Charlie's 80s Blog

This Day In Music, December 22nd

On this day in 1984: Madonna started a six-week run at #1 on the U.S. singles chart with ‘Like A Virgin’, her first of twelve U.S. #1 hits.

It was released on October 31, 1984, by Sire Records as the lead single from her album ‘Like A Virgin.’ The song was written by Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg, and produced by Nile Rodgers; Steinberg said that the song was inspired by his personal experiences of romance. “Like a Virgin” was chosen for Madonna by Michael Ostin of Warner Bros. records after listening to a demo sung by Kelly. Rodgers initially felt that the song did not have a sufficient hook, but subsequently changed his opinion after the song was stuck in his head.

Musically, “Like a Virgin” is a dance-oriented song, composed of two hooks. Madonna’s voice is heard in a high register while a continuous arrangement of synths are heard along the bassline. The song’s lyrics are ambiguous, consisting of hidden innuendos and open to various interpretations. “Like a Virgin” received positive reviews from music critics, who frequently called it as one of the defining songs for Madonna. It became her first #1 single on the in Australia, Canada, Europe, Japan, and the United States, while reaching the top ten elsewhere. “Like a Virgin” has sold over five million copies worldwide.

The song’s music video portrayed Madonna sailing down the canals of Venice in a gondola, as well as roaming around a palace wearing a white wedding dress. With the video, scholars noted Madonna’s portrayal of a sexually independent and strong woman, similarity of a man wearing a lion’s mask to that of Saint Mark and the link between the eroticism in the video and the vitality of Venice. Madonna has performed the song in seven of her concert tours. Most of the time, her performances of “Like a Virgin” were associated with strong reaction and uproar from the media.

Madonna performed “Like a Virgin” at the first ever MTV Video Music Awards on September 14, 1984, where she appeared on stage atop a giant wedding cake dressed in a wedding dress, adorned with her “Boy Toy” belt buckle, and veil. The climax of her risqué performance found her “humping” and rolling around on the stage. It is considered by critics and academics as “one of the most important and most unforgettable VMA performances ever.”

Here’s a look at the complete Top 20 on the U.S. singles chart from this day back in 1984:

1 3 LIKE A VIRGIN –•– Madonna (Sire)-6 (1 Week at #1) (1)
2 2 THE WILD BOYS –•– Duran Duran (Capitol)-8 (2)
3 1 OUT OF TOUCH –•– Daryl Hall & John Oates (RCA)-13 (1)
4 5 SEA OF LOVE –•– The Honeydrippers (Es Paranza)-11 (4)
5 7 COOL IT NOW –•– New Edition (MCA)-14 (5)
6 9 WE BELONG –•– Pat Benatar (Chrysalis)-9 (6)
7 4 I FEEL FOR YOU –•– Chaka Khan (Warner Brothers)-16 (3)
8 6 NO MORE LONELY NIGHTS –•– Paul McCartney (Columbia)-11 (6)
9 14 ALL I NEED –•– Jack Wagner (Qwest)-10 (9)
10 12 VALOTTE –•– Julian Lennon (Atlantic)-10 (10)

11 8 WAKE ME UP BEFORE YOU GO-GO –•– Wham! (Columbia)-16 (1)
12 16 RUN TO YOU –•– Bryan Adams (A&M)-8 (12)
13 10 ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT –•– Cyndi Lauper (Portrait)-12 (5)
14 15 BORN IN THE U.S.A. –•– Bruce Springsteen (Columbia)-7 (14)
15 23 YOU’RE THE INSPIRATION –•– Chicago (Full Moon / Warner Brothers)-6 (15)
16 13 I CAN’T HOLD BACK –•– Survivor (Scotti Brothers)-15 (13)
17 19 DO WHAT YOU DO –•– Jermaine Jackson (Arista)-9 (17)
18 11 PENNY LOVER –•– Lionel Richie (Motown)-12 (8)
19 24 UNDERSTANDING –•– Bob Seger (Capitol)-7 (19)
20 22 HELLO AGAIN –•– The Cars (Elektra)-9 (20)

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