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April 11, 2024 22 mins

She is both the Queen of Pop and the Queen of Reinvention. She is the most successful female solo artist of all-time with more than 300 million records sold. In one word, she is Madonna. 

It is safe to say that without Madonna we wouldn’t have the likes of Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Dua Lipa, or insert the name of any up-and-coming pop star that interests you. One could argue that Madonna is the most influential icon of her generation. Emerging from New York City’s underground in the early ‘80s, it was as if a bomb went off in the world of pop music with her arrival. Almost immediately, Madonna would change music’s landscape with her music, while grabbing headlines with her controversial opinions, outfits and actions. 

Madonna ended the ‘90s remaining one of the world’s biggest artists with perhaps her best album, Ray of Light, which flirted with electronic music and integrated the teachings of Kabbalah.

As the ‘90s came to a close and gave way to the new millennium, Madonna would be the mother of two children and be married to English filmmaker Guy Ritchie. But that didn’t slow her down, she was still on top of the world. She won a Grammy for #1 single “Beautiful Stranger,” her contribution to Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, and topped the charts again with her cover of Don McLean’s “American Pie.”.

Madonna would then follow that up in 2000 with the album Music, which saw her once again reading the zeitgeist and scoring big with an album of kaleidoscopic dance-pop and electronica that saw her return to the top of the Billboard 200 for the first time in 11 years. On top of that, she was cast as a lethal fencing instructor in the James Bond film, Die Another Day, for which she sang the title track. 

There was quite simply no stopping her.

In April 2003, Madonna released her ninth album, American Life. The lead single was the title track, a pointed, hot take on the emptiness of commercialism, pop culture and American values. 

Unfortunately for Madonna, both the song and the album were considered a commercial flop. Despite selling 4 million copies worldwide, American Life was the worst-performing album to that point of her career.

For the first time in 20 years, Madonna was facing potential irrelevance.

When Madonna began working on her next album, she needed to make a change. She reconnected with producer Mirwais, who had helped produce both American Life and her wildly successful 2000 album, Music. Looking to leave the serious tones of American Life behind her, the two recorded a few tracks together before Madonna realized it wasn’t heading in the direction she wanted. It wasn’t just about getting away from politics, Madonna wanted to do a complete 180 and have a good time. Like she did in the early days.

In an interview with MTV, she said, "I was angry. I had a lot to get off my chest. I made a lot of political statements. But now, I feel that I just want to have fun; I want to dance; I want to feel buoyant. And I want to give other people the same feeling. There's a lot of madness in the world around us, and I want people to be happy."

Dance music was nothing new for Madonna. She holds the record for most number one songs on the U.S. Billboard Dance Club Songs chart with 50. But despite their excitement, dance music was experiencing a real slump in America. After undergoing a renaissance in the late ‘90s thanks to electronica, which Madonna was a part of - dance music and club culture had taken a bit of a nose dive when the mid-2000s arrived. Naturally, that didn’t faze Madonna. She was soaking up all different eras of dance music - '70s disco, '80s electro-pop, ‘90s electronica and present-day club anthems - and focusing on classics by Donna Summer, the Bee Gees, Kylie Minogue, Depeche Mode, Daft Punk, and of course, ABBA.

This is the true story of Madonna's comeback Dance Single 'Hung Up' - with newly unearthed audio from Madonna Herself!

Also contains audio from Madonna's 'Confessions on a Promo Tour', and the Making of 'Hung Up'.

Also contains audio from Sirius XM's 2009 Interview with ABBA for OutQ

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