SotD: Madonna, “Like a Prayer”

Brief notes from the last half of March 1989:

–Spring Break started on St. Patrick’s Day. I drove to Richmond, IN, where my MA cousin Sandi was a junior at Earlham College, a Friends-affiliated school. On Saturday, we drove to Indianapolis, where we met up with John and Ann and did the highly-regarded Children’s Museum (to my regret, that’s a place Martha and I never took Ben, though we visited analogous places in several other cities).

–Maybe the real reason for going to Indy happened that night: the Bulls were in town to play the Pacers.  John and I had talked for the better part of two years about wanting to see His Airness do his thing in person, and we knew we were never going to get seats easily at Chicago Stadium. The Bulls were a much better team that year (almost 20 games ahead of the Pacers in the standings at that  point), but it’s not easy to win on the road in the NBA; Indiana pulled out a 9-point win behind a strong 30-point effort from Chuck Person (on the Bulls’ side, Jordan had 28, Pippen 24). It remains to this day the only NBA game I’ve ever attended (the Cincinnati Royals moved out of town, toward Sacramento via Kansas City, right at the moment we were re-locating to Walton).

–After the weekend, it was on to Florence to hang with my parents for a few days. Easter was on the very early side in 89, March 26. We’d invited Sandi to join our big family Easter dinner, hosted by one of my first cousins. She didn’t have a car, so I went and got her on Saturday (Richmond was about 90 minutes away). It wasn’t too far afield to drive back to Illinois via Earlham on Sunday afternoon. That week was the only time we saw each other while she was in IN.

At the time, I’m sure I figured that was my last trip to KY before the end of the school year. I’d be back in less than three weeks.

Madonna’s new release “Like a Prayer” was just starting to make noise on the charts as Spring Break hit (leaping 13 spots to #25 on the 3/25 Hot 100). At first I found the song’s title an odd echo of/contrast to the lead single from Ms. Ciccone’s second album, but it wasn’t before long there was plenty of separation between the two in my mind. I quickly found “Prayer” to be vastly superior to “Like a Virgin.” I absolutely love the chord progressions in the bridge (and how many songs lead off with the bridge?); I’ll even go on and claim it’s one of her very best singles. The video generated plenty of controversy and calls for boycotts in real time with its appropriation of religious symbolism in the service of, well, what Madonna was selling. As we know now, though, she wasn’t anywhere near done pushing the envelope.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: