately sped up to make her sound like a little girl.

  • LuckyboyLA

    @Michael mellor Yikes,all those Madonna hits I danced to in the 80’s/90’s. I never knew I was being used and manipulated by such an evil temptress. I feel so dirty. A little girl? Yeah, right. How do you know how they sound, huh?

  • michael mellor

    Madonna introduced an era of no-talent females who lip-synched and mimed their way to the top, sort of like the mainstream version of a miming drag act at the local bar.

    Formula: – show a lot of skin, check
    – claim to be interested in girls, check
    – date only men, check
    – perform at an AIDS benefit, check
    – say that you have gay friends, check

  • Scribe38

    @michael mellor: Can I get one troll free morning without female bashing? I have nursing finals this morning and just clicked this story to read about my girl to relax. Yeah we get it, you hate chicks or mom didn’t love you enough, or whatever you’re trying to say. We have read it on ALL of your posts under multiple screen names. Now get some therapy and get over it.

  • Scribe38

    @michael mellor: In all seriousness this bad bitch most likely saved my life at least twice. Because of her I had a positive attitude towards sex, learned to accept my queerness, and had the courage to throw away all the religious bullsh*t I learned as a kid. Because of her I stopped trying to find ways to kill myself and started loving myself. Because I looked up to her when AIDS was killing gay men, I demanded safe sex from partners because she let me know it was my right to do so.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    Right on, Scribe38. Good luck with your Nursing finals! (Oh by the way, Madonna’s Birthday is August 14, not 16.) Your National Holiday is off by two days…stop the printers.

  • Jeremy Kinser

    @1EqualityUSA: That’s incorrect sir. Madonna Louise Ciccone was born in Bay City, Michigan on August 16, 1958. Coincidentally, many other ’80s icons were born in the summer of ’58. Madonna arrived one day before Belinda Carlisle, two weeks before Michael Jackson, and two months after Prince.

  • lykeitiz

    @michael mellor: Wrong, wrong, & wrong! Madonna has dated at least 2 women. She prominently featured gay men in her “Truth or Dare” documentary…something that hadn’t been done by a performer of her magnitude at the time, not to mention having her gay brother as her stage manager for years. She doesn’t “pretend” to have gay friends, she walks the walk. Those are just 2 of MANY examples.
    And on what planet are her dancing skills “modest at best”? Having seen her live several times, I can assure you her 20-something dancers are STILL trying to keep pace with her.
    And….her vocal ability greatly improved after her “Evita” training.
    Nice try, though.

    @Stache99: That Arsenio interview was epic! Thanks for the memory!!

  • Ms Urethra Johnson

    While in a cab in NYC… Radio announcer said: “Here’s a new GROUP called Madonna with their new single Everybody…” Ahhh the memories…

  • michael mellor

    I am sick of the effeminate gays who root for Madonna. She’s not doing it for your uterus, guys. She’s doing it for her own.

    Madonna is a symptom of oppression of male homosexuals. As a woman she got special treatment at the expense of males, including us.

    And if you need a lip-synching ‘singer’ to give you inspiration in life, you are too far gone to care about.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    Jeremy Kinser, I stand corrected. Years ago I had read the 14th, which was the same birthday as one of my childhood friends and never forgot it. Thanks. Start the printers!

  • rhino79

    @michael mellor:

    *Sigh* I’m not an “effeminate gay” and I’ve been rooting for Madonna for several decades now. Your comments sound like they came straight out of the mouth of a 1980’s Religious Right-er… or an anti-porn 1980’s feminist like Catharine MacKinnon! I’m too tired to rebut each one of your numerous ridiculous assertions, but to claim that Madonna has somehow “used” or manipulated her gay audience is beyond absurd. And her earliest, deepest friendships were with gay men… most of whom died along the way of AIDS… Christopher Flynn, Martin Burgoyne, Keith Haring, Herb Ritts. Madonna certainly isn’t without her faults, but to deny her as a true friend and ally of gay men throughout her career is libelous.

    • Stache99

      @rhino79: Not to mention her brother Christopher Ciccone and collaborator for allot of her shows is gay.

  • Random

    @michael mellor: What do you feel about the masculine gays that root for Madonna? Are you cool with those?

    And the thing about Madonna that’s so great and is quite different to the other pop girls is that she’s very much her own woman. If she doesn’t want to do something then she won’t. That’s it. So whether you like or agree with he ie the lesbianism, the gay friends, the AIDS benefit appearances etc, all that came from her own mind and heart. No one was standing over telling her to do that. Indeed, her old manager Freddy DeMann would often try and tell her things weren’t a good idea and would ruin her career, but she went ahead and did them because she believed in them. If only there were pop stars as passionate as her around today.

  • J_Z

    “She prominently featured gay men in her “Truth or Dare” documentary…something that hadn’t been done by a performer of her magnitude at the time.”

    This is absolutely true. People are forgetting what a groundbreaking influence she was on the mainstream in terms of gay visibility. And in her videos, and her own gestures toward androgyny, etc.

    Did she steal from the underground to do it? Absolutely. But she also gave a lot of opportunity and exposure to artists, dancers, and others in the process of running the publicity machine. And yes, she did usher in an era of less-talented, less visionary pop tarts, through which we still suffer. She is a narcissist and an opportunist … and also an incredibly hard worker, savvy pop artist, and an outspoken activist. People are complex, there’s no villain vs hero narrative necessary here. Madonna’s made some of the most enduring pop music of all time.

  • franknaves

    @michael mellor: check your facts there bud. I’ve seen her live and heard her sing in person. Sorry no lipping no speeding up her voice and Celine Dion she may not be but she has a beautiful unique voice. Also it seems you might have a problem with strong confident women. Check that sexism at the door and get out of the 50s & 60s eras and join us modern folks. You would be much happier.

  • DeeJayMiles

    She looks like Boy George. Actually he looks better. I for one am really glad she’s coming to the end of her tired career. Vogue-off to the old folks home baby.

    • Random

      @DeeJayMiles: End of her tired career? She has the most consistently successful career in the history of pop music. In 2012, more people watched her Superbowl performance than the game itself. She aint going anywhere any time soon and at the rate she’s going, could still outlive us all.

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