Thursday, June 30, 2011


And to celebrate the birthday of the True Blue album: a new, wonderful article by one of Madonna's biggest supporter throughout the years: Liz Smith.
“I AM my own creation. I am my own work of art.”
That was Madonna, way back before Lady Gaga began saying things like that.
I’ve been reminding you (and myself!) of some of my “great scoops” over the decades — breaking the Woodward/Bernstein book “The Final Days” … The Donald and Ivana Trump divorce … Elizabeth Taylor’s wedding to Larry Fortensky.
Inevitably we arrive at Madonna. Aside from Miss Taylor, Madonna has surely taken up the most space in my column. I didn’t “get her” at first, but eventually I was charmed by her brash attitude, her supreme confidence, her various tributes to great stars of the past, her brilliant videos and quite a lot of her music, even. And, she was a marketing genius. She spoke openly about issues of homophobia, violence against women and being true to one’s nature —”Express Yourself” was her anthem.
By the time I finally clapped eyes on her, in 1991, at the premiere of “Truth of Dare,” she was very much aware of the extensive support I’d given her. She was brunette and heavily painted and wearing something revealing. I thought she seemed like a little girl dressed up, trying to be a big girl. I was there being interviewed for “Primetime Live.” The producers wondered if Madonna would give them a moment of her time and speak about me? As this was her premiere, I doubted it. I was wrong. “I love Liz Smith because she has big balls like me!” she said, laughing. Although it didn’t make the final cut, on air, of course. (I have her compliment embroidered on a pillow given to me by Diane Sawyer and Mike Nichols.) A few years later, I was interviewing her for real. As we prepared, she looked me straight in the eye and said, “You’re not afraid of me. I like that.”
Over the years I found her warmer, nicer, much more vulnerable than she ever let on, publicly. She had (and still does) a wonderful press rep, Liz Rosenberg, with whom I am also friends. My column had the best access to her, first dibs on her latest videos and albums. I was in her corner, especially when such press pleasure was taken at her mistakes or failures. She was always supposed to be “over,” but somehow never was.
I had championed Madonna to star in the film version of “Evita” way before anybody else thought of it. When she finally captured the role, I felt I was a part of that triumph. Two weeks into filming “Evita” in Argentina, I received a call late Friday from Liz R. “Liz,” she said “I have some news.” Pause. “Madonna is pregnant.” “What?!” I shouted. “How far along?” “Two months.” I was sputtering in shock. The world had been waiting for “Madonna and Child” for years. Now it was happening. (The father was trainer/actor Carlos Leon, who was desperately in love with her, and one of the nicest men she ever loved.) “But filming has just begun. How can she hide it? And all the strain…” Suddenly, Madonna herself got on the line —”Liz, I’m pregnant, and I’m having my baby, now write!”
I sure did. Only one teeny problem. I had to hold the story for 78 hours! Even in 1996, this was almost impossible. I had to wait till the very last moment to send my column Monday morning. The syndicate was going crazy. Then I had to alert my papers, so they could clear the front page. I was sure I was going to lose the scoop. But I didn’t. It held. And as with Donald and Ivana and Elizabeth’s wedding, the day the story broke news crews awaited me in the lobby of my building and the phone rang nonstop. Yes, that is always kind of absurdly thrilling.
Madonna paid me back for all my support by giving me what I needed most — a great big juicy exclusive. And she was grateful in other ways. Once, at the height of her “unpopularity” — the duel release of her “Body of Evidence” movie and her “Sex” book — she called me. “It’s Madonna. I just want to thank for all you’ve written. I know you take a lot of shit for it.”
I was charmed. It was almost — but not quite — as good as a scoop.

A Very Happy Birthday!!!...

My favorite album of all time - the one that would actually change my life - was released 25 years ago today!!! Yes, True Blue by Madonna has turned 25!

Deemed as Madonna's most girlish album, True Blue (her third album at the time) deals with her visions of love, work, dreams as well as disappointments, and was inspired by her then husband Sean Penn, to whom Madonna dedicated the album. Musically, the songs on the album took a different direction from her previous endeavours, incorporating classical music in order to engage an older audience who had been skeptical of her music.

The album receieved generally good reviews and most felt it was a step up from her previous efforts.
Commercially, True Blue became an huge international success, reaching the top of the charts in 28 countries, an unprecedented achievement at that time. It also became the world's top-selling album of 1986 and became the most successful album of all time by a female artist.

Some unused artwork ideas for the album cover

True Blue hit the top spot in the US, UK, Australia, Germany, Canada, France and just about any other important chart in the world. Worldwide sales of the album stand at 24 million copies, seven million of those being sold in United States, which earned it a seven times platinum certification. True Blue is credited as being the album which made Madonna into a full fledged superstar and it safely ensured Madonna's place among the biggest musical artists of the '80s. Oh - and it made me a lifelong fan!

Portrait of a young blond woman against a black background. Only her face is highlighted. She sports flowing blond hair and blue eyes. Her face looks sombre and she looks a little to the right of the camera. Below her image, the word "Madonna" is written in capital letters across the length of the photo. On the bottom-right, the word "Live to Tell" is written in flowing pink color.

File:La Isla Bonita single cover.jpg

The album featured 5 massive worldwide hit singles, including my favorite track of all time - by any artist - "La Isla Bonita".

I had inteded to do a massive blog to celebrate the anniversary  but I simply havent had the time. So this will have to do until the 30th anniversary.

Madonna - True Blue

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Welcomed Return!...

Bette Midler has signed on for a lead role on HBO Films' in-development Phil Spector film, which stars Al Pacino and is being written and directed by David Mamet.

Jeffrey Tambor has also joined the cast of the film, which will explore the relationship between music producer Spector and defense attorney Linda Kenney Baden (Midler), who represented Spector during his first trial for murder. Tambor will play Bruce Cutler, also an attorney on Spector's defense team.

bette midler showgirl must go on

And in other divine news: it now looks like that her Vegas show may be released on DVD after all - rumours are going around saying that it might be released around October this year. Fingers crossed...

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Tori Amos will release a new studio album, Night of Hunters in September, as I have blogged about before. But now the artwork for it has been revealed (above). And as usual, the plastic surgery/botox/airbrush machine is being overused...

On the album, which she wrote and produced, Tori says: “I have used the structure of a classical song cycle to tell an ongoing, modern story. The protagonist is a woman who finds herself in the dying embers of a relationship. In the course of one night she goes through an initiation of sorts that leads her to reinvent herself allowing the listener to follow her on a journey to explore complex musical and emotional subject matter.“One of the main themes explored on this album is the hunter and the hunted and how both exist within us,”.

The album will be released by Deutsche Grammophon, which is probably the world’s most respected classical label. She will start a tour to support the album in late September. I am hoping for a date in Iceland to be announced...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Happy Birthday!...

A very happy brithday to the wonderful and always unique Cyndi Lauper, who turns 58 today!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Kim Wilde will release a covers album called Snapshots on August 26th. The album will feature her reinterpretations of tracks from the 60s and all the way up to the 00s.  The songs Kim has chosen to record are all part of the soundtrack of her life, and as such it will be a very personal album. No tracklist has been announced yet though.

Tomorrow´s World...

Erasure will release a new studio album, Tomorrow’s World, in the autumn via Mute Records. The album is produced by Frankmusik, who has released his own music to some success (his latest single is the pretty good "Do It In The Am"), and he has done remixes in the past for artist like Pet Shop Boys and Lady Gaga. All the tracks on the album were written by Erasure. A US tour to support the album will start on August 31st. Stay tuned for the tracklist...

Monday, June 20, 2011


Yet another US-only item for Kylie Minogue collectors has surfaced. It is a 5 track promo CD for her latest single, "Put Your Hands Up". It includes remixes by Bimbo Jones and Basto and comes with a back inlay. Sadly, like the other recent US promos, it is almost impossible to get as it a very limited pressing that goes for extreme prices. Maybe one day...


The single bombed in the UK, becoming her lowest charting single ever at #93. No wonder though, with no physical releases and no promotion - this was always treated more as a fan release rather then a full on single. Still, she should have released it on physical formats since a lot of her fans have no intrest in digital releases...

Time To Go Greek...

Info on the DVD release of the latest Kylie tour + HQ files from the TV broadcast can be now be found at the wonderful Shine On And On blog.
Thanks Marky!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Boss...

I guess there really is a place and a time for everything. I have always liked Diana Ross a lot, but I had never really heard much of her material, except for her biggest hits. So when my boyfriend gave me this wonderful CD a couple of months ago, I was really in for a treat. I discovered I liked pretty much every single song and that I had apperantly somewhat underestimated both the back catalog and the talent of Miss Ross!

So I have been spending the last months buying her back catalog - not easy mind you when the artist in question will celebrate her 50th year in the business in 2013! Many of her albums are out of print and hard to get, but I am on a mission that has been going well so far...

While I could fill pages writing about her long career, I thought I would post a look at her solo discography instead.

27 of Diana's solo singles reached the Billboard Top 40 in the US, 12 of them the Top 10, and six of those reaching number-one (placing her in a tie for fifth among the top female solo performers who have reached the top spot there). Additinally he also had 12 (!) US number 1 singles with The Supremes, taking her tally of total number 1 US singles to 18. 17 albums reached the Billboard Top 40, four of those the Top 10, and one album topping the chart.

In the UK, she amassed a total of 46 Top 40 singles with 19 of them reaching the Top 10 and two of those reaching number-one. 24 albums reached the Top 40, eight of those the Top Ten, and one album topping the chart. Ross sang lead on a hit single at least once every year from 1964 to 1996 in the UK, a period of 33 consecutive years and a record for any performer.

She received a Best Actress Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe award for her role as Billie Holiday in Lady Sings the Blues in 1972. She has won 8 American Music Awards, garnered twelve Grammy Award nominations, and won a Tony Award for her one-woman show, An Evening with Diana Ross, in 1977.

In 1976, Billboard magazine named her the "Female Entertainer of the Century and in 1993, the Guinness Book of World Records declared Diana Ross the most successful female music artist in history for having more hits than any female artist in the charts. Miss Ross has sold more than 100 million records worldwide and she has been honoured with every imaginable awards and honours throughout the years. And here is a look at some of her body of work:

And some of the best compilation albums out there - there are quite a few well worth having, often including exclusive and unreleased songs:

File:Diana Ross - Forever Diana.jpg

A wonderful Diana Ross site with a fantastic discography (includes The Supremes, singles etc):
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