Friday, May 15, 2015

In-Depth: Madonna On The Dance Club Songs Chart

Updated July 31, 2015

Madonna's history on this chart is the most fruitful of her career. Her appearances on it span all the way from her very first single, "Everybody", back in 1982 all the way to the present. In fact, the Club Play chart was the very first Billboard chart that Madonna ever appeared on in November of 1982.

First, some history on the Dance Club Songs chart per Wikipedia:

Hot Dance Club Songs has undergone several incarnations since its inception in 1974. Originally a top-ten list of tracks that garnered the largest audience response in New York City discothèques, the chart began on October 26, 1974 under the title Disco Action. The chart went on to feature playlists from various cities around the country from week to week. Billboard continued to run regional and city-specific charts throughout 1975 and 1976 until the issue dated August 28, 1976, when a thirty-position National Disco Action Top 30 premiered. This quickly expanded to forty positions, then in 1979 the chart expanded to sixty positions, then eighty, and eventually reached 100 positions from 1979 until 1981, when it was reduced to eighty again.

During the first half of the 1980s the chart maintained eighty slots until March 16, 1985 when the Disco charts were splintered and renamed. Two charts appeared: Hot Dance/Disco, which ranked club play (fifty positions), and Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales, which ranked 12-inch single (or maxi-single) sales (also fifty positions, now reduced to ten and available through only).

Madonna debuted on the Dance chart for the very first time the week of November 6, 1982 with "Everybody", released on Sire Records. Though this song would not be a pop hit, it did become a Top 5 dance hit when it reached #3 on the Dance/Disco Top 80 chart the week of January 8, 1983. Since the chart had 80 positions back then, "Everybody" enjoyed a lengthy 17-week stay on the chart. Madonna's follow up single, the double-A sided "Burning Up" / "Physical Attraction" also peaked at an identical #3 on the Disco chart. It wasn't until Madonna's third club release, "Holiday"/"Lucky Star" (both titles were serviced to clubs on the same promo 12", thus charting together just like "Burning Up" and "Physical Attraction" did) that Madonna finally scored her first Billboard #1 hit on any chart. The songs stayed at #1 for an impressive 5 weeks (to this day tied with 2000's "Music" as her longest-running Club Play #1 hits) and stayed on the chart for 17 weeks total. Madonna's first album would go on to produce another dance hit, "Borderline", which peaked at #4 in the Spring of 1984.

The Fall of 1984 brought on Madonna's most ambitious release up until that point. The controversial song "Like A Virgin" was a huge pop hit, but also her second #1 dance record, spending 4 weeks at the pole position. The follow-up, "Material Girl" was also another #1 dance hit. When it came time to release the third single from the Like A Virgin album, "Angel", Sire Records decided to couple the song on the 12" with "Into The Groove", a song from the film Desperately Seeking Susan, in which Madonna co-starred. While never released as a proper single in the U.S., "Into The Groove" became a huge hit both on radio and in the clubs, as well as one of Madonna's most signature '80's songs. "Angel"/"Into The Groove" became Madonna's next #1 dance hit. The 12" single was also a best-seller.

Madonna's next album, 1986's True Blue, yielded a few more dance hits ("Papa Don't Preach" at #4, and "True Blue" at #6), but only one #1: "Open Your Heart", which was aided by the epic 10-minute-plus extended remix. The last single from True Blue, "La Isla Bonita", did not appear on the chart at all, perhaps being too tame for the clubs (even in 12" Remix form). In 1987, Madonna released the Who's That Girl soundtrack. The title track holds the record for Madonna's shortest stay on the club chart at only 2 weeks. After a #44 debut (and peak), the song fell to #49 the next week and then off the chart completely the week after. Luckily, second single "Causing A Commotion" made up for that by reaching #1 in the Fall of 1987.

By this time, Sire Records realized how viable Madonna's 12" remixes were to her fans and the clubs. They decided it was time to take that route into album form by releasing You Can Dance, Madonna's first-ever remix compilation LP. Though Madonna had successfully crossed over into pop and become a mainstream superstar, it was always evident that Madonna had received her start in the clubs, and You Can Dance was a tribute to that. Along with a then-previously-unreleased song ("Spotlight"), the album featured extended re-workings of other tracks such as "Holiday", "Into The Groove" and "Everybody". You Can Dance is notable for actually charting on the club chart as an entire album. Another example of this is Michael Jackson's Thriller, which spent a staggering 36 weeks on the Club Play chart in the early 80's. As for You Can Dance, it reached #1 for a week and spent 11 weeks total on the chart.

Madonna's next album, 1989's Like A Prayer produced 3 big club hits, all of them #1's: the title track (#1 for 2 weeks), "Express Yourself" (#1 for 3 weeks) and "Keep It Together" (#1 for 1 week). By this time, Madonna's 12" remixes had become more elaborate and varied, thanks in part to key 80's remixer Shep Pettibone (with whom Madonna would go on to co-write and co-produce future hits). "Keep It Together" was originally to feature a B-Side called "Vogue". Fortunately, a change of mind caused "Vogue" to be released on its own as the first single from 1990's I'm Breathless album and topped the Club Play chart for 2 weeks, while at the same time becoming one of Madonna's biggest pop hits of all time. "Vogue" was a testament to Madonna's ability to take something from the clubs and bring it to the mainstream. After another #1 dance hit from 1990's The Immaculate Collection (the controversial "Justify My Love"), "Rescue Me" broke an impressive string of 7 consecutive #1 hits by peaking at #6 in 1991.

1992's Erotica album featured a very dance heavy sound. The title track ("Erotica"), "Deeper And Deeper" and "Fever" were all tailor-made for the dance clubs in their original form, and all of them reached #1 (also with the help of several commissioned remixes). Gone were the days of 1 or 2 extended mixes accompanying a 12". By now, Madonna's maxi singles were usually accompanied by an array of different versions, many being exclusively featured on promotional pressings to DJ's. By 1994's Bedtime Stories, Madonna had softened her sound a bit but still turned up the tempo with her remixes. "Secret", the album's first single, saw Madonna's highest debut ever on the Club Play chart (even to this day) at #18, and quickly reached #1 where it stayed for 2 weeks. The unconventional track "Bedtime Story" followed and struggled a bit at first, finally reaching the #1 spot in its 10th week on the chart after Maverick issued a 'Chapter II' promo with additional remixes. 10 weeks is the longest a Madonna song has ever taken to reach #1 on this chart. The final single from Bedtime Stories, "Human Nature", stalled and peaked at #2 for 3 weeks.

No remixes were initially planned for any of the singles from 1995's ballads compilation Something To Remember since the entire theme of the album was to showcase a more subdued Madonna in preparation for her film role in Evita. However, remixes of "Love Don't Live Here Anymore" were making the rounds amongst DJ's unofficially and Maverick finally approved and distributed them, perhaps a little too late (the remixes didn't debut on the Club Play chart until after the song had run its course on the Hot 100). This haphazard release affected the songs's performance and it peaked at a low #16 on the Club Play chart. 1996's Evita soundtrack spawned 2 more dance hits: "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" (#1) and "Buenos Aires" (#3).

1998 brought about a change in sound for Madonna with the release of the Ray of Light album. The remixes had become more experimental, but they still showed success in the clubs for 3 of its singles: "Frozen", "Ray Of Light" and "Nothing Really Matters" all reached #1 for at least 2 weeks on the Club Play chart, with "Ray Of Light" becoming one of Madonna's biggest dance hits. It spent 4 weeks at #1. The album's third single "The Power Of Good-bye", failed to appear on the Club Play chart even though remixes were distributed on promo 12"s to DJ's. The remixes by Luke Slater proved to be too radical for American clubs. Import remixes of the album track "Sky Fits Heaven" also charted for 6 weeks and peaked at #41, pretty impressive for a non-promoted song. 

After two #1 Club Play soundtrack singles ("Beautiful Stranger" and "American Pie"), Madonna released "Music" in 2000, the title track from her next album. "Music" was a huge hit in the clubs, not only reaching #1 but staying there for 5 weeks, tieing "Holiday"/"Lucky Star" as Madonna's longest-running #1's. The next 3 releases from Music all reached #1 as well: "Don't Tell Me", "What It Feels Like For A Girl", and "Impressive Instant". In 2001, Madonna's second greatest hits album, GHV2 was released, for which several megamixes were commissioned and promoted to clubs. Collectively knows as "GHV2 Megamix", they peaked at #5 on the Club Play chart breaking Madonna's second string of 7 consecutive #1 dance hits.

While 2003's American Life album was not as well received by the general public, the album's singles were heavily pushed to clubs with many remixes. American Life holds the record for most #1 Club hits on a Madonna album (at 5 with "Die Another Day", the title track, "Hollywood", "Love Profusion" and "Nothing Fails"). 2 additional entries from the album, "Nobody Knows Me" (#4) and "Mother And Father" (#9) also make this the Madonna album with the most Top 10 Club hits (with 7). During the American Life era, Madonna's first high-profile duet was released in the form of Britney Spears' "Me Against The Music", which gave Madonna her first featured-credit Club Play #1.

2005's Confessions On A Dance Floor album ushered in Madonna's self-proclaimed return to the dance floor. All 4 singles were #1 Club hits, the most successful of which was "Hung Up" which spent 4 weeks at #1 and an amazing 11 weeks in the Top 10, the most of any Madonna entry. "Sorry", "Get Together" and "Jump" kept Madonna riding high as the Queen of the dance floors throughout 2006. 2008's Hard Candy brought about a more urban pop sound, but that didn't stop "4 Minutes" from storming the club charts and hitting #1 for 2 weeks (as of May 2015, her last entry to spend more than 1 week at #1). Another #1 followed with "Give It 2 Me", and the third single "Miles Away" finished out the Hard Candy era by peaking at #2 ("Miles Away" and "Human Nature"remain Madonna's only 2 entries to peak at #2 on the Club Play chart.) Madonna closed out the first decade of the 2000's by releasing the career-spanning retrospective Celebration. The title track was Madonna's next #1 Club Play hit. Second single "Revolver" only managed to reach #4 and would be Madonna's final release with Warner Bros Records, ending her impressive 28-year relationship with the company. 

Madonna released her next studio album via Interscope Records in 20012: MDNA. The album featured a heavy EDM sound. All 3 singles reached #1 on the Club Play chart: "Give Me All Your Luvin'", "Girl Gone Wild" and "Turn Up The Radio" all helped Madonna further her success as the undisputed reigning Dance Queen. 2015's Rebel Heart album ushered in Madonna's historic 44th and 45th #1 Club hits: "Living For Love" (which tied her with Country king George Strait as the artists with the most #1 hits on any single chart) and "Ghosttown", which broke that tie. The third single from the album, "Bitch I'm Madonna" also reached the top spot becoming her 46th #1 dance hit!

Madonna has now kept us dancing non-stop for 33 years. Her next milestone will be her 50th #1 dance hit. Stay tuned!

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