Who’s That Girl?

Happy TUNEBACK TUESDAY! Today I’m tuning it back to the summer of 1987 with a couple songs from a movie I watched frequently as a child, “WHO’S THAT GIRL?” starring Madonna.

“CAUSING A COMMOTION”

ORIGINAL SINGLE RELEASE DATE: August 25, 1987

TRIVIA: The song was inspired by her then husband Sean Penn and their often tumultuous relationship. Madonna felt that her marriage to Penn was on the verge of breaking-up, due to Penn’s abusive and violent nature. That translated as the inspiration behind the song. In a Rolling Stone article dated September 10, 1987, Madonna spoke about Penn’s impact on her life and the song,

“I don’t like violence. I never condone hitting anyone, and I never thought that any violence should have taken place. But on the other hand, I understood Sean’s anger and believe me, I have wanted to hit him many times. I never would, you know, because I realize that it would just make things worse. […] I felt like he was ‘Causing a Commotion’ to purposefully distract me. I wrote this song and vented my frustration in it.”

“WHO’S THAT GIRL?”

ORIGINAL SINGLE RELEASE DATE: June 30, 1987

TRIVIA: In 1986, Madonna was shooting for her third motion picture Who’s That Girl, known at the time as Slammer. Needing songs for the soundtrack of the movie, she contacted Patrick Leonard and Stephen Bray, who had written and produced her third studio album True Blue in 1986. Madonna explained to them that she needed an uptempo song and a downtempo song. She came to the studio one Thursday as Leonard developed the chorus of the song. He handed over that cassette to Madonna, who went to the backroom and finished the melody and the lyrics of the song, while Leonard worked on the other parts of the song.

After finishing the lyrics, Madonna declared that she wanted the song to be named “Who’s That Girl” and changed the movie to the same, rather than Slammer, considering it to be a better title. In Fred Bronson’s The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits book, Leonard explained that the song was recorded in one day with Madonna adding her vocals only once. Additional instrumental tracks with guitars and percussion were included by Leonard and Bray later. Regarding the development of the music for the film, Madonna further explained

“I had some very specific ideas in mind, music that would stand on its own as well as support and enhance what was happening on screen and the only way to make that a reality was to have a hand in writing the tunes myself. […] The songs aren’t necessarily about Nikki [her character name in the movie] or written to be sung by someone like her, but there’s a spirit to this music that captures both what the film and the characters are about, I think.”

See you next Tuesday!!

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