Saturday, May 19, 1990

Madonna hit #1 with “Vogue”



Writer(s): Madonna, Shep Pettibone (see lyrics here)

Released: March 20, 1990

First Charted: April 6, 1990

Peak: 13 US, 13 CB, 12 GR, 14 RR, 23 AC, 16 RB, 14 UK, 13 CN, 15 AU, 6 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 2.79 US, 0.66 UK, 6.0 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 293.64 video, 224.78 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

“Vogue” was originally planned as the B-side to “Keep It Together,” the fifth single from Madonna’s Like a Prayer album. Shep Pettibone, who wrote and produced the song with Madonna said, “The record company went bananas, her manager went bananas. Everybody said, ‘This is a major hit smash record – we’re not going to lose it as a B-side.’” FB

Instead, it became the first single for her next album, I’m Breathless. The album was a departure for Madonna as it served as a soundtrack to Dick Tracy, a movie in which she was cast as the love interest to Warren Beatty in the title role. Three of the songs were written by Stephen Sondheim for the movie and the others were written to be sun in character in a jazz-swing mode.

The exception was “Vogue,” an “upbeat house song” WK which Pettibone acknowledged “wasn’t written for that movie or for that album.” FB Vogueing originated in the gay community as a dance movement in which dancers struck poses and used elaborate hand movements. SF Pettibone said he was surprised Madonna wanted to do a song about it. It “had been around for a while and it was also semi-passe. People were saying, ‘What’s the next thing? That’s over.’” FB

Of course, in Madonna’s hands the song brought the underground dance movement into the mainstream. It became the world’s best-selling single of 1990. WK Fans and critics celebrated it as one of her career highlights. All Music Guide’s Jose F. Promis called it “one of the biggest all-time house music hits” and “one of her crowning artistic achievements both song-wise and video-wise.” AMG

Lyrically, the song addresses escapism and being able to feel free on the dance floor while it sonically reflected strong influences from disco music of the ‘70s. Patrick Leonard, who also wrote and produced with Madonna, said “It was a beautiful piece of music that resembles art in a big way.” FB


  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Madonna
  • AMG All Music Guide review by Jose F. Promis
  • FB Fred Bronson (2007). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (4th edition). Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 757.
  • SF Songfacts
  • WK Wikipedia

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First posted 2/2/2021; last updated 4/30/2024.

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