"Vogue" is a dance-pop and house song which has disco influences. The song is written in the key of A flat major and has a tempo of 120 beats per minute. The song also contains a spoken part, where Madonna namechecks numerous celebrities of golden era Hollywood. The accompanying video showed Madonna paying homage to numerous golden era Hollywood actresses. The video was shot in black-and-white. In it, Madonna and her dancers are also seen vogueing.
"Vogue" is a song by American singer-songwriter Madonna from her soundtrack album I'm Breathless (Music from and Inspired by the film Dick Tracy) and was released on March 20, 1990, by Sire Records. Madonna was inspired by vogue dancer and choreographers Jose and Luis Xtravaganza from the Harlem "House Ball" community, the origin of the dance Vogue, and they introduced "Vogueing" to her at the New York City club "Sound Factory". Jose Xtravaganza is featured in the Historic Art Documentary How Do I Look, director Wolfgang Busch. It also appears in a slightly remixed and extended form on the 1990 greatest hits compilation The Immaculate Collection and Madonna's third greatest hits album, Celebration.
"Vogue" has become one of Madonna's biggest worldwide hits by topping the charts in over 30 countries, including Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States. It also became Madonna's first multi-platinum single in the United States and has sold over six million copies worldwide. The song has been met with critical appreciation, being ranked as one of the best songs of the 1990s. In 1991, the song, on addition, won a Juno Award for Best Selling International Single and an American Music Award for Favourite Dance Single. Its accompanying video has also been ranked as one of the greatest music videos of all time. The video won three awards at the 1990 MTV Video Music Awards, for Best Direction, Best Cinematography and Best Editing. Madonna performed the song at the 1990 MTV Video Music Awards, where she and her dancers wore18th century Marie Antoinette-inspired fashions, as well as on the Blond Ambition World Tour, The Girlie Show World Tour, the Re-Invention World Tour and the Sticky & Sweet Tour. The song has left a legacy, being covered by numerous artists, such as Alvin and the Chipmunks on their album, Club Chipmunk: The Dance Mixes, being part of the soundtrack of The Devil Wears Prada, as well as featuring in "The Power of Madonna" episode of American television show Glee. The video brought vogueing, as a dance form, mainstream, being included as one of the greatest "dance crazes" in pop music in a BBC Three programme.
In late 1989, after the album Like a Prayer had spawned three U.S. hits—the title track, "Express Yourself" and "Cherish"—and a top-five European single in "Dear Jessie", its fourth US single, "Oh Father", stalled at number twenty in the charts. Perhaps to ensure that the last single release of "Keep It Together" would fare better on the charts, Madonna and producer Shep Pettibone decided to compose a new song to be placed on the flipside of "Keep It Together" and quickly produced "Vogue". The song and video were inspired by the dance of the same name, performed in New York clubs on the underground gay scene, in which dancers used a series of complex hand gestures, body poses and movements to imitate their favourite Hollywood stars (see the list of the names of the Hollywood stars below), as well as the cover models from Vogue magazine.
After presenting the song to Warner Bros. executives, all parties involved decided that the song was too good to be wasted on a B-side and that it should be released as a single. Although the song itself had nothing to do with Madonna's then-upcoming Disney movie Dick Tracy, it was included on the album I'm Breathless, which contained songs from and inspired by the film. Madonna altered some of the suggestive lyrics because the song was connected to the Disney film via soundtrack.
"Vogue" is a dance-pop and house song with visible influences from disco music. The song has also been noted by Allmusic critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine to have a "deep house groove". It is written in the key of A flat major, has a tempo of 120 beats per minute, and in it, Madonna's vocal range spans from C4 to E♭5. Lyrically, song has a theme of escapism, and talks about how any person can enjoy himself. Later on, the song has a rap/spoken section, in which Madonna names numerous "golden era" Hollywood celebrities.
The lyrics of the song's rap section includes the names of sixteen stars of the 1920s, 30s, 40s and 50s (ordered as sung in the song):
Note: As of 2011 the only star alive mentioned is Lauren Bacall.
samples of some songs from the disco era. The bassline is from
"Love Is the Message"
by MFSB. The horns and strings appear in the song
"Ooh, I Love It (Love
Break)" by the Salsoul Orchestra. Some vocal samples from "Love
Break" are also in the 12" remix and dubs.
"Like a Virgin" (the intro hook) is also in one of the
dubs. It also contains a slowed sample from the synth start of "Lucky Star"
After its release,
"Vogue" reached number one in over 30 countries worldwide, becoming
Madonna's biggest hit at that time. It was also the best-selling single of 1990,
with sales of over six million copies worldwide. In the U.S., massive airplay and sales demand
in response to the popular music video in April 1990 made way for
"Vogue"'s number 39 debut in the week of April 14. The song shot to
number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in its sixth week on the chart,
displacing Sinéad O'Connor's
four-week run in the top spot with "Nothing Compares 2 U".
The song also reached number one on the Hot Dance Club Play chart,
remaining there for two weeks. On June 28, 1990, "Vogue" was
certified double platinum by the Recording
Industry Association of America (RIAA) for sales of two million
copies of the physical single across United States. To date, it remains Madonna's best-selling
physical single in the country. Since digital sales began in 2005, according
to Nielsen SoundScan,
"Vogue" has sold 311,000 digital downloads.
In the UK, the song
knocked Snap!'s "The Power"
off the number one slot and stayed there for four weeks, continuing a trend of
club/pop crossovers going to number one. It was helped in the UK by
multi-formatting. As well as the 7, 12, CD and cassette singles, the label
released four limited editions: 12 with Face of the 80s poster, 12 with
'X-rated poster and an extra remix on the b-side, 7 picture disc and 12 picture
disc. According to The Official Charts
Company, the song has sold 505,000 copies there. "Vogue" was also a huge success in
Europe by topping the Eurochart Hot 100
Singles chart for seven consecutive weeks. Released as a double
A-side to "Keep It Together",
"Vogue" also topped Australian Kent Music Report chart for five weeks
running. The success of "Vogue" boosted the sales of the album I'm
Breathless, and combined with Madonna's Blond Ambition Tour,
generated massive publicity for the movie Dick Tracy.
received generally positive reviews from critics. Allmusic critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine claimed
that the song was "Madonna's finest single moment" and that it had an
"instantly memorable melody". In a review of The Immaculate
Collection, Stephen Thomas Erlewine also claimed that the song
was "sleek" and "stylish". Jose F. Promis, in another Allmusic review,
claimed that "Vogue" was a "crowning artistic achievement". In a 1990 review of I'm Breathless,
Mark Coleman from Rolling Stone wrote that, whilst the song
initially sounded "lackluster", within the album's context, it
"gains a startling resonance". Sal Cinquemani ofSlant Magazine, in his review of the album as a whole,
claimed that whilst the "hugely influential" song initially sounded
"grossly out of place", it turns out to be "a fitting
finale" for I'm Breathless. Jim Farber from Entertainment Weekly,
in a relatively negative review of I'm Breathless, asserted that
the "finale of Vogue" is "the sole bright spot".
Bill Lamb from About.com commented that the song is "[p]ossibly the
most perfect dance song Madonna, the most successful dance artist of all time,
has ever recorded." He placed "Vogue" at number 10 in his list
"Top 10 Pop Songs of 1990" and 17th in "Top 100 Pop Songs of the
1990s." In 2003, Madonna fans were asked to vote for
their Top 20 Madonna singles of all-time by Q-Magazine.
"Vogue" was allocated the #14 spot. In 2007, VH1 ranked
fifth the song on its list of "Greatest Songs of the 90s". Acclaimedmusic.net, furthermore, has also
ranked the song as the 486th greatest of all time.
addition, has received numerous accolades. It won the 1991 Juno Award for Best Selling International Single, as well as winning the American Music Award for
Favourite Dance Single. The song, based on the 1990 Rolling Stone Reader's
Poll Awards, was voted Best single. The song was also ranked as the fourth best
song of 1990 on that year's Pazz & Jop poll by The Village Voice.
The video was directed by David Fincher and
shot at The Burbank Studios in Burbank, California on February 9–10,
1990. In 1993, Rolling Stone magazine listed the video
as the twenty-eighth best music video of all-time. It was also ranked at number
five on "The Top 100 Videos That Broke The Rules", issued by MTV on
the channel's 25th anniversary in August 2006. It
was the third time Fincher and Madonna collaborated on a video (the first being
1989's "Express Yourself" and the second
being 1989's "Oh Father").
Filmed in black-and-white, the video recalls the look of films and
photography from The Golden Age of
Hollywood with the use of artwork by the Art Deco artist Tamara de Lempicka and
an Art Deco set design. Many of the scenes are recreations of photographs taken
by noted photographer Horst P. Horst, including
his famous "Mainbocher Corset", "Lisa with Turban" (1940), and "Carmen Face Massage" (1946). Horst was reportedly "displeased"
with Madonna's video because he never gave his permission for his photographs
to be used and received no acknowledgement from Madonna. Some of the close-up poses recreate noted
portraits of such stars as Marilyn Monroe, Veronica Lake, Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Katharine Hepburn, and Jean Harlow. (Additionally, several stars of this era were
name-checked in the song's lyrics.) Several famous Hollywood portrait
photographers whose style and works are referenced include George Hurrell,Eugene Robert Richee, Don English, Whitey Schafer, Ernest Bachrach, Scotty Welbourne, Laszlo Willinger, and Clarence Sinclair Bull.
There was some controversy
surrounding the video due to a scene in which Madonna's breasts and, if the
viewer looks closely, her nipples could be seen through her sheer lace blouse,
as seen in the picture on the right. MTV wanted to remove this scene, but Madonna
refused, and the video aired with the shot intact. The video was edited in
Australia for daytime screenings, with the sheer blouse images replaced with
slow motion shots of other parts of the video.
The video features the
dancers for Madonna's then-upcoming Blond Ambition Tour. The
choreography was set by "Punk Ballerina" Karole Armitage. The video world-premiered on MTV on March 29,
There are two versions of
the video, the regularly aired television music video, and the 12" remix, which is the extended
version over three minutes longer. VH1also released a Pop-Up music video version.
video received a total of nine MTV Video Music Awards nominations, becoming her
most-nominated video at the award show. It won Best Direction, Best Editing,