On this day in music history: November 12, 1984 – “Like A Virgin”, the second album by Madonna is released. Produced by Nile Rodgers, it is recorded at The Power Station in New York City from April – May 1984. By early 1984, with her self titled debut finally gaining significant sales and chart momentum, Madonna is anxious to begin work on her sophomore release. She wants to produce the project herself, after being left in the lurch by producer Reggie Lucas when he quits before sessions for the first album are complete. Madonna’s record label Warner Bros isn’t willing to grant her full creative control, and insists that a seasoned professional be in charge of the sessions. Being a huge fan of the band Chic, she asks guitarist Nile Rodgers to produce her. The pair get to work right away, selecting songs for the album. Madonna pens five of the nine songs, co-writing four of those with former boyfriend and Breakfast Club band mate Stephen Bray. The rhythm section consists of Nile Rodgers on guitar and Synclavier, along with former Chic band mates Bernard Edwards (bass), Tony Thompson (drums) and Rob Sabino (keyboards). Even with Rodgers firmly at the helm, Madonna is also very hands on, being present at all sessions, observing and making suggestions to Rodgers and the other musicians. Once recording is completed, the album is held back for several more months as Madonna’s debut is still generating hits. Released at last in mid-November, “Like A Virgin” is an immediate smash. It spins off four top five pop singles including “Material Girl” (#2 Pop, #49 R&B, #1 Club Play), “Angel” (#5 Pop, #71 R&B, #1 Club Play), “Dress You Up” (#5 Pop, #64 R&B, #1 Club Play) and the title track (#1 Pop, #9 R&B, #1 Club Play). The album’s iconic cover, back cover and inner sleeve photos are taken by fashion photographer Steven Meisel (Seventeen, Vogue). The original US and Canadian promo LP copies are pressed on pure white “virgin” vinyl (originally intended for stock commercial copies also, but deemed too expensive) with custom art labels. “Virgin” establishes Madonna as a pop superstar on a global basis, and becomes her biggest selling album, moving over twenty one million copies worldwide. The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 2001 with the 12" mixes of “Material Girl” and the title track as bonus tracks. The album is also reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP by Rhino Records in 2016, and as a limited edition clear vinyl pressing in the UK (exclusively through Sainsbury’s) in 2017. It is also reissued as a limited edition white vinyl LP, as part of Rhino’s “Back To The 80’s” series in July of 2018. “Like A Virgin” spends three weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200, peaking at number ten on the R&B album chart, and is certified 10x Platinum in the US by the RIAA, earning a Diamond Certification.
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