The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Special Weekend Reissue Theory: Madonna, “Madonna: 30th Anniversary Edition”

with 15 comments

Welcome to another installment of Reissue Theory, where we reflect on notable records and the reissues they could someday see. It’s been three decades since one of the most popular and influential performers of the last 50 years released her first full-length album, and a new deluxe edition is long overdue. Here’s a look back at the first album by Madonna.

Madonna 1983If you’ll pardon the anachronism, it wouldn’t have been unforgivable to look at Gary Heery’s photograph for the cover of Madonna’s first album and ask “Who’s that girl?” Was this really the face of the girl who’d been filling floors of New York dance clubs with her bubbly, synth-funk jams and distinctive-if-untrained voice? Someone so young, so…white?

Of course, the bottle-blonde hair, the seductive stare and the chunky, bangled jewelry are some of Madonna Louise Ciccone’s first visual hallmarks; we couldn’t have imagined her any other way in her first few years on the scene. And while we could never really have predicted the astounding upper reaches of pop and art she’d reach in the decades to come from this record alone, Madonna, released July 27, 1983, is an impressively sturdy foundation that certainly bears rediscovery.

What follows, as always, is our Reissue Theory-style look back at the album: its creation, its impact and – finally – what it could look like if Madonna and the powers-that-be ever rolled out a deluxe edition of this album. After the borderline – er, jump – we’ll take you back to 1983, where nobody quite knew how familiar they would be with that one-named pop singer.

The Madonna as pop star story has its “Issue #1” moment with the release of Madonna, or maybe closer to the release of its first single, “Everybody,” in the fall of 1982. But the origin story, in a nutshell: Michigan-raised Catholic girl loses mother at a young age, becomes a somewhat rebellious but intelligent young woman, drops out of dance school and pursues her musical dreams at the bottom of the totem pole in New York City.

Madonna EverybodyAfter a brief stint in the New Wave band Breakfast Club with future collaborator Stephen Bray (the band would have a Madonna-less Top 10 hit, “Right on Track,” in 1987), she began assembling her own material to shop around, starting with tunes “Ain’t No Big Deal” (later a non-LP B-side), “Burning Up” and “Everybody,” the latter of which would become her signature song at the time. Danceteria DJ Mark Kamins enjoyed the response to her rough version of the song, and offered to produce a new version which would be shopped to labels. Ultimately, Seymour Stein of Sire Records took a liking to the 24-year-old singer and put out “Everybody” as a single, which peaked at No. 3 on Billboard‘s dance charts. (Notably, the original sleeve of “Everybody” didn’t feature Madonna at all, leading to some confusion as to her identity – some assumed she was a black session singer.)

When it came time to assemble an album after the success of “Everybody,” Madonna turned not to Bray or Kamins (whose original “Everybody” was untouched on the album) but Sire/Warner Bros. staff producer Reggie Lucas. Lucas, who’d worked with “Juicy Fruit” hitmakers Mtume (and won a Grammy writing “Never Knew Love Like This Before” with James Mtume for Stephanie Mills), penned two of the album’s best tracks, the yearning “Borderline” and the sensuous “Physical Attraction,” while Madonna brought in some new compositions including “Lucky Star,” one of her own favorite tracks for the album. (The song nearly lent the album its title.)

Ultimately, though, Lucas and Madonna did not see eye-to-eye on production, and he left before the album was finished. Madonna then turned to another local producer/DJ, with whom she was romantically involved with as well: John “Jellybean” Benitez. Jellybean would remix “Lucky Star,” “Burning Up” and “Physical Attraction,” and brought in one last jewel for the record, written by Curtis Hudson and Lisa Stevens of pop act Pure Energy. “Holiday” gave the album even more of a party feel than before, with Madonna vocally reaching for the stars over an inescapable hook.

Preceded by another dance hit single, “Lucky Star,” Madonna really took off that fall, when club spins and fashionable videos (featuring Madonna in her first of many iconic looks: big bows, lace, sunglasses and armloads of bracelets) put a further three (of a record-breaking 38, through her whole career thus far) singles into Billboard‘s Top 40: “Holiday” (No. 16), “Lucky Star” (No. 4) and “Borderline” (No. 10). (All were Top 20 U.K. singles, with “Holiday” and “Borderline” each peaking at No. 2. The album itself earned a new lease on life in Europe in 1985, after Like a Virgin attained critical mass; it was reissued as Madonna: The First Album.) The album has since shipped 5 million copies in the U.S. and, with 168 weeks on the Billboard 200, has been on that chart longer than any of her LPs.

Owing to both the twisting-and-turning process of making the record and its success in the clubs, Madonna would certainly make a satisfying two-disc set. Highlights of such a set would include:

  • Original self-made demos of early cuts “Everybody,” “Burning Up” and “Ain’t No Big Deal” (re-recorded and released on the B-side of “Papa Don’t Preach” in 1986)
  • Demos recorded with collaborator Stephen Bray, many of which were re-edited and released in 1997 on an unauthorized album assembled by Bray
  • Madonna’s version of “Sidewalk Talk,” a song she wrote and ultimately gave away to Jellybean, whose version was a Top 20 hit
  • Rare period remixes of all of Madonna‘s singles: “Everybody,” “Burning Up,” “Holiday,” “Lucky Star” and “Borderline,” some of which were only released in Europe

One could certainly round up promo videos and live performances – including the above American Bandstand clip where she presciently declares her intentions to “rule the world” to Dick Clark – and include a DVD proving definitively of Madonna’s prowess in the full audiovisual medium of the age.

Madonna Lucky Star

Madonna/The First Album: 30th Anniversary Edition (* denotes unreleased tracks)

Disc 1: Original LP (released as Sire LP 23867, 1983) and original single mixes

  1. Lucky Star
  2. Borderline
  3. Burning Up
  4. I Know It
  5. Holiday
  6. Think of Me
  7. Physical Attraction
  8. Everybody
  9. Ain’t No Big Deal (Mark Kamins Version) (intended B-side to “Everybody” single) *
  10. Holiday (7″ Edit) (single A-side – Sire 7-29478, 1983)
  11. Lucky Star (7″ Edit) (single A-side – Sire 7-29177, 1983)
  12. Borderline (7″ Edit) (single A-side-  Sire 7-29354, 1984)
  13. Everybody (U.K. 7″ Remix) (single A-side – Sire W-9899, 1982)
  14. Everybody (U.K. 7″ Dub) (single B-side – Sire W-9899, 1982)
  15. Ain’t No Big Deal (B-side to “Papa Don’t Preach” – Sire 7-28636, 1986)

Disc 2: Remixes and Demos

  1. Everybody (Madonna Demo) *
  2. Burning Up (Madonna Demo) *
  3. Ain’t No Big Deal (Madonna Demo) *
  4. Sidewalk Talk (Demo) *
  5. Crimes of Passion (Demo) *
  6. Stay (Demo) *
  7. Everybody (U.K. 12″ Version) (12″ A-side – Sire W-9899 T, 1982)
  8. Burning Up (12″ Version) (12″ A-side – Sire 0-29715, 1983)
  9. Borderline (“New Mix”) (12″ A-side – Sire 0-20212, 1984)
  10. Lucky Star (“New Mix”) (12″ B-side – Sire 0-20212, 1984)
  11. Burning Up (Alternate Mix) (issued on European vinyl pressing of album – Sire WX22, 1985)
  12. Everybody (Dub) (12″ B-side – Sire 0-29899, 1982)
  13. Borderline (Dub) (12″ promo B-side – Sire PRO-A-2120, 1984)
  14. Everybody (U.K. Dub) (12″ B-side – Sire W-9899 T, 1982)

Disc 3: DVD

  1. Everybody (promo video)
  2. Burning Up (promo video)
  3. Holiday (promo video)
  4. Lucky Star (promo video)
  5. Borderline (promo video)
  6. Holiday (Top of the Pops)
  7. Burning Up (The Tube)
  8. Holiday/Interview (American Bandstand)

Written by Mike Duquette

July 27, 2013 at 17:34

Posted in Features, Madonna, Reissues

Tagged with

15 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Love this idea!


    July 27, 2013 at 17:43

  2. Fuck all you music snobs who will inevitably roll your eyes at those of us who will buy this. Everyone has their guilty pleasures. Not everything in life has to be out-takes and rarities from Abbey Fucking Road.

    Jason Paskowitz

    July 27, 2013 at 17:50

    • Ouch!

      Anyway, I’d love to see all of the extended remixes of this album in one place–the remixes, especially for “Lucky Star” and “Borderline”, are what I remember hearing on the radio, not the album mixes, but I haven’t heard either of them in years. You’d think that if anybody could release am entire boxed set of extended remixes, it would be Madonna.


      July 27, 2013 at 20:23

  3. Nothing like a little preemptive broadbrushing, eh Jason? 🙂 I wouldn’t buy this (even though I do like and remember fondly a couple of tracks from this album) but I wouldn’t begrudge anyone from doing so. It’s not like it’s rap, right? 😉


    July 27, 2013 at 18:04

  4. Weren’t some of the songs remixed when they remastered her first few albums a few years back?


    July 27, 2013 at 18:16

    • I know for certain the remaster of “Madonna” has the 12″ version of “Everybody” in place of the original. The version on “Celebration” runs a little longer than the timing on the original 7″ (4:10 as opposed to 3:57 or thereabouts); I remember people rightfully going mad over the immense tape master discrepancies on “Celebration,” so maybe it’s a new edit?

      Mike Duquette

      July 27, 2013 at 18:22

  5. “though the album itself wouldn’t be available in Europe until 1985, after Like a Virgin attained critical mass” – The album was released in the UK in 1984, and re-released in 1985 with the title Madonna: The First Album.


    July 27, 2013 at 18:19

  6. I think this album has aged remarkably well. The production is tight and Madonna’s sweet vocals have a yearning that seemed absent from MDNA. I think this aged much better than “Like a Virgin”.


    July 27, 2013 at 19:01

  7. I got my original vinyl copy of this LP from a charity shop for £1.00!!! Still a great album, and let’s hope that this deluxe version comes true one day. Are you listening Sire?


    July 27, 2013 at 20:02

  8. Whoa Jason, down boy! I see your point, but M’s first album is still highly regarded as a seminal recording of the 80s. First there was Donna Summer’s Bad Girls, which truly opened all doors for Madonna and everyone else to waltz through. Then there was Summer’s The Wanderer, which artistically trumps many o’ female albums of the 80s, but it and Summer lacked the support they needed from Geffen. Anyway, after that the runway was hot for a female to take off and Madonna’s debut was it. It had everything the market needed, meaning the crossover appeal Bad Girls had established but was not followed up upon. For me, the most significant factor about this debut is its disregard of formula, it’s totally an honest effort. Even as earlier as Like A Virgin Madonna began incorporating concept, marketing formula, sexual exploitation, business acumen, and an interchangeable image into her music. So while she made some supreme records after her first one, they were a bit strapped by those factors. Her first album has the most integrity of all her albums, is her most musical, and represents her vision more clearly than any of her output afterwards. It’s the only album of hers that takes me back to a fresh point in history, that I like from beginning to end, and the only one I hardly ever see in used music bins.


    July 27, 2013 at 21:26

    • Great point, Dana. I never put together Donna Summer creating a window for the next diva. I remember the marquee at the Copa Key West in 1982: Madonna performing her hit “Everybody”. I thought “who’s that?” and skipped the show. Finally saw her “Who’s That Girl” tour. lol


      July 27, 2013 at 23:29

      • Thanks Dan! For me, what we recognize as the female hit-maker mold today started with Donna, and no one has done it better. No one has the caliber of her catalogue, her range and versatility (although at her core Donna is a rocker), or holds her place in history. She was the first to challenge and exploit female sexuality on such a commercial scale. I’m not meaning to diminish Madonna’s influence or her own lofty place in the books, but when history reflects upon Summer’s place at the helm it will understand her underrated influence just as it will understand Madonna’s overrated influence. It’s not about sales, either. (After all, the last we should do is have to figure Mariah Carey into this!) Without Summer’s precedent, face it, many of Madonna’s concepts and visuals would have been met with even greater attempts to suppress her, and that frustration would have muddled her further challenges to religion, the fluidity of sexuality, and attitudes toward just how much a woman should be able to achieve in the music industry with means other her music. Without a Donna Summer we’d still have a Madonna, although much less realized version of the artist we have today.


        July 29, 2013 at 13:52

      • Not to diminish the achievements of both Madonna and the late, great Donna Summer, but the whole thing was invented in the mid-late 70’s by one Deborah Anne Harry. At least that’s the way I see it. And as long as we’re talking in hypotheticals, I think it’s high time that Parallel Lines and AutoAmerican get the full super deluxe box set treatment.

        Jason Paskowitz

        July 29, 2013 at 15:09

  9. I would absolutely buy one of these. For what it’s worth, the Burning Up “alternate mix” was on the first pressings of the US l.p. as well. I was so disappointed when the cd was issued and it had the short, inferior remix in its place.


    July 29, 2013 at 21:23

  10. No Remastering – just reissue!

    No need to make these gems sound like a hyper-squashed Gaga collection.


    October 19, 2014 at 21:32

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: