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29 December - Madonna in Donna top 2003 (part 1)
Belgian Radio Donna compiled a Top 2003 of all time, chosen by the listeners. Naturally, Madonna features many times in the list. Here are her positions from 2003 till 600. The second part will follow later.
637 Justify My Love
725 Material Girl
798 Papa Don't Preach
830 This Used To Be My Playground
926 American Pie
1009 Die Another Day
1054 Drowned World/Substitute For Love
1150 American Life
1269 Who's That Girl
1360 Live To Tell
1415 Into The Groove
1543 Beautiful Stranger
1731 Nothing Really Matters
1779 What It Feels Like For A Girl
1997 Don't Tell Me
29 December - Billboard clarifies Nothing Fails chart position
How would you rate 2003 in terms of chart success for Madonna: a failure or did she do well? Her American Life album is considered to be a flop, but it did reach No. 1, it yielded two No. 1 sales singles (Die Another Day and Nothing Fails) and four dance chart No. 1 singles. So, it all depends on which chart you look at. Of course, she did not do well on the Hot 100.
Addressing the sales and airplay issue one last time, although Nothing Fails is No. 1 in sales this week, the song is not on the Hot 100. Shouldn't there be a rule that at least the No. 1 selling song in the country, even though sales are low, should automatically be given a spot on the Hot 100?
It seems a bit weird to think that in 20 years time, looking back at 2003, there will not have been any mention of either Hollywood or Nothing Fails on the Hot 100, even though, to some extent, these songs were hits. Or does Nothing Fails still have a chance to make a Hot 100 debut?
Finally, will Madonna ever return to the top-10 of the Hot 100 or even the No. 1 spot?
Zwolle, The Netherlands
It's a mixed-results year for Madonna. She was Billboard's No. 1 dance artist for the second year in a row, but did not do well on the Hot 100, as you point out. The songs from American Life did not receive a very good reception at radio.
I do not subscribe to the theory that Madonna has been banned from the airwaves. I think we should wait for her next album and see what happens. And while I don't get a vote, not being a member of Billboard's chart department, I wouldn't be in favor of giving any No. 1 sales single an automatic free pass, no matter how few copies were sold.
While I'm not allowed to mention how many copies Nothing Fails sold per Billboard policy, I can say the sales figure was a fraction of what previous Madonna sales chart-toppers have sold. It simply wouldn't have been accurate or fair to put Nothing Fails on the Hot 100 if it didn't belong there.
The mention in "Chart Beat" of Nothing Fails not having enough juice to reach the Hot 100 generated more E-mail. See our next letter.
I've written on this topic to you many times in the past, but something in last week's "Chart Beat Bonus" appalled me -- the fact that the No. 1 on the Hot 100 Sales chart (Madonna - Nothing Fails) could fail to merit a place in the Hot 100. I accept that conditions have been allowed to develop in the U.S. such that hardly anybody buys singles, but does it not strike you as odd that Billboard methodology can allow the song chosen by those few enlightened souls as their most popular to not even feature in the list of 100 most popular songs of the week?
I've always been against including airplay in any tally of what songs are popular as I firmly believe that heavily formatted and play-listed radio cannot give a true representation of what's popular, as its focus is far too narrow and slow moving. The public, after all, has no direct say in what gets played on radio, whereas at least they can affect a sales chart if they choose to go out and buy a CD (if it's available -- again another big problem in the U.S).
I really feel that the ever-increasing emphasis Billboard places on airplay has been a major factor in the failing fortunes of the singles market in the U.S., as evidenced by the dearth of commercial singles released, tiny sales figures and a slow moving chart. Just compare the tally of No. 1s for the year in the U.S. and the U.K. - and this was a fairly slow year in the U.K. by recent standards! Perhaps if Billboard had gone the other way, increasing the weighting of sales, it would have reversed the downward trend in the singles market -- it would definitely have encouraged labels to release more, rather than fewer, commercial singles.
I have never read a convincing argument as to why Billboard feels the need to mingle sales and airplay data together anyway. Why not just be happy with a sales chart, and an airplay chart, nominating one of these (and it would seem that would surely be the airplay chart) as the new official Hot 100? No one can question the veracity of a sales only chart, or an airplay only chart, but these tallies are tracking two very different things, so how can you accurately combine them? And as singles sales have dropped off so much, and the weighting given to sales is so small, and reduced further each time the methodology is updated, why bother to combine these charts any more?
The U.K. chart [on Sunday (Dec. 21)] threw up one of those delicious surprises that delight chart-watchers on this side of the Atlantic and are all too rare in the U.S. Michael Andrews and Gary Jules' sublime "Mad World" snatched the Christmas No. 1 crown from the Darkness, who had led all the midweek tallies. And justice was served as those wretched Idols couldn't even claim the third highest new entry. Won't someone join me in wishing for the rapid demise of the mania for glorified karaoke?
The Hot 100 has always been a chart that combines sales and airplay, since it was introduced in August 1958. It's true that as sales have declined, airplay has taken on a bigger role in determining chart positions. When 900 copies sold in a nation of 290 million people can merit a position in the top 20 of the sales chart, it's no wonder that sales figures don't mean as much as they once did.
But as I have said to others, you assign the Billboard charts too much power in influencing labels about releasing or not releasing singles. The bottom line for any business is money. These are decisions based on financial information and a company's bottom line, not how high a single places on the Hot 100.
Billboard already publishes separate sales and airplay charts, so I don't know what would be gained by eliminating the Hot 100. There's also a danger in implementing a change in the charts and then finding market conditions changing so that the "fixed" charts become irrelevant. With paid downloads increasing, sales may yet again carry more weight on the Hot 100. I think we'll be seeing some major changes in the Hot 100 in the months to come as paid downloads become an even bigger factor in the industry, making it way too premature to eliminate sales data from the chart. (source: Billboard Chart Beat Chat)
27 December - Soon 4 entries on the dance chart
Billboard Magazine's Hot Dance Club Play Chart for January 17, 2004:
Nothing Fails #8 (up from #13)
Me Against the Music #9 (down from #5)
Nobody Knows Me #17 (down from #14)
Love Profusion #3 Breakout (New)
(source: Absolute Madonna)
26 December - Madonna at NRJ Awards? *rumour*
French newspaper Le Parisien announced two days ago that Madonna will attend the NRJ Music Awards (NRJ/TF1), which are held in Cannes on January 24. There hasn't been an official confirmation for this yet. (source: Madonna Electronica)
25 December - Merry Xmas!
The Mad-Eyes team likes to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a joyful 2004.
23 December - 'Fails' succeeds
Madonna collects her seventh consecutive No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Dance Singles Sales chart as Nothing Fails (Maverick/Warner Bros.) claims the top spot. That means every Madonna single released in this millennium has achieved pole position, starting with Music in September 2000 and continuing with Don't Tell Me, What It Feels Like for a Girl, Die Another Day, American Life and Hollywood.
That may make it sound like it's always been easy for Madonna to dominate the dance singles sales chart, but that's not true. Prior to Music, she only had a solitary No. 1 hit out of eight releases.
Madonna is also No. 2 on the dance singles sales chart with Me Against the Music, in which she plays a supporting role to Britney Spears. It's the first time one artist has occupied the top two slots on this chart since 1997, when Puff Daddy was No. 1, 2 and 3.
On Hot 100 Singles Sales, Nothing Fails debuts at No. 1, but in a depressed singles market sold too few singles to earn a place on the Hot 100 yet. (source: Billboard, Madonna.com)
23 December - Pre-order for NKM book extended
From the Madonna.com newsletter: "The response to the upcoming limited edition Nobody Knows Me magazine has been fantastic so far. We wanted to remind you that this is your only chance to order this one-time only 52 page glossy publication for yourself. Due to the demand, we have extended the final date for placing your order--you can now order copies up through 3 pm EST on Friday, January 2. Your copy of Nobody Knows Me will be shipped soon after the closing of the sale date. So get your order in now or lose out on your chance for getting to know Madonna even better! Place your order for Nobody Knows Me right here."
22 December - LP debuts at #25 in Australia
While Love Profusion debuts at #25 this week, becoming Madonna's lowest entry in the Singles Charts since her #33 peak for The Power Of Good-Bye in 1998, Me Against The Music falls 5-6 but gets certified platinum for shipments in excess of 70,000 units. Love Profusion also debuts at #3 on the Dance Chart.
Love Profusion (Singles Chart): NEW at #25 (1 week)
Me Against The Music (Singles Chart - Platinum): 01-01-03-04-05-06 (6 weeks)
Love Profusion (Dance Chart): NEW at #3 (1 week)
Me Against The Music (Dance Chart): 01-01-01-01-01-01 (6 weeks)
(source: Absolute Madonna)
22 December - Second EP in 2004? *rumour*
Rumours start circulating over the second Madonna EP due out in the early months of 2004. On Peter Rauhofer's forum speculation has begun: "Madonna's second remix EP is set to become a club compilation of remixes from American Life (new and already released remixes). Tracks reworked by Peter Rauhofer, Zootwoman, Sander Kleinenberg, Ralphi Rosario, and Dirty Vegas are to be included." "The rumoured b-side to the US Love Profusion single is "Hollywood - Camaione and Cilione Blow-up version)." No word on the release of Peter's Tech-house mix of Nothing Fails." (source: Peter Rauhofer's forum, MadonnaTribe)
22 December - The inspiration behind Like A Flower
Fansite MadonnaTribe discovered a poem that could be the inspiration for Like A Flower:
"Madonna's love for poetry is widely known to her fans. Our forum member Jaapaap, has discovered reading the interview Madonna did for Details Magazine back in December 1994 , that a novel by Jeannette Winterson is definitely the main inspiration of one of Madonna's most beautiful songs, Like A Flower, which exists in demo form only, from the "Ray Of Light sessions" and remains unreleased. As you will see from the compared lyrics of Jeanette Winterson's novel "The passion" and Like A Flower, Madonna took the poem as an interesting starting point to create her own beautiful song."
Extract from The Passion by Jeanette Winterson:
"There's a hole in my heart that no one else can fill ? why would I want them to? It's like you search and search and search but you also know that no one can take that place, and so you do feel a sense of loneliness and sadness that you know will be with you for the rest of your life".
Extract from Like A Flower by Madonna
"There's a hole in my heart, No one else can fill it
There's a feeling I have, No one can replace
There's a taste in my mouth, No one else can give me
There's a song that I hear, No one can erase
Why would I want them to, I'm still looking back at you
Why would I want them to be you?"
22 December - Madonna again no. 1 Hot Dance Singles Sales Artist
It's happening all over again. Last year, Madonna was the No. 1 Hot Dance Singles Sales Artist with three charted titles; her single, Die Another Day, was No. 1 on the Hot Dance Singles Sales chart. Now, 12 months later, Die Another Day remains in the pole position of the same chart. The Maverick/Warner Bros. artist also retains the top spot on this year's Hot Dance Singles Sales Artists recap. At the end of 2003, Madonna's label released "Remixed & Revisited," a seven-track EP featuring alternative remixes from her album American Life. Also included were such extras as the MTV live performance of Like a Virgin/Hollywood Medley, featuring Britney Spears, Missy Elliott and Christina Aguilera. (source: Reuters)
21 December - Madonna tops chart with new dance moves
Madonna makes news on two dance charts this week. A single featuring remixes of Nothing Fails/Nobody Knows Me (Maverick/Warner Bros.) debuts at No. 1 on Hot Dance Singles Sales, while her collaboration with Britney Spears, Me Against the Music (Jive), shoots 13-2. It's the first time in more than six years that one artist holds the top two spots on this chart. Puff Daddy was the last artist to dominate Dance Singles Sales in this manner. The week of Aug. 2, 1997, he held the top three positions. "I'll Be Missing You" debuted at No. 1, "Mo Money Mo Problems" by the Notorious B.I.G. Featuring Puff Daddy & Mase was a new entry at No. 2 and "Someone" by SWV Featuring Puff Daddy rocketed 53-3. Before Puff Daddy, Mariah Carey was No. 1 and No. 2 the week of Dec. 2, 1995, with "One Sweet Day" and "Fantasy," respectively. On Hot Dance Club Play, Me Against the Music moves 2-1, Nobody Knows Me falls 4-10 and Nothing Fails climbs 30-20. That makes Madonna the only artist in the past 20 years to have three top 20 hits on this chart at the same time. (source: Reuters)
20 December - Madonna in Billboard year-end charts
Top Pop Catalog Albums
#49 - The Immaculate Collection
Billboard 200 Albums
#125 - American Life
Hot 100 Singles Sales
#8 - Die Another Day
#12 - American Life
#45 - Hollywood
#19 - Hollywood
#36 - American Life
Top Dance Singles Sales
#1 - Die Another Day
#7 - Hollywood
#8 - American Life
18 December - NF #1 in US singles sales chart
Nothing Fails is the biggest selling single in the United States this week, selling 6420 copies. Unfortunately, this amount will not provide enough points for the song to chart on Billboard's Hot 100. Nothing Fails will be the first sales #1 to miss the overall chart since Billboard began publishing separate sales and airplay charts.
Further down the chart, in its first week available as a maxi-single, Me Against the Music moves up to the number 4 spot, selling 4775 copies. (source: AbsoluteMadonna)
17 December - Madonna's 31 #1 dance hits
Here's an article from Billboard on Madonna's dance hits. It was published in last weeks issue. Meanwhile, Me Against The Music has indeed reached #1, while Nobody Knows Me and Nothing Fails are at #10 (down from #4) and #20 (up from #30).
"In this issue, Madonna has three titles on the Hot Dance Club Play chart: Me Against The Music (No. 2), Nobody Knows Me (No. 4) and Nothing Fails (No. 30). This has not happened since the Feb. 9, 1985 issue, when U.K. trio Bronski Beat had three titles on that chart: "Smalltown Boy" (No. 2), "The Age Of Consent" (No. 20) and "Why" (No. 75). Additionally, Nothing Fails is Madonna's 45th Club Play entry; Nobody Knows Me and Me Against The Music are her 41st and 42nd top ten hits on the chart. Do not be surprised if Me Against The Music reaches the chart's summit. If this does indeed happen, it would be the Maverick/Warner Bros. artist's 31st No. 1 on the chart. Also worth noting is that Madonna and Bronski Beat debuted in the early '80s, when disco splintered into a variety of sounds. But unlike the U.K. trio, Madonna continually changes with the times. Her new EP, "Remixed & Revisited," which debuted at No. 115 on The Billboard 200 in the Dec. 13 issue, effortlessly intertwines rock and electronic. Could a full-on rock album be next?"
Here are Madonna's 31 No. 1 Billboard Hot Dance/Club Play singles:
Title --- Weeks At No. 1
Holiday/Lucky Star --- 5
Like A Virgin --- 3
Material Girl --- 1
Angel/Into The Groove --- 1
Open Your Heart --- 1
Causing A Commotion (Remix) --- 1
You Can Dance (LP Cuts) --- 1
Like A Prayer --- 2
Express Yourself --- 3
Keep It Together --- 1
Vogue --- 2
Justify My Love --- 2
Erotica --- 1
Deeper And Deeper --- 1
Fever --- 1
Secret --- 2
Bedtime Story --- 1
Don't Cry For Me Argentina --- 1
Frozen --- 2
Ray Of Light --- 4
Nothing Really Matters --- 2
Beautiful Stranger --- 2
American Pie --- 1
Music --- 5
Don't Tell Me --- 1
What It Feels Like For A Girl --- 1
Impressive Instant --- 2
Die Another Day --- 2
American Life --- 1
Hollywood --- 1
Me Against The Music (Britney Spears featuring Madonna) --- 1 (so far)
(source: Billboard, Madonna.com)
17 December - Madonna endorses democrat Wesley Clark
Former vice president Al Gore may be supporting Howard Dean, but retired army general Wesley Clark has support in his quest for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination from... Madonna. The Material Girl on Tuesday publicly threw her support behind the retired four-star general, one of nine Democrats seeking to replace George W. Bush in the November 2004 election. "I endorse him because I think he's a great guy," the pop superstar said on CNN Tuesday. "I think he's a natural born leader." Madonna believes that because of his military experience Clark "knows how to deal with pressure," and as the former NATO supremo "has a good handle in foreign policy." Clark spokesman Jamal Simmons was star-struck by the endorsement. "We have a superstar supporting a four star," he quipped. Madonna organized a dinner for Clark at her Los Angeles residence in November, when he was in town raising funds for his presidential bid, Simmons said. (source: news.com.au)
To quote Madonna: "I think to be the general for as long as
he's been, this is a man who knows how to deal with pressure and
make decisions under pressure. I think he has a good handle on foreign
policy. I think he's good with people. And I think he has a heart
and I consciousness. He's interested in spirituality. Those things
mean a lot to me. As it stands right now, he's got my support."
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