American Woman! #AmericanLife was #Madonna’s fifth Number One album selling over 240,000 copies its first week. @billboard #QueenOfPop
On this day in music history: April 22, 1989 – “Like A Prayer” by Madonna hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 3 weeks. Written and produced by Madonna and Patrick Leonard, it is the seventh chart topping single for the pop music icon from Rochester, MI. Many of the songs on her fourth studio album “Like A Prayer” based on her Catholic upbringing in a large Italian American family. Madonna writes about her own personal faith, and about how religion and sex are intertwined and are often at odds with each other. The title track of the album will reflect all of these things. Co-writing the song with frequent collaborator songwriter and co-producer Pat Leonard, the pair decide during recording that the song to put a gospel choir on it. They meet with famed gospel star Andraé Crouch who agrees to add his choirs’ vocals to the track. “Like A Prayer” is launched by a high profile commercial ad campaign with Pepsi who is to sponsor the singer’s tour in support of the album. The songs music video (directed by Mary Lambert), co starring actor Leon Robinson (aka Leon) playing the role of a saint, contains scenes juxtaposing religious iconography, showing Madonna with stigmata on her hands like Jesus after being crucified, dancing in front of burning crosses, and sexuality (the singer laying down on the alter with the saint), causes the company to withdraw their support of her tour and pull the commercial starring the singer from the airwaves. However, Madonna is allowed to keep the five million dollars she is paid by Pepsi. The controversy fueled by the music video and the falling out with Pepsi does not hurt the songs commercial performance. Quite the opposite in fact. Released as a single on March 3, 1989, it is an instant smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #38 on March 18, 1989, it races to the top of the chart five weeks later. Regarded as one of Madonna’s signature songs, “Like A Prayer” has a long life beyond its run on the charts. In April of 2010, the pop superstars’ music is the focus of an episode of the hit series “Glee”. Its ratings success revives interest in Madonna’s original recording of “Like A Prayer”, leading to it re-entering the Hot 100 at #47 on May 10, 2010. “Like A Prayer” is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.